Turkey is a bridge between eastern Europe and western Asia, and it has cultural associations with ancient Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires. The vibrant Istanbul, on the Bosphorus Strait, is home to the iconic Hagia Sophia, with its soaring dome and Christian mosaics, as well as the massive 17th century Blue Mosque and also the circa-1460 Topkapı Palace, former home of sultans. Ankara is Turkey’s modern-day capital.
Turkey occupies a unique geographic position, crossing over into Asia and partly into Europe. Throughout history, it has been both a barrier and a bridge between the two continents.
A long succession of political entities occurred in Asia Minor over the centuries. Anatolia was invaded by Turkman tribes in the 11th century CE, and the Seljuq Empire was born. During the 14th century, the long expansion of the Ottoman Empire began, reaching its peak in the 17th century. The modern Turkish republic was eventually founded in 1923, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
Turkey has beautiful beaches, friendly people, amazing food, and archaeological wonders. It is culturally rich and good value for money, but modern enough to be comfortable and traditional enough to be fascinating.
UK: British nationals will need a visa to enter Turkey. Turkish visit visas are valid for multiple stays up to a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. We recommend that you get an e-Visa online through the official Republic of Turkey e-Visa website.
USA: You will need a visa to travel to Turkey. For tourism or commercial travel of up to 90 days within a 180-day period, please obtain a Turkish visa from Turkish missions abroad or from the e-Visa application system prior to your arrival.
The dress here is very relaxed. Many Turks wear traditional dress, but others can be seen wearing western dress and up-to-date fashion clothing. When traveling to more traditional areas and holy sites, modest dress is recommended. In this instance, consider covering the shoulders for women and opting for either knee-length trousers or dresses. Women should only need scarves when visiting a mosque.
Turkey is a Muslim country and it's important to respect the local traditions, customs and religion. During the holy month of Ramadan, or during religious times of year, be mindful not to offend the locals by eating and drinking in front of them. Shaking hands is far more prevalent in Turkish society than ours, and almost any meeting between men will begin with a handshake and a quick embrace. Turkish women do not usually shake hands. However, a Turk will sometimes offer his hand to a non-Turkish female guest.
Arabic and French.
Locals generally tip modestly, but with foreign visitors in the country service staff may expect a more substantial tip. While tipping is not obligatory, it’s a courteous gesture because Turkish waiters rely on tips to supplement their income. Tipping is not necessary in cheaper restaurants and cafés, but will be appreciated. In high-end establishments, around 10-15% is the norm. Andante Travels will take care of gratuities to restaurant staff, local guides and drivers.