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Top 10 Things to Know Before Traveling to Turkey

Turkey is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and for good reason. Its rich history, vibrant culture, and beautiful landscapes make it an unforgettable experience for travelers. However, there are some things you should know before visiting Turkey. Here are ten things that will help you avoid any cultural faux pas while traveling in this amazing country:



The euro is accepted everywhere.

The euro is accepted everywhere in Turkey, so you can use it at hotels, restaurants, and shops. This is good news for travelers who don’t want to exchange their currency into the Turkish lira. The only exception to this rule is that many places won't accept cards that don't have a chip or pin technology (like older debit or credit cards). In these cases, bring cash!

If you are traveling from Europe to Turkey or vice versa, you will encounter no problems using your euros anywhere in either country because both use the same currency: the Euro.


English is widely spoken.

If you’re traveling to Turkey, you should know that English is widely spoken. In fact, it’s the second most popular language in Turkey after Turkish. While many people can speak some English (or German), not everyone will be fluent—so it never hurts to have a phrase book handy.


There are lots of stray cats and dogs.

  • There are lots of stray cats and dogs.

You're not imagining it: there is a disproportionate amount of stray animals in Turkey. The cats are everywhere, and they're not abandoned or aggressive—they're just hanging out all over the place, looking for food or attention.

  • They aren't dangerous at all. They are friendly and will follow you around, even if you don't have any food to give them! They might also try to get onto your lap while you're eating or sitting down somewhere (this is a big reason why many people say that stray animals in Turkey tend to be more "friendly" than those back home). Just be aware that there are very few places where pets are allowed other than outdoor restaurants with outdoor seating areas; this means that most Turkish cat owners bring their pets inside for dinner when going out for dinner at night time (which means even more cats around).



Most Turkish people don't drink alcohol on a daily basis.

Drinking is not widely accepted in Turkey. Alcohol is expensive and hard to find, so most people have a glass or two of wine with dinner if they feel like it, but not on a daily basis. Drinking in public is frowned upon and can be considered rude. It’s also not very common for people to drink alcohol in taxis or at hotel bars—you’re more likely to see them having coffee or tea instead.


The phrase "No problem" does not automatically mean "yes" to everything you ask for.

You may hear the phrase “No problem” in Turkey. But it does not automatically mean “yes.” When a Turk says “No problem”, it means they understand what you are saying and they will do their best to help you out. It is not an automatic signal that you can ask for anything and get it! The phrase is used frequently to show understanding and politeness, so don't take offense if someone says this to you!

Here are some other common phrases that might help explain things better:

  • "Thank you" (teşekkür ederim) - This is a very important expression in Turkey, as it shows respect towards others. It's also one of the first things people learn when they start learning Turkish!

  • "Do you speak English?" (Ingilizceniz var mı?) - While many Turks are fluent in English and other European languages like French or German, some only know Turkish as their first language. If someone doesn't speak your native tongue well enough for communication purposes yet still wants to be friendly by asking if there's any chance of helping out despite the language barrier between yourself and them--that person probably won't be offended if instead of replying immediately with something like "Yes!", instead simply say something like: "Oh sorry but I have no idea what happened just now..." (Çok üzgünüm ama şu sözcüğü hiçbir zaman anlayamadım)."


Turks are proud of their country and its history.

Turks are proud of their country and its history. They also have a lot of pride in their culture and heritage, as well as their food and drink. Turks are also very proud of their achievements in science and technology.



Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey.

You may have heard that Istanbul is the capital of Turkey, but it's actually Ankara. The country's political center is home to 2.6 million people and hosts many international organizations including NATO, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and others.

While Istanbul has a population of 15 million people, Ankara has only 3 million residents—but that doesn't make it any less amazing! It's an exciting place with plenty of history and culture to explore. You'll find plenty of museums like Turkish Military Museum and Ethnography Museum; mosques like Sultan Ahmed Mosque; castles such as Topkapi Palace; shopping districts like Grand Bazaar; markets like Spice Bazaar; historical neighborhoods such as Cihangir or Kadikoy where you can wander through narrow cobblestone streets lined with shops selling everything from spices to textiles


The whole country is not just one big bazaar or souq, as they call it in Arabic.

It's easy to think that Turkey is one big bazaar or souq, but it's actually a lot more than that.

There are hundreds of stunning cities, towns and villages in Turkey—each with their own unique culture and traditions. Some places are more touristy while others are less so. But no matter where you go, you'll find plenty to do outside of the cities: beaches, mountains and plenty of history will keep this country on your travel list for years to come!


There's no tipping required in Turkey, but here's when you should do it anyway.

Even though tipping isn’t required, it is appreciated. Tipping in Turkey is usually done in restaurants and bars. You can also leave a little extra money for taxi drivers at the end of your ride.



You can expect to have a hard time adjusting to Turkish time.

Turkish time is not like the "calm, cool and collected" attitude of New York City residents. Rather than follow a schedule that's rigidly set in stone, Turks have a more free-flowing approach to time. They're more likely to say something like "Let's meet at noon," or "I'll be there at 6 p.m." rather than the exact hour and minute for an appointment or meeting. Due to this difference in perspective, it can be challenging for visitors from other countries to adjust to Turkish time without having some sort of strategy in place ahead of time—especially since many businesses stick strictly with their own schedules regardless of what others are doing around them!

To help you navigate your way through this culture shock before your trip:

  • Avoid being too strict about setting meetings on a specific day and time—it may not go over well with your new Turkish friends!

  • If possible, start setting up plans ahead of time so that everyone involved knows what they're doing on any given day (or night). This will eliminate any confusion later on when people start drifting into those nebulous hours between 1am and 5am...



there are some cultural norms that might be good to know before you arrive

As you're preparing to visit Turkey, here are a few things worth knowing.

  • Cultural norms are behavioral expectations that vary by country and culture. In the United States, it's considered rude to discuss income or politics in polite conversation. In Turkey, this isn't necessarily true—in fact, asking someone how much they earn is normal!

  • Knowing cultural norms will help you have a more positive experience while abroad. For example: if you're having dinner with friends at home, they may not expect you to pay for the meal; however in Turkey (or China), it's customary for guests to contribute something toward their food and beverage costs even if no one says anything about it explicitly beforehand.



We hope that our list will be helpful to you as you plan your trip to Turkey. As always, it’s important to keep in mind that while some of these things are true of most Turkish people and others are more specific depending on where they live or work, it’s okay if there is some variation! You might be surprised by how much more comfortable and enjoyable your visit will be if you take the time to learn about this beautiful country before arriving and meet some locals who can show us around their city or village.

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