It's generally unnecessary to book accommodation in advance. However, if you are visiting İstanbul or Bodrum in high season, it's worth reserving well ahead.
- Boutique Hotels Small and intimate; often in historic buildings.
- Pensions Authentic family-run guesthouses.
- Luxury Hotels Modern or historic buildings, offering attentive service and top-drawer facilities.
- Self-catering Villas and apartments; popular in touristy coastal areas.
- Resorts Family-friendly package options on the coast.
- Hostels Backpacker options with dorms; some also have private rooms.
- Campsites Mostly on the coast and well equipped.
- Business Hotels Sometimes the only option outside tourist areas.
- Budget Hotels Often lack pensions' charm and cleanliness.
Turkey has accommodation options to suit all budgets, with concentrations of good, value-for-money hotels, pensions and hostels in places most visited by independent travellers (eg, İstanbul and Cappadocia).
Rooms are discounted by 20% to 50% during the low season (October to April; November to late March in İstanbul), but not during Christmas and Easter periods and major Islamic holidays. Places within easy reach of İstanbul and Ankara may hike their prices during summer weekends.
If you plan to stay a week or more in a coastal resort, check package-holiday deals. British, German and French tour companies in particular often offer money-saving flight-and-accommodation packages to the South Aegean and Mediterranean.
Accommodation options in more Westernised spots such as İstanbul, İzmir and the coastal resorts often quote tariffs in euros; establishments in less touristy locations generally quote in lira. Many places will accept euros (or even US dollars in İstanbul). We have quoted all prices in euros.
Sleeping options generally have a website where reservations can be made. Note that in 2017, the Turkish government banned the booking.com website.
- Good value for money, especially for families and small groups.
- Outside a few Aegean and Mediterranean locations, apartments for holiday rental are often thin on the ground.
- In coastal spots such as Kaş, Antalya and the Bodrum Peninsula, emlakçı (real-estate agents) hold lists of available holiday rentals.
- Emlakçı are used to dealing with foreigners.
- Also look out for apart otels: hotels containing self-catering units.
- Most camping facilities are along the coasts and are usually privately run.
- Camping facilities are fairly rare inland, with the exception of Cappadocia and Nemrut Dağı National Park.
- Best facilities inland are often on Orman Dinlenme Yeri (Forestry Department Land); you usually need your own transport to reach these.
- Pensions and hostels often let you camp on their grounds and use their facilities for a fee.
- Female travellers should stick to official sites and camp where there are plenty of people, especially out east.
- Camping outside official sites is often more hassle than it's worth. The police may drop by to check you out and possibly move you on, and out east there are wolves in the wild, so be wary and don't leave food and rubbish outside your tent. Also look out for Kangal dogs.
- There are plenty of hostels with dormitories in popular destinations.
- Dorm beds are typically €10 to €20 per night.
- Hostelling International has accommodation in İstanbul, Cappadocia and the Aegean and Turquoise Coast areas.
- Good, inexpensive beds are readily available in most cities and resort towns.
- Difficult places to find good cheap rooms include İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir and package-holiday resort towns such as Alanya and Çeşme.
- The cheapest hotels typically charge from around ₺40/50 for a single room without/with private bathroom, including breakfast.
- Outside tourist areas, solo travellers of both sexes should be cautious about staying in budget options and carefully suss out the staff and atmosphere in reception; theft and even sexual assaults have occurred in budget establishments (albeit very rarely).
- One- and two-star hotels are less oppressively masculine than budget hotels in atmosphere, even when clientele is mainly male.
- Such hotels typically charge around ₺100 to ₺150 for an en suite double, including breakfast.
- Hotels in more traditional towns normally offer only Turkish TV, Turkish breakfast and none of the 'extras' commonplace in pensions.
- In many midrange hotels, a maid will not make your bed and tidy your room unless you ask in reception or hang the sign on the handle.
- Prices should be displayed in reception.
- You should never pay more than the prices on display, and will often be charged less.
- Often you will be able to haggle.
- Unmarried foreign couples don't usually have problems sharing rooms.
- Out east, couples are often given a twin room, even if they ask for a double.
- Many establishments refuse to accept an unmarried couple when one of the parties is Turkish.
- The cheaper the hotel, and the more remote the location, the more conservative its management tends to be.
- These are old Ottoman mansions, caravanserais and other historic buildings refurbished, or completely rebuilt, as hotels.
- They're equipped with all mod-cons and bags of character.
- Most are in the midrange and top-end price brackets.
- Many are reviewed at Small Hotels (www.boutiquesmallhotels.com).
In destinations popular with travellers you'll find pansiyons (pensions): family-run guesthouses where you can get a good, clean single/double from around ₺60/90. Many also have triple and quadruple rooms. At the top end, some pricier pensions are almost on a par with boutique hotels.
In touristy areas in particular, the advantages of staying in a pension, as opposed to a cheap hotel, include:
- A choice of simple meals
- Book exchange
- Laundry service
- Staff who speak at least one foreign language
In a few places, old-fashioned ev pansiyonu (pension in a private home) survive. These are simply rooms in a family house that are let to visitors at busy times of year. They do not normally advertise their existence in a formal way: ask locals where to find them and look out for kıralık oda (room for rent) signs. English is rarely spoken by the proprietors, so some knowledge of Turkish would be helpful.
Olympos is famous for its 'tree houses': rough-and-ready shelters in forested settings near the beach. The success of these backpacker hang-outs has spawned imitators elsewhere in the western Mediterranean, for example in nearby Çıralı and Saklıkent Gorge.
In smaller tourist towns such as Selçuk, touts may approach you as you step from the bus and offer you accommodation. Some may string you a line about the pension you're looking for, in the hope of reeling you in and getting a commission from another pension. Taxi drivers also play this game.
It's generally best to politely decline these offers, but if you're on a budget, touts sometimes work for newly opened establishments offering cheap rates. Before they take you to the pension, establish that you're only looking and are under no obligation to stay.
Many pensions operate in informal chains, referring travellers from one to another. If you've enjoyed staying in a place, you may enjoy its owner's recommendations, but stay firm and try not to sign up to anything sight unseen.
Along the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts, the majority of hotels, pensions and camping grounds close roughly from mid-October to mid-April. Before visiting those regions in the low season, check accommodation is available.