Vanlife Turkey: the pros and cons

Why you must go to Turkey with your campervan

According to the media, the bond between our home country the Netherlands and Turkey isn’t great. So-called Dutch spies get arrested and a Turkish minister wasn’t welcome in our country. We were a bit anxious to travel to Turkey in April 2018. So we checked the news and the Dutch travel advise weekly. This anxious attitude wasn’t necessary at all. We should’ve known better. The media only shows one side of the story. Turkey turned out to be a beautiful, hospitable and diverse country.

The highlights

Turkey has it all; lively cities such as Istanbul, Izmir and Antalya, impressive ruins such as Ephesus. Besides, the country had a stunning scenery, like a beautiful coastline, wide steppe, impressive rock formations and rugged mountains. We were flabbergasted with all the beautiful things in Turkey. A lot of the biggest touristic highlights got overflown by busses with tourist. However, if you step one step besides the beaten track, you’ll find yourself all alone. You can easily explore a remarkable Greek ruin all by yourself.

Vanlife Turkey

A lot of countries have some official camper spots where you are allowed to stay overnights. Most of them have several services, such as potable water and dumping of grey and black water. We haven’t found any of these spots or services in Turkey. There aren’t many campsites as well. The camping’s you can find aren’t well equipped for campers. So, if you like to camp on official places, Turkey isn’t the place to be. However, if you like the wild camping part of vanlife, turkey is perfect. The country is very big, wide and open with many quiet places to camp for the night. It seems that wildcamping is no problem at all in Turkey. We’ve only once been sent away at midnight by the police.

Let’s talk politics

Our experiences with the Turkish police weren’t great. It is very hard to communicate when we don’t speak the same language. When they questioned us, they didn’t smile at all. The police seem to have a big controlling role in the society. Also the politic want to keep control on the inhabitants and travellers of Turkey. Websites, such as the Dutch newswebsite NOS and Wikipedia are blocked. The only independent Turkish news website is recently bought by a rich friend of the political leader of the country. According to the Dutch travel advise, Turkey has some safety risks. You shouldn’t visit the border area with Syria and Iraq and you better avoid the south east of the country. We have been avoiding these area’s and haven’t dare to talk or even google about the Turkish politics. This is probably highly overdone, but we did not want to risk anything.

The hospitable and friendly Turks

The Turkish population is very friendly and hospitable. Everywhere we came people smiled, waved, nodded. Often they visited the van and we had a short chat. When we had problems with our campervan or the dog, they all started helping us. The whole villages came out to search for the best garage of called the veterinarian. Sometimes we got a big discount for the work on our car. They always gave us some tea to drink and during the Ramadan we even got a lot of fruits to eat during the day. We were a bit anxious before, because our experience in Morocco wasn’t great with pushy salesman and determined beggars. However Turkey was a whole other story, Turks are friendly, helpful, sincere and welcoming.

Drive your camper to Turkey

The unstable political situation in Turkey is hardly an issue for a Dutch traveller. A couple of websites are blocked and the police can be a bit pushy. But for the rest, Turkey is a friendly, relaxed undiscovered country. We would highly recommend travelling to Turkey with your camper. Wild camping is easy in the wide and open country. It’s a big country with a lot of highlights. Most of the time you’ll find yourself all alone in a beautiful natural setting.


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