What documentation is required at the entrance of Turkey?
While planning your trip to Turkey do not forget to check your passport if it is valid for at least 90 days. Depending on your nationality, most probably your stay as a tourist is limited up to 3 months (for one entrance). For tourist visas for many countries, there is no need to apply in advance or to fill in any forms. However, please check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website http://www.mfa.gov.tr for updated information and information on which passport holders may require a visa before leaving their country. The visa for UK passport holders currently costs £10 and must be paid for with a Sterling note. The visa fee for USA and Australian passport holders is $20. Canadian passport holders need to pay $60. The visa fee for New Zealand passport holders is gratis. The visa for some EU state-passport holders currently costs € 10 and must be paid for with a Euro note.
Are there security issues?
Istanbul is considered to be a safe city. In our opinion, it is actually much safer than most of the european cities.
What is the weather like in Istanbul?
The best periods to visit Istanbul are the spring and the autumn, especially in April, May, June, September and October. Winters are generally cold and rainy, the degrees of frost can suddenly show up and the snow is not uncommon. Summer is hot and muggy, but luckily no mosquitoes. For further information, please read our article: The Weather in Istanbul.
Is it necessary to exchange the Euro? Where can you exchange?
The currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL). Generally, the exchange rate is favorable and most recently stood at 2.7. In recent years, however, is fluctuating a lot (2.2 in September 2012, 3.2 in January 2014), so it is appropriate to keep the exchange rate at this link. It is not advisable to use the Euro to pay, it is much better to use the local currency. You will find exchange offices (Döviz Bürosu) spreaded all around Istanbul who offer a faster service and more convenient exchange rate than banks and the hotels. The lira/euro exchnage can also be done at the airport although it is more disadvantageous than the exchange offices in the city in terms of the rate. However, we recommend to take advantage of the convenience of thousands of ATMs available at every corner of the city and the airports which offer instruction in all the main languages. Credit cards are very well accepted, and you can use them without problems in most hotels, restaurants, shops and bars. Do not make the change in your country, because banks apply a less favorable exchange rate of 20-25%, practically a robbery.
What are the closing hours of the stores?
Generally, the closing day of the various activities is Sunday (even the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays), but most of the shops remains open even on Sundays. The closing time varies depending on the type of activity between 20:00 and 22:00. The grocery stores and shopping centers are almost always open all day, some even at nights!
What is the area code to call Italy?
To call Turkey from your country, you must dial Turkey’s international area code 0090 (+90) before the number. To call your country from Turkey, you can find the country code to be entered here. In Turkey, there are efficient public payphones and call cards which are similar to Italian ones, and they can be purchased at post offices, newsagents or convenience stores. The GSM network covers the whole country and it is possible to use cell phones if enabled for abroad.
Turkey is GMT+2, the difference between Turkey and Central Europe is 1 hour (throughout the year all over the country). For instance, when it is 12:00 in Italy, it is 13:00 in Turkey.