Just when you thought the closest you’d get to the Mediterranean this year is that years-old paddling pool stashed in a cupboard, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece and Spain have all reopened their borders to travellers. And now Turkey, too, has started welcoming international visitors again.
Back in June, Turkish government began reopening international flight routes on a country-by-country basis. Regular flights are running to and from nations including the UK, the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Qatar, Greece, Austria, Croatia and Singapore.
Even if direct flights haven’t resumed from all countries, air passengers of all nationalities will be allowed in as long as they meet standard Turkish immigration rules. British travellers should note, however, that as of October 3, Turkey will be removed from England’s official ‘travel-corridor’ list – meaning they will have to quarantine for 14 days on their return home.
For the moment, all new arrivals in Turkey are being examined for symptoms and asked for contact and accommodation details when they land. Anyone showing symptoms will be asked to take a test and may be quarantined if positive.
As to what life is actually like on the ground, new health guidelines for all hotels and resort facilities have been implemented across the country. Face masks and temperature checks must be provided at entrances, while those epic breakfast buffets you get in many all-inclusive hotels have been suspended. And anyone who wants to take part in a group tour will have to act fast: numbers are being strictly capped.
Face masks are also required in public in all 81 Turkish provinces including Istanbul. In the majority of provinces this means all public places, including streets, shops, restaurants and public transport. Anyone caught breaking that rule (including clueless tourists) can be fined 900 lira (£105, $131, A$189).
But even if the experience might feel a little different, nothing will change the beauty of Turkey’s pristine beaches and lofty walking trails, nor its lip-smacking cuisine. Sounds a bit better than that paddling pool, eh?
Remember, many countries are still warning against all non-essential travel and some are quarantining all overseas arrivals, including their own returning citizens. Check all the relevant restrictions before you think about travelling.