ABOUT Turkey is a vast peninsula, covering an area of 814,578 square kilometres or 314,510 square miles and linking Asia to Europe through the Sea of Marmara and the Straits of Istanbul and Çanakkale. Turkey has so much to offer her visitors; breathtaking natural beauties, unique historical and archaeological sites, steadily improving hotel and touristic infrastructure and a tradition of hospitality and competitive prices. Therefore, it is not surprising that this country has recently become one of the world's most popular tourism destinations. Due to Turkey's diverse geography, one can experience four different climates in any one day. The rectangular shaped country is surrounded on three sides by three different seas. Its shores are laced with beaches, bays, coves, ports, islands and peninsulas. The summers are long, lasting as long as eight months in some areas. Turkey is also blessed with majestic mountains and valleys, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and grottoes perfect for winter and summer tourism and sports of all kinds. Turkish Lira is available in the following denominations: Banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50 &100 TL Coins: 1, 5, 10, 25 & 50 Kuru? and 1 TL. You can obtain currency before travelling to Turkey or upon arrival. Exchange rates are usually slightly better in Turkey and all international airports have exchange facilities. The mains voltage for electricity is 220V and 50Hz. Central European type wall socket (two-pin plugs) is standard in Turkey. Most museums and palaces are open every day of the week except Mondays. There are a few notable exceptions: Topkap? Palace is closed on Tuesdays instead of Mondays; Dolmabahçe Palace is closed Mondays and Thursdays and the Chora Church is closed on Wednesdays. The preferred means of transport in Turkey is by coach, and the air-conditioned intercity coach services are comfortable, fast and inexpensive. Each town has a bus station (otogar), where each bus company has its own office, where you can make reservations and buy tickets. Alternatively, you can buy tickets from local travel agencies. There are good services, between Istanbul and Ankara and the overnight sleeper services are both comfortable and convenient. You can buy tickets and make reservations at local train stations or through travel agents based in Turkey. Within towns and between local villages, there are local bus services as well as the dolmu? services. These are shared taxis, usually a minibus, and sometimes a large car, which operate along set routes, picking up and dropping off passengers as they go. There is a set fare depending on how far you are travelling and you pay this to the driver. They are an inexpensive way of getting around. The name “dolmu?” literally means 'stuffed' - from the fact that they do not have a set timetable but wait until they are full before setting off. While planning your trip to Turkey do not forget to check your passport if it is valid for at least 90 days. Depending on your nationality, most probably your stay as a tourist is limited up to 3 months. For tourist visas for many countries, there is no need to apply in advance or to fill in any forms. The visa for UK passport holders currently costs £10 and must be paid for with a Sterling note. The visa fee for USA and Australian passport holders is $20/€15. Canadian passport holders need to pay $60/€45. The visa fee for New Zealand passport holders is gratis. The visa for some EU state-passport holders currently costs € 10 and must be paid for with a Euro note.Visas are multiple entries and are valid for three months. Each passport-holder, including infants, must purchase a visa.
CLIMATE Turkey's diverse regions have different climates, with the weather system on the coasts contrasting with that prevailing in the interior. The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have cool, rainy winters and hot, moderately dry summers. Because of Turkey's geographical conditions, there is not a general overall climate. In Istanbul and around the sea of Marmara the climate is moderate with winter 4 C and summer 27 C. In Western Anatolia (Aegean region) there is a mild Mediterranean climate with average temperatures of 9 C in winter and 29 C in summer. On the southern coast of Anatolia (Mediterranean region) the same climate can be found. The climate of the Anatolian Plateau the Central Anatolian region is a steppe climate there is a great temperature difference between day and night. Rainfall is low and there is more snow. The average temperature is 23 C in summer and -2 .C in winter. The climate in the Black Sea area is wet, warm and humid with summer 23 C, and winter 7.C. In Eastern Anatolia and South-Eastern Anatolia there is a long hard winter, where year after year snow lies on the ground from November until the end of April the average temperature in winter is -13 C and in summer 17 C.
BEWARE There is a high threat from terrorism. Active local terrorist groups continue to issue statements threatening further attacks, including in tourist areas. Domestic religious extremist and ideological terrorist groups, and international groups like Al Qaeda have previously targeted Western interests. You should maintain a high level of security awareness and report anything suspicious to the authorities. Generally crime levels are low, but street robbery and pick-pocketing are common in the major tourist areas of Istanbul. Be wary of strangers approaching you offering food and drink (which may be drugged), to change money or to take you to a restaurant or nightclub. Counterfeit alcohol has been responsible for the death of some tourists. If you have any concerns, seek advice from your tour operator or the Turkish authorities.