WHAT TO WEAR IN TURKEY & TURKEY PACKING LIST
What to bring and what to wear on your trip to Turkey is an essential aspect that everyone need to take into priority.
You can pretty much wear what you want in Turkey, but what you wear determines first impressions of how you are received. We suggest that you bring comfortable, tidy informal clothing and shoes.
In Turkish cities, shorts and T-shirts in summer are the mark of the Tourist. Well, you are a tourist, right? No problem wearing shorts for comfort, except when you visit mosques. Most Turkish will be wearing “smart casual” clothes: sleeved summer dresses or sleeved top and skirt for women, short-sleeved shirt and long trousers for men. Footwear can be shoes or sandals.
For visiting mosques, dress neatly as you would to visit a church (no shorts or sleeveless tops, and remember to wear socks to walk on the carpets).
Dress at dinner is generally “smart casual,” (tidy informal clothes) though you may want a dress or jacket in the fancier hotels and restaurants.
At the Beach, anything goes. At Turkish beaches, some foreign female visitors remove their bikini tops while lying in the sun, but put them on again to walk around or enter the water. Shorts, T-shirts and flipflops or bare feet are normal wear for both Turkish and foreigners.
- Packing for Weather
In spring (April – May) and autumn (October – November) you may encounter rain, and the air may be cool or chilly at night, but comfortable during the day; bring a warm jacket or a sweater and windbreaker.
In Northeastern and Eastern Turkey, prepare for near-winter conditions.
In South-eastern Turkey there will be little rain, and warm weather, so pack as for a mild summer.
In summer (June – September) wear cool cotton clothing, a hat, and sunblock lotion, but have a light sweater for cool evenings. Rain won’t be a big problem, although you may encounter it along the Black Sea coast and in the East. In the Southeast, be prepared for hot weather.
In winter (December – March) you’ll need warm woollen clothing and rain gear, even though many days will be sunny.
In general, weather is warmer along the seacoasts and in the Mediterranean coast and Southeast, cooler at higher elevations.
- Things Ladies Need to Know – What to Wear in Turkey
The need to be respectful and wear culturally appropriate clothing is a reality that women need to admit before traveling to Turkey. This is true even if your only stop in Turkey is Istanbul. And in large part, while you could technically wear whatever you want, the more you follow cultural guidelines, the more you’re going to eliminate a lot of unwanted attention.
In general, the eastern side of Turkey is more conservative than the Western part, and Istanbul is very different than the one-horse towns along the coast. If you’re heading closer to the borders of Syria and Iraq, covering up is mandatory. Further, different types of Islam require different types of clothing, particularly for women. Even for men though, a general rule of thumb is to keep it covered.
More tips for women:
In the evenings, Turkish women really dress up, but bare arms and plunging necklines are seldom seen as they’re covered in public (even in the dining rooms of the grandest 5-star hotels) with a lightweight pretty scarf or pashmina.
In rural Turkey, women tend to dress much more modestly, with dark coloured head scarves. A long skirt or loose-fitting pants and a long-sleeved cotton shirt will help you to blend in a little more, and will protect you from the sun.
The dress code is much more relaxed in the coastal resorts, because they exist predominantly for the tourist trade. However, you’ll be far more welcome if you still bear in mind the Muslim customs. For instance, don’t go topless; however comfortable you are with it, the Turkish are not.
Our advice would be to save your shorts and sarong for the beach, as wearing them elsewhere will label you as a tourist and skimpy tight-fitting clothes may get you unwanted attention.
If you are going to visit any mosques or other religious sites then be sure to cover your shoulders and bare legs – a wrap or sarong can come in handy for this too.
In more urban areas, cover your knees at minimum; if you’re planning on traveling by public transit or going to more far-flung areas, full length is a must.
You don’t need to wear a headscarf, but it will draw less attention if you do, especially when visiting mosques.
- What to Pack for Turkey for All Seasons
While Turkey has a Mediterranean climate, the weather can vary a great deal, depending on whether you’re north, in the hills of the interior, or in the far south on the beach. No matter which season you’re traveling to Turkey, be sure to pack in layers.
- Light sweater or blazer
- Layers (ideally wool-based)
- 4-7 pair of socks 4-7 pair underwear
- 2 bras
- 2-3 jeans or pants
- 3-4 t-shirts 2 long sleeve outer layer tops
- 1-2 long skirts or dresses
- A pair of pajamas
- 1 pair of walking shoes or sandals
- 1 pair of casual sandals or flip flops
Most of the toiletries you need can be purchased once you land in Turkey. Pack only items you’re brand specific on. Consider including these essentials to get your travels started on the right foot:
- Toothpaste & toothbrush
- Travel size shampoo, conditioner, body soap
- Razor & grooming kit
- Travel towel
Electronics (Add Image)
If you plan to stay connected during your travels, you’ll want to ensure you have all of your travel tech essentials – cords, backup battery packs, passwords, and more.
- Power adapters and converters
- Tablet, phone, computer, & necessary chargers
- Portable battery pack
- A phone with helpful travel apps
- GPS/personal Wi-Fi hotspot if you aren’t getting a local SIM
Other Items to Pack for Turkey
Once you’ve filled your pack with your needs, you might also choose to fill up the remaining space with a few personal items.
- Sunscreen for sure, bug spray (depending on the season)
- Journal & pens
- Work out or fitness gear
- Headlamp or mini-flashlight
- Book or Kindle (few English language books here)
- PACK YOUR MANNERS (Laughs)
Men, don’t hit on the women, it’s not okay.
Women, if you cover up, you’re going to have an easier experience.
While the culture can be laid back at times and feel accustomed to the style of western tourists, don’t abuse it.
On a final note, if you’re planning a trip to Turkey, make sure your Turkey packing list is both practical and respectful of local culture. Figuring out what to wear in Turkey isn’t rocket science – cover those shoulders and knees as much as possible. Scarves are a great backup option to cover up as needed and an absolute essential in your backpack.
Keep your shoe game in check with only sneakers, and sandals. Adjust your other items based on the types of activities you plan to engage in while traveling in Turkey.
And don’t forget to bring your street smarts, common sense, and good manners, too. These will be your best bet for a smooth experience while romping about this ancient metropolis!