Turkey Overview

Turkey, where Noah's Ark reputedly rested on Mount Ararat, where Homer was born and where Anthony met Cleopatra. 

The modern Republic of Turkey is steeped in history and is a country that penetrates both the senses and the spirit. Turkey has a very diverse culture that is a blend of various elements of the Oguz Turkic and Anatolian, Ottoman and Western culture and traditions which started with the Westernization of the Ottoman Empire and continues today. Because of its strategic location, where two continents meet, Turkey's culture has a unique blend of Eastern and Western tradition, often described as a bridge between the two civilizations. Turkey is encircled by seas on three sides: the Aegean Sea to the west, the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Turkey also contains the Sea of Marmara in the northwest making it a holiday destination that offers blue skies, gorgeous coast lines and a plethora of things to do. 

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72hrs in Antalya

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72hrs in Istanbul

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72hrs in Izmir

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Istanbul & Cappadocia

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Pure Turkey

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Adventure Turkey

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  • The famous Trojan Wars took place in Western Turkey, around the site where the Trojan horse rests today.


  • The first church built by man, St. Peter’s Church, is in Antioch (Antakya), Turkey.


  • The oldest known human settlement is said to be in Catalhoyuk, Turkey dating from the 7th Millennium BC.


  • Turkey once had two of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Ancient World’, Ephesus and Halicarnasus.


  • St. Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, was born in Patara and became the bishop of Demre, on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast.


  • Recent archaeology has claimed that Noah’s Ark landed on Mount Ararat (Agri Dagi) in Eastern Turkey.


  • The last meal said to be served on Noah’s Ark was a sweet and sour pudding called Asure which is still served throughout Turkey today.


  • The Turks introduced cherries and coffee to Europe as well as tulips to the Netherlands.


  • Istanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents and in 2010 was named by the European Union as the European Capital of Culture.


  • Anatolia is the birthplace of historic legends, such as Homer (the poet), King Midas, Herodotus (the father of history), and St. Paul the Apostle.


  • Julius Caesar proclaimed his celebrated words, “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) in Turkey when he defeated the Pontus, a formidable kingdom in the Black Sea region of Turkey.


  • Turkey has hundreds of beaches and marinas which have been awarded the “Blue Flag”, a European award for clean beaches.


  • The Garden of Eden in the Book of Genesis was said to be watered by a river which separated into four streams as it left the garden; two of them the Tigris (Dicle) and Euphrates (Firat) rise from the mountains of Eastern Turkey.


  • Early Christians escaping from Roman persecutions found shelter in Cappadocia.


  • The Seven Churches of Apocalypse are all situated in the Aegean region of Anatolia; Ephesus, Smyrna (Izmir), Pergamum, Thyatira (Nazilli), Sardis, Philadelphia (Alasehir)and Laodicea.


  • Turkey was the foundation of the original Hellenic Civilisation, which saw rulers such as King Midas.


  • Istanbul has the historical building of Sirkeci Train Station. This was the last stop of the Orient Express, known as the ‘kings of trains and train of kings’ which ran between Paris and Constantinople (Istanbul) from 1883 to 1977. Agatha Christie was one of the passengers of this famous train.


  • The number of species of flowers in Turkey is approximately 9,000, of which 3,000 are endemic. In Europe for instance there are 11,500 species. This shows the richness of flora and fauna in Anatolia.

  • Architectural magnificence of the Blue Mosque, Istanbul
  • Byzantium Hagia Sophia Istanbul
  • Ancient Greek & Roman city of Ephesus
  • The lunar landscape of Cappadocia
  • Pergamum, the Ancient Greek city
  • The centre of Ottoman Istanbul, Dolmabahce Palace
  • The unique and magical ‘cotton castle’ Pamukkale

  • If visiting Mosque’s in Turkey, women will have to wear a head scarf and cover shoulders and ankles, men will do the same however they do not need to wear a head scarf.
  • You will find that you will get a better rate of exchange on your lira changing your money in a resort, plus they don’t charge any commission. 
  • A lot of people cannot speak English; keep a little dictionary handy on your travels.
  • Try local cuisine carefully as hot pepper is added to meals without asking. So if you are not into spicy dishes let them know.
  • For men, have a Turkish shave! Best to do this in the evening, due to the exfoliation of the skin you will need to leave it over night before applying any suntan lotion as this can clog pores.
  • Escape the chaotic streets of the city and take a ferry to Princes Island. Cars are not allowed on the island, transport is by horse drawn cart, bicycle or foot! However summer weekends can get busy, so plan and book ahead of time.
  • Istanbul - Looking for romance? Take an evening cruise up the Bosphorus and watch the twinkling lights of both Asian and European sides of Istanbul.
  • Istanbul - No visit to Istanbul is complete without exploring the Old City. Visit the Blue Mosque with its dome ceiling, minarets and stained glass windows, Hagia Sofi was built by Emperor Justinian in 537AD.
  • Cappadocia - If you´re not afraid of heights take a magical hot air balloon and float over the fairy chimneys, it's an unforgettable experience and will be one of the highlights of your trip.
  • Cappadocia - When in Goreme make sure you visit the Goreme Open-Air Museum, one of Turkey’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Aegean Coast – Visit the ancient city of Ephesus an ancient Greek, and then ancient Roman city once home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  • Aegean Coast - The Mastic Trees of Çe?me were discovered 6000 years ago. Raki (alcoholic drink) is flavoured with mastic and Mastic Jelly is made from these trees. 
  • Bodrum – Indulge in the local Greek influenced cuisine. Fish, olives and olive oil are staples and stuffed zucchini flower is definitely a must-taste for all visitors. Another local specialty not to be forgotten is the Çökertme Kebab.
  • Bodrum – Go on a Blue Cruise if you have the time you definitely won't regret it. The peace and tranquility of this un-spoilt coastline is what makes Bodrum a favourite amongst Mediterranean destinations.
  • Antalya – Visit the old town known as Kaleici in Antalya. Explore your way down to the marina, through tiny cobbled streets rich with stunning samples of Seljukid and Ottoman architecture.
  • Antalya – don’t miss out on the night shows of ‘Fire of Anatolia’ and ‘Troy’; a great way of storytelling through dance with amazing costumes.
  • Turquoise Coast – looking for a quiet beach? Try Kaputas Beach, an un-spoilt cove off the main road to Kalkan.
  • Turquoise Coast – when catching the local dolmus (mini bus) service to Oludeniz don’t get off at the main stop with everyone else ask the driver to take you to one of the private beaches in the Blue Lagoon for a more private sunbathing experience.


To Turkey – A daily service from London Heathrow to Istanbul. There are a range of pre-departure facilities such as online check-in, choose your seat and print your boarding card. Available up to 24 hours before your flight or at a check-in kiosk at the airport terminal, print the boarding pass and drop bags at the Fast Bag Drop desks.


Facilities include:

  • Economy Class - Seat Pitch approx. 31’’, luggage allowance 23kgs
  • Business Class upgrade - Club Europe from £150 each way, Seat Pitch approx. 34’’, luggage allowance 32kgs

Club Europe Benefits:

  • Separate check-in area and Fast Track security at London Heathrow
  • Relax before your flight in one of BA lounges; enjoy complimentary hot/cold snacks and refreshments.
  • On board enjoy good food, wine and more personal space in a separate cabin.
  • 50% more BA Miles when flying Club Europe.


To Turkey – Turkish Airlines provide international flights daily from 4 UK airports to Istanbul with excellent connections onward to the beach resorts of Antalya, Bodrum, Izmir plus Nevsehir/Kayseri for those wishing to visit Cappadocia. When combining three centres all flights to the beach resorts from Cappadocia operate via Istanbul.

London Heathrow, Manchester – Istanbul / operate daily

London Stansted – Istanbul / operate 3 or 4 times a week

Birmingham – Istanbul / operate 5 times a week

Daily onward connections from Istanbul to Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman, Izmir, Kayseri & Nevsehir.


To North Cyprus, Ercan – A daily flights from 4 UK airports via Istanbul to Ercan airport are available for two centre combinations.


Facilities include:

  • Economy Class – Seat Pitch approx. 31’’ luggage allowance 23kgs
  • Business Class upgrade – from £250 each way, Seat Pitch approx 34’’- 49’’ depending on aircraft, luggage allowance 30 kgs

Business Class Benefits:

  • Special services for business class passengers
  • Separate check-in counters, Priority on seat selection, Business Class Lounge



To Turkey – A selection of charter flights flying from the UK to the resorts in Turkey (Dalaman, Antalya, Bodrum and Izmir) during the summer months. During winter months the flights are from London Gatwick or Manchester to Antalya. 

Flights operate from London Gatwick / Luton / Stansted, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Exeter, Newcastle, Doncaster Sheffield. The regional departures provide easy access to the coastal resorts and offer value for money. Services offer extra leg room, pre-book seating together, and meals. Please note airlines vary and can change their services with little or no notice; please confirm at the time of booking.


Facilities include:

  • Economy Class - Monarch seat pitch 28’’; Luggage allowance 20kgs. Thomson & Thomas Cook seat pitch approx. 28-33’’; luggage allowance 20 kgs.



Turkey - Pegasus Airlines offer a daily service from London Stansted to Istanbul, with a frequent onward service to Izmir, Kayseri, Bodrum, Antalya and Dalaman for those clients wishing to book two centre holidays. Flights from London Gatwick are to Bodrum and Dalaman on Monday and from Manchester to Antalya on Wednesday (during a summer months).

Language: Turkish is the official language. However English is widely spoken in tourist resorts.

Currency: Turkish Lira. Sterling and major credit cards are widely accepted in most hotels and major stores.

Time Difference: + 2 hours GMT

Visa Requirements: UK passport holders require a visa to enter Turkey, this can be obtained on arrival at Istanbul/Antalya Airport for a charge of £10 per person. Non-UK passport holders should check with the Turkish consulate. Tel: 09068 347 348 or www.turkishconsulate.org.uk, as different rules may apply.

Passport: A valid 10 year passport is required with a minimum 6 months remaining on your passport from the date of arrival back in the UK.

Voltage: 220v - usually round 2 pin plug.

Religion: Turkey is a secular state, but the majority of its population is Muslim.

Airport Tax: No Airport Tax.

Water: Bottled water is recommended.

Health/Vaccinations: Recommended EC Inoculations: Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Consult your doctor for the latest information or visit http://www.dh.gov.uk

Tourist Board: Turkey Tourism Office, 29-30 St. James’s Street, London. SW1A 1HB; Tel: 020 7839 7778 - 7733 or www.gototurkey.co.uk

Travel Advice 

Please check latest Travel Advise from the Foreign Common Wealth Office https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey