Whirling Dervishes of Konya performing at Fes Sacred Music Festival

Useful Info - Turkey

 

Voltage

230-240v AC. Turkish sockets are of the 3 round-pin variety, similar though not identical to European sockets. Greek sockets are of the 2 round-pin variety. If taking a hairdryer or chargeable device, be sure to pack an adaptor.

 

 

Health

Turkey - It is recommended that you be vaccinated for Tetanus and Polio, if you haven’t had a booster in the last 10 years. Food and waterborne diseases are not common, never the less we recommend vaccinations for Typhoid (valid 3 years) and Hepatitis A (validity varies). For more information please contact your local healthcare professional.

 

 

Climate

Turkey is a destination that can be visited year-round. Temperatures in Turkey during the Northern Hemisphere summer are generally high, particularly during the summer months from June through September. April can spring up surprising results. Days can be amazingly warm, though temperatures do drop at night, so pack some warmer clothes. Summer in Turkey and Greece for the most part is hot and dry. For the beach worshipper, June through September is best, when you’ll enjoy glorious Mediterranean sun. In winter, although the weather is for the most part temperate, it has been known to snow, so you may enjoy Istanbul, Anatolia or Cappadocia draped in snow during the months of December to February. Whatever month you consider, you’ll be rewarded with seasonal variations that range from leaf-strewn autumns to sun-kissed summers and a mixture of skies for great photos!

 

Average max temp °C

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

 Istanbul

9 9 11 16 21 26 29 28 25 19 14 10

 

 

Time

Turkey is 2 hours ahead of GMT.

 

 

 

Money

Euro, British Pounds, US Dollars and other major currencies can be exchanged into Turkish Lira (TRY) locally or in advance of departure (though really there is no need to purchase TRY prior to your departure) Istanbul Ataturk Airport offers speedy currency exchange facilities adjacent to the baggage hall. Additionally, exchange facilities are available at various bureau de changes and banks in major towns have ATMs.

 

 

Food, glorious food

Turkish food is famous throughout the world. Look forward to meze comprising houmous and other dips, dolma (stuffed vine leaves), cheese cigars, the ubiquitous doner kebab and pide - a kind of pizza. Exotic freshly squeezed juices, nuts and fruit are available everywhere. If feel like a java jolt, try Turkish coffee - rich, dark and often laced with cardamom.

 

More particularly on our ANZAC packages, we tend to make lunch/refreshment stops (at your own expense) at the popular gas station restaurants. Our reasons for doing this are numerous: the well-prepared food (generally a serviced buffet) offers a wide variety of tasty Turkish staples, bread and a drink for a cheap price. There are plenty of tables to accommodate our group, the service is quick and allows us to have our fill and resume touring. In addition, the rest rooms at the majority of these establishments are clean, wellmaintained and offer Western WCs as opposed to Asian ‘squat-style’ WCs.

 

Dinner (where included) tends to be smorgasbord-style. A wide range of hot and cold dishes are offered on a ‘serve yourself’ basis. We feel a smorgasbord selection is the best way to cater towards a variety of tastes.

 

 

Tipping

It is customary to tip in Turkey. Tipping is an acceptable practice at most restaurants, approx. 10% of the total bill. In better restaurants and bars a service charge may automatically be added to the bill. In hotels, the porter will expect a tip if he carries your luggage to your room.

 

If you don’t want to tip him, carry it to the room yourself. Cab drivers don’t expect a tip, though it is usual practice to round off the fare. Make sure you carry a range of small denomination notes or change for the purpose of tipping, keep them separate from your larger bills.

 

A tip kitty operates on many of our group tours. In addition to the group tip kitty, it is customary to tip your tour guide and driver for a job well done. Naturally, though, the amount is entirely up to you. Tipping is an entirely personal gesture. Further information relating to this can be found in your tour Go Guide or Tailor-made Holiday Destination Guide.

 

 

Shopping

Turkey is a virtual Aladdin’s Cave. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is cavernous and full of unusual and everyday objects. Known locally as Kapali Çarsi – the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul’s Old City is a massive conglomeration of shops (some 4000) divided into areas specialising in gold, carpets, leather, souvenirs and clothing. Turkish handicrafts include a rich variety of textiles and embroideries, articles of copper, onyx and tile, mother-of-pearl, inlaid articles, leather and suede products. Jewellery, carpets and kilims represent top buys at the bazaar.

 

Opening hours: Mon - Saturday 0900 –  1900hrs (closed Sunday).

 

The Egyptian Spice Bazaar at Eminonu near Istanbul is an easy continuance from the Grand Bazaar or good start point before heading onto the cavernous Grand Bazaar. Here, you can buy a dizzying array of spices at a fraction of the cost you’d expect to pay back home. Pine Kernels, peppercorns, real Iranian saffron and other precious commodities are hawkered here at knockdown prices! Real Turkish delight is available by the tonne as well. Why not the milk-based Turkish delight studded with pistachios!

 

Opening hours: 0900 – 1900hrs Monday – Sunday

 

Markets and bazaars abound in other towns, too. During your stay in Turkey, you may visit a leather manufacturer and emporium. Although the quality of some of the jackets and clothing at these places is outstanding, the initially quoted prices can also be rather outstanding. If you do fancy a particular item, it does pay to haggle, even if you are in the confines of what looks to be a smart emporium/showroom.

 

 

Trading hours

0930 – 1900hrs or later. Shops are closed on Sunday. In tourist areas, shops are open from 1000 – 2200hrs, including Sunday. Banks are open 0830 – 1230hrs and 1330 – 1700hrs Monday – Friday.

 

Trading hours may change during Ramadan. Forthcoming Ramadan dates are: 18 June - 17 July 2015 & 06 June - 05 July 2016. Ramadan lasts for approximately one month and the precise date varies from year to year as it is dependent on the lunar cycle and the Islamic lunar calendar.

 

 

Tourist Site Closure dates 

Popular sightseeing spot in Istanbul are closed on specific days. Please plan your visit accordingly.
Hagia Sofia - Closed Mondays
Topkapi Palace - Closed Tuesdays
Grand Bazaar - Closed Sundays
Blue Mosque - Closed during all prayer times

Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar closed 01 January, 23 April, 01 May, 19 May, 17 - 19 July, 30 August, 24 - 27 September, 29 October 2015.

All museums, palaces and toursitic sites closed till 1pm on 17 July and 24 September 2015.

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