Six questions about vacations in Turkey in 2022 and answers to them

The correspondent of ATOR Vestnik visited Turkey for the May holidays. We tell you how tourists are now resting in Antalya hotels on “ultra all inclusive”, how they treat Russians there, what remains of the “covid” restrictions in hotels, what is with payments with Russian cards and in general – is a package tour to Turkey worth your money. And one more bonus.

On the May weekend, our correspondent had a rest at the Xanadu Resort High Class 5 * hotel, had conversations with representatives of the OTI Hotels & Resorts (exclusively represented in Russia by tour operator Coral Travel), visited the historical center of Antalya and the business part of the resort, went to local shopping centers, cafes, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks.

We answer the most common questions that concern now Russian tourists are considering Turkey (more specifically, Antalya) as a summer vacation destination.

How is the current situation with covid restrictions in Turkey? Will they be forced to wear masks at the hotel or require documents about vaccinations and tests?

– They won't force you. All this has long been canceled in Turkey. When flying, even not yet excellent “covid” documents for entry are often already asked every other time, but this is not a reason not to follow the rules. They are very simple: here is a reminder of what a Russian tourist needs to enter Turkey now.

Inside Turkey itself, there is no pandemic at all – judging by the almost zero restrictions for tourists.

On the example of the Xanadu hotel (and this is a high-level hotel, such facilities in Turkey are in compliance with government regulations with the utmost strictness), we made sure that now tourists are resting in the same way as before the pandemic.

“In our hotels, there are practically no coronavirus restrictions left, only small requirements for the distance between tables have been preserved. Turkish hotels have retained the “safety certificate”, but now it is actually just a confirmation of the high level of cleanliness and hygiene,” confirms the general director of the Xanadu Hotel Taryk Kyrankaya.

And this is true. Closed showcases with dishes in restaurants are a thing of the past: tourists take dishes from the buffet in the same way as before.

All covid restrictions in Turkish hotels have been lifted: the normal buffet has returned. Photo by ATOR

Masks are not required anywhere in the hotel. The sunbeds on the beach are “normal”, as they were before the pandemic. Almost all reminders of sanitizers and social distance have been removed.

It reminds me that there was once a covid. in fact, only a thermal scanner at the entrance to the hotel (but it’s not clear whether it works), and the fact that hotels still have to leave some of the rooms empty in case one of the guests is unlucky and quarantine is required.

However, no: there is one more “restriction” left in Turkish hotels, and we believe that tourists are very happy with it. For some reason, due to covid, hotels in Turkey limited the time for any events with music (although no one has ever clearly explained how music and the virus are related): strictly until 12 at night.

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For example, at Xanadu at 23.00, the music is muted, and at exactly 00.00 it is turned off altogether. So even if your windows overlook a disco, you can sleep peacefully.

In the city, on tourist transfers, in public transport, in shops and pharmacies, masks are not officially required in Turkey either. The staff of all these establishments does not wear them either (unless they are found at will).

The only place where we were required to put on a mask at the entrance in Antalya is the bank. And that is only for the camera that monitors the street in front of the entrance (it's funny, but the guard inside the bank who required masks from visitors did not wear a mask himself).

HES codes are no longer required anywhere (they have been canceled altogether), you don’t need to fill out any questionnaires before departure, and of course, neither tests nor vaccinations are needed for domestic travel or flights around the country. No one remembers all this in Turkey.

How do Russians feel about Russians in resorts in Turkey? Will my family in the hotel face conflicts based on politics or interethnic relations?

We have seen personally and many times that the attitude towards Russians in Turkey is exactly the same warm and friendly as before. No hostility or signs of a change in attitude were noted. And not from any side.

So, the hotel staff of Xanadu Resort High Class 5* has quite a lot of Russian-speaking employees, at the reception they understand Russian exactly. The children's club has Russian-speaking animators and teachers. It can be seen that other hotel staff also try to speak Russian, many of them specially learn the language.

In Xanadu, in general, the atmosphere of a “friendly international” reigns. According to the general director of the hotel Taryk Kyrankaya, the largest share of guests (every fifth) in Xanadu is from our country.

Of course, there are many Europeans (Great Britain, Germany, Scandinavian countries). In general, representatives of 31 countries rested with us, including such perfect “exotics” for Turkey as Mongolia, the USA and even South Africa with New Zealand (I wonder how many transfers they needed?).

With all this, guests from Russia are treated attentively and kindly not only by the hotel staff (which goes without saying), but also by guests from Europe.

We talked on various topics, joked and laughed with the Finns, Germans and the British . And the fact that we are from Russia (and we were asked where we are from) did not play any role. None of the tourists wants to bring politics to rest – and this is also natural. So you should not be afraid of conflicts with tourists from other countries in Turkish hotels either. Everyone is relaxed.

Six questions and answers about holidays in Turkey in 2022

The Xanadu Resort pool area is always very international. Photo by ATOR

Well, as for the attitude towards Russians to tourists in the city, shops, cafes – and here no changes in attitude towards us have been noticed. No negativity, bullying, unkind looks – we have not seen anything like this. But there were just the opposite examples: a Russian-speaking Turkish delight dealer in the center of Belek, having learned that our correspondent was from Russia, suddenly burst into a long speech in support of our country.

And how do you pay in Turkey now? And what is more profitable? Do they take Mir cards? Maybe cash is better?

– This very detailed fresh review is devoted to the answers to all these questions of tourists – also based on the personal experience of our correspondent in May, who tested the payment, withdrawal and exchange of cash in Turkey.

< p>Six questions about holidays in Turkey in 2022 and answers to them

World cards are accepted in Turkey. The truth is not everywhere. Withdrawing cash from them, however, is not a problem. Photo by ATOR

We also note that, of course, the Turkish trade of Russians in Turkey this summer is waiting and preparing to serve them. Hotels, shops and cafes are hastily installing payment terminals of banks serving Russian Mir cards. At the Xanadu Hotel, at the reception, payments from Mir cards are already accepted.

A typical example: in the pharmacy where we went to get medicines, at the cashier’s counter, there is a Yapi Kredi bank terminal that does not serve Mir cards. But when she heard Russian and the words “world of cards”, the seller smiled and immediately pulled out a second terminal suitable for Russian payments – from Ziraat Bank. He accepted payment by Mir card without any problems.

“Just the other day, this terminal was specially installed for the Russians. Our neighbors have not connected yet, and all your tourists eventually come to us,” the smiling seller said.

By the way, tourists without a residence permit cannot be officially issued cards of Visa and Mastercard payment systems that have left Russia in Antalya. At least, in the state bank, our correspondent was denied this and explained such a refusal. Read more about this in this article.

How long does it take to fly to Turkey now? How are they fed on long flights? It is worth agreeing and paying extra for flights TurkishAirlines currently offered by tour operators?

– It takes 5.5 hours to fly from Moscow to Antalya on flights of Russian airlines – they fly around the South of Russia, which is closed for flights, from the east, through Kazakhstan. Meals on them depend on the airline, often only cold drinks are free.

Six questions and answers about holidays in Turkey in 2022

Turkish Airlines flights: no masks needed, in-flight entertainment system free of charge. Photo by ATOR

On Turkish Airlines flights, the path is shorter – since it is a foreign airline, the sky of Europe is not closed for them, and they fly to Antalya from Moscow through Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. This is faster than the “eastern” flyby – the flight time is about 4.5 hours, sometimes less.

The food on tour operator flights of Turkish Airlines is really excellent, the service is in no way inferior to regular flights of this airline.

A detailed report of our correspondent on such a flight on block places of the tour operator Coral Travel (with photos) can be viewed here at this link. It’s definitely worth agreeing to such a flight and meals – and it’s worth the extra charge.

We add, however, that not all Turkish Airlines flights are fed this way – on some flights, some tour operators have food – a sandwich with coffee and cold drinks. Check with your travel agent for details.

Should you choose Turkey for your summer vacation? They say it's expensive? Is Turkey now worth its money?

– It is impossible to give an unequivocal answer – after all, as always, everything depends on your preferences, circumstances and budget for the trip.

However, it can be noted that in the current environment of international restrictions, Turkey is unlikely to have many competitors. Flights by both Russian and Turkish airlines, the virtual absence of covid bans, guaranteed long summer from May to November with extremely rare weather vagaries, warm sea, all-inclusive system, excellent attitude towards Russians, the ability to pay with Mir cards – all this Turkey cannot be taken away.

If you choose a five-star high-level hotel, such as, for example, Xanadu Resort High Class 5 * (by the way, you can only buy a tour to it from Coral Travel), you can safely write down very high-quality, varied and beautiful (!) food in additional important pluses “ultra all inclusive”.

Six questions and answers about vacationing in Turkey in 2022

Xanadu Resort in Belek, main restaurant, buffet. Photo by ATOR

Six questions and answers about holidays in Turkey in 2022

Xanadu Resort in Belek, main restaurant, buffet, fruit selection (this is just one more showcase). Photo by ATOR

And also a wonderful hotel children's club with Russian-speaking staff (a whole hotel in the hotel, where there is a children's restaurant) and two children's water parks for different ages (this is in addition to an adult).

Six questions and answers about holidays in Turkey in 2022

One of the two children's water parks at the Xanadu Hotel is for children from 4 to 7 years old. Older children ride nearby, but from steeper slides. Photo by ATOR

Tourists also love a large green well-groomed stylish territory decorated in the Roman style and a park with tame squirrels and rare birds.

Six questions and answers about holidays in Turkey in 2022

The territory of hotels in Belek is generally large, but in Xanadu it is also very stylish. Photo by ATOR

Among other pleasant things, we note the nurse constantly on duty at the hotel, free delivery of medicines to the hotel, a wonderful SPA that can be paid by card, a comfortable children's pool with a gentle entrance for kids, etc.

Six questions and answers about holidays in Turkey in 2022

Children's pool for kids with a gentle entry into the water at the Xanadu Hotel (Belek, Turkey). Photo by ATOR

Of course, there are such hotels in Russia, but since there are not many of them, they can simply be already sold out before the end of the season. And in other countries accessible to us, a vacation of a similar level will either be more expensive in itself, or a flight with connections will cost a pretty penny. So, in our opinion, a five-star holiday in Turkey is definitely worth the money.

By the way, as air travel expands in some segments, Turkey is gradually getting cheaper: the author of the article monitored prices for his family of two adults and two children. Fact: a tour for 11 nights in a 4 * hotel for the second half of June in April cost 320 thousand rubles, and in early May the price dropped to 252 thousand rubles.

But in any case, it's your choice – it's your vacation, your mood and your money.

And one more bonus. The answer to a common question is “What original can be brought from Turkey”?

– These are unusual products (which are not available in Russia and which can be brought in a suitcase, of course). They are sold in chain grocery stores and markets in Turkey.

We wrote a review about this that has not lost its relevance at the end of 2020 – it is located at this link.

The prices in lira in it, of course, are no longer the ones indicated (alas). But today's prices in Turkey for all these things are not at all high in terms of rubles (the lira also fell against the ruble).

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