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Traveling with dog in Turkey


Cappadocia with dog

Turkey is one of the countries where I have traveled the longest with canine company, on two different trips. Two and a half months between April and June 2019 (with Cocaí) and almost a month in November 2021 (with Cocaí and Chai). In this article I am going to focus especially on the way there, since I did almost the entire return trip by car with my parents. I can say with a big smile that it is one of the most dog-friendly destinations (Asian and non-Asian) that we have been to, both when it comes to visiting and doing things with them (we were able to do EVERYTHING I wanted), as well as regarding to the way they care for them*.


*I have yet to discuss the issue of street dogs in Turkey and other Asian countries in future posts.


JOURNEY


Turkey Map

Bulgaria (border near Edirne) – Istambul – Izmir – Sirince & Ephesus – Pamukkale – Akyaka – Datça – Çamli – Fethiye – Lycian Way (Patara – Kas – Simena – Olympos) – Isparta – Konya – Kayseri – Göreme (Cappadocia) – Derinkuyu – Mazi – Tomarza – Tufanbeyli – Adyaman – Nemrut Dagi – Sanliurfa – Mardin – Diyarbakir – Erzurum & Aziziye – Bayburt – Çençül Yailasi – Çaykara – Sürmene – Rize – Hopa – Karagöl Lake – Hopa – Kemalpasa – Batumi (Georgia)


LENGHT OF THE TRIP


75 days (+25 on the way back)


TRANSPORTATION


Hitchhiking


Hitchhiking with dog in Turkey

We hitchhiked almost the entire trip, and two things surprised me:


  • There is a great culture of traveling this way among locals.

  • Despite going with a dog, we were taken relatively easily, to the point that it is one of the countries where we had to wait the least time. We were transported by truckers, vans and cars all over the country. Obviously some parts were worse, which is the common norm when one travels this way.


You can read more about this topic in the post HITCHHIKING IN TURKEY.


Bus


We took two short trips around the Mediterranean area by bus… although Cocaí sneaked in on both of them! Normally dogs are not allowed on public transport, nor in taxis, as I saw in Istanbul, where we had to walk quite a bit.


Ferry


Dogs are allowed on ferries in Istambul

On the other hand, our four-legged friends can ride the ferry, as long as you have a muzzle (they actually turn a blind eye quite a bit). This is a great way to get around ancient Constantinople. We crossed the Bosphorus Strait between Europe and Asia at least a dozen times, and also took a ferry to the Princes' Islands.


Walking


The Lycian Way with dog

The Likya Yolu or Lycian Way, which runs for 500 km along the Mediterranean coast between Fethiye and Antalya, is a true paradise for trekking lovers like us. We didn't do the whole thing by any means, but it was a wonderful ten days in connection with those wild beaches (empty for intrepid adventurers) and those forested mountains. It's not just that dogs are welcome, it's that local quadrupeds eager to go will accompany you.


Friends' cars


We made the trip from Istanbul to Izmir with a local friend that we had met in Mexico a couple of years ago (we also stayed at her house for a week).


Other options we did not use


Blablacar. GOOD NEWS: THERE IS BLABLACAR IN TURKEY! Especially useful for long journeys. If you travel with a dog, it is always a challenge to find a driver who will accept you, but the Turks are so nice that I have no doubt that it will be relatively easy. You may have to pay for two seats, of course, although the prices are much more affordable than in Spain or Europe. I leave you the website: https://www.blablacar.com.tr/: https://www.blablacar.com.tr/


Rental car. I leave you the Instagram of this trio from Spain who traveled through Turkey for several weeks with their inseparable Pivo in a car they rented in Istanbul: @allwecantravel


ACCOMMODATION


Free camping


Free camping in Turkey

It is the option we used the most. We camped on Mediterranean beaches (Datça and Lycian route), in gas stations in the middle of the road, in the geology of Pamukkale and Cappadocia, in forests and meadows of central Turkey, in the arid lands of Kurdistan, in the mountains to the north of Bayburt and on the Black Sea coast.


Campsites


We only camped in two campsites as such: in Sirince (two nights) and in Çirali (three nights). In both cases they had no problem with Cocaí.


Friends' houses (that I already knew before visiting Turkey)


Cocaí at a friend's house in Istanbul

A week at my dear Zep's house, in Istanbul.


Note. On the way back we stayed in a good, nice, cheap and very well located dog-friendly hotel. You can see it below.


Spontaneous Couchsurfing


Couchsurfing in Turkey

We didn't do Couchsurfing as such (via the app), but we met a good handful of Turks who hosted us in their homes: Cihan (Izmir), Oytun and Ceyla (Selçuk, Ephesus), Yavuz (Denizli, Pamukkale), Dila family (Çamli), Umut (Olympos), Mustafa (Kayseri), Ismail (Sanliurfa), Beyza family (Aziziye), Cenciç and Nazire (Çençul Yailasi), Beril (Hopa).


Hostel


Sleeping with a dog in a hostel in Fethiye

We only stayed in one, in the city of Fethiye, for two nights. Cocaí had to sleep on the sofa in the common room. I don't mention the name because it is not dog-friendly and they made an exception. Here we met Super Sonia :)


Hotel


One night in Sürmene, with Sonia. I don't recommend it because it wasn't dog-friendly.


On the way back with my parents we stayed the night in a few. It was quite easy to find dog-friendly accommodation in Türkiye. It's true that we moved around tourist sites, accustomed to Western tourists, and it was also low season and everything was empty. Surely in the middle of summer it will be more difficult. Here is the list of hotels in case it helps someone: Çelebi Hotel (Siverek), Karadut Pension (Nemrut), Elysee Cave House Hotel (Goreme), Grand Elit Cave Suits Nevsehir (Goreme), Pasapark Hotel (Konya), Sahin Pension (Çirali), Palamutbuku Liman, Venus Hotel (Pamukkale), Galley Hotel (Istanbul).


Note. Booking.com does not work in Türkiye (as of 2021). You can use instead hoteles.com


AirBnB


AirBnb with dogs in Turkey

On the trip with my parents we also used this application and it was quite effective. Yes, it is harder to find a house or room traveling with a dog than without one, but it was still relatively easy.


Turkish Café


In Mardin one night. Eternally grateful to the owners because we couldn't find anything else. There was a local festival and the hotels were full.


Other options we did not use


Couchsurfing. I'm sure many locals would accommodate foreigners with and without dogs. Turks are the best.


FOOD LOCALS AND OTHER ESTABLISHMENTS


Eating out with a dog in Türkiye

It will always depend on the owner and the type of establishment. In general, street stalls selling kebabs, durums, çig köfte and so on don't usually raise objections, but in bars and restaurants you may find more problems. This blog is geared toward backpackers, so all good! It also varies between areas of Türkiye. The southern (Mediterranean), western (Aegean) and Cappadocia regions are more modern and dog-friendly, while the eastern (Kurdish) and northern (Black Sea) parts are generally more traditional. In any case, you will have to figure it out no matter what, because you can't miss the Turkish flavors ;)


TOURISM WITH DOG


Congratulations if you are dog travelers in Türkiye! As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, Turkey is surprisingly dog-friendly and opens the doors of its natural and archaeological treasures to both bipeds and quadrupeds.


BEACHES


Dogfriendly beaches in Turkey

We visited various beaches in the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black Sea. We never saw a no dogs sign or were scolded for being there. On the contrary, it is common to see Turkish families with their dogs and strays from the area.


AREAS OF NATURAL AND/OR GEOLOGICAL VALUE


Pamukkale with dog

Pamukkale, various circuits of Cappadocia, Karagöl Lake... The only place we saw that dogs could not enter was the underground city of Derinkuyu, for completely understandable reasons. However, there were two other underground cities in Cappadocia that Cocaí could enter: Özkonak and Mazi. Also, as I have already mentioned, dogs are welcome on all sections of the Lycian Way, something they will really enjoy.


ARCHEOLOGICAL SITES


Nemrut Dagi with dog

We were able to visit Ephesus, Hierapolis (Pamukkale), Olympos, Nemrut Dagi and Göbekli Tepe. On the way back we also went to Aspendos, this time with the additional company of Chai. They are totally allowed in most (or all) archaeological sites, regardless of the civilization in question (Mesopotamian, Commagene, Greek, Lycian...).


DOG DOCUMENTATION


We were not asked for dog papers either on the way out (entering from Bulgaria) or on the way back (entering from Iran). Both times we crossed by land, which is usually much less strict than by air, but that doesn't mean they won't ask for papers.


What you actually need?


Crossing by land:


  • Animal Passport with a valid rabies vaccine

  • Health certificate from a veterinarian


Additionally, it is recommended::

  • The microchip, even if they don't ask for it in Turkey (I'm not sure), to return to Europe it is mandatory.

  • Other vaccines (pentavalent, to combat lethal viruses such as parvovirus).

  • The Rabies Titer Test. Supposedly you will be asked for this paper when entering Europe (although they did not ask me for it in Bulgaria when I returned).


By plane:


As I say, they are stricter. I would contact the Turkish agriculture service (or the Turkish embassy in your home country). It is probably enough to have all of the above, but there are countries that have additional requirements.


In any case, every time I reach this point of "my dog experience" in a specific country, I always emphasize that this is not a blog specialized in canine documentation and that the corresponding agricultural service should be consulted, in addition to other websites that are more up-to-date (these requirements may change from one year to the next). A very complete one is this: Turkey Pet Passport - Current Dog and Cat Import Requirements (pettravel.com)


ASSESSMENT


We spent over three months in total in Turkey, hitchhiking and camping, but also by car (with my parents) and staying in hotels. From the first visit, the most beautiful conclusion is that the Turkish people are devoted to the traveler and, in this case (and I am very happy to say this), also to their dogs: I was invited to çays and meals on many occasions, we were accommodated in a good handful of houses and of course they took us in their vehicles throughout the country.


Turkish hospitality and friendship

From the second trip, with my family, I also draw a great conclusion: there are many dog-friendly accommodations. In short, Turkey is a top destination for dog travelers of all budgets! Thus, with the experience that those 100 days of traveling through Ottoman lands gave me, I think I can say that it is one of the best countries to visit in dog company. Because of the amount of things you can do – go to the beach, visit sites of ancient civilizations, stay in rooms, ride the ferry in Istanbul – and because of the overall ease of the adventure compared to other countries.


Butterfly Beach with dogs

The most difficult thing without a doubt, as usual, will be transportation. In Turkey, as in most destinations, it is difficult to travel by public transport. If your budget is small and you cannot rent a car you have two options. The first is by hitchhiking, letting yourself be carried away by Turkish friendliness and hospitality. I always recommend it because it takes you on adventures and meet wonderful people, but I understand that not everyone wants to do it. The other option is Blablacar. Although you won't get to every place you want (it's not magic either) it is a tool that will be very useful. As for accommodation, you can use different means: camping (if you have a tent), hotels and Airbnb, Couchsurfing... In Turkey, free camping is allowed practically wherever you want: on the beach, in the mountains, at gas stations, in a town park, in a family's garden... As I always say, a tent is the best advice I can give for any dog destination: it will be there to get you out of trouble in a difficult situation (for example, if you don't find any accommodation in a given city) and will give you the freedom to go on a few days of excursion to the mountains or wherever. I never felt in danger camping in Turkish territory. In any case I felt supported by its inhabitants.


Camping in Çirali, Turkey

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El Pekín Express CaninoEn marzo de 2019 mi perra Cocaí y yo salimos de Madrid con una mochila, una tienda de campaña y una misión entre ceja y ceja: llegar a China a dedo. Cuando andábamos en India hizo entrada en escena un "pequeño invitado" que puso el mundo patas arriba, incluido nuestro viaje. Tres años después volvimos a casa con un camino plagado de aprendizajes, aventuras, seres maravillosos... y una perra nueva: Chai :-) Más info sobre este libro, en realidad trilogía, aquí.

La Reina Leona. Un cuento ilustrado basado en una historia real de una perra que conocí durante la pandemia en India y con quien formé un vínculo muy especial. Puedes conseguirlo aquí.

Diarios de viajes por Sudamérica y Norteamérica. Estos dos libros cuentan, a modo de diarios, mis primeros años como mochilero, incluyendo el encuentro con Cocaí en Bolivia y todas las aventuras vividas con ella. Hago especial énfasis en la conexión con la naturaleza y las personas que nos brindó el camino. Leer más aquí.

Únete a nuestra iniciativa y recibe novedades sobre viajes, perros y viajar con perro 😉

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Somos Rober, Cocaí y Chai, tres amigos de tres naciones distintas que recorren el mundo en autostop. Desde el año 2013 hemos hecho tres grandes viajes: Sudamérica, Norteamérica y Asia. Nuestra próxima aventura es África. El objetivo principal de este blog es animar a otras personas (¡y perros!) a lanzarse también a conocer los bellos rincones y culturas que nuestro planeta atesora

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La trilogía más esperada desde el Señor de los Anillos

🙃

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El Pekín Express Canino, portada
La Reina Leona, portada
Queen Leona, cover book
Diario de Viajes por Sudamérica, portada
Diario de Viajes por Norteamérica, portada

El Pekín Express Canino

En marzo de 2019 mi perra Cocaí y yo salimos de Madrid con una mochila, una tienda de campaña y una misión entre ceja y ceja: llegar a China a dedo. Cuando andábamos en India hizo entrada en escena un "pequeño invitado" que puso el mundo patas arriba, incluido nuestro viaje. Tres años después volvimos a casa con un camino plagado de aprendizajes, aventuras, seres maravillosos... y una perra nueva: Chai :-) Más info sobre este libro, en realidad trilogía, abajo.

La Reina Leona

Un cuento ilustrado basado en una historia real de una perra que conocí durante la pandemia en India y con quien formé un vínculo muy especial. 

¡Disponible también en inglés!

Diarios de Viajes por Sudamérica y Norteamérica

Estos dos libros cuentan, a modo de diarios, mis primeros años como mochilero, incluyendo el encuentro con Cocaí en Bolivia y todas las aventuras vividas con ella. Hago especial énfasis en la conexión con la naturaleza y las personas que nos brindó el camino. 

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