Just when you thought the closest you’d get to the Mediterranean was 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.
The Turkish government has started reopening international flight routes on a country-by-country basis. Regular flights are running to and from nations including the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, 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.
For the moment, all arrivals in Turkey must present a negative test result from within the past 72 hours when they land. Due to concerns over virus variants, travellers from the UK, Brazil, Denmark and South Africa must quarantine for ten days in a government facility (and will be tested again afterwards).
As to what life is actually like on the ground, most non-essential businesses and attractions in Turkey are still open. A nightly curfew is in place between 9pm and 5am on weekdays, and restaurants are allowed to open from 7am to 7pm.
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.