Turkish people are welcoming and are generally very kind to children and are likely to dote on them in restaurants and hotels
Turkey possesses some iconic and memorable sights and there are some incredible beaches and scenery together with a great selection of family friendly activities such as water sports, water parks and aquariums. There are also plenty of baby and toddler friendly accommodation options. The most popular resorts include Kusadasi, Bodrum, Gumbet, Icmeler and Marmaris although there are many more smaller resort towns which are fantastic for families.
On the down side, the number of play areas and children’s attractions lags far behind Western Europe and changing areas in restrooms are virtually non existent except in large department stores where they are usually in the ladies toilets. Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country and is quite moderate and liberal. It makes for a great place to shop and there are loads of fake designer labels for sale in the tourist areas and markets. One further thing to note is that Turkish shop and restaurant owners can be very pushy in trying to get you to buy something. Don’t be afraid to say no and walk away. The local currency is Lira.
When to Go
April, May, the beginning of June, the end of September and October are the best times to visit Turkey with a baby or toddler. The temperatures are more manageable at these times and it is less crowded. Summer (mid-June, July, August, through mid-September) is quite hot though usually rainless, and cool inland in the evenings. Seaside resorts are crowded and prices are at their peak, but the cities are less so. Skin can burn very easy in Turkey and coastal breezes can make it feel cooler than it is so be very careful if you are taking a baby or toddler there at the hottest time of year. For average temperature charts for Turkey, click here.
The month of August will see a lot of people fasting for Ramadan although you will be able to eat and drink during the day in the tourist areas. Immediately following Ramadan is the Eid-ul Fitr, a three-day national holiday where many offices and businesses close. Restaurants, bars and cafes will generally remain open during this time.
Citizens of non EU countries should apply online for a Turkish e-visa in advance of travel. If you are going to one of the coastal resort towns, you will most likely fly to Izmir on the west coast (98km from Kusadasi and close to Selcuk/ ephesus/ pamukkale), Milas Bodrum Airport (35km from Bodrum and Gumbet) or Dalaman (which serves Oludeniz, Marmaris & Icmeler). A flight to Turkey from the UK and Ireland takes over 4 hours and the time there is two hours ahead.
Internal flights are the best option for travelling longer distances with a baby or toddler.
You can get around turkey by bus or train but distances can be great and trains services are not well developed and tend to be slow. There are also many coach companies offering tours and if you are going on a package holiday your holiday representative will be able to tell you about the local touring options.
Taxis are available in all towns and cities although it will be difficult to find one with a car seat unless you pre arrange it (see our individual destination guides for local taxi services providing car seats).
Most beach resorts have Dolmus services. These are small mini vans which offer regular services around the resorts and between towns and popular beaches. You will be able to find out about local dolmus services at your hotel.
You will be spoiled for choice in Turkey with its cuisine and there are plenty of options for toddlers, even if there are not many restaurants with kids menus.
Just make sure that you never allow babies or toddlers to ingest the water. Turkish tummy is famous for a reason so it should be bottled water all the way! Some restaurants will offer high chairs, particularly in the tourist resorts but it is always best to take a travel fold up high chair with you just in case.
Turkish cuisine combines Mediterranean, Central Asian, Caucasian, and Arabic influences, and is extremely rich. Beef, lamb, chicken, eggplant (aubergine), onion, lentil, bean, tomato, garlic, and cucumber are the primary foods.
Flatbread with hummus is a great snack option for babies and toddlers and restaurants will generally accommodate you and prepare non spicy rice, chicken and veg dishes for little ones. Pide or Turkish pizza is another great option for younger visitors. Restaurant staff will not mind you bringing in food for your baby and will usually be willing and heat bottles and food for you if required.