Turkey is one of the world’s oldest inhabited countries, making it a fascinating place for a holiday. It’s a transcontinental country, straddling both Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus River and has seen the rise and fall of great empires and kingdoms. In Turkey, east meets west in a spectacular fusion of ancient customs and traditions that rub shoulders with modern technology.
This vast and beautiful country is blessed with a temperate climate. It boasts an extensive coastline full of exquisite sandy beaches fringing sparkling blue sea. The Turkish people have an unrivalled reputation for friendliness and hospitality; they welcome visitors with open arms. Markets laden with a wide assortment of gifts and crafts abound, the cuisine is excellent, and the nightlife is legendary.
Why travel to Turkey
- The beach resorts of Bodrum, Antalya, Marmaris, Alanya and Kusadasi are magnificent.
- Its many archaeological sites map the country’s long and fascinating history.
- Turkey holidays are as diverse as the landscape, which includes mountains for skiing and hiking to beaches offering a variety of water sports.
- Visit Turkey to see magical, otherworldly sites like Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys.
- It’s home to one of the world’s most impressive religious buildings, the Hagia Sofia.
- You haven’t lived until you’ve sampled traditional baklava!
Turkey has a broad appeal for everybody – from sun worshippers to those who seek history and culture. Which is why Turkey holiday packages are so popular for honeymoons, family trips and solo adventures. Let Thompsons Holidays put together the perfect Turkey tour package for you. You won’t be disappointed.
Travel to Turkey to discover diverse landscapes and explore ancient sites like the fairytale chimneys of Cappadocia. Visit Turkish hammams, postcard-pretty seaside resorts with glorious white sand beaches, bustling bazaars and markets offering fresh produce and hand-crafted delights, walled towns, religious attractions and more. These are just some of the delightful tourist attractions awaiting you in Turkey.
Aside from all these incredible places to visit in Turkey, there are so many things to do. From paragliding off Babadag Mountain to drinking Ayran (made of yoghurt, water and salt) and posting a picture of yourself in the Trojan Horse. There’s also sampling stunning dishes all over the country, including the famous Turkish delight while sipping traditional Turkish coffee.
Things to do in Turkey
- Cruise the Bosphorus River to see Istanbul from a different perspective.
- Visit ancient Ephesus in the Aegean resort of Kusadasi.
- Explore Hierapolis with its historic thermal bath and Necropolis.
- Go clubbing and bar hopping in beautiful Bodrum.
- Take a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia to see volcanic valleys and caves.
- Enjoy sunbathing on Cleopatra Island on a day trip from Marmaris.
- Discover the Topkapi Palace, St Sophia and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
- See the ruins of the ancient Roman health spa in Hierapolis.
- Visit the incredible Sumela Monastery with its dazzling frescoes.
- Photograph broken remnants of mammoth statues on Mount Nemrut.
- Sit in the Roman theatre of Aspendos near Antalya.
- Take a yacht cruise along the spectacular Turquoise Coast.
- View the extraordinary mosaic collection in the Gaziantep Zeugma Mosaic Museum.
- Go shopping in Istanbul’s famous, chaotic Grand Bazaar.
Whether you’re keen to explore mystical Istanbul with its Ottoman splendours, enjoy a resort holiday on the Aegean coast, discover ancient sites and civilisations or just embrace all that makes Turkey such a unique and exciting destination, we can organise it for you. Let Thompsons Holidays put together the ultimate Turkey holiday, whether you’re planning to take the family, friends, your partner or yourself.
Know before you go...
- The best time to visit Turkey is in Spring to early Summer (April to June) and autumn (October).
- High season – July, August and September – has very high temperatures. Low season is winter, from December to February, when it is very cold.
- There are frequent flights from Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban to Istanbul.
- The flight duration from Johannesburg to Istanbul direct is approximately 9 hours, 50 minutes.
- Turkey is well covered by public transport including buses, domestic flights minibuses, ferries, taxis and rail.
- South African passport holders require a visa to enter Turkey.
- Passports should be valid for at least 6 months after travel and have blank pages.
- Turkey is 1 hour ahead of South Africa.
- The official currency is the Turkish Lira (TL).
- You can use Euro, but you will get a better deal in the local currency.
- Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are prevalent.
- Tipping is an accepted custom.
- Food is very inexpensive in Turkey.
- Turkish is the official language.
- English is widely spoken.
- The main religions practised in Turkey are Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
- When visiting sacred sites and temples, dress conservatively.
- It is not safe to drink tap water in Turkey. Bottled water is readily available.
- Vaccinations are not currently required but do check with your travel clinic before you go.
What must I pack?
- Depending on when and where you visit, lightweight clothing for summer, warm clothing for winter, rain gear and beachwear if relevant. Choose items that can be layered.
- Dress modestly when visiting sacred sites – no shorts or tank tops. Legs and shoulders must be covered. Long, loose pants and long-sleeved cotton shirts are best.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for summer holidays.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor. Turkey operates on a 220V supply voltage and 50Hz, with round-prong European-style plugs that fit into recessed wall sockets/points.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Support local artisans.
- Respect each other's cultures and customs.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables.
- Avoid political rallies and large gatherings of people.
- Do not visit areas in close proximity to the Syrian border which is dangerous.
What do I do in an emergency?
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Turkey - Sightseeing [3.2 MB]
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