Cheap holidays in Turkey continue to draw Britons in their hundreds of thousands every year – with the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism revealing that some 2,673,565 UK citizens visited the country last year alone.
Many of these are return visitors, drawn by the country’s historical and cultural heritage, its great weather, low prices and custom-built resorts. Many others are first-time visitors, who might be unused to cheap holidays outside the EU and a little nervous about what to expect, while interacting with Turkish culture and its institutions.
One major worry can be access to medical services – especially those minor emergencies such as the need for medicine or dental treatment. Fortunately, most travellers agree that medical care in Turkey is generally very good, and available for the most part to tourists. Many of the resort areas have special clinics where holidaymakers can receive free assessments and basic care upon production of proof of travel insurance.
Dentists are generally cheaper than in the UK, and good resorts or hotels will be able to recommend a worthwhile one, with a replacement filling coming to around £20. When it comes to pharmacies in Turkey, travellers have nary a bad word to say, with most medicines available over the counter and pharmacists generally friendly and viewed by the local community as more akin to a local GP.
Another worry that many speak of is that female travellers may be harassed or otherwise bothered while travelling alone or in small groups – especially in Turkey’s coastal areas. Although this is not nearly as much of a problem as in, say, many Middle Eastern countries, it can occasionally occur, and is often a case of misunderstandings about appropriate attire. In general, beachwear should only be worn on the beach, and in towns and cities, both men and women should dress for city life – and if visiting religious sites, women should opt for long-sleeved tops, long skirts or trousers, plus a headscarf or hat.
As a rule of thumb, demonstrating respect for the country’s religious sensibilities and culture – even in a secular society such as Turkey – will pay dividends in terms of a favourable reaction from the locals.