Coronavirus in Turkey: Istanbul is open for tourism in spite of partial lockdown
These days you can visit one of the most beautiful and unique cities in the world — Istanbul — and enjoy your trip without crowds of people. Especially at weekends, when the city is under lockdown, the tourists can travel all around with no restrictions! Most of the museums, historical places and palaces are open for visit, with necessary measures, of course.
Also, in this time of the year, you can spend less money for tickets and hotel, because there are not so much tourists. Most of the museums and historical places are open, so you can freely visit them with some precautions.
All the measures are taken, so you can travel safetly!
Istanbul is open for tourism in spite of partial lockdown
Istanbul is open for tourism and visitors are allowed to visit the city at their own will. Although the city is in a partial lockdown, travellers are allowed to visit the Turkish city and enjoy a holiday in the famous city on the Bosphorus.
As per the Ministry of Health’s decision, all international passengers arriving to Turkey will have to present a negative PCR test result conducted within the last 72 hours, effective from December 28, Monday.
Turkey has seen coronavirus levels increase in recent weeks just as much of Europe has. To combat the rising rates, the country instituted a lockdown on weekends in an attempt to curtail the increase in cases. The lockdown is only for weekends and excludes tourists on holiday in Istanbul on Saturdays and Sundays.
The partial lockdown is enforced from 9 PM on Friday nights to 5 AM on Monday mornings. It is for local only and tourists are allowed to freely explore the city.
Hotel restaurants are open for tourists to enjoy on their trip and many of the city’s top-rated museums are also open. Tourists have not been put off by the partial lockdown across Turkey. There is currently no quarantine time or coronavirus testing requirements for travellers coming from specific cities and regions.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Turkish tourism sector hard. Turkey is now working diligently to keep the doors open for tourists and most locals have responded positively to the measures. One aspect that makes Istanbul a popular travel destination currently is that it allows Americans to visit without quarantining. Few countries currently allow American citizens to fly from the United States for vacation, but Turkey has taken the step to reduce restrictions.
Istanbul’s partial lockdown is just on weekends. During the week stores, restaurants, and other places of interest are open. Restaurants are take-out only at the moment.
So, what can a tourist visit during their trip to Istanbul? Most museums are still open on the weekends allowing tourists to explore their walls and exhibitions.
The Pera Museum is one of the most popular art and culture experiences in Istanbul. The museum remains open six days a week just as it had before the partial lockdown. The Suna and Inan Kıraç Foundation museum is also open on the weekends for foreign tourists. Travellers can also explore the Topkapi and Dolmabahce palaces
To keep visitors safe, the museums have implemented hygiene and social distancing measures. A limited number of visitors are allowed in the exhibition halls. The museum’s shop and the cafe provide a takeaway menu only.
Visitors must wear masks while exploring Istanbul whether inside or outside. Istanbul has also instituted social distancing rules and only a limited number of visitors are allowed inside public places. Hand sanitizing stations have been installed allowing visitors to clean their hands before, during, after leaving a public place.
While travel has been banned around the world this winter and holiday season, Istanbul remains open and a place that visitors can explore. Istanbul is typically a city that never sleeps and can be in your face. Now, with restrictions on the weekends, it is a playground for international tourists, allowing them to see the famous city like never before.
Places to visit during this time in Istanbul
Almost all of the museums and historical places are open for tourists with necessary measures. Let’s see, what exactly you can visit
On weekends and working days from 10:00 untill 16:00
- Topkapi palace
- Dolmabahce palace
- Beylerbeyi palace
- Istanbul Archaeological museum
- Istanbul Mosaic museum
- Museum of Turkish and Islamic arts
- Museum of the history of Science and Technology in Islam
- Galata Tower
- Rumelihisari Fortress museum
- Haghia Irene church
During the week — only on working days
Grocery stores and supermarkets are open on weekends from 10:00 till 17:00, during the week — from 09:00 untill 20:00 (or untill 21:00)
HES-code in Turkey — what is it? Do tourists need a HES-code? How to get it?
The HES Code is a personal code implemented by the Ministry of Health and is used as one of the measures during the pandemic.
All Turkish citizens and persons with residence permit should have HES-code. Nowadays, tourists also should have this code if they want to travel between the cities, use public transport, visit shopping malls and other crowded places.
To obtain HES-code you should:
Send an SMS to 2023 with your name and passport details:
HES [space] Nationality (GBR) [space] passport number [space] year of birth [space] surname.