Istanbul is the ideal place to merge two cultures together. It is situated on the Bosphorus Strait and has a 360-degree view of water. The city itself is set up like a bridge connecting East and West. If you’re planning a trip here, check out these 10 tips!
Istanbul is a historic city with nearly 15 million inhabitants, offering tourists museums, bazaars, and landmarks that feel like they haven’t changed in centuries. However, the city also has its fair share of modernity, with plenty of shopping malls and restaurants to enjoy. While you’re here, be sure to taste some of the best local cuisine!
Religion, culture and folklore will be interwoven in a unique manner to give this location a mystical and captivating atmosphere, as you explore the best of two worlds. If you’re visiting for the first time, here are some key information to assist you plan your trip.
1. Find out how to get from the airport to Istanbul
Before traveling to Istanbul, double-check your arrival airport and avoid any last-minute uncertainty by verifying that it is Atatürk International Airport or Sabiha Gökçen International Airport.
A good option to consider is booking a safe transfer from the airport to your accommodation in Istanbul. Depending on traffic, the journey could take an hour or more, but it’s still preferable to save time rather than explore a chaotic city like Istanbul by yourself.
If you want to explore the city on your own, use the public transport network which is accessible at any time.
2. Check entry requirements
You must obtain a visa or other documentation to enter the country depending on your nationality. If you plan on visiting Turkey, there are a few things to bear in mind before you leave. You must present the following documents at the border crossing: passport, visa (if required), work permit and return ticket or itinerary if applicable.
If applying for an extension of your current visa, you’ll be able to do so by submitting these papers online. Alternatively, bears can also be found around Tekes’ headquarters in Ankara’s Koynekoy neighborhood.
3. Find out how to communicate during your stay in Istanbul
Turkish is the official language and you’ll have no trouble conversing in English. It’s also interesting to note that Spanish is heard at many eateries and stores, implying that it’s worth learning a few Turkish phrases to make yourself more endearing to the locals.
3. Pay attention to currency exchange
The Turkish lira is the official currency of Turkey, and you may check the exchange rate in your local currency before you go to give you an idea. 1 euro is worth about 16 Turkish lira.
You may pay by card in many places, but it is better to bring cash with you, which you can use at ATMs or currency exchanges at the airport, although you will not get a better exchange rate than if you exchanged your money in euros.
Before traveling, I recommend exchanging a small amount of your currency. Once you’re in the city, locate an ATM from your bank and withdraw cash; this will give you a more accurate rate for Turkish lira than going through an exchange agency.
4. Compare different accommodation options
There is so much to do and see in Istanbul that where you stay is critical for getting the most out of the city. I’ll begin by describing how the city is divided into two major regions: a more European sector adjacent to tourist attractions, and a more residential and local eastern side of the city.
Sultanahmet is a great choice for visiting the major attractions and seeing what the city has to offer. Because it is close to the major tourist destinations and easy to get around, especially if you’re visiting for the first time, Sultanahmet has plenty of excellent lodging options. You’ll be able to get started early and avoid the long lines.
The Galata and Karaköy neighborhoods, located east of the Galata Bridge, are another popular destination. With more nightlife options than the central area, it is still within walking distance to other places of interest. You can find all types of accommodations in both areas, but I recommend staying centrally so you make the most efficient use of your time; traffic in Istanbul can be unpredictable. That being said, public transport is reliable if you plan ahead by consulting schedules and frequency timetables.
5. Are you trying to navigate a new city? Make sure to learn the ropes of public transportation!
Istanbul, from start to finish, is a city with hundreds of places to see and navigate around by tram, subway, boat, municipal bus, or funicular. In my opinion, taking the T1 tram line is the best option because it has stops at almost every notable point of interest while also saving time because the city’s metro lines can be difficult to comprehend if it’s your first visit.
The ticket is inexpensive to purchase and there’s even a way to save money further by buying the rechargeable Istanbulkart card, which allows you access to all public transportation options. It can be obtained online and has the same duration as you intend to stay in the city.
The ferry is one of the most beautiful travel experiences you can have, crossing from Europe to Asia and enjoying all the sights that Istanbul has to offer.
Taxis in Istanbul
Although a taxi ride around the city center is cheap, only use certified taxis to avoid being ripped off.
If you have to take a ride on the street, be sure to follow your GPS’s route suggestion, agree upon a fare with the driver beforehand, check that the taximeter is working correctly and be careful when paying so you get the proper change back.
6.Learn how to get the best deals in local shops
If you’re a seasoned negotiator, you’ll have a field day Shopping in Istanbul. If not, I recommend keeping your cool–the shopkeepers and waiters here can be very pushy when it comes to making sales. To get the best deals, brush up on your haggling skills before heading out. You’ll also be able to visit areas such as the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, which features a diverse selection of stores.
Electronic payment methods are not widely available in many places, especially bazaars, markets, and street food stalls. If you plan to visit any of these establishments, it would be best to carry Turkish lira with you or find an ATM so that you can bargain for better prices and explore the city’s vibrant shopping districts.
7. Take a culinary tour of the city to enjoy the best dishes from the region.
Istanbul isn’t only famous for its stunning views and location between two seas–the city is also home to some of the best food tours in Turkey. If you’re looking to try world-famous Turkish cuisine, you won’t be disappointed; there are plenty of seafood options as well as land-based dishes available. From kebabs and chicken with honey and spices to lahmacun (Turkish pizza) and Meze, you’ll have no trouble finding a dish that tantalizes your taste buds. So come hungry–and ready to explore all the amazing flavors Istanbul has to offer!
From personal experience, I believe the best and most varied places to eat are street vendors or self-service restaurants that abound in the city. They provide a wide range of alternatives suitable for all styles (vegetarian haven), as well as being safe and inexpensive. Every day, they offer Turkey’s finest cuisine at great prices.
You can take your culinary experience to the next level by dining in meyhane, lokantas, and other traditional restaurants. Here, you’ll be able to sample flavours you won’t soon forget. In addition to enjoying delicious food, you can also savour traditional drinks such as tea in all its forms, Turkish coffee, fresh orange and cherry juice or “spirits” like Raki or lion’s milk. These beverages often have delicate spicy hints of aniseed that make them even more enjoyable.
8. Ride a tour bus to see all the sights of the city
A comprehensive overview of the cityscape will always enable you to more efficiently determine which places you want to visit based on your travel tendencies. That’s why I prefer guided sightseeing bus tours, because they allow me to familiarize myself with a city’s layout and plan my own route within just a few hours. You tour the city at your leisure, getting on or off wherever you’d like–perfect for those who are only travelling for 1 day in Istanbul.
These days’s bus tours are more personalized, and travelers can choose from a variety of activities to participate in with their guide as part of the experience. Visitors may visit any number of attractions for free, which is included in the ticket price and takes approximately 20 stops near major sites in the city. These excursions are ideal for children, people with impairments or disabilities, and those on a budget.
9. Don’t miss Istanbul by night
Discovering Istanbul by night is highly suggested. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience one of humanity’s most famous cities at nighttime. After seeing the most beautiful mosques or doing some shopping, you can discover places with snacks and other foods as a prelude to Istanbul’s late-night activities.
But the finest is a lovely stroll along the Bosphorus Strait and Golden Horn on board a boat, captivated by the enchantment of ancient Constantinople’s music and night-time postcards, to the beat of Arabian belly dancing and other strange Cossacks or Anatolian expressions.
For something unique, I also recommend a Segway excursion, which is led by the city’s finest and friendliest tour guides. Glide through Istanbul’s glittering nightlife while learning about its vast urban culinary scene, and prepare to have a
10. The must-see
If you’ve come this far, you already have a sense of what the city’s most popular tourist sites are. However, there are several unique excursions and activities available in this bridge city between two dimensions. Here are my top choices.
While Hammams can be found in various parts of the world, their origins date back to ancient Constantinople. In Istanbul, there are hundreds of these rooms where people can go to relax and receive an exfoliating wash or a massage. These architectural gems are definitely worth checking out when visiting the city.
Excursion to Cappadocia
A trip to Cappadocia is a must-do while in Istanbul – you can’t miss it! You’ll get to experience an incredible Turkish sunrise with one of the best views from a hot air balloon.
A trip to Istanbul would not be complete without attending a dervish dance. While it may not becommon for tourists, those who are interested in watching religious ceremonies should explore this option. Dances have their roots in Sufism and follow a spiritual current that is uninterested in material goods.
This location, which is both mystical and strange, cosmopolitan and conventional, combines the finest of East and West in one area. I’m glad you’ve decided to stay in the city for a while.