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Personal experience: how I vacationed in Turkey during a pandemic
Personal experience: how I vacationed in Turkey during a pandemic

Masks, a modified buffet and no foam parties.

Personal experience: how I vacationed in Turkey during a pandemic
Personal experience: how I vacationed in Turkey during a pandemic

In early September, I flew to Turkey - to the city of Side. I tell you how you relax at the sea in difficult times, when holidaymakers apply to disinfectants more often than to a bar, and do not breathe into each other's backs at the buffet.


You can fly to Turkey on your own or on a tour from six cities of the Russian Federation: from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Kazan, Kaliningrad and Novosibirsk. Turkey does not require any certificates and tests from arrivals.

Holidays in Turkey in 2020: flight
Holidays in Turkey in 2020: flight

In the very process of the flight (I went on an AZUR air charter), there is little new. At the entrance to the salon you will receive a disinfectant napkin.

From the gastronomic component, one has to be content only with tea-coffee or water - they do not feed on charters to Turkey now.

Before arriving, complete the Passenger Information Form (bring a pen), where the host country's ministry of health asks for your seat number, hotel address and cold symptoms.

The entire crew on board wears masks, passengers - at their discretion. On the speakerphone they remind: "Do not take off the mask during the whole flight!" But after the words about the need to keep a social distance of 1.5 meters in a Boeing packed to capacity for 500 people, this only causes a grin.

Arrival at the airport and transfer

At the Antalya airport, even before the passport control, employees shine through tourists with a thermal imager, shouting "Mask, mask!"

Holidays in Turkey in 2020: arrival at the airport and transfer
Holidays in Turkey in 2020: arrival at the airport and transfer
Holidays in Turkey in 2020: arrival at the airport and transfer
Holidays in Turkey in 2020: arrival at the airport and transfer

I didn’t see anyone being fished out of the ranks of those who had flown in because of the suspicious temperature. But if this happens, then the "overheated" citizen will receive a free coronavirus test, according to the Association of Tour Operators of Russia. Has the test been positive? Well, then a Turkish hospital instead of the sea. By the way, the standard insurance from the tour operator covers treatment for coronavirus - on the condition that there is a positive test, and the disease is confirmed in a medical facility.

After passport control, a line of hand sanitizers opens the way to baggage claim. There are special partitions here, but all the same, the battle for the first places at the belt with suitcases is not for life, but for death.

Masks are required on the bus to the hotel. There is no special seating so that passengers are located across a row from each other. Before the trip, I read in the reviews that now the transfer, as a rule, goes without a guide. But he was present on our bus - and, of course, he sold excursions.


This is the most voluminous section, because the main restrictions and changes in the current situation in Turkey have affected the hotel business.

Firstly, not all of the hotels work. That is, they did not close forever, but simply decided not to receive guests in this dubious season.

Secondly, those hotels that wish to resume work are obliged by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism to obtain a "health certificate". This is an official document confirming that the hotel regularly maintains all safety standards: from supplying staff with masks and gloves to total disinfection of everything and everyone. The verdict is made by the commission, checks are carried out every month. You can see if the hotel has a certificate on a special page on the website of the Ministry of Tourism.

Thirdly, the occupancy rate suffers - not all vacationers are ready to take and fly all-inclusive with the opening of borders. Hoteliers have to adapt to the situation, and they do it not always in honest ways: for example, by significantly cutting down on the variety of food for all-inclusive or - a tourist's nightmare - replacing packaged juices with powdered drinks.

An important point: everything that is described below refers to the place where I rested - this is the five-star Barut Acanthus & Cennet in Side. In other hotels, it may be different, but specifically here everything was as it should be in a hotel, adjusted for the pandemic. I felt safe here.

Check in

From the moment you leave the bus until you check out at the hotel, you will not meet a single employee without a mask. It doesn't matter if it's the cleaning lady or the lifeguard on the beach, all staff are packed in personal protective equipment.

Holidays in Turkey in 2020: check-in at the hotel
Holidays in Turkey in 2020: check-in at the hotel

The very process of settling for the guests was "complicated" by literally a few moments:

  • Before entering tourists measure the temperature with an infrared thermometer. Apparently, the device is the same for the whole hotel, because no one else threatened me with them.
  • The managers at the reception are now fenced off from the guests by glass, it is not so good to hear each other.
  • It is necessary to fill out - with a disposable pen - another questionnaire, where they ask if you have had a coronavirus and where have you been in the last 14 days.
  • Luggage is taken away for disinfection (carry-on luggage - no).


"What could have changed in the rooms?" - I thought before the trip. And there was that!

Before the next guest checks in, the rooms are cleaned even more thoroughly and with disinfectants. The TV remote and toothbrush glasses, for example, are processed and put in plastic bags. Like, don't be afraid, disinfected. Antimicrobial wipes are left on the shelf - both in individual packages and in a common pack.

From time to time, an employee runs along the corridor with a rag: she wipes the door handles, railings, buttons in the elevator. Such little things are soothing - you can see that the hotel is serious about the newly introduced requirements.


Guys, the buffet has disappeared like a sight! For a while, I suppose. But who knows, maybe the new system will take root? I liked her very much.

Imagine a typical Turkish hotel buffet. And place numerous common dishes with dishes, as well as empty plates under the glass box. It is forbidden to touch! Place an employee in a mask and gloves next to him - he is the only one touching the food and puts on the plate what you point your finger at. The amount of overlay is not limited, but here Russian tourists will finally have to learn the numbers in English.

Holidays in Turkey in 2020: food
Holidays in Turkey in 2020: food

It would seem that with such a system, queues are inevitable. However, my hotel did a great job, rotating staff on time. That, however, did not exclude the resting grumble in the spirit of "Do I have to walk with an outstretched hand?"

Some more changes were noticed:

  • At the entrance to the restaurant there is an antiseptic and a distancing reminder.
  • Cutlery is placed on tables in plastic wrap.
  • The tables are further apart.
  • Watermelon swans and melon castles are a thing of the past.
  • The beach bar and à la carte restaurants offer a QR code menu.
  • It has become more difficult to get into à la carte establishments: the number of tables has been reduced, but there are still a lot of people willing.

Animation and leisure

From entertainment in hotels, everything works: swimming pools (indoor and outdoor) and water parks, spa, hammam and sauna, fitness room, table tennis, billiards and so on.

True, everywhere, except for pools and water slides, they now ask to register in advance: after all, employees need to have time to process inventory and equipment after each person.

Holidays in Turkey in September 2020: animation and leisure
Holidays in Turkey in September 2020: animation and leisure
Holidays in Turkey in September 2020: animation and leisure
Holidays in Turkey in September 2020: animation and leisure

The animation is the same. The only thing is that the hotels have abandoned massive discos and foam parties. Instead of them, concerts of live music and performances of dance groups are more often held, seating the audience as far away from each other as possible. Daytime water aerobics and yoga classes are not lacking in participants. It is recommended to wear a mask on the child when entering the children's clubs - and, perhaps, that is why the children's room in the hotel was permanently empty.

Entertainment outside the hotel

Outside the hotel life in Turkey exists and it is quite vigorous.

There are cafes and restaurants along the waterfront, massage parlors and hammams. Small grocery stores and large shopping centers operate - a mask on the face is required everywhere. The lira exchange rate is now weaker than ever: 1 lira is equivalent to 10 rubles (for comparison: a year ago the lira cost 1.5 rubles more), and tourists come off on sales in popular LC Waikiki and DeFacto stores.

Holidays in Turkey in September 2020: entertainment outside the hotel
Holidays in Turkey in September 2020: entertainment outside the hotel
Holidays in Turkey in September 2020: entertainment outside the hotel
Holidays in Turkey in September 2020: entertainment outside the hotel

All excursions are conducted: from visiting Cappadocia to sea trips on a pirate boat. Would you like to visit Turkey's main water park The Land of Legends? Of course it works! And visitors don't need masks. Are you planning a two-day mini-tour to Istanbul? And they take it there. In general, excursion agencies or a tour operator will fulfill any cultural and entertainment desires of a tourist. And at the same "dock-like" prices.

Return to Russia

But this is a separate adventure, and a rather unpleasant one.

After landing, we were freely released from the plane, distributing reminders about the next "circle of hell" awaiting everyone arriving in the Russian Federation.

To return to the country, two conditions must be met:

  • Fill out the form "Transfer of test results for coronavirus infection" on the State Services.
  • Make a PCR test for the detection of COVID-19 and upload its result to the State Services within three calendar days.

I don’t know why they are obliged to prepare the form before arriving in Russia. It is more logical to fill it out already having the test results in hand - which I did. At the border, no one checks your relationship with the State Services.

Where to take the test? Express option - at Vnukovo, Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo airports, it costs 2,750 rubles. Muscovites can be tested for free. Testing for coronavirus in the clinic at the place of registration - but there is a risk of not meeting the deadline. For 1,800-2,000 rubles, tests for coronavirus are done in private medical centers. The term for the test is up to 3 days.

I chose the express test at Vnukovo airport. The procedure turned out to be very exhausting, so I will list the main points and advise you to be patient.

Rapid coronavirus test at Vnukovo airport
Rapid coronavirus test at Vnukovo airport

It goes something like this. You take the queue. If you're lucky, you wait in a cramped closet among the crowd of arrivals, and not in the cold. You take a questionnaire for each family member and fill it in by hand. According to the instructions, you go to a certain site and register there for the test (“Well, who invented that ?!” - every second complains). You wait in line - they let in eight people. All luggage is scanned before entering the office. Finally, you find yourself in the office and the nurse picks up the biomaterial from the nose with a stick.

In the best case, if you don't get on a break, it all takes about half an hour. I stood for an hour and a half, although I was the first to come to the office - until you fill in all the questionnaires, the break will begin. The results can be picked up in an hour, or in three hours they will come to the mail indicated during registration.


  • The two main tourist accessories for the 2020 season in Turkey are a pen to fill out numerous questionnaires and a mask.
  • It is better to read the latest reviews of vacationers about hotels, so as not to take a pig in a poke.
  • The main innovations in hotels are antiseptics, distance markings and a modified buffet.
  • In the hotel, tourists go without masks, on the beach too. May be asked to wear face protection in common areas - for example, at the reception.
  • There are not very many tourists on the beaches, but not as few as we would like. During the day, Antalya airport arrives from 20 (!) Charters and regular flights from Russian cities. My flight was full, most certainly others.
  • It will not be boring: excursions are conducted, the animation in the hotel works.
  • It's easy to get to Turkey, but then in Russia the coronavirus test will have to be paid not only with money, but also with nerves and time.