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Turkey Goes Into Partial Lockdown – What It Means For Travelers

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Turkey is seeing a number of new lockdown rules, curfews and other regulations as the nation deals with a second wave of cases throughout the country.

turkey daily cases

While Turkey’s rules are not as heavy-handed as some in the area, like Greece for example that requires a text message to be sent to authorities before leaving the house, there still are some things all tourists should be aware of.

Turkey certainly has been one of the most popular destinations for pandemic-era travel. They were one of the first countries to reopen back in June and they were also one of the first countries to remove all covid-related entry requirements.

For months Turkey has been allowing all nations to visit, plus allowing tourists to enter with no quarantines and no testing. Because of this, many travelers who found themselves locked out of other countries decided to go to Turkey instead.

hagia sofia istanbul turkey

Travel Off Path saw a huge influx in our readers reporting being in Turkey or changing their travel plans to now include Turkey, which is why we want to cover the latest changes happening throughout the nation.

Please note: These the are new rules and regulations at time of publishing. Rules could change at a moment’s notice, either getting stricter, or seeing restrictions dropped once again.

turkey attractions

Effective November 20th, 2020, Turkey will see a number of new measures come into effect, expected to last until December 31, 2020.

They include:

Age-Related Curfew Times

Residents over 60: Permitted outside between 10 am and 1 pm

Residents under 20: Permitted outside between 1 pm to 4 pm

covid in istanbul

Weekend Curfews

Curfew in effect on the weekends for all that runs from Saturday at 8 pm until Sunday at 10 am, and then Sunday from 8 pm to Monday at 5 am.

*Curfew Note For Tourists: The Ministry of the Interior government page states “Foreign tourists who are temporarily in our country within the scope of touristic activities will be exempted from the curfew restrictions.”

masks istanbul mandatory

No More Dining In

Restaurants will be closed for dining in but will allow take-away and delivery during certain times.

  • Pick-up/Take-Away will be permitted daily from 10 am to 8 pm
  • Delivery ONLY can still run after 8 pm

Some hotels/resorts have alerted guests that they will continue to offer dine-in services to people staying on the property only.

turkey resort town antalya

Shops, Stores and Services with Reduced Hours

Shopping centres, malls, salons, etc will still remain open under reduce hours, from 10 am to 8 pm

Businesses like cinemas, theatres, pool halls, hookah lounges, arcades, sports halls, etc will close until further notice.

Will flights still be going in and out of Turkey?

Yes. Istanbul is a major world hub airport and flights will continue to go in and out daily. However, of course, flight availability could become reduced if the restrictions last a long time or more strict ones are made, as the demand may go down

Can I still enter Turkey as a tourist?

Yes. From all of the new updates, we cannot find any changes to the entry rules or requirements. No tests or quarantines have been mandated at this point.

Hotel stays are still permitted. Life inside the resorts will not be hindered much by the current restrictions.

To see all of Turkey’s entry rules, see our guide “Turkey Covid-19 Entry Requirements”

antalya turkey

Can I leave my hotel after curfew?

If you are going to the airport to take a fight, in transit to another part of Turkey, changing hotels, or of course for official reasons like medical attention, then yes you will be permitted. While the curfews do not directly include tourists, they will still be greatly affected by it, as nothing will be open, so there will essentially be nowhere to go after 8:00 pm.

Can I move around Turkey?

At this point there are no intercity or interstate travel restrictions for tourists.

Are masks mandatory?

Yes. Masks are mandatory in all public places, both indoor and outdoor.

istanbul covid

Can I still transit at Istanbul to obtain a PCR test for my destination country that requires one?

Yes. Thousands of people a day are using the PCR testing service at Istanbul airport to obtain proof of negative results they might need to enter a country that requires it for entry.

Istanbul Airport PCR Test: Everything You Need To Know

All in all, Turkey’s restrictions that are expected to last until the end of 2020 are not a make or break for their tourism.

It seems as if Turkey is making a deliberate effort to protect tourism above all other priorities.

Shops are still open, hotels are permitting leisure stays, and flights are still going in and out. Let’s say for example a family takes a vacation at a resort in Antalya, they might not notice any restrictions at all inside their tourism bubble.

However, with mandatory mask wearing, all stores closing in the evening, restaurants only allowing take-out, and many citizens having their movement restricted, it’s unlikely that a ‘normal’ tourist experience will be had off hotel property.

Read More: See which countries are open with no testing and no quarantines, more about Istanbul's PCR testing clinic at the airport, and which companies offer travel insurance that covers covid. 

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


Jeanette

Saturday 19th of December 2020

Hi Thom, I was just în Turkey last week (arrived the Sunday of the first weekend lockdown and left on Monday after the second one). Assuming nothing changes, in theory most tourist stuff is "open" during the week,at least in Sultanahmet and Taksim. The problem is more the kind of people it's drawing - almost every tourist I encountered was either straight up a virus denier or at least a skeptic, and a lot were going out of their way to go so far as to intentionally sneeze on people – which is gross even without a pandemic – as if it were a purity test or something. The weekend lockdowns, which I imagine are there to stay for awhile, would also be rather difficult to deal with in terms of food outside of heavy tourist areas such as Sultanahmet if your hotel doesn't have food.

In the end we were planning on staying there for Christmas but moved on to North Macedonia as I didn't want my diabetic partner who was joining me for Christmas to have to deal with the hygiene issues from the other tourists. So far we feel like it's been a good choice, and we do plan on watching as the situation develops and possibly return in January.

Thom

Saturday 19th of December 2020

Thanks a lot for the info and clarifications. I know you update all articles regularly, bus are there any news about new restrictions or extension of the lockdown/curfew? I'm going there mid-january and wonder if the situation will change by then - for the better or for the worse!

Jeanette Brickner

Monday 30th of November 2020

I'm sure ou guys are working on it, but there were new restrictions announced today. I'm flying there on Sunday and I eagerly await your article or update because it's hard to get info at the moment. Thanks for keeping us all up to date on everything!

Leena

Tuesday 24th of November 2020

Is health insurance mandatory for all tourists?

Kashlee Kucheran

Tuesday 24th of November 2020

I don't believe it is required for entry, but everyone should have it during these times

Christian

Sunday 22nd of November 2020

Too bad that Turkey is following the path of many of its European neighbors. Traveling to Turkey without any entry requirement is nice, but quite useless once inside the country when everything is closed. Mexico definitely stands out as the best country to vacation to.