Turkey was one of our favorite destinations in the planning phase. We liked the expected mix of Europe and Asia while traveling Turkey overland. In this country, you can find almost everything you want. There are great beaches for relaxing or any kind of water sports. You can go hiking in the mountainous regions in the east. There are many historic sites from different eras to visit. And of course busy and lively cities with the biggest one: Istanbul. Not to mention the very delicious food, of course! Coming from Eastern Europe it is the first Islamic country. Here, you experience a different culture but still have the feeling of an European country in some places.
Besides the political situation and all the recent events, we still recommend going there. We hope to come back one day to fulfill our planned itinerary – in a free country. Why we could not enjoy this country in this trip, read here.
People and Language
We did not have the opportunity to get to know many Turks personally. But if everyone in Turkey is as friendly and hospitable as our couchsurfing host Aziz in Istanbul, they might be great people!
Most of the people in shops and cafes know at least a little bit English.
The currency in Turkey is the Lira. Banks and ATMs can be found in any bigger town. The price level in general is slightly lower than in Germany or France. Fuel is a little bit more expensive, though.
In the touristic regions at the coasts, campgrounds are widely available. We paid around 15 € per night for one vehicle and two persons on the one campground we stayed on. Wild camping is quite easy, especially inland. You can find a meadow or a small forest easily.
Hotels can be found almost anywhere and in bigger cities it may also be wise to look into AirBnB or couchsurfing.
Groceries and Food
You will find supermarkets in any larger town. Smaller markets are in almost every village. In some regions there are fruit and vegetable stalls beside the street.
Expect to pay around 10 € for a main dish in restaurants. Snacks from street are inexpensive.
There are some fountains along the roads. Tap water is not recommended for drinking.
Roads in Turkey are mostly in good shape. Motorways are good, but require a toll. The system is kind of confusing. You can buy a vignette in every post office and charge this. They say, you can buy one a the gas stations as well. But we asked several and they all refused our question. So, we drove to Istanbul without a vignette and bought it there. Luckily, is was end of Ramadan. Because of that, every toll station was empty and we could drive through without getting problems. Be aware that many times there is a police control after the toll station. Keep your speed in mind!
The vignette has to be fixed to your windshield. When you cross a toll station on the motorway, the amount will be discounted from the vignette automatically. The lowest amount to charge is 50 Lira. You pay depending on the distance traveled.
One advice at this point: Try to avoid the bridge from Bursa to Istanbul. It is really expensive and the detour around the bay is not too far.
The traffic in Istanbul is pretty high but easily doable. The Turkish people are not the most aggressive drivers.
Continue reading our Turkey travel guide!