Taiwan culture dos and donts: Giving gifts

Do’s and Don’ts: Culture and Customs of Turkey

In this article, we will explore the etiquette, customs, and destinations in Turkey, ensuring you have an unforgettable journey. So, let’s dive in!

Do's and Don'ts: Exploring the Culture of Turkey

Turkey, a country bridging the gap between Europe and Asia, is renowned for its rich history, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality. To truly immerse yourself in the Turkish experience, it’s crucial to grasp the do’s and don’ts of Turkish culture. In this article, we will explore the etiquette, customs, and destinations in Turkey, ensuring you have an unforgettable journey. So, let’s dive in!

Do's and Don'ts in Turkey

When traveling to a foreign country, understanding and respecting the local culture is essential. Turkey, with its diverse customs and traditions, demands a certain level of cultural awareness from visitors. By embracing the do’s and avoiding the don’ts of Turkish culture, you can make the most of your trip and leave a positive impression on the locals.

Learn Basic Turkish Phrases

While many Turks in tourist areas speak English, making an effort to learn some basic Turkish phrases can be appreciated by locals and enhance your travel experience.

Visit Local Markets

Explore local markets and bazaars to experience authentic Turkish culture. You can find unique crafts, spices, and traditional goods. Bargaining is common in these markets.

Participate in Traditional Activities

Try participating in traditional activities like a Turkish bath (hamam) or a Turkish coffee reading session. These experiences offer insights into Turkish customs and traditions.

Respect Elders

In Turkish culture, respect for elders is important. When meeting older people, use polite language and show deference.

Sample Traditional Drinks

Apart from Turkish tea and coffee, try traditional beverages like ayran (yogurt-based drink) and şalgam (fermented carrot juice). Exploring local drinks can be a delightful culinary adventure.

Respect Personal Space

While Turks are generally warm and hospitable, they also value personal space. Be mindful of not invading people's personal space, especially with new acquaintances.

Use Right Hand for Gestures

In Turkish culture, the left hand is traditionally associated with hygiene and is considered less appropriate for gestures like handing money or objects to others. Use your right hand for such interactions.

Take Off Shoes Indoors

When entering someone's home, it's polite to remove your shoes, as it's a sign of respect and cleanliness. Many Turkish households follow this custom.

Public Intoxication

Excessive public drinking or drunken behavior is generally frowned upon. While enjoying alcohol is not a problem, it's best to do so in moderation and at appropriate venues.

Pointing Feet

It is considered impolite to point your feet at people or religious objects, so be mindful of your body language when sitting.

Disrespect Religious Sites

Avoid being loud, wearing revealing clothing, or engaging in disrespectful behavior in and around religious sites. This includes not climbing on historic monuments or taking inappropriate photos.

Assuming Homogeneity

Turkey is a diverse country with varying levels of conservatism and modernity. Don't assume that everyone follows the same customs or beliefs, and be open to regional differences.

Disregard Traffic Rules

Turkey's traffic can be chaotic, and it's important to follow traffic rules and exercise caution when crossing the street. Jaywalking can be dangerous, and traffic violations can result in fines.

Ignore Hospitality

If you are invited to a Turkish home, it's customary to bring a small gift as a token of appreciation. Failing to do so may be seen as impolite.

Expect Western-Style Toilet Facilities Everywhere

In more rural or remote areas, you might encounter squat toilets instead of Western-style toilets. Be prepared for this possibility and carry tissues or wet wipes.

Photography in Sensitive Areas

Be cautious about taking photos in military zones, near government buildings, and airports, as doing so may lead to legal issues.

Engage in PDA During Ramadan

During the holy month of Ramadan, it's best to avoid public displays of affection. Eating, drinking, or showing romantic affection in public during fasting hours can be considered disrespectful.

Ignore Local Customs

Turkey is a diverse country with distinct customs in different regions. Be open to and respectful of these regional differences, whether related to food, clothing, or social norms.

Where To Stay?

HostelWorld– There are many options for accomodation inside Turkey, Check Hostelworld for the best options. If you want to meet other nomads or travelers, hostels are the way to go.

Additional Details on Turkey's Culture and Travel Tips


The official language of Turkey is Turkish. Learning a few basic Turkish phrases can be very helpful and show respect to the locals. Many people in tourist areas speak English, but in more remote regions, you might find fewer English speakers.


Additional Details on Turkey's Culture and Travel Tips

POSCA008 Aya Sofya, Istanbul, Turkey

Bargaining is common in Turkey, especially in markets and bazaars. When shopping for souvenirs, be prepared to negotiate prices to get the best deal. However, be polite and respectful during the process.


Tipping, known as “bahşiş” in Turkish, is customary. In restaurants, leaving a tip of around 10-15% of the bill is common. Tipping is also appreciated in hotels, for tour guides, and for other services.

Health and Hygiene

Drink bottled water to avoid stomach issues, and be cautious about street food quality and hygiene. It’s advisable to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies.

Cultural Events

If you have the chance, attend cultural events and festivals. Turkey has a rich cultural heritage, and witnessing events like the Whirling Dervishes ceremony or local celebrations can be a memorable experience.

Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque

When visiting the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque in Istanbul, be mindful of prayer times and special events. These sites are active places of worship, and it’s essential to be respectful and quiet during prayers.

Common Questions about Turkey CULTURE DOS AND DONTS

While not mandatory, it is customary to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home in Turkey as a sign of respect and cleanliness.

It’s best to dress modestly when visiting religious sites in Turkey. It is recommended to cover your shoulders and knees, so shorts and sleeveless tops may not be appropriate in these settings.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

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