Accommodation in Turkey ranges from 5-star hotels to simple tents set on a large plateau. Therefore, the prices also vary enormously.
There are 5-star hotels in all major cities and tourist resorts, many of which belong to international hotel chains such as Hilton, Sheraton, Ritz-Carlton, Conrad, to name a few. Many of them are concrete blocks, but some, especially those outside the cities, are bungalows with private gardens and swimming pools.
If you want to go on a package holiday to a Mediterranean beach resort, you will certainly find better prices if you book from home rather than in Turkey itself. The difference is considerable, compared to what you would pay if you booked at home, you could pay double if you just go through the resort.
Hostels and guesthouses
Youth hostels are not widespread, there are a few in Istanbul, mainly around Sultanahmet Square where St. Sophia’s Church and the Blue Mosque are located, and even fewer are recognised by Hostelling International (HI, formerly International Youth Hostel Federation, IYHF). However, guesthouses and guesthouses (pansiyon) offer cheaper accommodation than hotels, replacing the need for youth hostels for inexpensive accommodation, regardless of the age of visitors. Please note that pansiyon is the word in Turkish that is also used for small hotels without a star rating, so a place with this name does not automatically mean it must be very cheap (expect up to 50 YTL per day for each person). Bed-and-breakfast rooms also usually fall under the word pansiyon, as most of them offer breakfast (which is not always included in the price, so do your research before deciding whether to stay there).
Unique in the country, Olympos, southwest of Antalya, is known for its guesthouses that welcome visitors in wooden tree houses or shared wooden dormitories.
It is possible to rent an entire house with two rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom and the necessary furniture such as beds, chairs, a table, a cooker, pots, pans, usually a refrigerator and sometimes even a TV. Four or more people can easily be accommodated in these houses, which are called separate hotels and are mainly found in the coastal towns of Marmara and the northern Aegean, which are frequented more by Turkish families than by foreigners. They are usually flats located in a low-rise apartment building. They can be rented for up to 25 YTL per day (not per person, that’s the daily price for the whole house!), depending on the location, the season and the length of your stay (the longer you stay, the less you pay per day).
Öğretmenevi – House of the Teacher
Like the statues of Atatürk and the crescent and star-shaped flags carved into the mountainsides, the öğretmenevi (“House of the Teacher”) is an integral part of the Turkish landscape. These state-run establishments, which exist in almost every city in Turkey, serve as affordable hostels for travelling educators and – since everyone is welcome if there is room – for those travelling on a teacher’s budget (approx. 35TRY/person, WIFI and hot water available, breakfast (Khavalti) 5TRY). For the most part, these guesthouses are dull affairs, 70s concrete boxes usually painted pink and located in some of the less interesting areas of the city. To find the professor’s house in a city, ask for öğretmenevi or use the address search engine at www.ogretmenevim.com.
Recently, Bugday launched a project called TaTuTa (acronym of the first syllables of Tarım-Turizm-Takas: Agriculture-Tourism-Barter [of knowledge]), a kind of WWOOF-ing that connects farmers practising organic or ecological farming with people interested in organic farming. Farmers participating in TaTuTas share a spare room in their house (or a farm building) with visitors who, in return, help them work in their garden. To learn more about TaTuTa, see [www].
Camping and RV-camping
There are many private properties on the Turkish coast whose owners rent out their property for campers. These campsites, called kamping in Turkish, have basic facilities such as tap water, toilets, tree shade (which is especially important in the dry and hot summers on the west and south coasts) and some provide electricity for each tent via individual lines. It is not always permitted to pitch a tent inside towns and outside campsites. You should therefore always ask the local administrator (muhtar village chief and/or jandarma gendarme in villages, belediye communities and/or polite local police in towns) if there is a suitable place nearby to pitch your tent. You may pitch your tent in the forest without permission unless the area is protected as a national park, bioreserve, wildlife sanctuary, natural heritage site or because of some other environmental issue. Regardless of whether it is a protected area or not, it is in any case forbidden to light fires in the forest outside designated fireplaces in recreation areas (read “picnic”).
Shops selling camping equipment are available but hard to find as they are located in alleyways, basements of large shopping centres or simply where you least expect to find them. Also, unless you are sure you can get everything you need locally, it is best to pack your bags if you plan to camp. In small shops in non-metropolitan towns, the price of most items on offer is practically negotiable – it is not uncommon for shopkeepers to charge TRY 30 for fuel for the camping cooker when it costs TRY 15 or less in another shop in a nearby town.
Caravan/motorhome parks are not as numerous as they used to be; few, if any, remain from the days when hippies roamed the Turkish streets in their vans – the most famous of which, Ataköy Caravan Park, known to motorhome enthusiasts for its privileged location in the city of Istanbul, has a long history (but there is another in operation a few kilometres away in the western suburbs of the city). However, caravanners can stay at numerous rest areas along the highways and roads, or virtually anywhere they see fit. Filling water tanks and draining waste water seem to be the most important.