The worlds largest open air museum is waiting to be explored. A landscape dotted with the memory of some of history’s greatest moments, Turkey has it all. From the ruins of Troy to the Ruins of Ephesus and the many natural wonders in between. Visit the vibrant city of Istanbul, straddling two continents, or the capital, Antalya. Experience the wonder of a balloon ride over Cappadocia and explore the Goreme open air museum. Admire the Cotton Castle of Pamukkale and the spa city of Hierapolis. And immerse yourself in a culture rich with the past, but with all the promise of the future. For Australians, Gallipoli is the place to be as one meditates on the sacrifices made many years ago. Travel to Turkey, and experience the world.
Turkey’s population in 2009 was listed as just under 72 million inhabitants.
Turkey is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and clocks are adjusted to daylight saving time at the same time as Europe. During Australian Summer Turkey is approximately 9 hours ahead, while in winter, Australia is only 7 hours ahead.
Turkish is the official language, but English is widely spoken, especially in the main cities and towns.
Turkey’s electrical current is 220-240 volts. Two prong cylindrical round plugs are required.
The currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL).
The Mediterranean and Aegean shores of Turkey experience long, hot summers and mild, rainy winters. Istanbul’s average January temperature is 5° C and an average July temperature of 23° C. The central Anatolian Plateau has a continental climate with hot summers and colder winters than those along the shore. Ankara has an average January temperature of 0° C and an average July temperature of 23° C. The eastern highlands experience even longer and colder winters.
Turkish culinary art has a long history and enjoys a high reputation the world. Tasting Turkey’s rich and exotic dishes is a must during your visit with the most notable being; kebabs, pides- a flat bread base with various toppings, seafood dishes on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, and sweet delicacies such as Turkish Delights, baklava and halva.
Canadian passports holders require a passport with minimum 6 months validity and a visa which is issued at the point of entry into Turkey at a cost of US$60. This information is correct at the time of printing and is subject to change.
By Air: Air Canada and all major European carriers fly to Turkey via European cities.
By Sea from Greece: Daily from April to October from Greece: from Samos Island to Kusadasi, from Kos Island to Bodrum and from Rhodes Island to Marmaris. There is no ferry from Athens to Istanbul or vice-versa.
Organised tours are the best way to explore as they allow access to the main must see sights. Public transport such as local trains and buses do not take you right to the door steps of the attractions but only to the closest main town. If you don’t wish to take a coach tour, car rental and self drive packages can be organised, however be mindful that driving in Turkey involves long distances, traffic congestion in major cities and the universal urban challenge of finding a parking spot.
Turkey’s bustling bazaars, markets, shops and stalls make this country an ideal shopping destination. Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar hosts over 1000 stores where you need to be prepared to bargain, as this is an important part of your shopping trip and can give you that bargain you are looking for. This is the reason why many flock to Turkey specifically for the shopping. Best buys include leather goods, textiles, stunning jewellery originally designed and local delicacies such as Turkish Delights. In rural areas, markets are colourful and vibrant, and the best place to come across unique products and handmade items, such as rugs and angora bedspreads. Other crafts made of suede, copper, bronze, ceramics are also unique in nature including the famous Meerschaum Pipes.
Turkey’s hotels cater for a wide range of tastes and budgets. From the opulent Ottoman Sultans’ Palaces to traditional estates and simply furnished hotels, Turkey has something to suit everyone. It is essential to pre-book accommodation before arriving in Turkey to avoid risking unavailability and for peace of mind.
1 Jan – New Year’s Day
23 Apr – National Sovereignty and Children’s Day
1 May – May Day:
Labour and Solidarity Day (all Turkey, not just in Istanbul)
19 May – Commemoration of Atatürk & National Youth and Sports Day
30 Aug – Victory Day
11 Aug-8 Sep - Ramadan (Ramazan) 8 (afternoon) 9-11 Sep – Seker Bayrami (End of Ramadam)
28 (afternoon)-29 Oct (full day) – Republic Day, totally 1,5 day
15 (afternoon)-16-19 Nov– Kurban Bayrami (Feast of the Sacrifice)
In 2010, Ramadan will fall between 11 August and 9 September.
Special Events: Due to special events occurring on the following dates, some hotels may apply a surcharge: 27 May-1 Jun; 27 Aug-12 Sep.
Tipping in Turkey is similar to other European destinations. In cheaper restaurants, generally small change would be suffice should the service be acceptable, however in more expensive restaurants, a 10-15% service charge may be added to the bill. Taxi bills are generally rounded up. Hotels are considered the same as other European Countries in that porters in higher class hotels should be tipped approximately 3% of the room price. In Turkish Baths, you should tip your masseuse approx 10-20%. It is customary to tip tour guide and bus drivers. For exceptionally good service we recommend a tip of approximately A$10 per person per day for a guide and A$5 for bus drivers.
Istanbul: Istanbul is not only historic but is also fascinating and vividly alive. As such there are many unique and wonderful places to visit including the Blue Mosque, supremely elegant imperial six minaret mosque of Sultanahmet I, known because of the magnificent blue tiles. Aghia Sophia, built by Constantine and widely considered to be an architectural marvel. Topkapi Palace which was the official residence of the sultans for more than 400 years. The Suleymaniye Mosque, built by Syleyman the Magnificent and covered in fine white marble and stained glass windows. The Grand Bazaar which is a maze of over 4000 shops. A stay in Istanbul is not complete without a traditional boat trip along the Bosphorus. Gallipoli: Visit the Gallipoli Peninsula, the scene of one of the bloodiest campaigns of World War I in which the Anzacs laid down their lives. Visit the many sights around this area including ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine Cemetery, Johnston’s Jolly (trenches and tunnels), The Nek and Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial. Perhaps take a morning tour of the archaeological sight of Troy, home to the Trojan Horse and the legendary story of Achilles as told by Homer. Seven Churches of the Apocalypse: mentioned by St. John in the Book of Revelation, these seven churches are all found in turkey including Efes (Ephesus), Izmir (Smyrna), Bergama (Pergamum), Akhisar (Thyatira), Sart (Sardis), Alasehir (Philadelphia) and Eskihisar (Laodicea). Kusadasi: See the ancient sight of Ephesus, one of Ancient Rome’s greatest cities in the western world along with its famous Library of Celsus and the House of Virgin Mary. See the city where the Gospel of John is rumoured to have been written. It is also the location where the enormous temple of Artemis, once considered a Wonder of the Ancient World, stood. Pamukkale: The spectacular hot springs in Pamukkale, also known as the White Castle due to the lime deposits are a must visit. Discover the ruins of spa city of Hierapolis built on top of the white castle. Cappadocia: Explore the magical landscape of Cappadocia, with its fairy chimneys and its underground cities. Enjoy a awe-inspiring balloon rise over the remarkable landscape. Antalya: See Hadrian’s Gates, built into the city walls after Emperor Hadrian’s visit in 130AD. The areas surrounding Antalya hold some fabulous beaches including Lara Beach to the East, Konyaalti Beach to the west and Bey Dağlari National Park and Topçam Beach. The ancient city of Demre, once inhabited in 500BC shows many carved rock tombs peeping out from the rock face and overlooking the magnificentRoman Theatre. Many day trips can be taken to the East of Antalya including Perge, once inhabited by Hittites in approx. 1500BC and is a great example as it provides an almost complete picture of the past. Aspendos is known for the best preserved theatre in antiquity, still used today. Other Cities: Other notable mentions include Bodrum. Perhaps indulge in a traditional Gulet cruise to experience life as many years ago.