What are some unknown facts about Turkey

Turkey has been one of the top 10 most popular holiday destinations for a number of years and there is a reason for that. Few countries are as impressive and diverse as Turkey. The sun shines in Turkey no less than 300 days a year, the country has beautiful beaches and nature, a rich culture, ancient cities, hospitable and nice people and many traditions. Turkey has something for everyone.

Turkey is located in both Europe and Asia. Due to its location, religions and traditions, among other things, Turkey is a completely different country than Germany or Austria, for example. Please observe the local laws, rules, standards and values ​​when you are on vacation or on a business trip in Turkey. With the information on this page we will help you to prepare as well as possible for your trip to and your stay in Turkey.

facts and figures

total area783,562 km2 (more than twice the size of Germany)
population82 million (as of 2018)
religionMuslim: 98%, Christian: 0.2%
Time difference1 to 2 hours later
Travel timeFlight time 3 to 4 hours
electricity220V (plug adapter not required)
Life expectancyMen: 71.33 years, women: 75.35 years
Wonder of the worldTemple of Artemis, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Coastline6,530 kilometers
tap waterNo drinking water


Geographically, Turkey is mostly in West Asia (97%) and only a small part in Europe (3%). Asia and Europe come together in Istanbul. Turkey borders 8 countries: Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Syria, Iraq and Iran.


Turkey used to consist of the Anatolia Peninsula (today's Asian part of Turkey) and Thrace (today's European part of Turkey). Different peoples such as the Byzantines, the Seljuks and the Ottomans lived in Turkey, so the country has a rich cultural history and ancient traditions.

Part of the Roman and Byzantine Empires
In the 2nd century BC Anatolia was conquered by the Romans and the country became a province of the Roman Empire. Many residents later converted to Christianity in the 1st century AD. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Anatolia became part of the Byzantine Empire. In 1453 the Byzantine Empire was defeated by the Ottomans. Later the Byzantine Empire split into smaller states and the Ottoman Empire was established.

The Ottoman Empire
During World War I, the Ottoman Empire stood on the side of Germany and Austria-Hungary, who lost the war. The Ottoman Empire lost a lot of territory in the First World War. After the First World War and the Turkish Liberation War under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey emerged as we know it today. Modern Turkey

Modern Turkey
Modern Turkey began with the establishment of the republic in 1923. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey got its first president: Ataturk. Reforms were carried out under his leadership. Religion was separated from the state, women were given the right to vote, Islamic schools were replaced with public schools, the Arabic alphabet was replaced with Latin, and the use of Persian words was discouraged.

How Turkey got its name
The name Turkey consists of two words: "Turk" and "-iye". Turk means "strong" in Turkish and refers to the inhabitants and peoples of Turkey. This word was later changed to "Tu-kin", the Chinese name for Turkey. The word "-iye" comes from the Arabic suffix "-iyya", which means owner. When these two words are put together the name means: strong owner.

Language and culture

The official language in Turkey is Turkish (90.5% of the population speaks Turkish). Since different peoples lived in Turkey, Kurdish, Arabic and zazaki are also spoken in the country. Turkey does not have an official state religion, but the largest religion in Turkey is Islam. About 98% of the population are Muslim (there are over 80,000 mosques in Turkey). A popular sport in Turkey is soccer. You have probably heard of Galatasaray or Fenerbahçe. Due to the diversity of religions, cultures and traditions, among other things, Turkey is a completely different country than, for example, Germany or Austria.

Friendly and hospitable
Turks are generally very hospitable. For example, you may be invited to drink tea with Turks on your trip. You really appreciate that. Please be sure to take off your shoes when entering a house or apartment. Also, when visiting a mosque, you must take off your shoes and wear clothes that cover your shoulders, arms and legs. Women are sometimes asked to cover their heads with a scarf, although it is not always required. If you do not wear appropriate clothing and still want to visit a mosque, there are often clothes and headscarves at the entrance to the mosque that you can borrow.

There are many Muslims living in Turkey who do not drink alcohol. Therefore, outside of the larger cities, you can hardly buy alcoholic beverages. It is also becoming more difficult to buy alcohol in the cities, partly because of the anti-alcohol campaigns by the Turkish authorities. Alcohol is also often expensive, while other products are relatively cheap in Turkey.

Please note that talking about politics in Turkey is a difficult subject. Recent events regarding Erdogan can be a sensitive topic. Open criticism of Turkish history and politics is therefore not appreciated.

Weather, climate and climate table

Turkey is a large country with different climates. In the east there is a pronounced rural climate with very warm summers and freezing winters. The area around the Mediterranean Sea has a Mediterranean climate and the north coast has a marine climate. In the southeast there is even a desert climate with very little rain. Below you can see the climate table for the Turkish Riviera.

Average minimum temperature in ° C
Average minimum temperature in ° C
Average maximum temperature in ° C
Average maximum temperature in ° C
Average number of days with rain
Average number of days with rain

Find out about the weather
Due to the different climatic zones in Turkey, extremely different weather occurs at the same time in one season. In winter, for example, it can be very warm in the south while it is very cold in the east. Many Germans and Austrians consider Turkey a Mediterranean travel destination. This is mostly the case, but on average it rains more in the northeast than in Germany and Austria. Therefore, always find out about the weather and climate in the place you are traveling to and be well prepared for the local weather conditions.

Best time of year to visit Turkey
Turkey is a very popular holiday destination for a reason. You can vacation in Turkey almost all year round. If you are traveling to the coast, we recommend that you travel in spring or autumn. April, May, June, September and early October are the best months for a sunny vacation.

to travel

A stay in a hotel or pension is relatively cheap. If you want to travel within Turkey, you have several affordable options. If you want to cover a longer distance, you can book a domestic flight, which is relatively cheap (Turkey is bigger than you think ...). You can also travel comfortably and cheaply by bus. Please make sure that you do not buy tickets on the street, only at the bus station. For shorter distances, buses, taxis and rental cars are suitable and inexpensive. If you rent a car, please make sure that the traffic in Turkey is not comparable to that in Germany and Austria (see section Safety: Traffic).

There are tolls for using most motorways and on some major bridges. You have to pay for these electronically using the HGS system. To pay the toll with this system, you must either buy a vignette (5 Turkish lira) or a prepaid card (15 Turkish lira). You can use this for several vehicles.

Customs authority
The Turkish authorities are very strict when it comes to the export of valuable Turkish objects from before 1918. So be careful what you can and cannot take as souvenirs. It goes without saying that the introduction of drugs is a criminal offense (please note that some drugs are also considered drugs. Therefore, take with you an English-language statement from a doctor for all drugs). Travelers who have reached the age of 18 are allowed to bring in one bottle of spirits with a volume of 1 liter or two bottles with a volume of 0.75 liters.

Travel documents
German citizens can enter Turkey without a visa and only need a valid passport or identity card for entry. However, Austrians have to apply for a visa for Turkey and are only allowed to enter with a passport and a visa, but not with an identity card. Please make sure that your passport is valid for at least 150 days at the time of your entry.

Please check if you need a visa
German travelers usually do not need a visa for Turkey. However, are you an Austrian citizen and are you going on a holiday or business trip to Turkey? Then you need to apply for an e-Visa. The e-Visa (electronic visa) replaces the old visa for Turkey. Turkey has a visa requirement, which means that you are not allowed to enter the country without a visa (this also applies to children and babies). You should therefore apply for your visa in good time. The Turkey visa is valid for 180 days and will be emailed to you after approval. You then print out the visa or download it to your tablet or smartphone so that you can show it to the immigration authorities when asked.
»Apply for a visa to Turkey


The Turkish lira is used to pay in Turkey. In many seaside resorts, however, you can also pay with euros. The value of the lira fluctuates strongly against the euro. Therefore, shortly before your departure, find out how much lira you can get for 1 euro. On August 29, 2018 you received around 7.5 lira for 1 euro. Because of the latest developments in Turkey, among other things, you are currently receiving more lira for your euros, so that a stay in Turkey is even cheaper for Germans and Austrians. Please note that bargaining is common in Turkey.

Debit card (bank card with Maestro or V-Pay symbol)
It is not possible to pay or withdraw money by debit card everywhere in Turkey, but there are many ATMs in the country. In general, you can pay by card if your debit card has the Maestro logo on it. Please note that you will have to pay an additional amount to withdraw money and convert Euros into Lira. Despite these additional costs, it is usually cheaper to pay with a debit card or withdraw money from an ATM than to exchange money at an exchange office. Also make sure that you can use your debit card abroad. Sometimes you have to tell your bank that you want to use your debit card abroad and activate this option. Banks have introduced this rule to make transactions outside of Europe more secure. Please contact your bank for this.

Credit card
Credit cards are usually accepted in larger shops and restaurants. Many Turks also use a credit card themselves.

If you tip, it is advisable to give a generous amount. A small amount can even be seen as offensive. It might have been better then not to tip. Instead of tipping the housekeeper every day, it may be better to tip generously after a few days. The staff will often make your stay even more pleasant by decorating your bed with flowers, for example. Sometimes a tip of 5 to 10% is mandatory and already included in the bill.


The security situation in Turkey has deteriorated somewhat recently, due to a number of attacks and an attempted coup, among other things.

Travel advice
After the coup attempt, calm has been restored to some extent in Turkey. Outside of Ankara and Istanbul, however, the situation in the country remains unpredictable. We therefore recommend that you remain vigilant and avoid places where many people gather (such as demonstrations). It is also best to avoid southeast Turkey, as the PKK is active there. Although the security situation in the area has improved significantly, tensions have recently increased. In addition, travel to the areas on the border with Syria and Iraq is strongly discouraged, as kidnappings, attacks and violent conflicts can take place here.

The current travel warnings and safety information for Turkey can be found on the website of the Federal Foreign Office (Germany) or the BMEIA (Austria).

There is less crime in Turkey than in Germany or Austria, since according to the Koran, crimes must be severely punished. However, crime in tourist areas and large cities has increased slightly. A stay in the holiday regions of Antalya, Alanya, Side, Marmaris, Kusadasi and Bodrum is usually safe. However, watch out for your valuables (pickpocketing), credit card and other frauds. Hotels and other accommodations often have security guards for tourists. We recommend renting a locker at your hotel if possible.

We do not recommend participating in traffic after sunset as Turkish traffic can be dangerous and chaotic. For example, Turks change lanes more often to get into the fastest lane and they generally cause more accidents. In the event of a fatal accident, everyone involved is arrested, including those who are not guilty.

Turkey has made great strides in the fight against terrorism after the last attacks. There is an increased risk of terrorism across the country, but especially in major cities. So be careful, especially in the big cities. Germany is involved in the fight against IS. As a German, you should therefore be particularly vigilant.

LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender)
Unfortunately, homosexuality is not accepted everywhere in Turkey. In general, the Turkish population is hostile to hostile towards the LGBT community.