Solo Travel Turkey

Solo Female Travelers Guide to Turkey

Solo Travel In turkey

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Are solo female travelers safe in Turkey?

Turkey is a popular tourist destination with just over 46 million visitors in 2018. Due to its proximity to Europe and Asia, luxurious resorts on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, a multitude of historical monuments and cultural diversity are the main aspects that make it a very popular destination.

When I first moved from South Africa to Turkey in 2015 there was a decline to tourism in Turkey due to many attacks by the Islamic State and political tension with Russia & the civil war in Syria which is 785 km’s away from Turkey. This influenced tourists from visiting but since then things have changed and tourism rates have started to increase again.

Almost everyone told me to be concerned about my safety. Someone even asked me ‘Why would you want to work in a Muslim country, “they” are dangerous’.

“They” are actually the most hospitable people in the world. Turkish people are really friendly but most have never been exposed to other races & cultures. I was born in a diverse country with people of all races and we have eleven official languages. Unfortunately Turkey is not the same. Most people don’t speak or understand english and some schools don’t even teach English – so communicating with turkish people is a bit difficult.

Is Turkey safe for solo female travelers

After spending a year and visiting the country 7 times between 2015 and 2019, I believe Turkey is safe.  There is so much you can do in Turkey like visiting popular coastal resorts, such as Antalya, Marmaris and Izmir.

Not only are these areas less populated but there is high police and military presence everywhere you go. All public access buildings like shopping malls and museums have airport type security x-ray scanners for bags and everyone is searched before entering. Traffic officers stop & search cars and check passports. I felt safer in Turkey than I do when I’m home in South Africa, although  we don’t even have terrorist attacks.

If you are planning a visit, avoid traveling to the southeatern region, particulary near the Syrian boarder. Avoid political demonstrations, be vigilant in crowded places and on public transport and keep an eye on the news. After arriving in Turkey call your consulate and ask them to send you updates via sms. Keep in mind that most consulates are in the capital city, Ankara. Always carry your passport or a copy because If police stop you and you don’t have any identification you can be arrested.

Important Contact Numbers:
1. Your countries consulate
2. Ambulance: 112
3. Police: 155 & Tourism Police: (0212) 5274503 (Istanbul only)
4. Fire: 110
5. Istanbul Ataturk Airport, Tel: (0212) 6636400

At the end of the day visiting is a personal choice and you should also keep in mind that anything can happen to you anytime, anywhere in the world.

Places to visit in Turkey

You could easily spend a lifetime exploring the historical sites and eating your way through Istanbul. But in the land of turquoise, tulips, and adventures, traveling through Turkey’s cities isn’t just easy due to their public transport, but it’s a must! Here are ten equally awesome places outside of the country’s cosmopolitan city that are sure to upgrade your itinerary.

Ankara

Ankara is the capital of and the second largest city in Turkey. At an altitude of 850m, Ankara is located in the very heart of the Eastern Edge of the great High Anatolian Plateau. The city is known for its beautiful and long spread yellow wheat fields, young volcanoes and a huge number of the Steppe. From the top of the Ankara Citadel, you can get the panoramic view of the city. With so many things to do in Ankara, I’d recommend spending a few days in the city.

Amasya

Solo Female Travel In Turkey

This 2,500-year-old Hittite town with an Ottoman spa on a river, and the tombs of some Pontic Greek kings should be on your list of places to see in Turkey. I passed through the area when I was driving from Tbilisi to Istanbul.

Bursa

Places to see in Turkey

Bursa, also known as the Green City of Turkey is famous for their beautiful flowers and mountains like Uludağ, most popular in winter for skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. The city has cultural and historical significance and it’s also home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. When in Bursa try the city’s signature dish: Īskender kebab.

Suggested Reading: Best Dishes to try in Turkey

Bodrum

Bodrum things to do

Photo: Shutterstock/Luciano Mortula – LGM

Located on the south-western corner of Anatolia, where the Aegean and Mediterranean meet. Famous for its stunning scenery, fabulous beaches, sybaritic resorts and clear blue waters that delight yachties, divers and windsurfers. Bodrum is one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world and the birthplace of Herodotus – an ancient Greek historian known for writing the book The Histories, a detailed record of his “inquiry” on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars. The name Bodrum means “cellar” or “dungeon” and the city was once used as a place of exile by both the Ottomans and Turkish Republic.

Things to do in Bodrum

Turkish Bath at Tarihi Bardakçı Hamam

For the most authentic Turkish bath experience visit this 1749 hamam, the oldest hamam on the Bodrum Peninsula.

Bodrum Antique Theatre

In ancient times, its capacity was about 13,000. Now, it’s a much more intimate 4,000. Find out if there’s a show on while you’re in town

Bodrum Castle

Built in 1402 and called the castle of the knights of Saint John, this famous landmark sits on the rugged coastline of the main harbour centre in Bodrum town. Although its ruins are not as extensive as other historical places in Turkey, the main towers and walls still stand. At certain times during the years, it is also the venue for cultural festivals.

Underwater Museum of Archaeology

Also sitting within the grounds of the castle, is this impressive museum, displaying shipwrecks uncovered from the seabed surrounding Turkey. The most famous undoubtedly is the Uluburin shipwreck dating from the late Bronze Age. More than 22,000 dives enabled many artefacts including money and personal possessions to be brought to the surface.

Go on a tour of Kos Island

Places to visit in Turkey

Kos is the island with the most beaches compared to the length of its coastline, all over Mediterranean. It offers crystal clear beaches for all tastes; large or small, sandy or with pebbles, quiet or cosmopolitan, organized or not, on Kos island you will find your summer paradise!

Cappadocia

Cappadocia things to do

Home to many caves sculpted  by thousands of years of erosion, these formations range from precarious pinnacles to stout pyramids. Read this before visiting Cappadocia for the first time. My tips include things to do, what to expect and costs in 2019.

Ephesus

Places to visit in Turkey

Santa Clause (Saint Nicholas) was born far from the North Pole, in Patara. And he’s not the only saint with connections to Turkey — the Virgin Mary’s resting place could be near Ephesus, while Saint Paul was from Tarsus in the south. Other Biblical figures include the Prophet Abraham, born in Şanlıurfa. And after the deluge, Noah may have run his ark aground at Mount Ararat.

Izmir

Places to see in Turkey

Pamukkale

Pamukkale things to do

The majestical region of Pamukkale has many things to do. An extraordinary solidified cascade of travertine formed by mineral-rich hot springs, it’s chalk-White basins and pool water glimmering with light. Take your swimming costume so you can have a dip in the Antique Pool, the once-sacred bathing area of the spa (said to be good for arthritic complaints).

Pergamon

Cities to visit in Turkey

Photo: Benh Lieu Song

Pergamon was an ancient city located in the Anatolia region, approximately 25 kilometres from the Aegean Sea in present-day Bergama, Izmir Province of Turkey. The city had great strategic value, since it overlooked the Caicus River Valley (modern name Bakırçay) which provided access from Pergamon to the Aegean coast

Things to see in Turkey

Photo: Ming-yen Hsu

Marmaris

Places to visit in Turkey

In 1522, Süleyman the Magnificent anchored the entire Turkish fleet in Marmaris harbor prior to besieging Rhodes. Today the port city offers some of the best anchorage on the coast, and its home to Turkey’s largest marina. Marmaris is also one of the Turkish Riviera’s celebrity resorts. There is a castle, dolphin therapy centre and a lively watersports culture on the blissful beach. Read about my Magical Marmaris adventure HERE.

Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers

Useful turkish phrases

Format : English {Turkish} (Pronunciation)

1. Hello. {Merhaba} (mehr hah bah)
2. What is your name? {Adınız nedir?} (ad uhn uhz ne deer)
3. My name is ______ . {Adım _______ .} (Ad uhm _____ .)
4. Please. {Lütfen.} (Luet fen)
5. Thank you. {Teşekkür ederim.} (teh shek uer eh der eem)
6. Yes. {Evet.} (eh vet)
7. No. {Hayır.} (Hah yuhr)
8. Excuse me. {Bakar mısınız?} (bah kar muh suh nuhz)
9. Do you speak English? {İngilizce biliyor musunuz?} (literally, “Do you know English?”)
10. I don’t understand. {Anlamıyorum} (An-la-muh-yoor-uhm)
11. Help! {İmdat!} (Im Daht !)
12. I need your help. {Yardımınıza ihtiyacım var.} (yahr duh muh nuh zah eeh tee yah juhm vahr)
13. It’s an emergency. {Acil durum.} (ah jeel doo room)
14. I’m lost. {Kayboldum.} (kahy bohl doom)
15. I need a doctor. {Bir doktora ihtiyacım var.} (beer dohk toh rah eeh tee yah jum vahr)

Get Insurance before traveling to Turkey

Use travel insurance while visiting Turkey so you are covered for theft and medical expenses. There are a lot of adventurous activities to do in Turkey, and it’s best to have peace of mind while diving, hiking and trying some of the best food in the world.

Find out why I recommend World Nomads, check out my World Nomads Insurance review.

5 Comments

  • Ouma Moeng
    04/17/2016 at 9:30 AM

    Turkey is also on my bucket list

  • Mehemet Altunbulduk
    04/08/2016 at 4:08 AM

    Thank you for sharing this. I live in Istanbul and I believe it’s relatively safe. Things like this happen everywhere

  • Lerato B
    03/23/2016 at 7:48 AM

    Totally agree!

  • Loren
    03/22/2016 at 5:29 PM

    I personally believe we cannot stop living and doing because of these attacks! So don’t cancel any trips 🙂

    Loren | http://www.minkys.co.za

  • Tumi Moremi
    03/21/2016 at 7:13 PM

    I agree. Anything can happen anywhere. The Paris attack is a good example.

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