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Practical A to Z

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Practical A to Z

Eating out

There is no lack of options to eat out. Kebabs, köfte, pide and traditional mezze are perfect for a delicious snack for next to nothing, served in unpretentious little eateries, complete with neon lighting and a TV in the corner. The food is always excellent and the ambience lively and authentic.

Eating out is very cheap in Turkey. Allow €5 to 8 for a meal (€15 to 20 in more upmarket restaurants in large cities, such as Istanbul).

Tipping is not compulsory, but appreciated.


The voltage in Turkey is 220 volts, 50Hz with standard continental European sockets.

Embassies and consulates

British Embassy – Şehit Ersan Caddesi 46/A - Çankaya - Ankara - t 0312 455 3344 - http://ukinturkey.fco.gov.uk/en/

Irish Embassy – Ugur Mumcu Caddesi No.88 - MNG Binasi - B Blok Kat 3 - Gaziosmanpasa - Ankara 06700 - t 0312 446 6172 - http://www.embassyofireland.org.tr/

Getting around

By car

The quality of the road network is for the most part good, but traffic is often very heavy on the major roads.

There is no lack of car rental agencies and their rates are practically identical to those in Europe.

By taxi and “dolmuş”

Taxis are numerous and cheap in all the towns.

Dolmuş (collective taxi) are even cheaper: the itineraries are preset and the rates vary depending on the distance. Dolmuş leave when they are full (9 to 12 people).

By train

The rail network isn’t very extensive, particularly along the coast. However, between Istanbul and Ankara, the train is the most practical means of transport.

By coach

The majority of travellers use coaches to get around the country. A vast network of private firms serves most of the country and fares are cheap.

By boat

Countless ferries go back and forth across the Marmara, Bosphorus, Dardanelles and the Aegean coast to Izmir.

Shuttles to the Greek islands only operate in summer.


Drinking water

Only drink bottled water without ice cubes and never tap water.


- Emergencies: t 112

- Police: t 155

- Lifeguards: t 158


The currency of Turkey is the Türk Lirası (TL), Turkish pound, subdivided into 100 Kuruş.


In towns, exchange offices are numerous. Money can also be changed at airports, in banks, hotels and post offices (in the latter two, the exchange rate is often less advantageous).

Traveller’s cheques

Traveller’s cheques are only accepted in the most touristy regions and in large towns. They can however be cashed in all post offices.

Credit cards

Automatic Telling Machines are available (for Visa or Mastercard) in all the main towns and tourist sites.

Most hotels accept credit cards, but this is rarely the case in guesthouses.


The cost of living in Turkey is inexpensive (€20 to 25 for a double room in a guesthouse, breakfast included).

In Istanbul however, the hotels and restaurants are much more expensive: between €40 and 60 for a double room and €15 for a decent meal.

Note: when Turks say mineral water or soda, they are referring to “sparkling water”.

Opening hours

Opening hours, fixed by the authorities, change each year and the following are just for information.

Banks: Monday-Friday 8.30am-12noon and 1.30-5pm. Banks are also sometimes open at weekends in some of the very touristy regions.

Post offices: in large towns, Monday-Saturday 8am to midnight, and on Sunday 9am-7pm. Elsewhere: Monday-Friday 8.30am-12.30pm and 1.30-5pm.

Restaurants are open all day long.

Office-opening hours are from 9am to 5pm, except during Ramadan when they close earlier.

Monuments and archaeological sites are open 7 days a week, generally from 8am to 6 or 7pm (5pm in winter). Museums are closed on Mondays (except for Topkapı Palace, which is closed on Tuesdays).


In Turkey, travellers have more to fear from fellow tourists than the inhabitants in terms of theft. Outside the main tourist areas, there is practically no risk at all.


Typical Turkish souvenirs include carpets (check the current customs’ regulations), copperware, onyx, leather goods, jewellery, gold and silver, narghilé pipes and spices, etc.

Beware: Turkish law forbids the export of objects over a hundred years old.


The telephone network is well developed and efficient and public phone booths are numerous. Turkish mobile phone numbers start with 04 or 05.

To call Turkey from abroad

Dial 00 90 (or 011 90 from Canada and the USA) + area code + number of the person.

To call home from Turkey

Dial 00 + country code (UK 44, Ireland 353) + number of the person.

Domestic calls inside Turkey

- To make a local call in the same area, dial the 7-digit number directly. For example: 257 11 11.

- To make a regional call, first dial the zero, then the area code (each region has a 3-digit area code), then the 7-digit number. Istanbul is divided into two “regions”: European bank (code 212) and Asian bank (code 216).

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