Our two months cycling in Turkey was an amazing experience, filled with the kindess and generosity of all the beautiful Turkish people we met.
Here's our rough guide to cycling Turkey.
Cost of living
We spent on average 10€ a day, spread over 2 months.
- Restaurant meals range from 1.5 euros for a soup to 5-6 euros for more elaborate dishes. All of them come with all the bread you can eat. Make sure to secure a table where the box of bread is full, so you can satisfy that never ending cyclist hunger.
- A take away chicken roll is 2-3 euros
- A cheap hotel will set you back 9€ per person, which usually includes a generous breakfast.
Food in Turkey is glorious. Between cheap restaurants and invitations to share a meal, you are almost guaranteed to get a good taste of the country :)
Some of the national delicacies include:
- Lamahcun: they are a delicious kind of very thin pizza that you fill with fresh vegetables before rolling it and stuffing yourself with four of them.
- Pide: the fatter cousin of a lamahcun. Also delicious, although a little heavier as they are usually filled with meat and cheese.
- Çorba: soups in Turkey comes in many forms and they are always welcomed when it starts getting cold. They cost 1.5€ and come with unlimited bread, absolute winner!
This is obviously a short introduction to the wonders of Turkish cuisine. There are also plenty of vegetables and spices available in supermarket so it is easy and tasty to cook your own food.
Turks are well known for their hospitality and warmth, and they didn't disappoint. We were invited for çay (tea) almost every day, which then often turned into offers for food, which then turned into offers for a place to stay. We found Turkish people to be very curious, so despite the lack of common language you are likely to find yourself having a chat with kind strangers rather often.
Routes have to be picked carefully in Turkey, as it can really be a hit or miss. By all means choose smaller roads if you can, otherwise you can quickly end up in a truck's heaven and a cyclist nightmare.
Our favorite stretches included going from Alapli to Kastamonu. Landscapes were stunning- think green rolling hills dotted with tiny villages and mosques - and traffic was more than reasonable. People were especially friendly in this part of our trip. We also really enjoyed going from Erzurum to Ardahan as there were lots of grand mountains on the way.
We would advise against the D110 going from Ipsala (near the Greek border) to Istanbul, as the landscape is quite boring and there are millions of trucks going along that road. Same comment for the D010 going from Samsun to Batumi. While the coast is beautiful, and the road super flat, this highway is absolutely hectic with way too many tunnels.
Finding the right camping spot in Turkey can be tricky, especially if you are in busy roads- start looking early! On smaller roads it was much easier and you can find stunning camp spots, but it is definitely not a regular occurrence. On the other hand, people are super helpful and if you are planning to camp a bit close to homes you're actually likely to end up not spending the night in your tent!
Check out our stats for all the number nerds out there.
55 days in Turkey
- 39 cycling
- 16 rest days
55 nights in Turkey
- 26 wild camping
- 13 staying with friendly strangers
- 9 couchsurfing
- 8 in hotels (gotta keep that love alive)
- 1,809km cycled and 200km hitch hiking
- We averaged 46km cycled per day. Yep we're slow!
- 108km record distance in a day
- 15km lowest distance cycled in a day
€9.98 per person per day