The ultimate solo travel guide to Turkey: Everything you need to know

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Turkey is a great place for solo travel, whether it’s a first jaunt or you’re an avid return visitor. With classical architecture, an azure coastline and subliminal food, Turkey has reignited the wanderlust of many a traveller, especially as its border bridges the gap between two very different continents – Europe and Asia – across the Bosphorus Strait. 

While the capital Ankara resides in the central Anatolia region, it’s Istanbul that meets and greets the majority of travellers. Cultural influences dominate the city, from the Byzantine Hagia Sophia to the Ottoman Blue Mosque to the opulent Grand Bazaar. Beyond the city, watch the sunrise over Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys in Göreme National Park, visit classical sites in Selçuk and Ephesus and swim in turquoise coves around Fethiye. 

The country’s also famed for its warm hospitality and impressive and flavourful food scene, from meze to kebabs to dolma (stuffed vine leaves). While it’s a great spot to venture alone, group solo trips combine the comfort of travelling with like-minded people and having the logistics sorted for you. Here’s all you need to know about a group solo holiday to Turkey.

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Turkey travel facts

It might be surprising to know that the majority of Turkey lies in Asia, with just 3% being in Europe. Islam is the most prominent religion with much of the population Muslim – there’s nearly 83,000 mosques, some of which can be visited by tourists. And while Turkey might not immediately spring to mind as a wine country, it’s actually one of the earliest wine-producing regions in the world, with many wineries still operating today. Turkey is also home to 19 Unesco World Heritage Sites, including Ephesus, historic areas of Istanbul and Bursa and Cumalıkızık in the northwest, and the statues of Nemrut Dağ in the Eastern Taurus mountain range in southeast Turkey.

Is Turkey good for solo travel?

Turkey is great for solo travel as it’s typically known for its warm and friendly hospitality. In larger cities, like Istanbul, streets are bustling and vibrant day and night, so there’s always others around. It’s straightforward to get around and you’ll find an abundance of taxis available in both the cities and the coastal resorts. It can become crowded in parts, especially at the main sights during the summer months, so it’s worth considering a group solo trip to Turkey with Flash Pack, which will also take you to some of the lesser-trodden paths.

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Best places to visit in Turkey

Turkey holds incredibly rich historical significance with ruins and monuments dotted across its large swathe. The ancient port city of Ephesus is not to be missed, considered to be one of the best preserved classical sites in the eastern Mediterranean. Cappadocia and Göreme National Park offer something out of the ordinary with hot air balloon rides over the otherworldly landscape. And, of course, there’s Istanbul with its mix of Byzantine, Ottoman and modern Turkish architecture, busy markets and exquisite restaurants.

On Flash Pack’s 8-day Classical Turkey trip, you’ll cover all of these spots and more, including learning how to make gözleme with local chefs and eating with a local family in their traditional Cappadocia cave house. There’s no better way to experience the culture than in an authentic setting on your solo travels in Turkey.

Where to stay as a solo traveller in Turkey

There’s a wide range of accommodation depending on what you’re looking for. So what are the hotels like in Turkey? In Istanbul, you’ll find beautiful boutiques blending traditional Ottoman-style with modern amenities. In Cappadocia, caves carved into the rocks form guesthouses or fancy hotels with rooftop pools overlooking Göreme National Park and the ‘fairy’ chimneys. Elsewhere, you’ll find hillside retreats and luxury hot spots with impressive views.

On a group solo holiday to Turkey with Flash Pack, luxury accommodation is arranged for you. Typically, you’ll share a room with a fellow Flashpacker, thereby swerving the single supplement. Still want your own private space? That’s not a problem, either.

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How to get to Turkey

Flying is the quickest way to get to Turkey. The main international hub is Istanbul Airport. Domestic flights also operate from it, as well as the city’s Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, flying to the capital, Ankara, to Izmir on the east coast, Bodrum in the southwest and to Dalaman and Antalya on the south coast. Turkey also has numerous ferry ports scattered along its coast if travelling the scenic route is your preferred option.

How to get around Turkey

While Turkey is a relatively large country, it’s super easy for solo travellers to get around. A good public transport network means that buses and trains are viable options. High speed, mainline and local railways link Istanbul with Ankara, Konya and Izmar, while bus transfers extend the journey to Fethiye, Bodrum and Marmaris. The easiest way to get around though is to join a tour, like Flash Pack’s group solo trip to Turkey, where all accommodation, transport and logistics are arranged for you, meaning you can sit back and simply enjoy the views.

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Best time to visit Turkey

This will depend on where you plan to experience solo travel in Turkey. The coastline stretches for over 8,000kms and the terrain is varied throughout. In general, winters are cold and summers are hot but the west and south coast can see milder temperatures, while the central Anatolian region can get cold. 

June to August is hot everywhere and ideal for the beaches and the Black Sea region but this is also when Turkey is most popular with visitors. Shoulder seasons are ideal: during April and May there are typically fewer rain showers but the milder weather encourages the flowers to bloom; September and October retains some of the heat of summer but with fewer visitors.

Turkey travel itineraries

While Turkey’s eclectic landscapes and impressive historical landmarks are easy to reach, they do all travel in different directions meaning it can be arduous trying to piece together an itinerary. On Flash Pack’s 8-day Classical Turkey adventure, you’ll begin your journey with aplomb on a backstreet food tour in Izmir. Next, you’ll see the amphitheatre at Ephesus, before visiting a women’s carpet weaving cooperative in the village of Çamlık and devouring a home-cooked lunch in the garden of a local’s home. You’ll also explore Cappadocia, sail on the Bosphorus, learn to make gözleme, and swim in sheltered bays in the Mediterranean on a private boat trip.

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What to pack for solo travel in Turkey

You can do everything from basking on the beach in the summer to skiing in the winter, so keep this in mind when packing for solo travel in Turkey. More generally speaking, lighter clothing is best. Pack some comfortable shoes and sandals for the varying terrain and uneven paths in some cities and ancient sites. Have a scarf to hand if you’re visiting a mosque. Evenings can get a little chilly, so have a jumper or cardigan to stave off the chill. A pack of playing cards can see you through coffee breaks and beach trips, as well as being a great tool for meeting new people in bars and hotels. And, don’t forget your camera.

Solo travel advice for Turkey

Muslim culture is hugely important so be aware of etiquette and remain respectful on your solo holiday to Turkey. Keep a scarf or a form of cover in your bag as this will come in handy if you’re planning to visit any of the country’s beautiful mosques or religious sites. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to just dress modestly anywhere outside of the main beach resorts.

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Is it safe to travel solo in Turkey

Thousands of visitors experience solo travel to Turkey every year and most trips are trouble-free. However, do check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK), the Department of State Travel Advisories (US) or your country’s local government guidelines for the latest advice before travelling.

Turkey is largely considered a safe country for solo travellers and petty crime is low. It has a reputation for being friendly, with locals keen to help out with advice or directions. But once there, follow local advice and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Stick to the usual safety precautions, like avoiding dimly lit areas and keeping valuables safe. For extra peace of mind, consider travelling with a group of like-minded solo travellers

Ready for your next adventure? Try group solo travel to Turkey with Flash Pack – designed exclusively for people in their 30s and 40s, seeking the independence of solo travel within the safety of a group.

A cool 98% of Flashpackers arrive solo to join our group adventures. So, you’ll be in good company – whether a first time solo traveller or a seasoned pro looking for like-minded new friends.

Images: Flash Pack

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