Coronavirus: travel to Turkey in 2021

Coronavirus: what are the new measures for March 1st?

As the world continues to face the global Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), life in Turkey is gradually resuming its course since March 1, 2021, by allowing the reopening of restaurants and by relaxing the restrictions already in force.  But then, can we travel to Turkey? What are the latest restrictions?

With the number of cases falling across Turkey, and with more than 10% of the vaccinated population, this is what travelers should expect when they visit Turkey.

How to travel to Turkey

Travelers must have a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival in Turkey.

Some countries, such as France, also require a negative PCR test on the return.  This PCR test can be carried out in hospitals or laboratories authorized by the State, but it is also possible to carry out it at the airport (for the city of Istanbul, Istanbul-İGA International Airport, and Sabiha Gökçen Airport are concerned). It is strongly advised to go there 5 hours in advance knowing that the results are delivered up to 3 hours and that it will be necessary to carry out the check-in before the return flight.

In Turkey, the price of the PCR test is 250 Turkish Lira or less than 30 Euros. Payments by credit card or cash are accepted.

List of laboratories offering the PCR test: https://istanbul.consulfrance.org/Liste-des-laboratoires-proposant-le-test-PCR

Curfew and containment: what is it?

A curfew from Monday to Saturday, from 9 pm to 5 am is still relevant for residents in Turkey but it does not apply to tourists.

A total curfew on Sunday remains in force for residents in Turkey. Bakeries, butchers, vegetable merchants, grocery stores, and supermarkets can stay open between 10 am and 5 pm for extra shopping, on foot, and close to home.  This measure does not apply to tourists either.

Reopening of restaurants, cafes, and bars

Since March 1st, Turkey has entered a phase of «return to normal life», and currently in Istanbul, restaurants, cafes, and bars are open every day except Sunday from 7 am to 7 pm, at 50% capacity.

Only very high-risk areas are not affected by this new measure. The situation will be reassessed every two weeks. You can consult the map at the bottom of the page on the government website: https://covid19.saglik.gov.tr/

For dinners, it is possible to eat in the restaurant of your hotel or to opt for delivery via applications such as Yemeksepeti or Getir.

Visiting museums, monuments, and places of worship

Museums and monuments are open for visits all week except one day, usually on Mondays, due to maintenance. Mosques and churches are open every day of the week.

Since tourists are exempt from confinement on Sundays, visits are still allowed on this day.

The conditions required for transport travel

To facilitate the monitoring and management of the health crisis, the Turkish authorities have developed a “Hayat Eve Sığar” (HES) application and registration using a code that can be obtained via the application of the same name or by sending an SMS to “2023” from a Turkish number (Turkcell, Vodafone, Türk Telekom).

In addition, for foreign nationals without a national mobile phone number, the HES code can be received with passport information by sending an SMS to +90 555 944 38 21: HES, nationality, passport serial number, year of birth, and surname, succinctly and with spaces.

Thus, if you want to take public transport (bus, metro, ferry, tram, etc.) during your stay in Turkey, you will need a transport ticket (Istanbul Kart for the city of Istanbul, strictly individual) and a HES code.

For intercity transport (planes, buses, sea shuttles, etc.), a reservation, a transport ticket, and a HES code are required.

“How to obtain a HES code?” explained in detail: https://hayatevesigar.saglik.gov.tr/hes-eng.html

Activate the HES code on the Istanbul Kart: https://kisisellestirme.istanbulkart.istanbul/

For more information, do not hesitate to consult the official websites of the consulates and embassies of your country in Turkey:

France: Istanbul.consulfrance.org

Belgium: turkey.diplomatie.belgium.be

Switzerland: https://www.eda.admin.ch/countries/turkey/fr/home/representations/ambassade/consulat-general.html

Canada: https://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/turkey-turquie/

The word of the agency to the travelers

As Too Istanbul, we are always happy to offer you activities and stays in Turkey, alternating classic tours in the heart of history and off-the-beaten-path visits, in the company of passionate and experienced speakers. Following these new measures, it is now possible to travel to Turkey and discover again its historical treasures, its gastronomy, and its welcoming population.

We also accompany you for a serene organization of your trip with airport transfers, a reservation service in establishments selected for you (hotels and restaurants), and a private concierge service on request.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

See you soon!

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