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TurkeyTurkey

Witness the magical land where East meets West. Nestled at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey has enticed travelers for centuries upon centuries. From its stunning sun-soaked beaches adorned with charming seaside towns and lively cities full of vibrant locals and incredible cuisine to the dozens of ancient UNESCO World Heritage sites and bustling markets loaded with handmade rugs and ceramics, Turkey is full of diverse landscapes, ornate culture and fascinating history that you must experience for yourself.

Highlights

  1. Istanbul

    Istanbul is a major city in Turkey and the only city in the world that is built on two continents: Europe and Asia. Standing out as Turkey's most developed and largest city, Istanbul is home to countless museums, churches, palaces, bazaars and grand mosques, and shows signs of civilization dating back over 400,000 years. One of the most glorious landmarks in Istanbul is the Hagia Sophia that was built between 537 and 543 AD by the emperor Justinian I. This massive structure that stands as one of the great symbols of Istanbul is popularly known for its ginormous dome and Byzantine architecture. The Hagia Sophia was originally built as an Orthodox basilica, later became a mosque and today stands as a museum. Istanbul is also home to the Blue Mosque, whose design was influenced by the Hagia Sophia. Travelers can find one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, the Grand Bazaar. Opened in 1461, you'll find goods such as leather coats, gold jewelry and other material items throughout its abundance of stores (over 1200!).
  2. Cappadocia

    Distinctively known for its fairy tale-like landscape, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cappadocia is situated on a high, dry plateau in central Turkey. The "fairy chimneys" that are scattered throughout the semi-arid region are towering, cone-shaped rock structures that were formed from volcanic eruptions that covered the region with ash which hardened over 2 million years. Throughout the following years, humans began carving caves into these structures, forming complex chambers and tunnels. In the beginning of 4th century A.D., an urbanized, underground city was then created. Originally, the underground living quarters stood as refuge for the early Christians from the Roman Empire; however, they evolved to include churches, houses, schools, stables, kitchens and more, and most stand as museums today (although some are still serving as homes!). Visitors can walk through this magical land, but you can also gain an even better view from flying above! Cappadocia is one of the most popular hot air ballooning sites in the entire world.
  3. Sultanahmet Mosque

    The Sultanahmet Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque due to its vibrant blue-hued tiles and paint covering its interior, is located in Istanbul and was built between 1609 and 1616. The mosque is situated between the Hagia Sophia and the Byzantine Hippodrome near the Ottoman royal residence, Topkapı Palace. This massive wonder is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period, and today stands as an actively-functioning mosque as well as an incredible sight for visitors around the world. Aside from the intricate tile work and paint inside, its rooms and halls are home to over 200 stained glass windows, thick, ornate carpets covering the floors, and walls full of Qur'an verses by Seyyid Kasim Gubari. Additionally, the mosque contains the tomb of Sultan Ahmed I, its magnificent founder. 
  4. Hierapolis

    The ancient city of Hierapolis is a UNESCO World Heritage site that was once settled by Jews from Babylon and Mesopotamia. Famous for its hot springs that were created without the use of cement and have been used for centuries as a relaxing spa location, the name "Hierapolis" means sacred city. The ancient people of the area believed that the god Apollo had founded this city; therefore, the city was dedicated to him. Although the hot springs are still a very popular tourist attraction today, it is said that they once had healing properties, and people would travel to Hierapolis to bathe in these mineral-rich waters in order to cure and heal their various ailments. Hierapolis is part of Pamukkale, which means "cotton castle",  another city that is known for their hot springs and stunning ice-like terraces that have been created by carbonate minerals left by the flowing water.
  5. Temple of Artemis

    The Temple of Artemis is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, located in the magnificent city of Ephesus. Founded over 4,000 years ago, Ephesus was the capital city of the Roman Province of Asia Minor. This incredible Greek temple was built in the 6th century BCE, and was dedicated to the Greek goddess Artemis. The Temple of Artemis is significant, especially due to its massive size. This temple was three to four times the size of other Greek temples, including the Parthenon in Athens. Once home to both Greeks and Romans, this grand temple was destroyed and rebuilt countless times over history. It was first destroyed by a deliberate fire in the 4th century BCE and then rebuilt. The temple was then ruined once again during the Gothic invasion of 267 CE. After being rebuilt a second time, the Temple of Artemis was torn down one last time by a Christian mob. In present day, the temple is showcased by a single column standing as a reminder of where the great structure once stood as the greatest temple in the Mediterranean. 
  6. Troy

    Best known as the focus of the Trojan War as described in the epic poem by Homer, Iliad, the ancient city of Troy is a sprawling archaeological site and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although it is a real-life site, Troy also refers to an ancient legend. According to the legend, Troy was a city in ancient times that was besieged for years and later conquered by the Greek army, which led to the Trojan War. Based off of Iliad, this war was focused on the son of Troy's King, Paris, abducting the queen of Sparta, Helen. The poem focuses on the series of events that appeared to have taken place over the course of the war toward the end of the Bronze Age, showcasing the gods' opinions on both sides of the conflict. Today, the present-day location of Troy is known as Hisarlık, situated in the northwest region of Anatolia, Turkey. Though the idea of Troy goes back over 2,700 years, the idea became relevant again when Heinrich Schliemann excavated what was thought to be King Priam's treasures at Hisarlık. 

Fast Facts

Already booked on one of our packages to Turkey? See everything you need to know before you go.

Overview

Capital: Ankara
Population:  78.67 million
Currency: Turkish Lira
Languages: Turkish, Kurdish, English, German, Dutch and French
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: UTC +3

Entry requirements

U.S. citizens must have a visa for entry into Turkey. Turkey visas must be obtained prior to departure. Have a passport from another country? Please review the visa requirements.

U.S. citizens traveling to Turkey by cruise ship and disembark for shore excursions may enter Turkey without a visa for a maximum period of 72 hours. U.S. passport holders entering Turkey via Istanbul International Airport (or any other border crossing), may obtain their Turkey visa online through www.evisa.gov.tr or through a fee based visa service such as our preferred provider, Visa HQ. A printed receipt must be presented to immigration control upon arrival as a proof of payment. See the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.

We will send visa instructions for U.S. passport holders.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, you are responsible for determining all entry requirements and obtaining any necessary visas. Consider using an expedited visa service.

More information about passport, visa & entry requirements.

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

Immunizations are not currently required for travel to Turkey. However, you may wish to consult your personal physician or local public health authorities about possible vaccinations against typhoid and hepatitis. We also suggest bringing insect repellent.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

The weather in Turkey varies greatly depending on the region.  Almost all of Turkey experiences sunny, dry summers.  In Istanbul, the summers are especially hot and humid.  Eastern Turkey has short summers and bitterly cold winters. Some regions, such as Central Anatolia, are dry and hot in the summer and rainy and snowy in the winter.  If you plan to visit beaches, June through September is the best time to travel. Generally, the best months for touring are April-May and September-October, due to less rainfall and more pleasant temperatures.

What to wear

We recommend packing clothing that can be worn in layers and a folding umbrella in order to be prepared for all types of weather conditions.  Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country.  Therefore, it is important to dress modestly, especially when visiting mosques and other religious sites.  It is recommended that women do not wear shorts or halter tops even if it is very hot.  Jeans, slacks, or skirts are recommended, and T-shirts are considered appropriate. 

Please Note: If visiting the Blue Mosque and other sacred sites, kindly ensure to dress appropriately – no shorts, no sleeveless tops for both men and women. A head covering will be required for women, which is available at the mosque or you may bring your own shawl. Visitors are required to remove their shoes upon entering the mosque.  You may want to bring tissues or wipes to clean your feet afterwards.

Money & Credit Cards

The official currency in Turkey is the Lira. Your hotels, some restaurants and some stores accept major credit cards, such as Visa and Mastercard. For “street shopping” you will need the local currency. Your hotels will be able to exchange currency for you, and ATMs are available in major cities. 

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card while traveling.

Shopping

Turkey is a shopper’s paradise!  From unique, handmade items to fine leather, there is something to please everyone.  Popular items include handwoven rugs and kilims, copper, and brass.  Please be aware that some items labeled “antique” are fake.  If you purchase an antique, be sure to obtain an official permit to export it.  It is always a good idea to comparison-shop, and exercise the “buyer-beware” rule, just as you do at home. Be sure to inspect the merchandise before you leave the store. Most stores will not allow you to return or exchange purchased items.

Electricity & Power Adapters

230 volts. Plugs C & F. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Photography

Cameras and video recorders are generally allowed almost everywhere in Turkey, and in fact, you will want to take plenty of pictures of the magnificent panoramas you’ll encounter as you travel. Photography is generally permitted everywhere except at airports and military installations. Memory cards for digital cameras will also be readily available, especially in major cities.

Did you know?
  • Turkey is home to one of the world's oldest and largest malls, the Grand Bazaar located in Istanbul and dating back to 1455.
  • The longest word in Turkish contains 70 letters: Muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmişsinizcesine, which means “as if you are from those we may not be able to easily make a maker of unsuccessful ones”.
  • Istanbul is the only city built on two continents: Asia and Europe (although it is mostly located on the Asian continent).
  • Santa Claus, also commonly known as St. Nicholas, wasn’t born in the North Pole, but in the Southwestern part of Turkey, Patara!
  • Turkey is home to over 82,600 mosques

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Tours & Packages

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5 matching packages
Independent Package Athens & 3 Day Greek Isles Cruise
Ancient Athens, then a 3 day cruise to Mykonos, Kusadasi, Ephesus, Patmos, Santorini & Crete; independent adventure with flights & hotel included. Optional Classical Greece extension.
from $2299 w/ Flights from $1799 Tour Only 8 days
per person, double occupancy*
Independent Package Athens & 4 Day Greek Isles Cruise
Athens, then a 4 day cruise to Mykonos, Kuşadası & Ephesus, Patmos, Rhodes, Santorini & Crete; travel on your own with flights & hotel included. Optional Classical Greece extension.
from $2399 w/ Flights from $1899 Tour Only 9 days
per person, double occupancy*
Small Group Tour Best of Turkey
Witness continents collide in Istanbul, then explore Ankara, fairy-tale Cappadocia, Mediterranean Antalya, plus the ruins at Ephesus, Troy & more
from $2499 w/ Flights from $1899 Tour Only 15 days
per person, double occupancy*
Independent Package Athens & 7 Day Three Continents Cruise
Athens, then voyage to 3 continents: Asia, Europe & Africa. Visit Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Rhodes & Turkey; independent travel with flights & hotel
from $2899 w/ Flights from $2499 Tour Only 12 days
per person, double occupancy*
Independent Package Athens & 7 Day Greek Isles Cruise
Athens, then a 7 day cruise of the Greek Isles plus Kusadasi for Ephesus; independent travel with flights & hotel included. Optional Classical Greece extension.
from $3099 w/ Flights from $2599 Tour Only 12 days
per person, double occupancy*

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* Advertised prices may include an "Instant Savings" discount and/or sale discount, available for a limited time. Prices reflect these discounts. Advertised prices are per person, based on double occupancy; single occupancy rooms may be available for an additional charge. Advertised prices are the best available based on the least expensive travel dates, departure city, and other options, and do not include optional excursions or other optional items. Your total price will vary based upon the dates, flights, and other options you select during the booking process. For packages including flights, prices include Airline Taxes, Fees & Sept. 11th Security Fee, but do not include excess baggage fees or advance seat reservations. Prices and availability subject to change. More about our prices.

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