Turkey is located at the crossroads of eastern Europe, western Asia, the Middle East, and the eastern Mediterranean. So it is no wonder you may have a tough time pinpointing exactly where it is on a map!
Looking for an exotic holiday destination and found yourself wondering “Which country is located on both sides of the world?” – look no further than Turkey. One thing is for sure, this is a nation where continents and cultures intersect. This transcontinental country serves as a gateway to both Asia and Europe. It is a unique holiday destination that will surprise and enchant you.
Technically considered a Eurasian nation, this country’s total border length of approximately 6,440 kilometres is shared with a number of geographic areas. These include Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Greece, Bulgaria, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and (deep breath!) the Aegean Sea. This country even shares a few kilometres of border with Azerbaijan.
If you’re considering a trip to Turkey, it may interest you to know that the country is located:
- A 2.5-hour flight to the southeast from Berlin.
- A 3-hour flight toward the south from Moscow.
- A nearly 4-hour flight to the southeast from London.
- An 11-hour flight to the east from New York.
- A 14-hour flight to the west from Shanghai.
Here you can see a detailed map of Turkey showing its exact location and the surrounding geography:
On your way, your most likely point of entry will be to fly into one of Turkey’s many airports. Many people choose to fly into either Istanbul or Ankara. Istanbul has 2 international airports and is one of the biggest aviation hubs in the world.
On the other hand, if you’re heading to a relaxing beach holiday in the Turkish Riviera, your best bet would be to catch a flight directly to Antalya, Dalaman or Izmir.
Of course, as the border is shared with 8 other countries, there are plenty of ways to enter by land too.
From Greece, you can enter through:
If you’re coming from Bulgaria, you can pass through:
- Kapitan Andreevo–Kapıkule
- Malko Tǎrnovo–Aziziye
The land border access points with Georgia are:
From Iran, you can enter through:
It’s important to know that the land borders with Armenia, Syria and Iraq are not currently open to travellers, so you will need to plan your entry through another point.
Is Turkey in Europe?
It is sometimes unclear what continent Turkey is in. Because it shares a border with European countries, you may think the country belongs to the European continent. However, only 5 per cent of its landmass is in Europe!
The European region of Turkey is called Thrace and is located on the Balkan Peninsula, bordering Bulgaria and Greece. More than 10 per cent of the Turkish population lives in Thrace. This is even though it comprises such a small percentage of the landmass.
Istanbul, Europe’s third most densely-populated city and the country’s largest city, sits squarely on the border between Thrace and Asiatic Turkey. This means it is located in both Europe and Asia. The European part of Istanbul is separated from the Asian part by the 31 kilometre-long Bosphorus Strait waterway.
Is Turkey Part of the EU?
Since part of the nation is located in Europe, naturally, you may wonder if Turkey is part of the European Union (EU). However, it is not part of the EU as of 2020, despite applying for membership during recent decades.
Turkey does form part of the United Nations (UN) and the North American Trade Organization (NATO). However, participation in the EU has not been approved as of yet.
Until negotiations between the Turkish government and the EU are settled, you may still need to apply for a Turkey visa, even if you’re coming from the EU.
Is Turkey in Asia?
Yes, 95 per cent of the landmass of the Turkish Republic is considered part of the Asian continent. The name of the Asian part of Turkey is Anatolia. The European region, Thrace, is separated from Anatolia by a narrow strip of land bordered by the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea.
In particular, Ankara, the country’s capital, is located in Anatolia. Throughout its history Turkey has been divided between the 2 continents, serving as both a bridge and a barrier.
Geopolitics come into play when considering whether it’s considered more European or Asian. Its political identity is more aligned with Europe and the West, being a member of NATO and also an ally of other Western nations.
What Is the Capital of Turkey?
Ankara is the capital of the republic, despite not being its largest city! Ankara’s main business is government. The city also serves as the second most important industrial centre with factories producing a wide range of goods.
So how long has Ankara been the capital? Well, historically speaking, Ankara has been the capital since 1923, when the nation became a republic. The former capital was Istanbul, formerly known as Constantinople during the Ottoman Empire.
Ankara sits at the junction of important roads and railways, serving as a major point of both domestic and international trade. While the capital may not have the allure of mystical Istanbul, Ankara’s thriving restaurant and cultural scenes make it an off-the-beaten-path destination.
What Are the Most Important Cities in Turkey?
Turkey has 81 cities, each of them the capital of its respective province. The most important cities are Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Antalya, and Adana. Let’s take a look at these to help you plan your trip!
The city you’ve probably heard the most about is Istanbul, as it’s the most well-known Turkish city internationally and also the most populous. The city belongs to both Europe and Asia, with one-third of the population living on the Asian side and two-thirds of its inhabitants on the European side. Also, the majority of Istanbul’s banks and corporations reside in the European part.
Ankara is the capital of the Turkish Republic and home to its main government offices. It is also an important city for industry and trade.
İzmir, the third-largest city, is located on the west coast in the Aegean Sea region and serves as an important international port. In İzmir you’ll find colourful and intriguing bazaars, ancient ruins, a vast array of art and culture, and a casual and liberal lifestyle.
Antalya is Turkey’s largest sea resort and is located on the Turkish Riviera, which is also known as the Turquoise Coast. Here you can see ancient monuments such as Hadrian’s Gate. It’s worth visiting sooner rather than later, as Antalya is rapidly growing as people flock from around the world to experience its breathtaking coastal scenery and traditional culture.
Adana is one of the first industrialised Turkish cities and boasts a high level of economic development, including modern shopping centres and industrial areas. Located on the northeastern corner of the Mediterranean, you can’t pass through without trying the city’s local culinary speciality, the Adana kebab!
Alternatives – Göynük, Amasya and Uzungöl
Prefer slow travel? If you want to experience a more relaxed pace of life, you can find it in the many villages dotting the landscape. Mountain towns such as Göynük, Amasya and Uzungöl offer dramatic landscapes, while coastal villages like Gümüslük, Akyaka, Kaleköy and Alaçatı lure visitors with charm and a bohemian way of life.
What Are the Provinces of Turkey?
Turkey is divided into 7 main regions: Marmara, Aegean, the Black Sea region, Central Anatolia, the Mediterranean region, East Anatolia and Southeast Anatolia.
What’s more, within these 7 regions the nation is divided into 81 provinces, as follows:
Where Is Istanbul on the Map?
On the map of Turkey, Istanbul is in the northwestern corner of the country, located in the Marmara region. If you’re travelling around Europe, Istanbul is a short distance from the borders with Greece and Bulgaria.
To be specific, Istanbul sits on the border between Europe and Asia on the Bosphorus Strait. To the north, you will find the Black Sea and to the south, the Aegean Sea.
What’s the Country Code for Turkey?
Like all countries, Turkey has codes to identify it. The 2-letter International Organization for Standardization code is TR. According to the UN, which uses 3-letter codes as well as numbers, the country goes by TUR or 792.
If you’re wondering about the international dialling code for Turkey, it is 90. This must be dialled before the telephone number. Also, nowadays many websites are hosted on country-specific domains called Top Level Domains, or TLDs. In this case, the TLD is .tr, for example, www.mydomain.tr.
What Size Is the Country of Turkey?
The Turkish Republic spans approximately 783,562 square kilometres, or 302,535 square miles. It is more than 1,600 kilometres long and 800 kilometres wide. In terms of area, it is the world’s 37th largest country, listed between Mozambique and Chile.
The nation contains an impressive 7,200 kilometres of coastline. For comparison, Turkey is more than 200 per cent larger than the UK!
What Is Turkey Famous For?
Turkey has a lot to offer its visitors, including its world-famous culinary delights, artisan products, and bathing rituals.
The country is renowned for both its sweet and savoury dishes. Kebabs, sandwiches made with sliced roasted meats, are the ubiquitous street food around the country, and particularly in Adana. Turkish tea and coffee are strong and exquisite, perfect when paired with baklava or any number of Turkish desserts which frequently feature pistachios.
Looking for a bargain? Visitors are drawn to Turkish bazaars in search of handmade local products such as carpets and rugs, hand-painted Iznik ceramics and lamps. The markets and bazaars are famous for their lively atmospheres and bursts of colour.
A unique geographical location is one thing that sets it apart from other countries. No other country in the world can boast being a part of both Asia and Europe. A visit to Istanbul means you can stand on 2 continents at the same time!
The Turkish Republic is also home to mosques that are UNESCO World Heritage sites, as well as 2 of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, the Temple of Artemis and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.
Meanwhile, one of the most famous natural landscapes is the stunning rock formation at Cappadocia, where the skies are dotted with hot air balloons. Pamukkale is another iconic Turkish destination, world-renowned for its 17 thermal springs.
Finally, Turkey is known for its Hammam, the Arabic name for “Turkish bath”. These public bathhouses where you move from hot to cold waters and can receive a soothing massage are perfect after a long day exploring. Don’t leave without having tried one!
What’s the Old Name of Turkey?
The name Turkey comes from the medieval Latin name Turchia or Turquia. The name first appeared in English writing around 1369, as Turkye. The meaning of Turchia is “land of the Turks,” a people group that conquered the area in the 11th century.
These people originally referred to their territory as the Seljuk Empire, which later was known as the Ottoman Empire or the Turkish Empire. Nowadays, the official name of the country is the Republic of Turkey.
What’s the Population of Turkey?
Census data shows that the number of people living in this Eurasian nation is 84,356,463. Among the largest cities, Istanbul has a population of 14,804,116 while Ankara has a population of 3,517,182. Istanbul is Europe’s third most densely-populated city!
As far as rankings, Turkey has the 17th highest population in the world. Approximately 1.08 per cent of the total world population lives in the Turkish Republic. With a growth rate of 1.09 per cent, the number of inhabitants is expected to peak at a stonking 90 million in 2035.
Where Is the Turquoise Coast in Turkey?
The Turquoise Coast, also known as the Turkish Riviera, is located in the southwestern region and encompasses the provinces of Antalya, Muğla, Aydın, southern İzmir and western Mersin.
It is made up of more than 1,000 kilometres of stunning coastline along both the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. Its sandy beaches, archaeological wonders and natural beauty make the Turquoise Coast a hot international destination for tourists. This is good to know if you’re planning a visit!
To fully experience all the region has to offer, you can visit the ancient cities of Arykanda, Tlos and Xanthos, hike along ruins on the Lycian Way, or take a tour on a traditional Turkish yacht called a gület.
Where Is the Safest Place in Turkey?
In recent years, thanks to increased political and economic stability, tourist numbers have climbed to record levels. The country received 45 million tourists in 2018, making the Turkish Republic the 6th most visited country in the world, right after France, Spain, the US, China and Italy.
The safest areas are generally the major Mediterranean and Aegean coastal areas such as Antalya and Fethiye. The larger cities of Istanbul and Ankara, though generally safe, could present issues such as pickpocketing that are common to all large cities.
Due to political tensions, travelling near the Syrian border is not advised, including the provinces of Sirnak, Kilis, Hatay, Diyarbakir, Tunceli and Hakkari.
You can find out more about staying secure when you visit this country in our Is Turkey Safe to Visit? article.
Is a European Plug the Same as a Turkish One?
Yes, round-prong European style plugs are used all over the country. They operate on 220 volts and 50 Hz.
You should check the voltage needs for your devices to see if you need a voltage adapter. For example, if you’re using a 230-volt device then you can plug it in without needing an adapter.
One thing to keep in mind is that Turkey frequently has power outages, so it’s a good idea to bring a portable battery charger.
Do I Need Travel Insurance for Turkey?
Travel insurance is essential for your visit and, in some cases, you may need to purchase a policy before you apply for a Turkish visa.
If you’re coming from the European Union, remember that Turkey is not part of the EU, and therefore you aren’t covered by your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). You will need travel insurance to cover any unexpected medical expenses or travel issues. Fortunately, although this nation is more a part of Asia than Europe, most European travel insurance policies should cover you.
No matter where you purchase your policy, double-check that it offers medical cover, cancellation cover, repatriation, baggage cover, lost or stolen device cover, and passport cover.
Keep in mind that your insurance policy could be invalid if you travel to areas that have safety advisories, such as the border with Syria. Check your policy for any exclusions related to regions that aren’t covered.