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We've teamed up with some expert Turkey family bloggers to bring you top tips and tricks for travelling in Turkey with children.

Turkey is a great destination for your family holiday, with plenty of opportunities for exploring, and activities to keep kids of all ages entertained. Whether you want to discover ancient ruins, take a dip in the sea, watch a belly-dancing show or just soak up the atmosphere in the busy markets, there's no doubt that you and your family will have the time of your lives in Turkey.

We know that a bit of insider knowledge is invaluable when travelling somewhere for the first time, so check out our cheat sheet for everything you need to take you from Home to Holiday, including, where to go, how to get around and even a few phrases to get you started. 

Travelling to Turkey with Kids

Want a family holiday that'll offer guaranteed sunshine, happy splashing around the pool and beaches galore?

Turkey could be the place for you and your family this summer. In Turkey you can:

  • Haggle in traditional markets
  • Explore fascinating ancient ruins
  • Visit a waterpark
  • Sail a pirate ship looking for dolphins
  • Go lizard spotting in the wild
  • See snake charmers
  • Ride camels


1. Family-friendly places to visit

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average
Temperature

2

3

6

11

16

20

23

23

20

14

8

4

Average Peak
Temperature

6

7

11

17

21

26

30

30

26

20

14

8

*These are country average temperatures.

  • There are seven different regions in Turkey, all with their own unique weather. Stick to the coast for warm summers and mild winters, or venture into the mountains for cooler weather
  • Temperatures in July and August can reach a whopping 36 degrees and summer in Turkey can be very hot and humid
  • Early June or September are ideal times to visit if you're travelling with young children as temperatures are still warm, but not unbearable


BEAT THE HEAT

  • If travelling in summer months, check your accommodation has air-conditioning for some much-needed relief from the hot temperatures
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Stick to bottled water as the high levels of calcium in the water might not agree with your stomach
  • Avoid sightseeing between 12noon and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest - many of the ancient ruins have limited shade
  • Keep re-applying the sunscreen. You'll need a bottle per person for a week's holiday if you're spending time in the sun

2. Getting around


You'll need a visa to enter Turkey, but you can pay this on arrival at the airport. It costs £10 per person, including children, and it's best to have a separate £10 note for each family member as no change is given. You can also pay in Euros (€15) and US dollars ($20).

Flight time from UK - 4 hours to Istanbul.

Arrange your transfer from the airport to hotel in advance to save yourself a costly taxi trip

Dolmuses, a shared taxi or minibus running a pre-defined route, are a great way to get around the city - price is arranged in advance and you can usually fit the whole family in one. Buses are also a popular and comfortable form of transport.

Car seats are required in private cars. They are not provided in taxis or dolmuses, so remember to take your own if you need one.

Hiring a car means you have the freedom to explore the country but there are a few things you must know:

  • Children under the age of 12 can't sit in the front seat
  • The speed limit is 50kph in built up areas, 90kph on open roads and 120kph on motorways
  • The drink driving limit is zero
  • Turkey has one of the world's highest road accident rates so drive carefully and avoid driving at night as roads can be uneven and obstacles aren't always well lit

3. Dining tricks


You'll be spoilt for choice dining out in Turkey, from the basic fare at a Lokanta to the sweet delight of the tatlici, a specialist dessert place. In many restaurants it's common to order one or two small dishes to start and order more as you go along.

You'll often be plied with extras, whether that's a selection of mezze or an endless supply of fresh fruit. If you're worried about the cost, just ask 'bedava mi?' (is it free?).

Why not try?

Kofte - a common Turkish food much like meatballs - ideal for a quick snack

Turkish delight (Lokum) - kids will love these scented sweets, invented in Istanbul in the 1700s
Pide - a Turkish pizza with a variety of tasty toppings - a Pideci is a pizza parlour, perfect for lunches
Baklava - indulge your sweet tooth with these rich pastries filled with chopped nuts and syrup

4. Sightseeing


Take advantage of Turkey's many free attractions. Istanbul's Blue Mosque is breath-taking, whilst a visit to the ancient ruins of Ephesus is a fun and cheap day out

  • Try bargaining for a lower price at local attractions and visit at either opening or closing time to avoid the crowds
  • Book tickets in city centre shops for a cheaper price than your travel rep will offer
  • Kids will love the chance to climb on model trains and planes at The Rahmi M Koc Museum and will have a blast exploring Bodrum's Castle
  • To see many of Turkey's most famous sights all in one afternoon, visit Miniaturk - a miniature amusement park with models of Turkish buildings

On The Beach

The beaches in Turkey are popular with tourists and locals alike and are pretty typical for the Mediterranean with sandy shores and blue seas warm enough to swim in during the summer months

  • Many beaches in Turkey do not have lifeguards so be careful when swimming in deep water
  • Beaches in tourists resorts can become crowded at peak times, but there are plenty of places off the beaten track if you want a more peaceful experience
  • Head to the beach with older kids and entertain them with jet skis and water sports
  • Jellyfish do live in the waters around the Mediterranean but most are harmless and stings are rare
  • Beaches in Turkey are usually clean, but look out for Blue Flag beaches if you have any concerns

5. Like a Local


Turkey is a very child-friendly country and you'll find a warm welcome wherever you go with kids in tow, but don't be surprised to have strangers pinch your babies' cheeks and say “Masallah” (God bless you). The Turks are known for their hospitality.

The official currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira. ATMs are available in many major cities and resorts, but if you plan on travelling to rural areas, withdraw cash before you go. Euros are also accepted in many places.

It's polite to tip in Turkey. Offer tips for great service, from the airport to the hotel and everywhere in between. Leave a few coins at cheap restaurants and aim to leave 10-15% of the bill elsewhere.

Rules to shop by:

1. Never pay full price
2. Start low and haggle
3. Get the kids involved in counting money
4. Reach a compromise and shake hands

Although Turkey is a secular state, the vast majority of the population are Muslim. It is respectful to dress accordingly when not in resorts or on the beach and to cover up when visiting mosques and other religious sites.

Top Family Tips

  • Baby products can be found in supermarkets like Carrefour, Metro and Migros Türk, although imported products can be costly so think about packing the essentials. It may also be difficult to find some products off the beaten track.
  • Turkey is a Muslim country and in many areas there is a call to prayer five times a day, starting around 5am. Earplugs will help you avoid a disrupted night's sleep.
  • Most public toilets are not free, so keep some small change with you. Tissues and wet wipes are a handbag must-have.
  • Bodrum and Istanbul are both fascinating cities which kids will love to explore, but do play host to stag and hen do's during the summer months. Pick accommodation away from the main nightlife areas and this shouldn't be too much of a problem.
  • There are many stray cats and dogs in Turkey and whilst they are generally well-fed and cared for by local people, they may be dirty and children should avoid stroking them.

Emergency Phone Numbers:
Fire - 110
Ambulance - 112
Police - 155

6. Phrases You Should Know

Many Turkish people in the touristy areas speak English, French and German, as well as Turkish. But, if you really want to impress the locals, you could learn a couple of words.

Hello - Merhaba -pronounced MARE-HA-BA
Thank you - tesekkürler - pronounced TESH-EK-KER-LER
Please - Lütfen - pronounced LEWT-FEN

#hometoholiday

Produced by TravelSupermarket in collaboration with:

Cheryl Pasquier
http://www.madhousefamilyreviews.blogspot.co.uk
Twitter: @cherylp59

and

Meg Nesterov
www.knockedupabroadtravels.com
Twitter: @knockedupabroad