Turkey – practically

Visa

Couldn’t be easier. Check this site, fill the form, pay and print your visa. It doesn’t take more than 10 minutes. I got mine sitting in my tent 🙂

Border crossings

Greece – Turkey: between the towns of Kipi and Ipsala. No problems, even if on the Turkish side you need to go through many offices and show your documents.

Turkey – Iran: between the towns of Gurbulak and Bazargan. Everything goes very quickly and without any problems. It actually was faster then when entering Turkey.

Roads

The road E84 from Greece has a wide hard shoulder and until Tekirdag is quite empty. After Tekirdag the traffic becomes heavier but it’s still safe. Somewhere between Marmaraereglisi and Silivri, the road E84 heads North and what remains is called D100. It’s a very narrow and bad road with very heavy traffic and no hard shoulder.

Entering Istanbul: is quite horrible. I confirm other cyclists’ advice to keep as close to the coast as possible. Leaving the main road will lead you through some parks and waterfront paths but you will also have to meander through some local roads and still use busy roads in between. Once you get to Kennedy Avenue, you can consider yourself lucky. The rest will be easier.

Leaving Istanbul: ferry to Bursa (Mudanya to be exact). Nice and easy. No fees for the bikes.

Generally speaking the roads in Turkey are in good condition and usually have a wide hard shoulder. However, Turkey is a big country, there are many people, many cars and many lorries. It’s not that easy to find smaller roads. If you find them, they will be narrow, in worse condition but with almost no traffic and with much better views.

Buses

I used three buses from Pamukkale to the Iranian border. All three were late but the weather conditions were difficult due to heavy snowfall, so they can probably be excused for that. Buses are modern and comfortable. They will put your bike in the luggage space with no extra fees but sometimes with a scowl. Once I had to remove he front wheel. Bus stations are often located outside of towns with minibuses going to the centre.

Other
  • You can have a cup of tea absolutely everywhere.

  • In Turkey everybody wants to know where you come from. So your conversations may look like this:‘Which way to the centre?’, ‘Where are you from?’ Or:’Do you have soup?’, ‘Where are you from?’

  • There are lots of dogs everywhere. All of them are XL size. However, when you shout ‘Go home’, they seem to understand and I wasn’t eaten by any of them.

  • Turkish sweets! Pistachio heaven!

  • Lots of ATMs in towns and cities. They are often booths, not just a window in a wall. You can use cards almost everywhere.

  • They have museum cards here. They can be valid either in all the country or in a specific region. If you want to visit many sites, consider buying one.

  • In hotels you, not only can, but should bargain over the price. If you want cheap accommodation and you’re not very picky, there are hotels that will give you a roof over your head (and that’s pretty much all that they offer) but on a reasonable price (about 30 liras). You will find them near the main square/road of each town. Just ask the locals for a cheap hotel. No, you won’t find them on booking.com

  • In Istanbul, apart from the famous Bisiklet Gezgini, there is a little street packed with bicycle shops in Eminonu (a side street of Ankara Cd.). There are also good Internet shops but you need to understand Turkish (or ask some local friend for help).

  • People are very hospitable and helpful. I was invited to peoples homes for the night and offered some homemade goodies many times and it was always very natural for them. I almost never paid for tea while cycling. Hospitality is an obligation taken to heart here.

Dictionary

Because of some particularities regarding the pronunciation and so that I’m not accused of misinforming you, check this site here. I will just give you some words connected to cycling.

bisiklet – bicycle

lastik – tire

sehir merkezi – centre

cadir – tent

bahce – garden

soguk – cold

sicak – hot/warm

The note:

Merhaba,

Polonyaliyim. Turkiye icinde bisiklet turu yapiyorum. Burada bir geceligine cadir kurabilir miyim?

Tesekkur Ederim

Hello,

I’m from Poland. I’m cycling around Turkey. Could I sleep in the tent here for one night?

Thank you

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