What you need to know before your Turkish holiday

As the travel industry takes its first tentative steps towards normal, thoughts are turning to our favourite holiday destinations - and that of course, includes Turkey, a firm favourite with European holidaymakers. 

But what will a holiday in Turkey look like? How will you get there? And when you do, what will you be able to do? Will you be welcome?

Read on to discover everything you need to know before heading on holiday to Turkey.


Can I travel to Turkey?

As of 4 July, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office lifted its blanket warning, issued in March, against non-essential international travel.

Britons can now travel to Turkey without invalidating their travel insurance.

How can I travel to Turkey?

National carrier Turkish Airlines is your best option. It’s already flying to and from the UK, with four direct flights a day between the UK and Istanbul, and daily services to Dalaman and Antalya.

British Airways will start flights from Heathrow to to Istanbul from July 16 and to Dalaman from July 17. However, flights are not the bargain-bucket trips of last year, and some will find the £590+ pricetags prohibitive. Budget carrier Easyjet is not planning to start its UK to Turkey flights until August, and Ryanair is only running flights between the Republic of Ireland and Bodrum and Dalaman.

Will I have trouble getting into Turkey?

Turkey’s borders are open to international arrivals. However, all arrivals into the country will undergo a medical evaluation, including temperature checks. You might be required to take a coronavirus test. If your test is positive, you will receive treatment at a state-run facility, or a private facility if you prefer to pay for this option.

Can I travel within Turkey?

Most restrictions on domestic travel are now lifted. However, if you wish to travel internally, using public transport, you will require a Hayat Eve Sigar (HES) code, the Turkish Ministry of Health tracing tool.

Regular bus services are operating in most areas, whereas trains are operating on a reduced timetable, so you’ll need to check with travel operators before you head off.

Are Turkish hotels open?

Hotels re-opened on June 1. However, there are measures in place to keep everyone healthy and safe: temperature checks on arrival, PPE for staff, and extra care taken with communal spaces and items.

Are shops, restaurants and tourist destinations open?

Yes. Like hotels, restaurants, bars, beaches, museums and heritage sites opened on June 1. 

What rules are there for tourists visiting Turkey?

Just about everywhere you visit, you’ll find extra measures in place for safety

Masks are mandatory in places where people gather: markets, supermarkets, hairdressers and on public transport. In some provinces, people are required to wear a mask outside the home. These places include Ankara, Bolu, Bursa, Canakkale, Istanbul, Izmir, Konya, Mardin, Mugla and Yalova.

Breaking this rule will earn you a fine of 900 TL (£106).

A curfew is in place for those aged 65 and over, who are allowed out only between 10am and 8pm. Under 18s are allowed out at any time, as long as they are accompanied by parents.

Will I be welcome in Turkey?

Yes. Turkey's tourist industry took a big hit during coronavirus. From large tour outfits to owners of small cafes, the people who rely on making a living from tourists will be grateful and happy to see visitors return to Turkey's resorts and cities. Visitors will be welcomed with open arms - and competitive discounts aimed at getting tourists spending their foreign currency.

Will I need to quarantine when I get home?

UK residents are currently required to spend two weeks in quarantine as soon as they return from their holiday. However, the UK government has indicated these measures will be relaxed shortly for some destinations.


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