Turkey travel: Am I allowed to visit, are hotels and restaurants open and what rules are in place?

Helen Coffey
·4-min read
Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud spent most of his days on his luxury yacht in Bodrum, Turkey: iStock
Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al Saud spent most of his days on his luxury yacht in Bodrum, Turkey: iStock

As tentative signs start to emerge of a revival for the travel industry, our minds are turning to potential holiday destinations for this summer.

With sun, sea and shish kebab, Turkey has long been a popular travel destination for Britons in need of some vitamin D.

But can British holidaymakers get there? And will we even be welcome?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Am I allowed to travel to Turkey from the UK?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued a blanket warning against all non-essential international travel in March, but this has now been lifted for more than 80 destinations.

Turkey was on this list, meaning Britons can now visit there without invalidating their travel insurance.

How could I get there?

Turkish Airlines is probably your best bet initially, offering (unsurprisingly) the greatest range of destinations in Turkey. Regular flights from the UK are already in operation, with four direct flights a day between here and Istanbul, and daily nonstop services to Dalaman and Antalya.

British Airways started flying from London Heathrow to Istanbul from 16 July and to Dalaman from 17 July, with the first flights out priced at a whopping £628 and £590 respectively. The airline restarts flights to Bodrum on 1 August.

EasyJet is also restarting its routes from the UK to four Turkish destinations (Dalaman, Bodrum, Antalya and Izmir) in August.

Ryanair is currently operating no flights between the UK and Turkey; there are services available between Dublin and Bodrum and Dalaman.

Will they let me in when I arrive?

Yes. Turkey reopened its international borders on 12 June, including to British nationals. You will have to complete a Passenger Locator Form prior to arrival.

Will I have to quarantine when I arrive?

Possibly. All arrivals into Turkey are subject to a medical evaluation, which includes temperature checks. Passengers showing symptoms are required to undergo a swab test for coronavirus.

If your test is positive, you’ll be provided with medical treatment at a state-run facility or, if preferred, a private medical facility (the latter at your own expense).

Can I travel within Turkey?

Turkey has now lifted most restrictions on internal travel, according to the Foreign Office.

A reduced schedule of domestic flights has been operating since 4 June.

Train services (Ankara-Konya, Ankara-Istanbul, Ankara-Eskisehir and Konya-Istanbul) are operating on a reduced timetable, as are inter-city coach services. Check with travel providers before booking.

Regular bus services have resumed in most areas.

Are hotels open?

Yes. Hotels have been allowed to reopen in Turkey since 1 June, albeit with extra measures in place. These include temperature checks on arrival, mandatory PPE for staff and disposable plastic coverings for in-room items such as TV remotes.

Are restaurants, shops and attractions open?

Restaurants, bars, cafes and beaches all re-opened on 1 June, alongside museums and ancient sites. However, strict rules on mask-wearing are in place (see below).

What rules are in place?

The wearing of masks is obligatory throughout Turkey in crowded places and specifically in markets and supermarkets, hairdressers and barber shops. Masks are also compulsory on all public transport, including the Metro, buses, taxis and ferries.

When visiting the following provinces you have to wear a mask at all times when outside the home:

Adıyaman, Afyonkarahisar, Agri, Amasya, Ankara, Ardahan, Aydın, Balıkesir, Bartın, Batman, Bilecik, Bingöl, Bitlis, Bolu, Burdur, Bursa, Çanakkale, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Düzce, Elazığ, Erzurum, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Giresun, Iğdır, Isparta, Istanbul, İzmir ,Kahramanmaraş, Karabük, Kayseri, Kırklareli, Kocaeli, Konya, Kütahya, Malatya, Mardin, Muğla, Muş, Nevşehir, Ordu, Osmaniye, Rize, Sakarya, Siirt, Sinop, Sivas, Şanlıurfa, Şırnak, Tokat, Tunceli, Uşak, Yalova, Yozgat and Zonguldak.

Anyone caught breaking the rules can be fined 900 TL (£106).

There remains an ongoing curfew for those who have a chronic medical condition.

Under 18s can be out at any time but must be accompanied by their parents.

Will I have to quarantine when I come home?

Not anymore.

Although the government implemented a blanket two-week quarantine for all inbound arrivals on 8 June, from 10 July this was lifted for certain countries.

Places regarded as “low-risk” by the Joint Biosecurity Centre – which was set up to coordinate the government’s response to the pandemic – are now exempt from mandatory self-isolation.

Turkey is one of the destinations that is exempt for travellers entering the UK.

Read more

Everything you need to know about visiting Greece this summer