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Travel Advice: High risk areas
- According to the Foreign and Common Wealth Office, areas within 10km of the Turkish border with Syria should be avoided, including Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis, Hatay, Siirt, Tunceli, Diyarbakir and Hakkari provinces.
- In some busy areas, especially Istanbul, the Turkish authorities are stopping members of the public to conduct ID checks.
- Keep up to date with the latest Turkey travel advice.
Turkey Travel Insurance Advice
Whether it's marvelling at the glorious Byzantine monuments of Istanbul, or spelunking in the ancient underground city of Cappadocia, you'll want to take out a reliable travel insurance policy for your holiday to Turkey. We've put together a quick guide for choosing Turkey travel insurance, detailing the potential issues you could face and some great value cover options.
Is it safe to travel in Turkey?
There is so much to see and do in Turkey that you shouldn't let fear of potential dangers put you off from visiting. With proper travel insurance and some background knowledge, you can experience Turkey as it should be experienced - without compromising your safety. Here are some things to keep in mind when travelling in the country, and how our Turkey travel insurance can help you.
Local Travel (Syrian Border) - It is strongly advised to avoid all areas within 10km of the Syrian border, as these remain high risk zones for terrorist activity.
Demonstrations - Occasionally, politically motivated demonstrations take place in the central areas of major cities, usually around government buildings. More often than not, demonstrations remain peaceful, however, there is the chance that things could escalate. If you find yourself in the vicinity of a demonstration, it's best to leave the area, or distance yourself from the activity. It's good to stay alert and aware of your surroundings if you're travelling in likely demonstration areas.
Crime - Generally speaking, crime levels in Turkey are low. Like in many countries, pick-pocketing and petty theft are common around major tourist areas, but there's nothing that can't be prevented with some common sense and caution.
If it happens that your valuables are stolen during your trip, you shouldn't let this spoil your holiday. With our travel insurance for Turkey, you can have peace of mind, knowing that you are covered up to £500 for personal money and £2,000 for personal possessions with a standard level cover.
Booking Turkey Travel insurance
Turkey Travel insurance: Europe or worldwide?
- Up to £10 million medical cover
- Up to £5000 cancellation cover
- Up to £2000 baggage cover
- Friendly 24/7 UK based helpline †
One thing you need to watch out for when booking travel insurance for Turkey, is whether the insurer classes Turkey as part of Europe or not. It could prove a costly mistake if you find that the european policy you took out doesn't cover you for travel to Turkey. It's important to check this over with the insurer before taking out the policy. Booking Turkey travel insurance with Holiday Extras, you won't have to worry about taking out costly premiums for a worldwide travel insurance policy. With us, you can benefit from excellent cover at a cheap rate, under our European travel insurance policies, starting from just *.
Alternatively, if your holiday to Turkey won't be the only holiday in the year, then it may be worth considering an annual travel insurance. If you know you will be going on more than two holidays in the year, then taking out an annual travel insurance policy is great value for money. For more information on our annual travel insurance policies, take a look at our annual travel insurance page.
Before you go
Getting a visa for your holiday in Turkey shouldn't be too difficult for British citizens. Turkish authorities prefer all visitors to apply for visas online through e-visa. Although at the moment, it is possible to obtain a visa at the border, it's expected that this will not be possible in future. As is the case with most countries, you will need to have a passport that has been valid for the last 6 months and that will not expire within three months of your entering the country.
Vaccinations - Make sure you've had vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio, and hepatitis B. For travel in rural areas it's also best to opt for an anti-rabies jab, and anti-malarial tablets.
Currently you can get 4.34 Turkish lira for every one British pound, so you're at an advantage when it comes to currency exchanges. Even with this being the case, you still want to make sure you get the most currency for your hard-earned cash. Here are a few tips for buying Turkish lira.
Currency exchange offices (Doviz Burosu) - These are easily found in commercial, market and tourist areas. Market exchange offices generally offer the best rates, while offices in tourist locations tend have poorer rates for the customer.
ATMS - Alternatively, for quick and easy exchanges, you may decide to use a credit or cash card at an ATM. While this is quicker than going through an exchange bureau, you may have to pay for the convenience, as banks and individual machines often charge considerably for conversions. Check with your bank before going on holiday and if you don't like what they charge, consider getting a prepaid cash card. With these, you simply load the card with the amount of pounds, euros or dollars you want and then every time you use an ATM abroad, you can withdraw the native currency at a fixed exchange rate. Some providers will even allow transactions and ATM use abroad free of charge. There are many providers out there, so we suggest you shop around for the best deals.
Denominations - When making purchases, it's best to stick to lower denominations, as some vendors may 'try it on', claiming to have no change. It can happen that you hand over a 50 lira note and the vendor feigns routing around for change, before handing back a fake 50 lira note. The Yeni Türk Lirası, used between 2005 and 2008, is no longer valid, so ensure that you check your change!
Local laws and Customs
Sometimes, being in the know about local laws and customs is just as valuable as having a good travel insurance policy. Here are some things you should be aware of when visiting Turkey.
Smoking in public - Smoking is prohibited in public places, on public transport and in some outdoor areas where sports and cultural events are held.
Photo ID - For travellers in Turkey, it is illegal not to carry some form of photographic identification. It's advised to keep a photocopy of your passport with you at all times.
Taking photographs - You will of course want to take some nice snaps while on holiday, but bear in mind that you can't take pictures near military or official installations. If you want to take a photograph with one of the locals, it's always better to ask their permission first.
Treatment of the national flag and currency - We probably don't need to tell you this, but just in case you are inclined to take part in part in anti-government demonstrations, we advise against defacing the national flag. In March of 2015, a Turkish man was sentenced to 13 years and nine months in prison for lowering the national flag during a political demonstration. It's also an offence to deface or tear up Turkish currency. Even the slightest tear in a note could see it rendered useless.
Thinking of Interrailing through Turkey?
Interrailing is a fresh way to explore and get a full, uncensored experience of the culture. If you're planning an interrail trip through Turkey or are just curious to know what 'interrailing' is, check out our interrail travel insurance page.
Top tips for a great trip to Turkey
Hagia Sofia - One of the seven medieval wonders of the world, the Hagia Sofia is a breath-taking example of ancient Byzantine architecture. It's a truly a formidable sight to behold, the four towering minarets stretching more than 200 feet into the sky.
Mount Ararat - Climb the tallest mountain in Turkey. Reach the peak and you'll find yourself where it's believed that Noah landed after God invoked the flood of the Old Testament.
Port of Fethiye - Visit this charming little ortand take a Gulet cruise on the Turquoise Coast.
Ruins of Cappadocia - Traverse the otherworldly catacombs of Cappadocia, and delve deep into the cities' ancient past. Marvel at the churches of Goreme, hewn into the rock centuries ago.
Caves of Heaven and Hell - Walk the same path as the Greek heroes of legend, taking the 100 metre uphill road from heaven to hell - two cavernous depressions in the land.
Whirling Dervish show - No trip to Turkey would be complete without experiencing the beauty and majesty of a whirling dervish performance. Designated by UNSECO as a world heritage treasure, a whirling dervish performance is of both spiritual and cultural significance.
If you enjoyed this article and would like more info on travel to Turkey, check out our other posts on the topic...
† If you need to seek medical attention whilst abroad, please ensure that you contact the 24-hour Emergency Assistance Service for help and advice before treatment, where possible, full details can be found within the policy wording.
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