Turkey

A warming sun, clean beaches and a translucent sea. Turkey offers some of the most beautiful experiences and places that you can visit. This beautiful country with its scent of the Orient and influences from European culture is being chosen by more and more travelers. Some seeking relaxation and some searching for something new, breaking down old stereotypes Turkey presents itself in its full beauty. It has a lot to offer, from some of the most beautiful Mediterranean beaches to historical sights to metropolises.

Turkey, with its largely sandy beaches along its 8,000KM coast is undoubtedly a great holiday destination. Families with children, young and old couples, individuals or groups of friends can all find what they are looking for. You will find a unique experience on every corner. Experience the bustle of large cities, party in the nightlife, witness the diversity of the local flora and faunas, including plantations(avocado, banana, citrus and cotton), indulge in the exotic tastes of local cuisine, the beauty of Turkish beaches and the uniqueness of the Mediterranean.

Along the coast of the Black Sea are the Pontiac Mountains, which are connected to the Lesser Caucasus at the border of Georgia. To the south, the Pontiac Mountains meet with the dry Anatolian plane, which is separated from the Mediterranean coast by the Taurus Mountains. This part of Turkey is dominated by steep cliffs, capes and fertile fields, where locals grow and harvest a variety of products.

Shopping

Turkey is a paradise for shopaholics. At each tourist spot you will find a so called “bedestan”- a covered market with hundreds of tents with a large variety of local goods. Whether you want to indulge in the Turkish specialties, buy some souvenirs or just simply buy something that will make someone’s day, it can all be found in one place.

It is standard to negotiate the price of the goods, shopkeepers assume it to be a part of the deal, and it is completely okay to not accept the initial price. Bartering is common and the price does not always reflect the true value. Shopkeepers often base the price upon the look, nationality and other factors of the customer. So make sure you are ready to haggle when you visit a bedestan. Don’t forget, in other places such as restaurants. It is not customary to negotiate the price.

Souvenirs

Among the most popular souvenirs that can be bought in Turkey are handmade carpets from Anatolia. Although this is one of the more expensive choices, prices vary depending on the size, pattern and material. If you are not looking for a decorative item, the local shopkeepers sell a variety of goods that will make your day. It may be a surprise to some, but quality clothes, shoes, leather goods and jewelry can all be bought for great prices in Turkey. Shisha pipes are also a symbol of the local life, you can purchase one for the third of the price that you would pay in Czech Republic, there is also a large variety of tobacco flavors to choose from. Similarly, there is also an immense selection of natural spices and coffee.

Hamam bath/spa’s

Turkish spa’s efinitely belong among the most unique experiences that every visitor of this oriental country should try at least once. A Turkish Spa is called a hamam, and this is the name you will find it under. If you will go along with this journey you will gain a new level of relaxation and cleansing unlike any experience in the Czech Republic.

Some hamam’s can be separated for men and women, others are communal. One or the other, the procedure is the same. At first you are taken to a reception hall where you are guided towards a changing room. You get a towel, called a “pestemel” which men can wrap around their waist, and the ladies above their chest. In some bath’s women will also receive some looser bathing suits.

At first sight, you will definitely recognize the most important space of the spa. It is a round room with a marble “table” located right in the middle. This is where the procedure begins. The temperature of around 50C degrees Celsius and a humidity rate over 90% guarantees a thorough warming, this is crucial for the next part of the procedure.

Once you feel relaxed enough and your body is nice and warm, a massage will be awaiting you. You lay down on the marble “table” and the masseuse(“tellak”) takes over, who at first washes and exfoliates your body and skin with a special cloth called a “kese”.

After this experience there is a soap bath where the masseuse first wraps your body in rich foam created from the soap water in a special flaxy linen bag. It also contains olive oil, which cleans the skin meticulously while refreshing it at the same time. The tellak thoroughly massages the body and interchangeably pours warm and cold water on you.

After the massage you may further relax in the room or return to the previous room, where the temperature and humidity is lower. Here you can dry yourself, have some tea or other beverage and lay down for a little longer. Wherever you intend to go after the hamam make sure you don’t rush the process. Indulge the body with relaxation and gradual change in the body’s temperature.

Currency

The currency used in Turkey is the Turkish lira(labaled TRY) whose value is presented in YTL. The exchange is around 1 YTL = 30 Kc. One tenth of the lira is 100 kurus. Czech crowns are not available for exchange in Turkey. Credit cards can be used at the majority of shops and restaurants and ATMs (local currency). We also recommend bringing some cash in EUR or USD.

Tipping

Like in many countries in the region, bakshish(tip) is a part of the tradition. Tipping is not included in the price at the restaurants, international etiquette recommends a minimum tip of 10% of the whole bill.

 Passport

Turkey is outside of the European Union, therefore it is necessary to bring your passport which must be valid for the next 5 months (150 days) after your arrival to Turkey. Children also require a valid passport. Upon your arrival to Turkey, you will receive a tourist visa at the point of entry. You can remain in the country for 90 days with a possible extension to 270 days if you apply. If you plan to remain longer or if you aren’t travelling recreationally then you must apply for a visa at the Turkish embassy in Prague.

Estimated prices

Water 1,5 l

2 YTL
Bread 1,5 YTL
Juice 1 l 2 YTL
Butter 2 YTL
Salami 1 kg 17 YTL
Dinner 10 YTL
Kebab 2 YTL
Beer 0,33 - 0,5 l 2 - 3 YTL
Wine 0,75 l 12 YTL
Coffee 1 - 2 YTL
Oranges 1 kg 1,20 YTL
Chocolate 100 g 2 YTL
Coca-Cola 0,5 l 1 YTL