Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office (TCTO) and what do they do?
Can I book a holiday with you?
Do I need a visa to visit Turkey?
Will I be able to use my mobile phone in Turkey?
What is the local currency?
Can I use traveller’s cheques?
Can I use my credit card?
What is the time difference between the UK and Turkey?
What is the mains supply voltage, will I need an adaptor?
How do I drive in Turkey?
Do I need to know Turkish in order to communicate?
Are there mosquitoes in Turkey?
How should visitors dress in Turkey?
Are any vaccinations required for tourists entering Turkey?
Is Turkey safe?
The TCTO is the representative in the UK and Northern Ireland of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and is affiliated to the Turkish embassy, both part of the Turkish government based in Ankara.
Our aim is to promote tourism in Turkey by providing information about the country to members of the public, the travel trade and the media.
The website is an important communication tool, giving us the opportunity to provide easily accessible, up-to-the-minute information about Turkey’s many attractions. It also allows us to update those interested in Turkey on forthcoming events and tourism news.
As a government body, the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office is not permitted to make any consumer holiday bookings. We are here to inform and promote Turkish tourism and culture generally to the UK public.
Yes, British citizens need a visa to enter Turkey. A three-month tourist visa is purchased at the airport (£10) at a special booth before queuing for passport control. For those visiting to study, work or stay in the country for more than three months, an application for the appropriate visa must be made within one month of arriving in the country. For further information you should contact the Turkish Consulate; for more information please visit: www.turkishconsulate.org.uk
The major GSM operators in Turkey are Turkcell, Vodafone and Avea. You can use your mobile phone in Turkey if your provider has enabled international roaming. However if you intend to stay for a long time in the country or make several calls, it may be preferable to buy a local prepaid SIM card. Take your mobile phone and passport to a Turkish mobile phone shop where your new SIM will be registered along with your handset’s IMEI number and your personal information. (Unregistered phones will be blocked and unable to receive or make calls.) Turkey has very wide mobile coverage networks so you shouldn’t have any problems in the main cities and tourist resorts.
The local currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL) available in the following denominations: banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50 &100 TL; coins: 10, 25 & 50 kuruş and 1 TL.
Cash can usually be exchanged without commission at bureau de changes (döviz), banks and hotels. (Note that Scottish notes are not accepted in Turkey). Exchange rates are published daily in Turkish newspapers and can also be found at www.xe.com/ucc
Traveller’s cheques can be exchanged at banks, some large hotels and bureau de changes (döviz). Can I use the local cash machines?
Cash machines (ATMs) are available throughout Turkey, accepting major European credit and bank cards and instructions are often available in English. It is advisable to inform your bank in advance that you are travelling to Turkey as some will automatically put a stop on cards after the first use in an attempt to combat fraud.
International credit and debit cards are widely accepted in shops and restaurants throughout Turkey. However it is advisable also to carry cash for the smaller shops and cafes, particularly in more rural areas.
Turkey is GMT+2, that is to say two hours ahead of the UK. What are the opening times for shops and other services? During the summer season, and in the main cities and resorts, many shops are open seven days a week and stay open until late. Museums – 09.00-17.00 Tuesday to Sunday Chemists – 09.00-19.00 Monday to Saturday 24-Hour duty chemists are open on a rota basis. Check the window of your local chemist for further information. Banks – 09.00-12.00 and 13.30-17.00 Monday to Friday Post Offices – 08.00-20.00 Monday to Saturday and 09.00-19.00 on Sundays
The mains voltage for electricity is 220V and 50Hz, meaning that wall sockets in Turkey take two-pin plugs. You will need an adaptor if your appliances use three-pin plugs. These are usually easily purchased at all the major airports in the UK.
Driving in Turkey is on the right-hand side as in continental Europe and all visitors may drive with an international driving licence. You should have a copy of your licence, together with your passport and insurance documents, with you in the car at all times. All of the major international car rental companies, as well as a number of local ones, have offices at airports and all major centres. See Getting Around Turkey for more information.
English is Turkey’s second widest spoken language and you will easily find English speakers in the major cities and holiday resorts. Restaurant menus and other information for foreigners are often printed in English.
In the summer months there can be mosquitoes in some areas so it is advisable to take a suitable repellent.
There are no hard and fast rules but it is best to use common sense when deciding what to wear. If staying on a beach resort it is fine to dress as you feel comfortable (i.e. bikini, shorts and short dresses) though when going into town to shop or eat it may be an idea to change into a dress or trousers. For city breaks relaxed clothing is the most suitable with comfortable shoes and casual trousers and/or a dress if you intend to do lots of walking. When visiting mosques you should take off your shoes at the entrance and ladies should cover their hair; often scarves are provided on the way in. Both sexes should dress modestly with no shorts and arms and shoulders covered during visits to mosques.
There are no compulsory vaccinations for visitors entering Turkey though it is a good idea to be up-to-date with polio and tetanus, and if you are travelling to the east of the country, typhoid.
Turkey is one of the safest countries in the world with Interpol ranking it as the safest holiday destination in Europe. As is the case when travelling in any country though, do be careful with your personal possessions when out and about and never leave items unattended. You will find the police helpful and friendly and in many of the tourist resorts there are special tourism police who speak different languages.