Traveling to Turkey During Covid-19

Kevin and I traveled to Turkey in August 2021. We began our trip in Bodrum, where we explored for a few days before boarding a classic Turkish gulet for 7 nights. Following our boating trip around the Turkish islands, we explored Istanbul and Cappadocia.

We loved our time in Turkey and don’t feel like Covid put a damper on our exploration! We found the entry requirements easy to navigate, and overall thought their policies were reasonable and easy to accomodate while being tourists.

While Covid regulations are changing frequently, we’ve put together a post with details about traveling to Turkey during Covid-19. We always recommend checking US and foreign government webistes before traveling. Additionally, we booked travel insurance through Allianz for our trip and felt secure with the policy we chose!

Entry into Turkey

There are several ways to gain access to Turkey! Compared to some countries, Turkey is quite easy to access during Covid-19. Here’s what’s required for entry to Turkey:

  • Full vaccination prior to 14 days before travel
  • A negative PCR test within 72 hours of travel to Turkey
  • A negative rapid antigen test within 48 hours of travel to Turkey

For children under six years old, no proof of vaccination or testing is required to enter Turkey. There are some additional restrictions for people traveling from certain countries. For people traveling from places such as Iran, Egypt, South Africa, India, and several others, a negative PCR test within 72 hours is required.

What to Expect

The Turkish government has implemented some restrictions for travelers and residents. Here are some of the details:

  • Facemasks – According to the Turkish officials, visitors and residents must wear facemasks at all times other than actively eating/drinking. While this might be the official rule, Kevin and I didn’t feel like mask-wearing was super enforced in Bodrum or Istanbul. We wore masks on public transit, while at the markets, while indoors at tourist destinations, and while in local shops. However, outdoors and around the hotel we weren’t required to wear masks at all times. Bodrum, being a coastal village, felt much more relaxed than Istanbul mask-wise. We didn’t feel restricted by mask requirements during our visit.
  • Curfews – There were curfews in effect for locals, but not visitors/tourists. We didn’t feel restricted by time at all! I think those have since been eliminated, but mostly impacted nightclubs.
  • Restaurants – We dined in restaurants as normal! Restuarants seemed to be open as normal during our visit. We enjoyed exploring restaurants and bars around Bodrum and Istanbul and don’t feel like we missed out by traveling in 2021.
  • Tourist activities – We were able to visit top tourist destinations with no availability issues. Indoor tourism required masks, but when walking outdoors at any of the top tourist sites, we were able to enjoy the fresh air and scenery.
  • Public transit – Public transit was in full opeartion during our visit. Masks were required while using public transit.

What You Need for Your Visit

When we traveled to Turkey, there were a few documents we had to secure before heading to the airport. First, we purchased our Turkish visa, and secondly we completed the Turkey Entry Form prior to departing. We also carried our official Covid-19 vaccination cards.

Helpful Resources

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended to share our experiences. We are not guaranteeing the experience you may have, and we understand that risks and regulations are changing rapidly. Additionally, these resources are meant to be a starting point, but they do not cover everything you need to know to consider, plan, or travel to a foreign country during a pandemic. As always, traveling is at your own discretion and risk.

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