Turkish Mountain Bike Delight
Turkey, Bike - Semi Slick, 9 days - from £845 (land only) - from €995 (land only) - from $1,395 (land only)
With a land area of more than three quarters of a million square kilometres, Turkey is a huge country. It is situated at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea and is effectively a bridge between Europe and Asia. To the north, Turkey has a 1500 kilometre-long Black Sea coastline, whilst to the south lies the Mediterranean. The country has land borders with Greece, Bulgaria, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Armenia and Georgia. Quite naturally, a country of this size is comprised of a great variety of landscape. Generally, there is a coastal lowland region and higher plateau-land in the centre of the country, becoming increasingly higher and more rugged towards the east. In the far eastern part of the country, in the district of Eastern Anatolia, Mount Ararat rises to 5165m/16945ft. With a relatively high average altitude of between 1500 and 2000 metres, this is a dramatic region, with long cold winters and warm summers. Crops do not grow well and much of the farming effort is directed at the herding of livestock – cattle in the lower valleys and sheep and goats on the higher slopes. Turkey's Mediterranean shore, called the Turquoise Coast, is nearly 1600 km (994 miles) long, scattered with fine-sand dotted with beaches and picturesque ruins. The Toros Mountains form a dramatic backdrop along much of the coast, often dropping steeply right into the sea.
The time in Turkey is GMT +2 hours
Turkish is part of the Altaic family of languages and is widely spoken across much of central Asia, with true ‘standard’ Turkish spoken in Turkey itself. In tourist regions of Turkey, English is widely spoken, though not by everyone. In remoter regions, English is less widely used so we recommend you try to learn some simple Turkish phrases and greetings. Attempts to speak in the local language will always be appreciated and is all part of the fun. We recommended basic phrase books such as Berlitz and Lonely Planet.
The climate varies according to region and altitude. In Istanbul it can be hot and humid during the summer months with temperatures regularly approaching 30 degrees centigrade. In the mountainous areas to the east of the country, the air is drier and the temperature range much greater. Although situated some 1700 metres higher than Istanbul, temperatures in Van can be quite similar around the high 20’s centigrade/ 80s Fahrenheit. Temperatures decrease with altitude at approximately 6 degrees C per 1000 metres or 3 degrees of Fahrenheit per 1000 ft. On the Tekke peninsular of the Mediteranean coast, it is extremely hot (up to 38ºC/100ºF) in high summer and a more pleasant 25ºC/77ºF in May, June and October. This part of Turkey enjoys one of the most favourable climates in the Mediterranean with 300 sunshine days a year. However, short lived storms sometimes with thunder and heavy rain, can occur.
Turkey's unit of currency is the Turkish New Lira (TRY). For up to date exchange rates visit: www.xe.com. It is not necessary and not desirable to purchase Turkish Lira outside the country. Inflation here is very high and the nearer to the point of spend you obtain your Lira the better. One of the easiest and often cheapest ways of obtaining cash is from ATMs using credit or debit cards. If you take your travel money in cash this is best carried in the form of US dollars which are readily exchanged throughout the country. Credit cards can be used to purchase some goods and services in Istanbul and many large towns and are particularly useful for more expensive souvenirs.
A passport with 6 months remaining validity is required. Visas are required by nationals of the USA, UK, Australia, and most EC countries. These can be obtained at the airport on arrival. Nationals of other countries not mentioned above should check the visa requirement with the relevant embassy in their own countries.
You should attend your own doctor and dentist for a check-up. No special vaccinations are required for Turkey. UK residents should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before travelling. The EHIC is normally valid for three to five years and covers any medical treatment that becomes necessary during your trip, because of either illness or an accident. The card gives access to state-provided medical treatment only, and you'll be treated on the same basis as an 'insured' person living in the country you're visiting. Remember, this might not cover all the things you'd expect to get free of charge from the NHS in the UK. You may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care. You can obtain an EHIC from the Department of Health by phone, online, or at the post office.
Additional Sources of Information
Turkey. Loney Planet Travel Survival Kit.
The Rough Guide to Turkey.
Turkish Odyssey. A Traveler’s Guide to Turkey and Turkish Culture. Serif Yenin.
Landscapes in Panoramic Turkey – from Istanbul to Ararat. Gerold Yong.
The Trekkers Handbook. Tom Gilchrist.
Fodor’s Exploring Turkey.
Turkish Riviera: Antalya - Side - Alanya
Freytag and Berndt. 1:150,000 scale
Lonely Planet - www.lonelyplanet.com
Rough Guides - www.roughguides.com