Istanbul is a city of immense beauty and history, located on the Bosporus strait in northwest Turkey. It is known for its ancient architecture, rich culture, and vibrant nightlife. Whether you’re a first-time traveler or a frequent visitor, here are 17 Things To Know Before Travelling to Istanbul, Turkey:
1. Destination Overview of Istanbul:
Istanbul is a major city in Turkey located on the Bosporus strait. It is the country’s largest city, with a population of over 15 million people. Istanbul is one of the world’s most important cultural and historical cities, with a rich heritage dating back to ancient times. The city is home to a variety of architectural styles, including Byzantine, Ottoman, and modern. Istanbul is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with a variety of bars, clubs, and restaurants to explore.
2. What are the Fun things to do in Istanbul?
There are many fun things to do in Istanbul, from exploring its ancient architecture to taking in its vibrant nightlife. Some of the top attractions include:
• The Grand Bazaar – This famous market is one of the world’s largest, with over 4,000 shops selling everything from carpets to jewelry.
• Hagia Sophia – This former Byzantine church is now a museum, and is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
• Blue Mosque – The stunning Blue Mosque is one of Istanbul’s most famous attractions, and is known for its intricate interior design.
• Topkapi Palace – This sprawling palace complex was once the home of the Ottoman sultans.
• Galata Tower – This medieval tower is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, and offers stunning views of the city.
• Spice Bazaar – This vibrant market is a great place to find traditional Turkish spices, teas, and other souvenirs.
• Bosphorus Cruise – Take a cruise down the Bosporus strait and take in the stunning views of the city.
3. Best Places To Stay in Istanbul:
• Luxury Places: Four Seasons Istanbul at the Bosphorus, Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul, The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul
• Mid Range: Hotel Mercure Istanbul Taksim, Wyndham Grand Istanbul Levent, Istanbul Sapphire
• Budget Friendly: Zeytinburnu Hotel, Little House in Istanbul, Sultanahmet Konak Hotel
4. How to Travel to Istanbul?
The best way to get to Istanbul is by air. Istanbul has two international airports, Ataturk International Airport and Sabiha Gokcen International Airport. From the airport, you can take a taxi or public transportation to your destination. There are also train and bus services from other cities in Turkey.
5. Must Try Local Food and Drink in Istanbul:
Istanbul is known for its delicious cuisine, and there are many dishes you must try while in the city. Some of the must-try dishes include:
• Kebab – This popular dish is made with grilled meats, served with pita bread and a variety of sauces.
• Pide – This flatbread is topped with a variety of meats, vegetables, and cheeses.
• Lahmacun – This thin pizza-like dish is topped with minced meat and vegetables.
• Dolma – This traditional dish is made with stuffed vegetables, rice, and spices.
• Baklava – This sweet pastry is made with layers of phyllo dough, filled with nuts and syrup.
• Turkish Coffee – This traditional coffee is served with sugar and spices.
• Raki – This anise-flavored spirit is popular in Turkey and is often served with seafood.
6. Best Places to Eat in Istanbul:
• Mikla Restaurant – This modern restaurant offers Mediterranean-style dishes with stunning views of the city.
• Nusr-Et Steakhouse – This steakhouse is known for its high-quality steaks and burgers.
• Karaköy Lokantasi – This traditional restaurant serves classic Turkish dishes in a cozy atmosphere.
• Güllüoglu Baklava – This popular bakery is known for its delicious baklava and other pastries.
• Ciya Sofrasi – This restaurant serves traditional Turkish dishes made with fresh ingredients.
7. Weather and Climate:
Istanbul has a Mediterranean climate, with hot and humid summers and mild winters. The best time to visit is between April and June, when the temperatures are mild and the city is in full bloom. July and August are the hottest months, with temperatures reaching up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It is best to avoid visiting during the winter months, as temperatures can drop below freezing.
8. Local Customs and Etiquette in Istanbul:
Istanbul is a conservative city, and it is important to respect local customs and etiquette. Modest dress is recommended, especially in religious sites. It is also important to be aware of the local laws and regulations. It is not uncommon to see people smoking in public, but it is illegal in some places.
9. Popular Scams in Istanbul:
Be aware of common scams in Istanbul, such as taxi drivers overcharging, people offering fake tours, and pickpockets. Be aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables close.
10. Suggested Trip Duration:
Most travelers suggest spending at least 3 to 4 days in Istanbul, to get a good feel for the city. This allows enough time to explore the main attractions and get a taste of the local culture.
11. Total Estimated Budget Per Person:
• Stay: $50 – $200
• Food: $20 – $50
• Activities: $20 – $50
• Tickets: $10 – $20
12. NearBy Cities:
• Izmir: 500 km
• Ankara: 425 km
• Bursa: 255 km
• Antalya: 600 km
• Bodrum: 645 km
13. Local Language and Communication in Istanbul:
The official language of Istanbul is Turkish. However, English is widely spoken in the city, and there are many English-speaking guides available.
14. Accepted Currency and Money:
The currency in Istanbul is the Turkish Lira (TRY). Credit cards are widely accepted, and ATMs are available throughout the city. Tipping is common in restaurants, and 10-15% is the standard.
15. Health and Medical Information:
It is recommended to get a tetanus shot before travelling to Istanbul. It is also important to be aware of the local health regulations and laws, and to take precautions against food-borne illnesses.
16. Packing Tips for Istanbul:
When packing for Istanbul, it is important to bring clothing that is appropriate for the climate. Lightweight and breathable fabrics are best for the hot summer months, and a light jacket is recommended for the cooler winter months. Comfortable walking shoes are also essential for exploring the city.
17. To sum up:
Istanbul is a vibrant city with a rich cultural and historical heritage. With its stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and vibrant nightlife, it is a must-visit destination for any traveler. Be sure to bring comfortable clothing and shoes, and be aware of the local customs and etiquette. With these 17 Things To Know Before Travelling to Istanbul, Turkey, you’ll be ready to explore the city like a local.