Turkey is approximately a 4 hour flight from the UK and about a 10 hour flight from New York City. Unless you are participating in chartered tour package most flights will be to Istanbul with connecting flights from there to other destinations in Turkey. Although during tourist season there are direct flights from various other countries. Pegasus Airlines and EasyJet all operate scheduled services from the UK to Istanbul and land at either Atatürk International Airport on the European side of the city or at the new and smaller Sabiha Gökçen Airport on the Asian shore. Most flights depart from London airports however Turkish Airlines also has a direct flight from Birmingham and Jet2.com flies from East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle. Visitors from the United States will most likely find direct non-stop flights to Istanbul through New York City, Newark, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and other large metropolitan international airports. Turkish Airlines provide flight service to regional Black Sea regional airports at Amasya, Samsun, Sinop, Trabzon and Zonguldak. For low fares you can check with the Flight Network for flights.
Both Atatürk International and Sabiha Gökçen airports are modern and comfortable. Atatürk Airport is the main hub serving destinations across the world with a large and contemporary airport boasting a large number of shops, cafes and restaurants. Sabiha Gökçen is smaller in scale and handles more of the domestic flights within Turkey as well as handling the brunt of Air Cargo to relieve Atatürk Airport traffic. Reaching the city from both airports is easy with Havaş buses which have coaches leaving regularly for Taksim and the Asian side of Istanbul. Taksim is the transport hub of Istanbul and from which you can hop in a taxi or take the metro or a bus to your final destination. Yellow taxis are also always on stand-by as an alternative but more costly means of getting into town. Taxis all have taxi meters with a standard rate across the whole country, with a night rate applicable between midnight and 6am. But, metered taxis don't always take such a direct route so you have to be aware. To get to other cities in Turkey there are flights available and generally there are regular flights to Antalya, Bodrum, and Dalaman airports close to popular tourist resorts, but in most other instances you will need to transfer through Istanbul. Other main airports in Turkey include Izmirs Adnan Menderes Airport, Bodrum-Milas Airport near Bodrum, Dalaman Airport in Dalaman, Adanas Şakirpaşa Airport, and Esenboğa Airport in Ankara. To see which airlines service these airports go to www.southcoastofturkey.com and fill in the "Who Flies" form.
To travel to Turkey by bus there are regular services from Bulgaria, Germany, Greece and Holland taking days rather than hours for transit. Coaches arrive into Esenler Coach Station in the northwest of Istanbul from where you can get a taxi into town or take the metro to Aksaray which connects with the tram serving Sultanahmet, Karakoy and Kabatas. Just be sure to have enough time for your holiday to allow you to recover from a bus trip that can seem endless and very tiring. To travel to the Black Sea region there are several Turkish bus companies to choose from, but Varan and Ulusoy are two of the best bus companies. Both companies have websites with an English language option. Bus transportation in Turkey is not what you may imagine. The Buses are new and well maintained with clean and rather luxurious interiors. Most have an onboard steward who provides beverages, warm moist facecloths and other courtesies to passengers. On cross country trips the bus makes regular stops at centers where passengers can stretch their legs, use toilet facilities and purchase meals and snacks. Many also have onboard movies and stereo music headsets.
There are direct trains with sleeper-cars from Greece, Bulgaria and Romania into Istanbul run by the Turkish State Railway. There are also services that run from Denmark, Germany, Holland, Italy and Switzerland which will involve changes of connection from . InterRail It is also possible to travel from London to Istanbul on four different trains with a variety of routes through www.seat61.com. The ultimate luxury but expensive Venice Simplon Orient Express runs an annual journey to Istanbul every August taking six days. Even though it is costly it sells out each year so advance booking is advised. Trains arrive in Turkey at the historic Sirkeci Station in Istanbul close to Sultanahmet and not far from Taksim. There is also a modern and comfortable weekly train from Istanbul to Tehran, reintroduced in March 2001, called the Trans-Asia Express and a train from Istanbul to Syria, the Toros Express. For details on these trains go to www.seat61.com where you can get schedule and booking information. Or go directly to IRR Iranian Islamic Republic Railways. (click the 'house' logo then click 'English' at the top right). Travel from Istanbul to the Black Sea region is not available, so transportation to the Black Sea coastline must be accomplished either by bus or rental car.
It is also feasible to drive to Turkey via Bulgaria or Greece, or via Italy on a ferry to Turkey. Vehicles may be used for a stay up to six months once in the country. At the border you will need to provide a valid passport, international driving license, vehicle licence, international green card (insurance card) and vehicle registration details. Do check if your insurance is valid for the Asian side of the country. If the vehicle belongs to someone else, a power of attorney will be required. But this automobile travel is mainly for the stout of heart who won't get flustered when a six foot tall 200lb. female Bulgarian border guard looks at you menacingly and says there is a problem in Bulgarian. But, once in Istanbul it is easy to rent a car and drive to destinations along the Black Sea coastline.
Arriving by private yacht in Turkish waters all yachts must report to the nearest port of entry which are as follows: Istanbul, Iskenderun, Botas (Adana), Mersin, Tasucu, Anamur, Alanya, Antalya, Kemer, Finike, Kas, Fethiye, Marmaris, Datça, Bodrum, Güllük Didim, Kusadasi, Çesme, Izmir, Dikili, Ayvalik, Akçay, Çanakkale, Bandirma, Tekirdag, Zonguldak, Sinop, Samsun, Ordu, Giresun, Trabzon, Rize, Hopa. As soon as the details of the yacht, passengers, itinerary, passports, customs declarations and health clearance have been entered into a transit log - the boat will have permission to remain for two years. Upon leaving you will need to contact the harbour authority again. When you are wealthy enough to own your own personal yacht you get to skip dealing with the
six foot tall 200lb. female Bulgarian border guard.
No matter how you travel to and in and around Turkey be very aware that it is strictly forbidden to possess or export antiquities or antiques from Turkey. There are very severe penalties for those who attempt to do so and the laws are strictly enforced. So when you walk around any of the numerous historical sites in Turkey do not pick up that little stone or piece of mosaic sitting on the ground and put it in your pocket as a souvenir as they are considered a part of the category of antiquities. Officially in order to export such items legally it is necessary to obtain a certiﬁcate from a directorate of a museum - but don't hold your breath while waiting for such permission. American and British passport holders require a tourist visa to enter Turkey which is usually bought on arrival at the Turkish Airport at which they enter the country. A three month visa at the port of entry in Turkey costs £10 for British residents and $20 for Americans - Be aware that tourist visas do not give the holder the right to take paid or unpaid employment, take residence, to study (including student exchange programs) or to establish a business in Turkey - which is highly not recommended.
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