The country that straddles two continents, Turkey is an exciting mix of Asia and Europe. It is rapidly becoming the destination of choice for tourists looking for a holiday that combines ancient cities and cultures with warm beaches and beautiful landscapes.
Istanbul is the arrival point for most flights to Turkey, and a can’t-miss stop for all travelers. The city has been a world capital for three empires and its buildings and people are captivating. On the coast, Bodrum, is a package capital favorite for European holidaymakers who flock from cheap flights to Turkey to the resorts around this city. A nearby day trip away are the stunning ruins of the Roman city of Ephesus, an entire city laid out with roads, houses and an amphitheater. At Cappadocia is a bizarre moonscape of “fairy chimneys” that once were home to Hittites, Romans and Christians.
When your flight to Turkey arrives, you’ll be in a country of mystery and mystique, and one that is rapidly modernizing to appeal to today’s travelers. The country is a melting pot of sacred sites for many religions, mainly Christian, Islam and Judaism. History buffs booking flights to Turkey will love all the artifacts any historian could wish for from the Byzantine era.
Travelers stepping off flights to Turkey will have no shortage of things to do. Behind the ancient ruins and endless relics there is also a little decadence in Turkey. Thanks to its perfectly situated location on the Mediterranean, nature lovers and sports enthusiasts can trek the Turkish landscape while others soak in mineral mud baths at top-rated resorts along the coast. Turkey is a hidden gem among travelers – it’s inexpensive enough for any traveler and boasts more to do and see than many of its neighboring countries. Find a cheap flight to Turkey and enjoy the Turkish hospitality while you savor all the history and modern pleasures you can handle in one country.
Turkey has extremely hot and dry summers, followed by rain-filled winters.
Peak Season: A general rule of thumb for when most people book flights to Turkey is: The more sun there is, the more tourists there are. Summer, spring and fall are prime times to plan trips to places the Marmara and Aegean coasts, where the Mediterranean climate supplies sultry hot summers without the humidity. Istanbul is most favorable between April and June and in September and October, when there are less tourists and the temperature is a little cooler. Both Central and Eastern Anatolia have mild-to-hot summers and long, cold winters with a lot of rain and snow. A great way to take advantage of the summer weather is to head down south to Cesme, Bodrum or Göçek, where the beaches are awe-inspiring. Before you secure your flight tickets it’s a good idea to see if any festivals or events are scheduled to take place during the time you want to visit as this can affect the costs of your flight tickets.
Off-peak Season: Severe and snowy winters last from October to April, but with fewer tourists in tow it’s the perfect time for the budget-minded traveler to book cheap flights to Turkey. However, some parts of Turkey have no winter season at all. The country doesn’t really have a winter tourist season, so you may find a lot of activities are closed and the weather can really affect your plans. While cheap flights to Turkey and cheaper accommodation are likely during this time, the weather will play a significant part in your travel plans. Again this is all location dependent so decide where in Turkey you want to visit before deciding on the time of year to book your flight tickets.
You can find the cheapest flights to Turkey during the winter although cheap flight tickets are found during spring and autumn. Whenever you want to visit make sure to book your flights to Turkey well in advance to get the best savings. It’s worth comparing a few different areas of Turkey before you finalize your decision on where to go so you can find the cheapest flight tickets available. If you are flexible then you can find the cheapest flights to Turkey, especially if you book your flight tickets in advance and do a bit of forward planning.
Istanbul is by far the most popular place for visitors to fly in to Turkey, as it has two of the nation’s busiest airports, including its largest in Istanbul Ataturk Airport. If you end up flying to Istanbul, expect a flight time of just under 10 hours from New York and a little over 13 hours from Los Angeles and Chicago.
Turkish Airlines has direct flights from the United States to Turkey. While none of the major U.S. carriers offer direct flights to Turkey, you can find flights with connections through American Airlines, Delta and United. If you’re leaving another international location to visit Turkey, take a look at flights with British Airways and Singapore Airlines.
The climate in Turkey varies considerably depending on the region and time of year. Lighter clothes, including cotton and linen shirts, are good for when it’s warm, and you can layer them with a jacket or sweater when it’s cold. While you can wear shorts in Turkey, locals avoid them except at the beach. You don’t need formal wear, but if you plan on visiting a mosque or going to a nice restaurant, pack a few business casual pieces of clothing.
The busiest airport in Istanbul is the Atatürk Airport which is 14 miles away from the city, on the European side of Turkey. The easiest and fastest way to get to the city is via a taxi. They operate outside of the airport 24 hours a day but they are more expensive than a bus or tram. Also make sure you agree on the price before you get in to ensure you don’t get overcharged. Havatas provide buses to the city center and it’s a great option — even if you have lots of baggage — due to the large amounts of room and air-conditioning onboard. Lastly you can get a tram directly from the airport but they are extremely busy so if you do have a lot of baggage with you this might not be the best option.
You’ll have several options to get to the city once your flights to Turkey have landed. The most reliable option is the Havas Airport Buses. They run around every hour and operate directly from to the center of the city. Another option is the get a taxi from the airport, however, these aren’t cheap unless you can split the fare with a friend. Haggling with the driver is a must otherwise you will end up paying through the teeth. If you fly with Atlas Global then you can get free transfer to your hotel so it’s worth enquiring with them before you book your flights to Ireland.
Havas offer shuttle services from Dalaman Airport to areas all over Turkey making them an ideal method of transportation for a cheap price. They operate regularly and are a lot cheaper than a taxi. Once you board the bus if you tell the driver in advance then you can get off the bus at any point along the main route. You could also opt to hire a car for the duration of your holiday although you might struggle to get to grips with the Turkish roads.
In Istanbul, traffic can be unbearable, and lack of carpooling only adds to the congestion. The Metro, while undergoing improvements, has only seven stops. If you’re looking for quick trips, and opportunities to meet locals, hop on one of the Dolmuses (minibuses). These minibus taxis are affordable and have marked destinations on the front of the car for convenience. These can be difficult to use if you have a lot of luggage, so keep that in mind if you’re traveling to or from the airport. Buses and trains are cheap and reliable, so use them as as a dependable part of your Turkey travel.
It is easy to fly round Turkey and there are plenty of domestic Turkish flights. Turkish Airlines links all the major cities, and low-cost airlines Onur Air and Atlasjet are also options. Cyprus Turkish Airlines offer domestic Turkey flights from Istanbul to Ercan, Ankara, Adana, Antalya, Dalaman and Izmir.
Renting a car in Turkey is not cheap, but buses offer a good, regular and cheap service. Dolmuses (shared taxis) are a good option for short trips. They are inexpensive and sociable. The destination is written on the front of the vehicle, and fares are posted usually above the driver’s head. Travelling this way can be be tricky if you’ve got a lot of luggage however and they tend to stop running in the early evening.
Trains too can be good value. Car ferries are popular and can save lots of driving time. Tourist destinations are well-served. The Fez Bus is a long-distance hop-on, hop-off service which travels to the major tourist spots of western Turkey.
Istanbul has plenty of monuments from Turkey’s past, and Topkapi Palace is among the most impressive. Sultans of the Ottoman Empire lived in this massive palace for centuries, and you could spend hours checking out its the four courtyards and smaller buildings. It now serves as a museum and houses some of the nation’s most prized items, such as the cloak and sword of Muhammed. Tickets are available online or at the museum. There aren’t any tours, so you can explore on your own, but there is an audio guide available. Dress conservatively when you visit, as it’s required to see the Sacred Relics.
Altindere Valley National Park, which you can visit in northeastern Turkey, is a massive expanse of stunning wilderness. There are few things more calming than hearing the running water in a canal while on a hike through one of this park’s many trails. Don’t forget your camera, because the park is home to many animal species, including deer, wild boar, bears, lynx and wolves. The park is also the site of the Sumela Monastery, which is unique in that it was built into a cliff face almost 4,000 feet high.
In the Mugla Province lies the now-abandoned village of Kayakoy, also known as Livissi. While the village was home to about 2,000 people at the start of the 20th century, a 1923 population exchange between Turkey and Greece left it abandoned, and no one has lived there since. The houses have deteriorated, but their ruins still stand and make you feel like you’re stepping backwards in time when you visit.
(prices quoted are from London)