Turkey has one of the most fascinating histories of any country worldwide, with a myriad of ancient civilisations having called it home as well as a vibrant and diverse contemporary culture.
It has something for everyone, from shimmering beaches to bustling cities; remote and historic settlements to modern shopping. Its unique cuisine, spellbinding architecture, colourful bazaars and abundance of history have made it one of Brits’ favourite holiday destinations.
Before jetting off to see its many sights, make sure you’re aware of the reasons you need adequate travel insurance for Turkey.
The currency of Turkey is the Turkish lira. This is one of 13 currencies that can be loaded onto a Post Office Travel Money Card, giving you easy access to your holiday money while you're travelling.
Healthcare for Brits in Turkey
Turkey isn’t part of the Eurozone and therefore your EHIC won’t cover you for medical expenses or treatment. Instead, you will need to have holiday insurance with good medical cover to ensure you’re not out of pocket if something should go wrong.
You may need to get certain jabs before visiting Turkey, so make sure to see your doctor at least 6 weeks before travelling.
Turkey has an abundance of stray animals, particularly cats and dogs. While the cat that jumps onto your café table may seem cute, animal-borne diseases like rabies and parasites such as fleas are present in Turkey, so it’s better to stay away.
If you suffer a medical emergency, dial 112 to request an ambulance. Be sure to alert your travel insurance company as soon as this happens.
Travel risks in Turkey
Turkey has had some great political tension in recent years, culminating in general and parliamentary elections in 2018. The climate has been very tense since 2016, when groups hostile to Erdogan attempted (and failed) a coup d’état. These elections may bring protests and demonstrations which have the potential to become violent for some time after the event.
The FCO advise staying away from protests and large crowds. The south east of the country borders Syria and Iraq, and the FCO advise against any travel to this area. There is also a list of the provinces where terrorism and hostage taking are most likely.
Istanbul is one of the most popular destinations for holidaymakers travelling to Turkey. It’s a what’s-what of historical monuments and areas, with the Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque , Topkapi Palace, the Basilica Cistern and Istiklal Avenue to name a few. No wonder it’s a big draw for tourists.
But as is often the way with populated areas, pickpocketing can occur. To make sure you’re staying safe when you’re on the move, follow the advice in our guide. If you’re visiting one of Turkey’s many beautiful beach resorts, then take care to protect your valuables by following these simple tips.
There are regions of Turkey that the FCO advises against travelling to, located in the south, southeast and east of the country. Consult their page for details. Your holiday insurance may be invalid if you travel to these areas.
Turkey has become a more conservative country in recent years, however is still a largely secular and liberal place. Always be respectful of local customs, such as wearing appropriate clothing and covering up when visiting mosques or religious sites.
It is an offence to damage Turkish currency or be disrespectful to the Turkish nation and its flag and can come with heavy penalties. If in doubt, try not to engage in political discussion and be careful about voicing thoughts that might be considered as insulting or offensive.
Turkish culture is very sociable and you shouldn’t be concerned by people wanting to engage you in conversation. Food, coffee and tea are great ways to find out about Turkish social life, as well as more unconventional experiences like Hammams (traditional Turkish baths).
Turkey is keen to become a cashless culture, however it’s wise to have a ready supply of cash for street vendors and cafés. The Post Office Travel Money Card gives you freedom to use cash or card in 13 currencies including Turkish Lira. It’s a prepaid cash card, meaning you can’t spend more than you have, and it works everywhere you see the Mastercard™ symbol.
Travel insurance for Turkey
Since Turkey isn’t covered by EHIC, good travel insurance is vital. It can cover you for medical situations as well as a raft of other possible holiday problems, like loss or theft of possessions and cancellation.
Always check what you are covered for, as different travel insurers will have different exclusions. Adventure activities like pony-trekking, scuba-diving, surfing and cycling might not be covered – or only be covered in certain circumstances. Taking a copy of your holiday insurance policy with you means you can check spontaneous activities before deciding to participate in them, and it will have all of the important contact details in case something goes wrong.
Make the most of your holiday
Whether you’re getting stuck into Turkey’s ancient cultural heritage or simply enjoying the reliably brilliant weather, we want you to have a great time. By following good travel advice and doing a bit of preparation, you can relax and make the most of your holiday.