The UK Foreign Office has updated its advice for holidaymakers travelling to Turkey. The government advises against travel to specific parts of Turkey, while tourists visiting safe-to-travel areas have been warned to be wary of certain crimes and given guidance on how to keep themselves safe.

Turkey is one of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations after Spain, attracting nearly four million British tourists in 2023. Many are drawn by its stunning beaches and mountain ranges, delicious cuisine and fascinating cities – but holidaymakers should always follow official travel advice when jetting off abroad.

The British Foreign Office currently advises against all travel to within 10km of the border with Syria due to fighting and a heightened risk of terrorism. It also advises against all but essential travel to Sirnak city and Hikkari Province. People who travel against the government’s advice could see their travel insurance invalidated.

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Other areas most popular with holidaymakers including Istanbul, Antalya and Bodrum are generally considered safe for travel, however the Foreign Office has warned travellers about political demonstrations and crimes including pickpocketing and food and drink spiking and staying safe when using transport.

The government updated its travel advice for Turkey on May 1 to include information on health, wildfires, crime, outdoor activities and adventure tourism. See below for a round-up of the government’s current travel advice…

Terrorist attacks and protests

Tourists have been told to ‘stay aware of their surroundings at all times’ due to a high threat of terrorist attacks globally, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets.

Most terrorist attacks have occurred in southeast Turkey, Ankara and Istanbul and anyone visiting these areas has been urged to keep up to date on local news reports and follow the advice of the local authorities. Attacks could happen on places visited by tourists including public buildings, places of worship, airports and large public gatherings.

Conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories has led to heightened tensions and occasional demonstrations can happen in cities and may become violent, the Foreign Office warned. Police have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protests and tourists have been warned to avoid all demonstrations and ‘leave the area’ if one develops.


Holidaymakers have also been urged to be wary of recent crime trends in major tourist areas. Street robberies and pickpocketing are common so travellers should keep their personal belongings secure. There have also been cases of drink and food spiking, so tourists are advised to always buy their own drinks and keep sight of them – and be wary of any strangers who approach you asking to change money, try to take you to a restaurant or nightclub or offer you food or drink.

British consular staff in Turkey received 42 reports of sexual assault including rape in 2023 and most cases happened during summer holidays in coastal tourist areas. Crimes were often committed at night by someone the victim met during the day, including hotel workers, so people in these situations have been warned to ‘be extra vigilant’.

Accepting lifts from strangers can also be dangerous. The Foreign Office urges holidaymakers to find a registered taxi and to note down the registration number before entering.

Outdoor activities

Brits taking part in outdoor activities should check that adequate safety precautions are in place, particularly when doing extreme sports. The Foreign Office says: “Only use reputable operators. Make sure you are given full instructions and training before your activity. Make sure your travel insurance covers you for all activities you do.”

Specific travel insurance is needed to cover quad biking and insurance sold by hire companies usually only provides third party insurance. If the vehicle is damaged, tourists are likely to be charged and may face arrest if they do not pay. Drivers and passengers must wear helmets and failure to do so may invalidate your insurance. If police catch you not wearing a helmet, you can be fined and have your licence taken away.


The government’s latest advice also includes warnings about wildfires, which happen frequently in Turkey during the summer. It reads: “You could get a fine or prison sentence for lighting a fire of any kind or discarding cigarettes in risk areas such as woodland. Barbecues are prohibited in these areas. If there is a wildfire in your area, local authorities may tell you to leave your accommodation. Follow the directions of local authorities.”

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