FAQ

  • TURKEY TRAVEL TIPS – INFO AND WEATHER
    • DO I NEED A VISA FOR TURKEY?
      Many nationalities can now apply online for a Turkish Tourist visa see: https://www.evisa.gov.tr Important: Make sure that you are using this official e-visa website!
    • ENTRY VISA AND PASSPORT INFORMATION FOR TURKEY
      Visa requirements for Turkey vary depending upon your nationality. Turkish Visas for Americans, Australians, Canadian and U.K. citizens may be obtained online athttps://www.evisa.gov.tr As a guideline, you can visit the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website to see if you require a visa. However, as regulations change frequently, we recommend that you check with your nearest Turkish Embassy or Consulate for the latest information on visa and passport requirements for entering Turkey. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after your arrival date in Turkey.
    • HEALTH AND INSURANCE WHILE VISITING TURKEY
      It is important to have adequate health, travel and accident insurance while touring. No vaccinations are currently required for Turkey. It is best to bring your own medication along in its original prescription bottle but if you need something while in Turkey you will find Turkish pharmacies to be well-stocked and very helpful.
    • TIME DIFFERENCE IN TURKEY
      Turkish standard time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, one hour ahead of Central European time and seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard time. There is one time zone in Turkey.
    • WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN TURKEY?

      In the south and west the weather follows normal Mediterranean climate patterns with warm, mostly dry summers and mild winters. In the high plateau of Central Anatolia the summers are also hot and dry, but winters can be very cold, with varying precipitation (nights are mostly cool). In the north, especially the Black Sea region, rain is frequent, and in the mountains of the east is an alpine climate. The southeast, on the other hand, has a near desert climate. For a chart of average temperatures by month for regions around Turkey click here www.wunderground.com

    • WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT TURKEY?
      If you are thinking of visiting for the purpose of seeing ancient sites, museums, city visits etc the best time to come to Turkey is roughly all of April to mid June + all of September to end of October. March and November – December are also great times to visit Turkey as you avoid the crowds but the weather can be cool and sometimes rainy although Turkey does not have a monsoon or rainy season. The high season for seaside visits, beach holidays and gulet cruises is roughly mid June to mid October but cruising can also be pleasant in May for example.
    • CURRENCY AND EXCHANGING MONEY IN TURKEY

      Currency and Exchange: The currency unit in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL or TRY). Traveler's checks are not widely accepted, can be cashed only at certain banks and will generally get a less favorable rate of exchange than cash. The best place to exchange cash is at one of the "Doviz" offices near the entrances (especially Nuruosmaniye entrance) of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, but may also be done at exchange offices or P.T.T. (Post) offices in other areas. Exchange offices at the Istanbul airport usually charge commission whereas “Doviz” does not. The best currencies to exchange are US Dollars, Euros and GBP but other major currencies are also accepted. As an example, I once tried to exchange NZ dollars at the Grand Bazaar but was not given a good rate. If you do not have a major currency keep in mind that if you exchange twice (once in your country and then in Turkey) you may lose considerable value. In some countries, you can get a good rate at the bank if you buy Turkish Liras before departing, but this is mostly not the case as Turkish Lira is not a major currency, and it may take time for your bank to order it. Always compare with online rates. An ATM card may be preferred.

      There are bank machines (ATMs) almost everywhere in Turkey now and cash advance offices in tourist areas where you can use a credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard etc). Before leaving home, check with your bank regarding fees and daily limits on your transactions. Larger shops generally accept US dollars, Euro, GBP and credit cards, but small shops will accept only cash and you will need Turkish lira for local convenience stores or grocers. American Express is not widely accepted and personal checks impossible to cash. A credit card is necessary to rent a vehicle.

      Currency Converter

    • BUSINESS, POST AND BANK OPENING HOURS IN TURKEY
      Banks are open from 8.30 until 12.00 and 13.30 until 17.00 (Monday-Friday). Some banks such as Garanti Bank are open during lunch hours. Post Offices in the large cities are open Monday-Saturday 8.00 to midnight and Sunday 9.00 to 19.00. Smaller post offices are open Monday to Saturday from 8.30 to 17.00. Shop hours are generally from 9.00 to 21.00 Monday to Saturday, but mostly every day and later in tourist areas. The Grand Bazaar is closed on Sunday and holidays. The Spice Market however is now open 7 days a week.
    • MUSEUM OPENING HOURS IN TURKEY

      Istanbul Museums are closed on these days and may also be closed on religious or other holidays.

      SUN: Grand Covered Bazaar
      MON: Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi Palaces, Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, St. Sophia, Military Museum, Istanbul Archaeological Museum.
      TUE: Topkapi Palace, Military Museum.
      WED: Chora (Kariye) Museum, Yedikule, Rumeli Fortress, Sadberk Hanim Museum
      THU: Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi Palaces
      FRI: Most museums are open
      SAT: Zulfaris Museum
      For more info on Museums in Turkey: http://www.dosim.gov.tr/en/museums 

    • TIPPING IN TURKEY
      In a restaurant tip around 10%. For porters you should pay around 1 EURO per bag. Round up the bill for taxis. On group tours it is customary to pay around 5 EURO per person per day to the guide and about half of the amount to the minibus driver (up to your discretion). For private tours the amount should be higher if you like the service. Although prices are quoted here in Euros it is best to tip in the equivalent of Turkish Liras.
    • TELEPHONE – CELL PHONE IN TURKEY
      We recommend using a long distance calling card or buying a telephone card from a local kiosk or post office. For international calls dial the country code preceded by two zeros (i.e. 001 for the U.S. and Canada, 0044 for England etc). When calling from abroad please remember that the country code of Turkey is 90. You may have to dial a prefix. For intercity calls within Turkey, you must first dial a 0, then the city code. When making a local call (inside a city or area) omit the city code. Istanbul has two city codes: 212 (European Side), 216 (Asian Side). If you have your laptop with you – consider installing Skype. Most of the hotels have wi-fi and it is easy and very cheap to call home. Regarding cell phone use in Turkey. If you bring your own cell phone and do not register it within a short period after arrival it will eventually be shut off. You can purchase Sim cards upon arrival in Istanbul or at branches of Turkcell, Avea or Vodaphone.
    • TRANSPORTATION AND TRAVEL IN TURKEY
      Turkey’s infrastructure is now undergoing a major overhaul and great improvement has been achieved in the past decade…
    • LONG DISTANCE BUSES IN TURKEY
      As far as overland travel the bus system is excellent with long-distances luxury overnight coaches between major cities that even include techno-buses where you can go online or watch a movie while traveling in total comfort. The overnight buses stop approximately every 3-4 hrs where you can get a snack, drink or complete meal and visit clean toilet facilities (for a small fee). Where the bus makes a stop is normally a complex including a restaurant, lavatories, gift shop and more but make sure to ask how long the stop is (minimum 15 minutes – maximum 30 minutes) and make a note where your bus is as many buses may be lined up outside the establishment. All coaches have heating and A/C and serve water and a snack. Do not be afraid to ask your steward/ess for information on your next stop. For major cities there are also courtesy buses to different parts of the city available free of charge. On shorter routes midi or mini-buses may be used. For shorter and intercity routes smaller buses or dolmuses may be used. You cannot always buy a ticket for shorter routes and pay on the minibus or dolmus.
    • CAR RENTAL IN TURKEY
      Car rental is also an option with GPS available in some areas that can be programmed for your language. You do not need an international driving license and there is no age-limit for car rental. Car rental in Turkey is an excellent way to visit many areas of Turkey but it does not make sense to rent a car in Istanbul for example as parking is expensive or difficult to find and public transportation is very cheap and very good. Taxis in Istanbul are also reasonably priced but in some tourist areas such as Marmaris for example the tariff is higher. Make sure that the taxi meter is working properly. In Istanbul there is no longer a higher rate for night driving. In most parts of western Turkey roads are safe and in good repair. Make sure to be careful when night driving especially at sunset where farm machinery may be entering the road or herds of goats are returning from grazing.
    • DOMESTIC FLIGHTS IN TURKEY
      Domestic flights in Turkey can really help when you have limited time and the earlier they are purchased the cheaper they are. Turkish airlines is the best and even serves a sandwich and drink on routes as short as one hour, but there is fierce competition and taking other airlines like Onur, Atlasjet, Sunexpress, Pegasus etc is not a bad experience either. With direct flights you can really get around Turkey. It is important to note that there are now two airports in Istanbul: Istanbul Ataturk Airport and Sabiha Gokcen Airport. Although Sabiha Gokcen is farther from the historical center it can be considered for your international flight as prices from the U.K. and other European countries can be must cheaper into this airport. It takes approximately 30 minutes to reach the historical center from IST (Ataturk Airport) and about 1 hr from SAW ( Sabiha Gokcen). Although Turkish Airline offers a shuttle service from both airports it unfortunately does not take you all the way to the historical center. Normal carry on luggage limit is 8 Kilos, whereas checked in luggage is 15-20 Kilos in economy class. Size restrictions apply to both checked in luggage and hand luggage.
    • TAXIS AND AIRPORT TRANSFERS IN TURKEY
      Not all taxis or taxi drivers are of high quality and there are still instances of overcharging tourists although they are rarer than before. Taxis are yellow and you will see the license plate number displayed both on the sides and on the roof of the taxi – taxis and all public transportation are now strictly non-smoking. We still recommend a transfer upon arrival in Istanbul just to make sure you have no hassle on your first day in the country and get quickly and safely to your destination.
    • TRAINS IN TURKEY
      Train lines are now undergoing a major upgrade for high-speed train lines but the Istanbul – Kocaeli route has been disrupted so the Istanbul – Ankara route is not usable. Train travel in Turkey should be looking good in 2014 but for now train travel is still limited and slower than one would expect.
    • METRO/SUBWAY/TRAMWAY/FERRIES
      Metro/Subways are not widespread in Turkey but Ankara, Izmir and Istanbul have subways. You can actually take the Metro from Istanbul Ataturk Airport into the historical district of Sultanahmet, but because of the long duration of the transit and the fact that you must change to the tramway hauling your luggage a distance a transfer or taxi is preferred. In Istanbul using metro, tramway and funicular can get you to a lot of places but there are also ferries from Europe to Asia or Princes Islands. The myriad of transportation possibilities in Istanbul is endless.
    • HOW SHOULD I DRESS IN TURKEY?
      Turkey is a modern country and dress is in general casual and comfortable. In Istanbul and other large cities including beachside resorts and major tourist centers you may dress as you like except when visiting mosques. Keep in mind that neither shorts/short skirts nor bare shoulders are allowed in the mosques, and that a head covering for women is greatly appreciated. You will be required to remove your shoes upon entering a mosque. We do recommend dressing more conservatively if you are visiting the central, eastern or Black Sea area. Bring a visor/hat or covering to avoid sunburn and plenty of sunscreen, also a daypack with a jacket or sweater and extra drinking water. Wear layered clothing, which is easily washable, and sensible shoes with good soles.
    • HOW SHOULD I PACK FOR MY TRIP TO TURKEY?
      Everyone has their own way of preparing for a trip. Making a list at least a couple of weeks before departure is a good idea. Do you have a passport that is valid for 6 months after your visit to Turkey? Do you need a visa? You can get it online in most cases. Medications? ATM card? Credit cards? Flight documents? It is important to learn restrictions for liquids and other materials on flights. We do not have restrictions on luggage for our tours but advise everyone not to overpack for their own comfort and that of their fellow travellers. Using zip lock bags to keep things organized is a good idea and make sure that you have a secure place to carry your documents and valuables.
    • LAUNDRY
      Most hotels have dry cleaning or laundry services; however you will need a minimum of 2 nights stay in order to get your laundry done. Bring some wash powder with you also.
    • TOILETS

      Have small change when visiting a public toilet. There are two kinds of toilets in Turkey. One is the toilet you are used to at home, which is available in all hotels and almost everywhere, and the other is a squat toilet. The latter is becoming very rare, but if you encounter one make sure that your pockets are empty before using it. BAY = Men / BAYAN = Women. Many toilets are equipped with a bidet. Opet petrol stations have some of the cleanest facilities in Turkey.

    • ELECTRICITY IN TURKEY
      Electrical appliances manufactured in the U.S. and various countries require the use of a standard two-prong adapter (continental style). A converter is also needed if the appliance doesn't have dual voltage (220 V) but note that converters do not generally work well for appliances like hair dryers. Hair dryers are available in nearly all hotels except for the very basic ones and if there is not one in the room request it and you shall find
    • FOOD AND COST OF DINING IN TURKEY – HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
      Turkish cuisine is considered one of the finest in the world and mostly you will normally encounter fresh meats and vegetables in a clean atmosphere even in simple establishments. You will experience a wide variety of regional culinary dishes on a typical tour. Although water is chlorinated in most cities we highly recommend drinking bottled water only. Many people inquire about the cost of dining in restaurants around Turkey and a general rule of thumb is that you will pay between 7 – 15 Euros for a lunch and normally 10 – 20 Euros for a dinner excluding the drinks. This is in normal local restaurants. Red meat, fish and alcoholic beverages are expensive in Turkey and a fish or steak dinner will tend to be more in the range of 15 – 25 Euros or more. Beer and Wine by glass prices are approximately 4 Euros and hard liquor around 8 Euros.
    • WHEN IS RAMADAN AND WHAT IS RAMADAN LIKE IN TURKEY?

      Ramadan, or Ramazan as it's known in Turkey, does not affect tourist sights or businesses in most cases. Life goes on as usual but many people will be fasting from sun up to sun down. The breaking of the fast can be a festive time with families and friends celebrating the end of a day of fasting with a bountiful meal. The historic area of Sultanahmet in Istanbul has a Ramadan festival where there are gift and food booths. You can also see families break the fast together on the lawns of the area. If you are staying in a hotel, the hotel will still provide breakfast for the guests. You can find restaurants serving food throughout the day in larger cities and around major tourist areas. People who are traveling during Ramadan are not required to fast, so you can also find open restaurants where buses stop, at bus stations, etc. If you are in an area where restaurants are closed, look for a bakery (firin) where they will be baking bread goods for the evening meal. In general before sun sets, the restaurants fill up with people, who eat ravenously as soon as they are able to and some restaurants provide a special “Iftar” Menu. You will always be able to buy food from shops at any time, and if you eat during daylight hours outside of the main tourist areas do so discreetly. Ramadan ends with a three-day holiday, with most museums and businesses being closed until at least noon on the first day of the holiday. See info on Ramadan and Islamic Holidays in Turkey.

  • ABOUT INSIGHT TRAVEL SMALL GROUP CULTURAL TURKEY TOURS
    • HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE ON THE TOUR?

      The small group tours are ONLY these tours listed below and there is a MAXIMIM OF 10 PASSENGERS HIGHLIGHTS OF TURKEY TOUR

      Insight small group Turkey tours depart on demand on the designated day of the week in season - April through November. If we do not already have a confirmed departure during the date you want to travel, you must first request a tour departure and we post it. When a total of four people total sign up for the tour - or if you are already a group of four people or more - the departure is guaranteed. Restrictions and time limitations apply as we require time to advertise the departure. Please inquire as early as possible

    • WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER A SMALL GROUP TURKEY TOUR?
      Small group Turkey tours allow you to bond with a like-minded group and experience your visit in a more meaningful way. We created these tours based on the way that they should be done, at a more leisurely pace than regular Turkey tours. They are also a perfect solution for balancing the quality of a private tour with the economy of a group tour where the costs are shared. We also introduce you to some of the regional cuisine. If you take our Grand tour of Turkey then you may enjoy a Turkish cooking class, snorkel in the clearest waters of the Med; see unrivalled coastline backed by mountains, plains, rivers and historical sites. All the small group Insight tours are focused on bringing you to the culture. Experience living in Cappadocia in a cave/stone hotel, the whirling Dervishes and more. A highlight of a visit to Turkey is a balloon ride over Cappadocia.
    • HOW IS THE TOUR CONDUCTED?
      The Insight small group Turkey tours are fully escorted but you will meet your guide on day 2 of the tour as we have guests coming on different flights and even on different days prior to the tour. We use a 14 seat A/C non-smoking minibus with a separate professional guide and a separate driver. We have adequate luggage space but request that our guests refrain from bringing too much luggage. There are laundry services in most hotels and for the domestic flights you are allowed 15-20 Kg for checked luggage and 8 k for hand luggage.
    • WHAT KIND OF HOTELS ARE USED IN INSIGHT SMALL GROUP CULTURAL TOURS?
      We offer a mix of nice hotels on these small group tours. As many of the hotels are boutique properties with a smaller number of rooms they do not have a star rating, but are much more charming and will give you the feeling of being in an exotic place, not in a generic chain hotel.
  • ABOUT TAILORED GROUP TURKEY TOURS
    • WHAT IS A TAILORED GROUP TURKEY TOUR?
      A tailored tour is a combination of daily group tour arrangements including entry fees, hotels, most meals and transportation put together in a package to suit your needs and time frame. A tailored tour is not a fully escorted tour and you will not be with the same guide or group of people during your journey. You may stay in the hotel category or hotel of your choice and may either fly or take an overnight bus to get between some long-distance destinations within Turkey. Tailored group tours are for every budget and are available year round. The price of a tailored tour varies depending on length, season, mode of long-distance transportation and hotel category desired. Tailored tours give you the freedom to choose where you go and what you see. You can take it easy for a few days in a seaside town in the middle of a tour, visit other destinations in Turkey, or continue to the Greek Islands from Kusadasi, Bodrum or Marmaris (spring/summer only). If you are particularly interested in a specific area or ancient site, you can upgrade to a private tour on any day of your trip. Private tours and fly-drive tours are also tailored tours but they will be dealt with separately below
    • IS A TAILORED GROUP TURKEY TOUR RIGHT FOR ME?
      If you are looking for a budget tour, but want a degree of comfort and to make good use of your time and are willing to use public transport in limited cases - a tailored tour is for you. If you are the type of person who does not like escorted tours and wants to have evenings free or days of leisure - a tailored tour is for you. If you don't like standard 4-star group hotels and want something different we can help you choose hotels that fulfill your specific needs - a tailored tour or a cultural Insight tour is for you. If your time is limited and you just want to touch on the major highlights, without having to spend a lot of time on the road, you can fly between most major cities of Turkey and enjoy tailored city packages in the hotel of your choice.
    • WHAT TYPE OF TRANSFPORTATION IS USED ON A TAILORED TOUR?
      The type of transportation used for the tours and transfers is always non-smoking in air-conditioned vehicle. Depending upon the group size it can be a car, a mini bus (14 seats), a midi bus (25 – 30 seats) or even a coach (40 or more seats). Since tailored tours consist in most cases of daily tours in each area you may use long distance or overnight coaches. Coach buses are the main method of long-distance transportation within Turkey. The convenient network of bus routes and good roads in most of Turkey make the journey a good choice for budget travelers. Coaches are modern Mercedes or similar types that are also used for touring in Europe. The vehicles are equipped with reclining seats, air-conditioning and heating, television and music. You will be offered water, cool or hot drinks, and sometimes a snack on the overnight coach. Coaches stop approximately every 3-4 hours for 15 or 30-minute (meal) breaks, where you will find a restaurant, snack bar, convenience shop, teahouse and most often clean toilet facilities. You will need small change for the public toilets. Many bus companies offer a free shuttle service from the main bus station to the center or various districts of a town after your arrival. For shorter distances you may use a mini or midi-bus (Dolmus). Domestic Flights are also a great way to get around turkey and there are a lot of flight choices now with Turkish Airlines, Onur Air, Atlasjet, Pegasus, Sunexpress and Anadolujet. When we plan your itinerary we look for the cheapest flight possibilities for you that will work for your tour.
    • HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE ON THE TAILORED GROUP TOUR?
      The number of people on the tour will vary from day to day. There may be as few as two passengers or as many as a coach can carry. Daily tours are conducted in English only with professional English speaking certified guide but you will be with groups of different people from around the world and of different ages.
  • ABOUT CLASSIC GROUP TURKEY TOURS
    • WHAT IS A CLASSIC GROUP TURKEY TOUR?
      Classic escorted group Turkey tours are ideal are for people who want to see the main historic sights and major attractions of Turkey such as Istanbul, Cappadocia, Konya, Pamukkale, Aphrodisias, Ephesus, Pergamon Aesclepion and Troy in a quick and efficient manner with early morning starts. This group Turkey tour has two departures for 8 and 10 days. Both tours are available starting on Fridays from April until October but please inquire for other possible departure dates. We can also accommodate arrivals one day later by giving the tour of Istanbul at the end. With the 8-Day Classic Tour it is possible to stay extra nights in Kusadasi or to go to the Greek Islands by ferry from there if you are planning on a visit to Greece or possible to combine with a Blue Cruise on a gulet of the Aegean or Mediterranean. Tour accommodation is normally in boutique hotels in Istanbul and four star hotels for the rest of the tour, but hotel upgrades are available and you can also choose your hotel in Istanbul from an extensive list. Hotel changes or upgrades may require a supplement. Classic Turkey tours are conducted by Insight Travel and her partner agency with a separate guide in Istanbul and in Anatolia. The tour of Istanbul will be conducted in English, but starting from Ankara the group may be mixed with guiding in both English and Spanish (or Italian) with either a multilingual guide or two separate guides. Shopping stops will be given during the tour and it is also possible to participate in a balloon tour in Cappadocia or folkloric night.
    • HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE ON THE CLASSIC TURKEY TOUR?
      Depending upon the group size, transportation is by A/C, non-smoking mini, midi or coach bus. This tour is NOT a guaranteed small group tour.
  • ABOUT PRIVATE TOURS AND FLY-DRIVE
    • WHAT IS A PRIVATE TOUR?
      Basically private tours are conducted for an individual, a couple or a group of people who are friends or affiliates with no other passengers on the tour. Private tours are more expensive than group tours unless the number of passengers is larger. Private tours include but are not limited to daily tour arrangements. Private tours may be fully-escorted where you are touring across Turkey with a dedicated professional guide (and driver) or semi-escorted (driver and local guides at the sites) where you take domestic flights between each area. Private Turkey tours may or may not include: driver, fuel, entry fees, lunches or other meals etc and are created depending on your wishes. After consulting with you about your needs, preferences, time and budget limitations, we set about to make your visit of Turkey one to remember!
    • WHAT IS A FLY-DRIVE?
      A fly-drive tour or "Self-drive" is similar to a private tour, because you choose your route, hotels and destinations. The entire tour is done on your own with a rented vehicle, but you have the comfort of knowing that the hotel of your choice is reserved and waiting for you at the end of the day. We help you with your itinerary and advise you on distances, time between cities and what to see. Our valuable information will help you make the most of your adventure, without spoiling its spontaneity.
  • TERMS AND CONDITIONS
    • INSIGHT TRAVEL: GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS
      Deposit toward any Insight Travel service constitutes full knowledge and acceptance of all terms and conditions. Change and cancellation fees may apply. Cost of an escorted tour does NOT include air transportation, airport taxes, excess baggage, health, accident, baggage and trip cancellation insurance, port taxes, passport expenses, visas, laundry, beverages, tipping for personal service, gratuity to guide and driver or anything which is not specifically mentioned. Insurance: Insight Travel and its partners are not responsible or liable for loss, damage or theft of personal luggage and other belongings, nor personal injury, accident or illness. We reserve the right to decline to accept or to retain any person as a passenger should such person's condition or action impede the operation of the tour or rights, welfare or enjoyment of other passengers. Insight Travel reserves the right without notice, to withdraw all or any part of the tour and make necessary changes if needed to insure the safety of our passengers. For most regular group and some private tours Insight Travel acts only as an agent in securing hotel; transportation and other travel services and shall not be liable for any failure by any person or company to render transportation, lodging or other tour services. This rule is not valid for small group tours and some private tours which are conducted solely by Insight Travel. All cancellations must be in writing and are per agreement regardless of the cause. No refunds of any amount will be paid less than 72 hours before arrival, for no show or while on tour.
    • DISCLAIMER
      While every effort has been made to make this web site as complete and as accurate as possible, this text should only be used as a general guide and not as an original source of information. Comments, suggestions or corrections relating to possible errors both typographical and in terms of content would be much appreciated. The author shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused, or alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly by the information contained in this web site. We are not responsible for underinsured passengers.