Embarking on a journey to Istanbul? Dive into our meticulously curated guide designed to make your Istanbul escapade nothing short of unforgettable. Straddling the line between Asia and Europe, Istanbul offers a unique blend of the two continents, divided yet intertwined by the glistening Bosphorus. Here, every bridge you cross and every ferry ride you take is a leap between worlds.
Istanbul is a tapestry of history, painted in vivid hues of its culture and traditions. Amidst the historic buildings and state-of-the-art museums, the city pulses with life in bustling bazaars and vibrant eateries. From indulging in the aromatic flavors of Turkish cuisine to cherishing moonlit moments on a cruise, each experience in Istanbul writes a story. The heartbeats of its residents add to this city’s enchantment, making it a cherished home to many and an alluring destination to the world.
Given Istanbul’s sprawling expanse and the scatter of its iconic landmarks, charting a course can be a tad overwhelming. Fear not! Our guide will steer you through the must-visit spots and provide savvy insights for a seamless journey in this mesmerizing Turkish metropolis.
Top tourist attractions in Istanbul, Turkey
Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque)
- Excellent engineering building
- The mosque is equipped to receive tourists and worshipers
- Fully decorated
- It has a long history
One of Istanbul’s most famous mosques, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is known as the Blue Mosque. It was constructed in 1600 as a symbol of the Ottoman Empire’s resiliency after a defeat at the hands of the Persians. The mosque has six minarets, five large domes, and numerous minor domes, as well as elaborate glass and beautiful tiles, all of which draw attention to themselves.
Because of its religious significance in the Turkish capital, the mosque is a popular tourist destination for people of all backgrounds. Women must wear abayas to see the amazing architectural structure, which has an amazing facade that hugs the sky, and men must wear abayas to see the amazing architectural structure. Both are required to cover their faces.
Beautiful Arabic calligraphy adorns the mosque’s walls, along with carpets and the mosque’s stone mihrab, all of which are well worth contemplating and taking in. To see Muslims pray five times a day and hear the muezzin, whose voice can be heard from the mosque’s towering minaret, tourists usually visit the Blue Mosque, making it an important and historic sanctuary for the city of Istanbul
The Covered Market (Grand Bazaar) – Grand Bazar
- Convenient place to buy merchandise at discounted prices
- Contains a large selection of merchandise
- It is one of the largest covered markets in the world
- It contains a large number of stores
As the world’s largest covered market, Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar (or Covered Market) dates back to the year 1400 AD.
With two buildings of shops and booths surrounding them, the market is a huge shopping destination. To make up for its lack of natural light, the Covered Market is a major shopping destination for people travelling from all over the world. One of the most interesting things to do while on vacation is to walk through the market’s four gates, where you’ll see many historic architectural features.
As a result of the market’s many high windows that let light in and the presence of businesses inside the walls in a way that amazes observers, you will be able to shop according to your preferences and purchase souvenirs to remember your trip when you return to your country. In addition to the numerous colourful lamps that can be seen at the shop entrances, the market offers a wide range of gift items, such as jewellery and musical instruments, along with handicrafts and home furnishings.
Many shops sell traditional Turkish sweets, Turkish tea, and various Istanbul-famous spices while you shop.
Basilica Cistern – Basilica Cistern
- Wonderful tourist attraction
- He appeared in many movies and series
- Great atmosphere
- An outstanding engineering building
Subterranean palace Basilica Cistern is one of Istanbul’s largest ancient buildings. It lies beneath Istanbul’s streets, hence its name: the subterranean palace Basilica Cistern Built in the sixth century AD to supply water to the city palace and other important buildings, this magnificent structure still stands today. As this location is located beneath city streets, tourists can descend 52 steps to view the stunning view of the tank, where everything in the tank is amazing, including dim lighting, trails as well as surviving water..
Consequently, it is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, and the bottom of the structure has Medusa heads (Greek), which further adds to the scene’s allure.
- Panoramic view of the city
- Excellent restaurant
- A panoramic view of the skyline
- Wonderful nightclub
It’s no secret that the Galata Tower in Istanbul, which dates back to the Middle Ages and was completed in 1340 AD, has a stunning architectural style. The Genoese built it in Roman style, and it’s about 67 metres long and clearly visible from a distance. An Istanbul landmark, this nine-story building is now open to tourists who want a new perspective on the city.
There is an elevator that takes visitors to the top of the skyscraper, where they can see the peninsula, the ancient city, and the Bosporus in all their splendour. You’ll enjoy seeing Istanbul’s beautiful buildings from the top of the tower, which is one of the many reasons to visit the city. This means that if you want a special night for two, you can dine on delectable cuisine in the tower’s restaurant.
After watching a traditional Turkish show and returning to their accommodations, tourists can indulge in sweets and their preferred drink at a café or nightclub.
- A wonderful mix of religious architectural styles
- An ancient and joyful history
- Amazing architecture
- It contains a lot of art like mosaic
The Hagia Sophia Mosque, once an Orthodox cathedral, was converted to a Catholic cathedral, and then, under the rule of Muhammad the Conqueror, to a mosque during the Ottoman Empire. It is one of the world’s largest structures. Because of the wide range of religions represented on it, this structure bears many imprints from each one. This is what sets it apart from others. There are numerous magnificent Byzantine works of art, as well as domes and semi-domes, mosaics, and other beautiful decorations.
There are a plethora of sights to see inside and outside this massive structure. Since it’s so old, the Hagia Sophia Mosque draws a lot of visitors each year for its artistic and architectural significance.
- A place for many miniature architectural models
- One of the largest miniature gardens that attract tourists
- Suitable for all ages
- It helps you fully explore Turkey without leaving Istanbul
One of Istanbul’s most popular attractions is Miniaturk Park, which opened in 2003 AD and features over a hundred miniature architectural models of famous landmarks from Turkey and other countries. Thus, the site is regarded as one of Istanbul’s most important tourist attractions because it enables visitors to learn about many of the city’s lesser-known sights.
It’s easy to just stroll around and take in all the city’s major sights, including scale models of the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Ataturk Airport, in addition to Anatolia Castle, the Bridge of the Martyrs on July 15th, and Sultan Eyup Mosque.
Along with the Ataturk House, there are models of other world landmarks, such as the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and Bosnia’s Mostar Bridge in Sarajevo One of the shrine’s best features is the play area, which includes a maze and a virtual helicopter ride. In addition to the best short stories, The Tree of Legends offers extensive views of the locations via train tours and boat trips.
Video of Miniaturk Park:https://www.youtube.com/embed/pgb3zsJRlbk
- An island in the sea of the Marmara region
- It has ancient religious tourist places
- The area is densely populated with tourists
- Easy to wander around to enjoy and explore
Buyukada has a surface area of approximately five square kilometres, making it one of the Marmara’s larger islands. As a result, travellers have more time to explore because they don’t have to worry about navigating modern modes of transportation. There are numerous attractions for tourists to take advantage of while on the island, such as magnificent palaces, historic religious structures, and hills from which to take in the picturesque island views.
A big draw for visitors to the island is the growth of natural tourist destinations like the Greek Orthodox Church’s orphanage (Brinkebo). This wooden structure is one of the largest in the world. Between the two hills, visitors can stroll and take in the scenery. The Church of Saint George, located atop the other hill in Buyuk Adah, is an important and well-known landmark.
Eyüp Sultan Mosque
- Holy Shrine
- Tourist attraction is not crowded
- It contains luxurious and unique tiles
- free entry
In particular among Muslims, the Sultan Ayyub Mosque is well-known as the burial site of Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari, one of Prophet Muhammad’s (peace and blessings be upon him) companions, which Muslims consider. One of the mosque’s many highlights is the eye-catching Iznik tiles and stunning decoration. The first Ottoman sultans were crowned in 1800 AD, and construction on this mosque began shortly thereafter.
Tourists who visit the mosque can capture a variety of moving memories by snapping photos of the building’s stunning domes and mihrabs from the outside. They can enjoy looking at the decorated mosque’s chandeliers next to its red carpets and watching the worshipers perform their prayers on time. Tourists can also pass by the shrine of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari and admire its stunning Iznik decoration.
- One of the biggest parks of Istanbul
- Visitors can enjoy the beauty of nature in the city
- A suitable place to relax.
- Free admission
Emirgan Park is one of Istanbul’s largest public parks, which covers an area of about 117 acres, and is surrounded by a long wall, and the area was initially completely covered with cypress trees. But now, after turning it into a public area, it is full of diverse plants and flowers, and it also contains two lakes and three palaces of great beauty. Therefore, the area is very suitable for hiking and spending a beautiful time in the arms of nature.
Among the activities that can be enjoyed by tourists during their visit to the park is to take a walk, eat and drink with their friends or family, and enjoy the beautiful landscapes. The park includes places dedicated to jogging, and visitors can also relax and enjoy quick picnics, as the park includes vast areas.
There are also the three palaces (Sarayat), which Turkey preserved its old Ottoman character, which is the Yellow Saray, which has its traditional Ottoman character, and there is a café to enjoy drinks in it. As for the Pink Saray, it contains ancient historical elements, and on the weekends, visitors can enjoy the café inside it as well. As for the White Serail, there is also a café next to a famous restaurant built in a style that combines classicism and modernity together, and this is what distinguishes it and attracts many visitors.
Vialand Amusement Park -Isfanbul
- A suitable place for families
- It contains a large collection of fun games
- It contains a place designated for shopping
- You will find many options to enjoy there
Vialand is considered one of the suitable places for families, as it has a lot of fun games and places for shopping, because it contains nearly a hundred stores to buy everything you want. There is also a zoo and a cinema in the place, in addition to an integrated sports center, so going there with your loved ones, whether friends or family, will be one of the most enjoyable experiences.
It is a wonderful place and well worth taking tours to explore its beauty, and tourists can also go to the Nevskijn amusement parks to experience their distinctive train. Visitors can also enjoy distinctive cruises and go to the many shopping stores or simply go watch a movie at the cinema.
- It is a former hostel of the Ottoman Sultans
- It is on the list of UNESCO tourist places
- An amazing architectural building
- Its decoration is unparalleled
The Topkapi Palace was built in the mid-1400’s, as it was a former inn for many Ottoman sultans, and every sultan left their mark on large parts of the palace throughout the ages. The palace is considered one of the symbols of architecture in the Middle East because it contains huge gates and swimming pools, in addition to hundreds of rooms. What really defines the palace is its unique decoration and amazingly attractive carved glass.
Visitors can enjoy contemplating the magnificence of this architectural masterpiece and taking pictures as they wish, and they can also move between rooms to see the building’s details and the properties of each sultan. The palace contains an ancient historical relic, a sword belonging to the Prophet Muhammad, and it is believed that the Prophet Moses also used it.
Chora Church / Kariye Museum
- An ancient church converted into a museum
- It is distinguished by its attractive décor
- It has a long history
- Many religious and cultural events are organized in it
This church is considered one of the oldest historical places in Istanbul, as it is located in an area dating back to the fourth century AD. It was constructed in the manner of crosses listed, and this is what distinguishes it. Due to the historical importance of this shrine, it was eventually converted into a museum in order to preserve this huge edifice, to which many tourists come every year to see its engineering splendor.
Visitors can enjoy watching the museum and its wonderful and unique engravings, as the museum has many paintings and murals that tell many historical stories such as the Virgin Mary and many other historical miracles. There is also a temple with a wonderful sight, which was used to honor the deceased.
Ten most popular Istanbul foods every tourist should try
Turkish cuisine is one of the most diverse and famous in the world, and this is because the city combines many cultures, which greatly influenced its cuisine. So when you visit, you will not need to think much about choosing what to eat as you will find many options and you will never resort to fast food again. That is why we will help you in the choice by creating a small menu for what Turkish cuisine contains of delicious dishes that you can enjoy when you visit.
The customs of the Turks differ slightly from the customs of the Europeans regarding breakfast, as they drink tea instead of coffee in addition to eating mainly sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. It is worth noting that they also eat white bread, but there are many healthy ingredients that go into making bread like oats for a healthier life.
There are many basic foods in the Turkish breakfast, such as white cheese (feta cheese), old (kaşar peyniri), black and green olives (zeytin), in addition to butter, cream (kaymak), honey, jam and eggs, whether boiled or fried. And the main dishes that they do not dispense with, especially when they serve breakfast to their guests, are eggs with sausage and borek, where they add sausage slices to eggs, which makes it taste delicious. As for bourek, it is a pastry stuffed with cheese, meat or vegetables, upon request, and it can be cooked as well.
Tourist places on the Bosphorus coast, such as Bebek and Rumelihisarı Fort, are famous for this delicious breakfast, so if you want to have a Turkish breakfast, you should go to these places during your visit to the city.
Famous Turkish food and drinks
Manaman (Turkish omelette) – Menemen
Turkish omelette (manaman) is considered one of the most delicious and delicious Turkish dishes, where onions and peppers are cooked with tomatoes and then mixed with eggs and spices added. This dish is considered one of the most delicious and delicious Turkish dishes, the cheapest price and the most sought after by the Turks. The dish is named after the name of the Manaman region of Izmir, located in the Aegean region, where the main ingredient in the meal, which is tomatoes, has been cultivated since the 1920s.
It is worth noting that some can request any of their favorite additives (cheese, mushroom, sausage, eggplant, chicken, ground meat).
Turkish appetizers – Meze
Turkish appetizers are considered one of the most delicious appetizers in the world, and restaurants specializing in providing these delicious appetizers are called “Mehani”. This restaurant or Mehani is a restaurant that serves the popular cuisine of the country with alcoholic drinks in addition to the delicious Turkish appetizers as a start. In most cases, the waiter offers you a menu of appetizers available in the restaurant for you to choose from, and then all the options are placed in the center of the table along with the toast.
The most famous Turkish appetizers:
- Hot Tomato Sauce (Ezme)
- Grilled eggplant with yogurt salad (Patlıcan Ezmesi)
- سلطة بابا غنوج (Eggplant Salad)
- Fried eggplant mixed with a mixture of seasoned tomatoes (Şakşuka)
- Mint Yogurt Dip (Haydari)
- Kidney beans (barbunya)
- خرشوف (Olive Oil Artichoke)
Turkish Grilled Kebabs – Kuyu Kebabı / Tandır
Kastamonu is famous for this type of delicacy, as the lamb is cooked over a low heat until it is completed. And puts the restaurant with this delicious meal stems of pine trees, which gives it a delicious aroma and taste.
Iskender Kebab is meat that is cut into small pieces and is cooked using many local spices and recipes and then left on the grill until it is fully cooked. This kebab is served on small pieces of bread, butter and tomato sauce are placed on them, which gives a wonderful taste, and yogurt salad is served with it.
Adana Kebap – Adana Kebap
If you are a meat lover, then this Turkish kebab will impress you very much, as it is considered one of the famous dishes in Adana, located in the southeast of Istanbul. This type of kebab is cooked according to the specifications set by the city’s Chamber of Commerce, and restaurants are inspected from time to time.
It is worth noting that the components of this dish are not so much, but they are prepared in a certain way. The ingredients of the dish are lamb meat and the fat taken from its tail. As for the method of preparing it, it is based on thorough cleaning of the meat, seasoning it with red and green ground and hot pepper, and it is placed with pieces of bread and then grilled with sliced onions and tomatoes with green pepper
Mayas (bluefish) – Lüfer
Fish is one of the main important dishes of Turkish cuisine, so if you ask a local resident to recommend a meal for you, he will recommend fish for you among the suggestions. It is worth noting that eating fish and drinking wine, especially on any of the shores of the Bosphorus, is one of the weekly customs of the Turks. You can, of course, also choose your favorite drink, in addition to the traditional one.
The Mayas fish is a member of the bluefish family, and it is considered a large fish that is easy to clean and then eat. There are also fish that are a bit smaller and are very tasty to fish lovers in general.
Manti or almento is a popular dish in Turkish cuisine and is mostly served with tahini and yogurt salad. The dish is a type of pastry, as its ingredients include flour, water and salt. There are some who like to add eggs to the dough, which makes it tastier and more delicious.
As for the inside of the dough, which if the thickness is lighter the better is most often ground meat or lamb in the traditional way, in addition to slices of onion, pepper and table salt. But now manti lovers can order their favorite dish with salmon, spinach or even chicken inside, and there are several ways to cook this dish, including steaming it, boiling it in tomato sauce, or simply baking it with the addition of butter.
The dish is served alongside yogurt salad and tahini salad, as well as tomato butter sauce, and you can also add your favorite spices.
Konafa – Künefe
Knafeh is a popular Arabic pastry stuffed with cheese, and one of its main components is the unsalted cheese that is placed between the thin dough sheets. This sweet dish is served cooked and added directly to the honey syrup, making it extremely tender and easy to eat.
The dish is predominantly orange, which makes it attractive on the outside, with some pistachios grated on top, which in turn gives it a better taste. And with the melted cheese in the dough, when you eat it, you will enjoy the many delicate textures that include thin layers of cheese and crunchy dough.
So when you visit Istanbul, you should definitely go through the experience of eating this sweet dish before leaving your homeland.
It is worth noting that you will find that most of the Turkish cities – if not all – offer this dish from the desserts menu, while others offer it for free after breakfast or lunch directly with some wine or any other drink of your choice.
Turkish goulash or baklava is one of the most delicious and sweet foods in Turkish cuisine, and therefore it is loved by the Turks and other people of the world and lovers of sweets in general. The ingredients for this dish are dough chips and nuts in addition to syrup, which makes it an easy-to-prepare and delicious dish, but the skill in its cooking is everything. It is worth noting that the thinner the dough sheets, the better because the thickness of the dough is one of the important things in preparing the dish.
As for the nuts, they differ from one region to another, as there are some areas that put nuts as a filling for the dough, and there are those who put hazelnuts and others use pistachios. In all cases, this dish is delicious with all kinds of nuts that are placed inside it as desired.
As for the method of preparation, it does not differ much from the kunafa. The favorite nuts are placed between the thin layers of the dough and then the butter is placed on the dough and they are placed in the oven until it is completely baked, and then the dough is covered with honey syrup, which gives it a soft texture. Therefore, when you decide to try this sweet dish, you must choose a good place, as in order to enjoy its taste, it must be fresh and cooked in an appropriate way.
Beans – Kuru Fasulye
At first glance, it might seem to you that this dish is not encouraging at all and has nothing to distinguish it from regular food, but with some simple ingredients and well-cooked you can have a delicious meal. As for its simple and regular ingredients it is butter and tomato kernels with salsa and beans for sure. It can be added to a meat dish or even slices of delicious pastrami, and it is served alongside rice and pickles.
Travel tips for tourists traveling to Istanbul, Turkey
Tourism in Istanbul and wandering in the arms of one of the best tourist destinations in recent years is a pleasure that is spoken about by about 14 million tourists and visitors who come every year to visit the Turkish capital.
There are many tourists who visited Istanbul more than 5 times and Istanbul is still their favorite city – and every time they are happy to learn about new places and explore unique landmarks that they did not have the opportunity to visit in previous times due to lack of time and lack of experience as well.
In the beginning, the first thing that the new traveler asks about after completing the routine procedures of the border police at Istanbul Airport and leaving it is the means of transportation that will take him to the hotel, yes the beginning of transportation in Istanbul.
Travel tips to Istanbul: local transportation
Tourism in Turkey is one of the most important tributaries of the country’s economic renaissance, and the authorities have taken care to develop the local transportation system well in order to cope with the prosperity of this vital sector. There are equipped infrastructures and many and varied means of transport to accommodate the huge and increasing numbers of tourists. There are buses, trams, ferries, subways, small lanes, minibusses, or as they are called in Turkish “dolm”. In fact, using public transportation may be more practical and faster than taking the ubiquitous mini-taxis.
1- Public transportation and Istanbulkart card
What is the Istanbulkart Card? It is a card that allows to reduce transportation costs in any means of mass transportation within Istanbul! And whoever has visited the foggy capital of London, it is similar to the Oyster card there. After you get the card, you can use it every time you take a bus, tram, subway, etc.
But is this card useful? What are its advantages?
- Certainly useful: the public transport ticket in Istanbul costs 5 liras, and in case you have an Istanbulkart card, the price decreases to less than 3 liras. At the end of the day, you will find that you have saved a good amount.
- The nice thing about the card is that it can be used by five people and is very useful when traveling with family or accompanied by a group of friends. Owning this card will make a difference with you in terms of your travel budget.
- The Istanbulkart Card is easy to use, and it is recommended to purchase it from the ticket stations located in every tram and subway station and at Istanbul’s airports. The cost of the card is 10 liras, 6 of which are the cost of the card and the remaining 4 liras counts as a balance on the card.
The conclusion about Istanbulkart card is that it makes you able to move around in Istanbul as if you have a discount coupon that you use to ride buses, trams, subways and other public transportation available.
2- The local rail network in Istanbul
The idea of moving by local train is good and fun, especially if you want to travel a long way to visit the Asian part of Istanbul, for example, you will enjoy a beautiful and economical trip at the same time. You can get a tour of the Golden Horn peninsula or the Golden Horn for just 2.60 liras by taking a train from Karakoy in Galata and going to Eyüp municipality. It is not a quick trip, but it is suitable for those on the middle budget.
3- Taxi in Istanbul
Most tourists avoid using taxis in the countries they visit, which is normal due to the high pricing of these small vehicles. However, there are cases when we have to take a taxi. If it is necessary, here are some important tips that visitors to Istanbul have mentioned regarding the taxi:
- Make sure that the driver knows your destination and will not roam the streets because the city is large and some of them do not know the city well, and it actually happened with some tourists.
- Make sure that the taxi has a meter or agree on the price with the driver before setting off and locate the location on the map of your smartphone and follow the map, as the traffic congestion may push him until he drops you in the middle of the road under the pretext that the place has become close and can be reached on foot.
- With regard to Uber’s service, it is usually available, but some news has been circulating regarding the prevention of Uber or its exposure to problems, so you should make sure of this before traveling, as some developments may have occurred.
4- Ferries that transport tourists to the Princes’ Islands
Ferries to the Princes’ Islands leave from the Eminonu pier or the Kabatas pier in the European part of Istanbul. The tour dates can be found on the official websites of the companies, including, for example:
- Company: Dentur Avrasya that hails from Kabatas.
- And ehir Hatları, which starts its journey from Emin Ono.
Tickets can be booked on the small ferries that carry tourists directly from the pier, so you don’t need to book in advance or go to a tour company to get your tickets. It’s easier than that, but it requires some speed to get onto the ferry and sit in one of the seats because spaces are usually limited.
Tour the Bosphorus Strait
Tourists visit famous areas such as Sultanahmet and Taksim Square, both of which are the most famous historical monuments in Istanbul, where the tour is full of tourist sights. However, there are other interesting places far from Sultanahmet and Taksim, which are recommended by experienced tourists who have explored it despite its lack of popularity and shared their experience that we pass on to you here. Many tourists confirm that a tour in the Bosphorus is a very amazing and enjoyable trip, and that the view of the city from the water is very wonderful, and this trip is completed by visiting the Rumeli Hisari Siege, Beylerbeyi Palace, Anadolu Hisari Castle and the surrounding areas, which are areas that you will not find. Crowded with tourists. The advice here is to keep your ticket, as it is still suitable for use on return.
Video: Bosporus cruise
Istanbul travel advice: clothes
Carry warm clothing
The weather in Istanbul is fluctuating and it may move from hot weather that encourages wearing light clothing to cold winds, which may infect the traveler with some cold, which is completely undesirable while traveling to Turkey or anywhere else. Although the majority of travelers are accustomed to reading weather news on their smartphones and seeing a temperature between 20-25, those who visit the city stress that it may get very cold, especially when visiting the Bosphorus.
Istanbul travel advice: money
Converting euros and dollars into Turkish lira is common and very easy, as it is enough to just go to one of the exchange offices located on Divan Yolu Caddesi Street near the Blue Mosque. Often a person travels carrying with him the most famous world currencies, the dollar or the euro, and he may have of both, and here it is necessary to pay attention, as one of the tourists says:
“I changed some Euros but the amount I took from the exchange office clerk was too low, I checked the invoice and the exchange rate written on it. The calculation and conversion were correct, at first I couldn’t understand where the defect was. The employee saw me stopped, reviewing the bill, and the amount entered quickly to ask me what was wrong. When I handed him the bill, it became clear that the error in the type of currency had converted the euro to the dollar price, which caused the difference in the amount. The man corrected the matter and apologized for the unintended mistake. This indicates a need for reliable foreign exchange software that prevents such mistakes and keeps your customers satisfied.
The witness from the story is for the visitor to take notice of the time of currency conversion and to be aware of the approximate amount that he is supposed to receive.
Video: Things Your Should Know Before Visiting Istanbul, Turkey
American Express cards American Express
There are many stores and restaurants that do not accept payments with American Express cards due to the very high card fees, which makes the owners of tourism projects in Istanbul deal with Visa cards, so this matter should be paid attention to.
Save money when visiting Istanbul museums
Istanbul is rich in museums, palaces and historical buildings, which are considered tourist attractions for lovers of cultural tourism, so if you want to visit Istanbul’s many diverse museums, you should consider buying an Istanbul museum pass card, as its advantage is that it gives you free entry to several museums, But not all of this is so pay close attention to this. The cost of the card is 220 liras, and is valid for 5 days. The price of this card changes every year, so it is always advisable to review the information on the official websites. Also, before purchasing it, see the places available on this card.
Travel tips for Istanbul: general advice
Istanbul attracts millions of tourists annually, especially during holidays and vacations, which results in a large number of people meeting in one place, which leads to queues in cafes, restaurants and other tourist facilities, especially on weekends, so here are these tips:
Avoid sightseeing during holidays or weekends
This advice is largely related to good planning to travel to Turkey, especially visiting Istanbul, if you can do so, then adjust the date of your visit to Istanbul in the middle of the days of the week, as you cannot imagine the number of tourists who come to Istanbul and the extent of crowding everywhere, in addition to Locals flock to the Turkish capital on holidays and weekends.
Advice for visiting the Tulip Festival in Istanbul
Since 2003, the Istanbul municipality has been organizing the beautiful Tulip Festival in April and lasts about a month every year, and it is a festival that attracts millions of visitors, as the local authorities in Istanbul grow millions of tulips in Istanbul gardens and on the sides of the roads, and tulips start in Flowering at the end of March or beginning of April.
The flowers bloom for several weeks and is the point of tourist attraction in this month, where the eye is pleased before the heart and soul by watching the bright colors of flowers, especially in the Amigran Park, which is one of the largest public parks in Istanbul. The advice here is to plan to visit Istanbul in early April so that you spend more time than wonderful amid the gorgeous colors and the exquisite scent of these wonderful flowers.
Advice about toilets in Istanbul
Here is not advice as much as it is a sign to rest assured that you will not find the slightest difficulty in finding toilets scattered everywhere in Istanbul, as there are many public toilets in Istanbul with the free visitor certificate there, which costs 1 lira and 2 liras only.
Where to stay in Istanbul: The best areas
If you are going to travel to Turkey and you will spend some nights in its impressive capital you want to know well its different neighborhoods to choose the most suitable place for your accommodation. In general the best areas to stay in Istanbul are located in the European part. Sites such as Sultanahmet, Emin’n’, Karakoy/Galata, and the neighborhoods near Taksim Square are a favorite among tourists.
Istanbul, the ancient Constantinople, capital of three empires as different as the Roman, Byzantine or Ottoman, is today the largest city in Turkey and one of the largest in Europe, with almost 15 million inhabitants. It is also one of the most visited places in the world, in its peculiar location between the European and Asian continents,on the shores of the Black Sea and that of Marmara.
Istanbul mixes the traditional and the modern like few others. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1985, Istanbul’s long history has accumulated on its territory an immense cultural, monumental treasure,as well as landscapes as special as the Bosphorus Strait that justify the interest of the millions of travelers who step on its millennial streets every year.
Istanbul is such a big city and visited during any time of the year that it has a lot of accommodation of all the features,for all kinds of travelers. While prices have been rising in recent years, they have ended up adapting to a fairly affordable European average for most tourists.
As usual in large European cities, the historic center,which accumulates most of the most important monuments, such as Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar or the Blue Mosque, is the most chosen by tourists. There, the accommodation offer meets those expectations, with more traditional and smaller establishments.
However, there are other areas farther from the center to sleep in Istanbul that may also be interesting. This greater distance compensates those who prefer to stay in more modern establishments, some belonging to the main hotel chains, or enjoy more animation.
Actually, the distances between the main monuments are not excessively large and the city is safe enough to walk quietly at different times of the day.
In addition, Istanbul transports are modern and work quite well. From buses of various types to taxis and trams, to funiculars and boats that continuously cross the Bosphorus, Istanbul is always in continuous movement.
However, it is convenient when deciding on accommodation further from the centre, considering the reduction or nightly closure of some services, such as ferries. Or the huge, legendary traffic jams in this populous city.
Best Neighborhoods to stay in Istanbul
To discover Istanbul it is convenient to know its peculiar geographical distribution. The city is part of Europe and Asia, with the border of the Bosphorus Strait, crossed by ferries intensely frequently. This already generates two large areas of Istanbul, western Europe and eastern Asia.
In general terms, Asian is less touristy and less cared for in that respect, although districts such as Kadseky are good accommodation, apart from the remoteness of the center and other circumstances.
Both Byzantium and Constantinople were founded in present-day Europe. That’s why they have the main monuments and tourist attractions. But, moreover, this same European part has another division of its own, marked by a historic estuary, a kind of spectacular natural port that is internal to land from very close to the beginning of the Bosphorus Strait. It is the legendary Golden Horn (Halia).
The Golden Horn divides this western area into two halves considered the “modern Istanbul”, to the north and the “Old Istanbul”, to the south. Also both areas have their own peculiarities, interesting for the tourist when choosing between their varied districts and neighborhoods as accommodation.
The best and most recommended areas to stay in Istanbul are located in the European part. The most popular neighborhoods are Sultanahmet and Eminsn, for those who take precedence over sightseeing, and Karakoy/Galata, and the neighborhoods near Taksim Square for those looking for lively, commercial, good-dining, and nightlife sites.
Without a doubt, it is the tourist district par excellence, in the district of Fatih, the heart of the “Old Istanbul”. The traveler is within walking distance of the main monumental tourist attractions, such as Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, or Topkapi Palace. If little time is available, accommodation in the area may be recommended, or if you are traveling with children or on a quiet plane, away from other evening amusements.
The hotel offer is very spacious,with many options concentrated in the area. In addition, it is a very safe neighborhood and a quietarea, removing the daily hustle and bustle of tourists. Likewise, there are many and varied options to find restaurants, terraces and places to eat, as well as shops where you can buy any type of gift.
However, Sultanahmet has a much less animated face at nightfall. Those who expect evening entertainment should choose another area. Likewise, its predominantly touristic character also does not contribute to fully satisfying those who seek to experience the authentic daily life of the inhabitants of this great city.
Adjacent to the former, Eminsen, or Sirkeci, is another of the historic neighborhoods. Formerly a district, it is now part of Fatih’s. It is another of the essentially touristic areas of the “Old Istanbul”, very close to the monuments mentioned and marked by the presence of the Grand Bazaar and the Bazaar of Species. Anyone interested in shopping of all kinds is unlikely to find satisfaction in the more than 4000 stores spread over nearly 60 streets of the Grand Bazaar.
In addition, it is located on the very coast of the Golden Horn, next to the mythical Galata Bridge, which saves from a walk the distance to the “modern Istanbul” on the other side. This situation makes the neighborhood a prominent point of communications.
It has the most important ferry station in the entire Bosphorus and also hosts the main railway and bus stations, being essential not only for tourists, but for the daily travels of millions of Istanbul citizens crossing the Bosphorus or the Marmara Sea.
Consequently, its daytime life is very lively,hosting floods of vendors, buyers and tourists. In addition, several government buildings and the main campus of Istanbul University are located here.
Even if there are residential dwellings, the truth is that in Emin.n. most buildings are shops and offices. For this reason, a neighborhood in which about two million people move daily, has only a census of about 30,000 inhabitants.
In conclusion, it is ideal for sightseeing but at dusk Eminönü. becomes a very quiet neighborhood. Staying in Istanbul in this neighborhood is very similar to doing so in neighboring Sultanahmet.
Within the same district of Fatih there are other interesting alternatives of accommodation, such as the neighborhoods of Beyazit and Laleli, close to the monumental center, but with enough distance to perceive peculiarities. Among its advantages, they maintain a good offer of hotels and are very well served by the means of transport.
Beyazit is a very popular neighborhood located between the Grand Bazaar and Istanbul University. Characterized by typical streets, traditional shops,tea shops, cafes and small leather work workshops, which offer a broader view of citizen life, behind tourist windows.
In addition, approaching the Bosphorus increases the offer of restaurants with authentic Turkish cuisine and its typical fish. The key point of the neighbourhood is the charming Beyazit Square, with the mosque of the 16th century, surrounded by numerous reasonably priced cafés and terraces.
The Laleli district is also less than a 10-minute walk from the historic center of “Old Istanbul”. A short distance, but enough to give you the appeal of not suffering excessive tourist accumulations of the same center and have good hotel offer,most of three or four stars. Once again, something common in this area, laleli’s night presents very few opportunities for recreation.
Karakoy, or Galata, as it is also known, is one of the districts of the District of Beyolu, north of the Golden Horn. Marked by the imposing presence of the Galata Tower and at the foot of the Galata Bridge, with its 490 meters in length and two levels, superior for road and pedestrian traffic and lower to house numerous shops and restaurants, it is a popular neighborhood, charming, characterized by its narrow and steep streets.
In this neighborhood, an example of multiculturalism, commerce is the main daytime activity and the night is frequented by the youngest to enjoy bars and terraces. Following in the style of the district to which it belongs, this seaside neighborhood, between historic buildings and a historic port where high quality fish restaurants abound, has become a very active neighborhood, with trendy hotels and diverse restaurants.
Its varied offer of accommodation is already a good reason to choose this area to stay in Istanbul. But, it is also interesting to allude to its peculiarities with regard to Beyo-lu, as a typical neighborhood fundamentally commercial and laborer, where you can eat at a good price in a tavern on the edge of the sea and be at the same time, very close to some of the richest and liveliest areas of the city, with many fewer tourists.
Considered one of Istanbul’s most beautiful neighborhoods, Cihangir is in the heart of Beyo-lu. Its main reference is the Cihangir Mosque, from whose hill you can see stunning views of the Bosphorus. For lovers of special shopping, its countless antique shops stand out, especially on streets such as Turnacsbao or .ukukurcuma.
It embodies the image of the neighborhood protagonist of the cultural and artistic life attributed to Beyo-lu. It is a lively place, with street musicians and colorful urban architecture, in which tradition and modernity coexist, with western influence always very present. In fact, Cihangir is the old French quarter and retains a certain Parisian air. Here they cohabit painters, writers, actors and other intellectuals and professionals who have made the neighborhood their favorite place of work and debate.
Although the streets of Cihangir are always very lively and full of life,the feeling is quieter than in surrounding areas of the district, without the presence of people walking hastily, showing a peculiar rural, quiet and comfortable atmosphere.
6. Taksim Square and surroundings
Taksim Square is reached from the district of Beyolu, touring the iconic .stkl.l. Preferred place for public events and social celebrations is an important commercial, tourist and leisure area,recognized for its vastness of restaurants, shops and hotels.
There are all kinds of restaurants, of all categories and for all tastes, as well as entertainment venues, open almost all day. There are always a lot of people, with a great multicultural mix.
In Taksim and surroundings, in neighborhoods such as Levent and Ortakoy, there are plenty of hotels of all features, with more Western style. We also find some of Istanbul’s most luxurious establishments and the large hotels of major chains, making it a very attractive area to stay in Istanbul.
The main disadvantage is the remoteness of the most emblematic monuments, something that can supplement the availability of public transport, as it is zona central and very well connected. However, nothing suitable for those fleeing noise and continuous movement.
It is another district of Istanbul with some of the most distinguished neighborhoods. In general, it is a wealthy area, dominated by the presence of the grandiose Dolmabahca Palace. Its main street is Barbaros BulvariAvenue, which accesses the Bosphorus ports, the main starting points for the cruise ships that run through it and the boats that travel to Asia.
It is a very interesting neighborhood to go shopping,and it is not at all as touristic as the old town, something ideal to get to know local life more closely and discover aspects such as true typical food. Its streets are very lively and full of bars, restaurants and cafes. Despite being a somewhat more expensive area, it is possible to find more affordable hotels than in the center.
Ortakoy is one of its neighborhoods, former fishing village on the banks of the Bosphorus, absorbed by capital expansion. The Ortakoy Mosque is an important part of its landscape, where strollers mingle with street performers, offering a less touristy image.
Although it is an expensive neighborhood, around its central square, the Iskele Meydani, there are numerous restaurants specializing in fish, quite affordable. In the evening, the nightlife of Ortakoy has excellent offer and numerous nightclubs famous for their elegance and bring together the so-called “beautiful people”,among a good number of Turkish millionaires.
8. Kadikoy (on the Asian side)
For those who want to stay in Istanbul on the Asian side, the best option is the district of Kadik-y, the most populous district of the Turkish capital. Currently, it is a nerve center of commerce and communications, inhabited mainly by the working class and students.
Without a doubt, the accommodation is cheaper and the knowledge of the true traditional Turkish life more complete. As you arrive at the port of Uskudar, the difference is already noticeable. The area is more residential and less touristy and we find a more traditional society, neither as Westernized nor as tourist-centered as it does on the European side.
Restaurants, bars and terraces abound, day and night. But the nightlife is more relaxed and quiet and much less mastified than in areas like Taksim. As an inconvenience, the ferry closes at night, complicating the passage to the European area, as you would have to resort to night buses that make a great rodeo to cross the bridges over the Bosphorus.
The best time to travel to Turkey
In the past few years, tourism in Turkey has witnessed a great boom. This comes for several reasons: a land that embraces towering mountain chains, charming villages, quiet beaches, world cities, rich valleys, diverse cultures and breathtaking landscapes. It is impossible to find a place comparable to Turkey in this diversity. And what makes it a popular destination that attracts people to visit more than anywhere else is the fact that Turkey offers a myriad of activities things you can do it. Visiting historical monuments, archaeological sites, ancient mosques and churches, enjoying Turkish delicacies and thousands of years of culinary traditions, and practicing winter sports in famous ski resorts – all of these options will leave you confused.
Climate in Turkey
Turkey is dominated by a Mediterranean climate; its summers are hot and dry, and its winters are cold and rainy. However, the average temperature in Turkey remains within reasonable limits, making it an ideal country for traveling in all seasons of the year. And if you are wondering about the best time to visit Turkey , the answer is not easy after all. The best times to visit any country vary according to what the people themselves prefer, as well as what they intend to do (explore or stay somewhere, or both).
Below we give you our advice on the best time to visit Turkey and decide for yourself when you prefer to visit this absolutely wonderful country.
What are the best seasons to travel to Turkey?
For lovers of outdoor walks, spring is the best time to visit Turkey ; Where the climate is nice and the days are long. Spring is the season of tourism in Cappadocia and Istanbul, and all hotels are pre-booked. However, if you are planning to visit the Mediterranean and Aegean region, you can get great deals.
In the fall:
If you are not bothered by the intermittent rains, then the fall seasons or the months of September and October are the second most favorable times to visit Turkey. Winter has not yet arrived and the climate is mild and suitable for going out and hiking.
The winter months are November, December, January, February, and March when it is cold and rainy. The bright days are reduced during this period of the year, and if your budget is limited, the winter season may be the most suitable for visiting Turkey, so this does not exclude you from the activities that Turkey is characterized by in the winter season, especially in December.
Winter holidays in Turkey are increasing year by year, due to the presence of many amazing ski resorts spread over the mountains of Turkey. The oldest and most famous of them all is the Uludag Mountain in Bursa and it is one of the most attractive places for a winter holiday in Turkey as well as vibrant night activities. Next to it is the Kartepe resort in Izmit, and it is an ideal place for those looking to spend a weekend near Istanbul, where the calm atmosphere and the enjoyment of skiing.