Istanbul What To Do In 3 Days
5. Check out the Istanbul Archaeology Museums – On your way out of the Topkapi Palace, make sure you stop by the Archaeology Museums – a must visit in Istanbul for history buffs. They contain artifacts from Turkish, Hellenistic and Roman civilizations which include the busts of Alexander the Great and the God Zeus, a large sarcophagus believed to be prepared for Alexander the Great, objects from Mesopotamia, Egypt and Anatolia as well as tile and pottery specimens dating back to the Seljuk and Ottoman empires.

Is 3 days enough to visit Istanbul?

How Long Should You Stay in Istanbul? – First, ask yourself the following questions: Did you come to Turkey primarily to tour Istanbul ? Or do you want to visit other Turkish destinations as well? Istanbul is a fantastic tourist destination in and of itself.

However, if you prefer to visit other places, such as Cappadocia or Pakkumale, don’t be overwhelmed by all the sights to see in Istanbul! If you just want to see the attractions of Istanbul, a day or two should enough! If you like having a full itinerary, three days in Istanbul is more than plenty.

However, if you are a more leisurely visitor, allow yourself extra time to enjoy all that the complicated city has to offer. Finally, obviously, your budget must correspond to your itinerary. Istanbul is not a particularly costly place to visit. In fact, you may want to stay longer to save money on your trip!

How can I spend 3 days in Turkey?

Summary of All – * An ideal city itinerary should cover the top sights and attractions plus shopping. * We designed out Istanbul 3-Days Itinerary as exploring the Old City on the 1st day, Modern City on the 2nd day, and Bosphorus + Shopping day out on the last day.

* Day-1 includes: Sultanahmet Square, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Istanbul Archaeology Museums, Great Palace Mosaics Museum, Museum of Turkish & Islamic Arts, Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Entertainment * Day-2 includes: Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal Street, Galata Tower, Galata & Karakoy neighborhoods, Whirling Dervishes Show in Hodjapasha Culture Center or Orient Express Hall, Pub Crawl.

* Day-3 includes: Bosphorus Cruise, Spice Bazaar, Grand Bazaar, Turkish Bath, * We recommend you buy fast track entry tickets/guided tours/discount cards to avoid the long queues, and get great value for money service. * Istanbul Welcome Card Premium is a good choice for the ones who only want to visit the couple of top museums such as Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia.

  1. It also includes Bosphorus Cruise and 10 rides public transportation, plus free delivery to your hotel.
  2. Istanbul Welcome Card Deluxe is a good choice for the ones who want to visit top museums as much as they can.
  3. It also includes Bosphorus Cruise and 20 rides public transportation, plus free delivery to your hotel.

* Istanbul E-Pass with +35 attractions and services, is also a good choice for the ones who are energetic and can explore about all the Istanbul attractions. * If you want to buy attractions tickets separately, than we recommend the Combo Tickets for Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern, digital tickets with no regrets.

How many days should I spend in Istanbul?

Final Verdict – As you can see, deciding how many days in Istanbul largely depends on you and how action-packed you like your vacations. If you don’t mind rushing around, then you can see everything in 2-3 days. For those who prefer to travel more leisurely, then 4 days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Istanbul,

Is Istanbul a walkable city?

Walking Istanbul and London with Authors Elif Batuman and Rebecca Mead You can listen to our podcast on and each week. Follow this link if you’re listening on, Lale talks to two of her favorite authors about two cities that she’s most connected with—Rebecca Mead about and Elif Batuman on —and asks the question: What do you learn about a city by walking around it instead of driving through it? “You want to knit yourself into the fabric of a place and see your story knitted into it,” says Mead.

  1. Plus, listeners contribute their own walking stories about Budapest, Dubrovnik, and —all solo travelers who had unforgettable experiences thanks to the decision to explore a new place by foot.
  2. This content can also be viewed on the site it from.
  3. For more from Women Who Travel, visit our or subscribe to our,

Lale Arikoglu: Hi, and welcome to our second episode of our new Women Who Travel, with me, your host, Lale Arikoglu. This episode is about European cities and specifically getting to know them on foot and by public transport. I’m invested in this because, I confess, I don’t drive.

But many people also don’t feel like driving in, say, the traffic of, or in the narrow streets of an ancient French city. It simply isn’t the best way to get around. I’m chatting today to two authors whose writing I love about our ties to cities. They’re Rebecca Mead, who, like me, is English, and who thought she’d settle in New York, but found herself moving to London four years ago.

Rebecca Mead: London is so convoluted and, you know, all these little villages all stuck together with all these peculiar routes between them. And I’ve never really understood how London joins up. And there’s still vast wades of it that I don’t know how they connect.

  1. LA: And Elif Batuman, who, like me, has close ties with Istanbul, and who a decade ago swapped New York for Istanbul on an extended visit.
  2. A city that straddles both Europe and Asia.
  3. Elif Batuman: So, there are all of these sort of former fishing villages that go down the Bosporus.
  4. There’s and there are all these kind of, like, posh places, Bahçeşehir University is—is on there.

And you go down, and at the bottom there is, uh, Taksim, that’s like this very transportation hub and—and that’s the downtown. LA: This week, we put out calls to our listeners for European town walkabouts. This is Zakia Triffi. Zakia Triffi: My name is Zakia.

I’m originally from, and I’ve lived in New York and moved to London in 2018. I wanna talk about, a city I love. Budapest has a lot to offer. It is beautiful and very walkable, and I recommend getting on the water to see its beauty right before sunset, walking up to Fisherman’s Bastion and admiring the grandiose of parliament’s reflection on the water, from the top of the Buda Hills where a plethora of villas could remind you of Bel Air.

But what I discovered of Budapest that made me really fall in love with the region is to bike along the Buda side of the Danube towards the small villages, passing by Szentendre, to pick up some paprika and lavender amongst other souvenirs, and Etyek, another stunning small town, with charming little wineries, a particular estate with a remarkable architecture, and a delightful pool to cool off the heat of the summer days is my favorite.

  • Haraszthy.
  • The food is amazing and the atmosphere and the crowd is the same people you’ll meet in the hip bars and restaurants of the city on a Saturday evening in the 5th District.
  • What makes the city so special is not only the ease to get around, from the cathedral to the shopping area on foot, or simply strolling along the Danube as a perfect way to visit Budapest, but the thermal bath, which offer a stunning setting to round us a visit and relax in the City of Baths.

LA: And here’s listener Laura Donnan’s story. Laura Donnan: So, last fall, I had the privilege of traveling by myself to, And the last part of my trip was in Dubrovnik. One of the big tourist attractions is to walk the medieval city walls. While I was walking around, uh, there are a couple of cafes which kind of dot the walls.

  1. And I was near one of them, just taking a picture, and one of the, uh, he was a manager of the café, he came up to me and offered to take my picture.
  2. And we just started chatting and, um, ended up exchanging contact information.
  3. Oh, he had also brought me a free glass of wine.
  4. So, there was a little bit of a flirtatious tone, I would say.

But anyways, so, the last night of my trip before I headed back to the states, we had agreed that I would go meet him up by his café up on the city walls, where he had invited me after the walls were closed for, to the public. So, when I got there, as he was closing up the shop, um, I was able to just walk by myself a little bit around the walls and just take some amazing pictures of the sunset with- with no one in sight.

  1. And, uh, when I got back to the café, he had a bottle of Croatian wine open and waiting for us, and we just sat and talked and drank wine and watched the sun go down.
  2. I would definitely call it the perfect ending to an incredible trip.
  3. Rebecca Mead: We decided to move to London, which is the city in which I was born, but it’s not really a place that I had lived.

I’d lived there as a very small child, but I moved away when I was three years old. LA: Rebecca Mead, on her book Home/Land, RM: I moved to New York in my early 20’s, after leaving university in England, and I thought I was moving to New York for a year, and it turned out that I moved to New York for about 30 years.

  • And I’d become an American citizen and had a family and all the rest of it.
  • And then, a few things happened, 2016 election being one of them, but not the only one that made me and my husband decide with our then 13 year old son that we would leave New York and make a change.
  • And so, to me it felt like in some ways a homecoming, but actually not.

Because I was very unfamiliar with the city, I’d been here many times for work, obviously. But I—I didn’t know it. I didn’t have a place in London to return to. So, it was this very strange thing where you re-transplant yourself to an environment that, you know, in some ways is so familiar.

You know, the sound of my feet on the pavements on London, the kind of, there’s a, there’s a kind of echoing, hollow sound of your heels hitting the streets that sounds completely different than your heels on the asphalt of New York. There’s a different music to the city, there’s a different smell to the city, there’s so many things about it in a sensory way that feel so different, but that were also, you know, familiar to me from very early childhood.

So, it was a strange kind of re-immersion in something I’d forgotten. Like an adoptive child who’s returned to a birth parent who’s unfamiliar. LA: That’s so funny what you said about the sound of your feet on the pavement. I’ve never really thought about that before, but I can hear the London pavement and it’s very different from the New York one.

Yeah. RM: It rings. It rings. Whereas the New York one is kind of, it’s a dead, uh, sound, somebody should make a piece of modernist music comparing the two. LA: Yeah, I’m writing notes for that. RM: Yeah, yeah. LA: Um, talk a little, you know, you mentioned the sensory differences, but was the sort of sensory overload? What was the sounds, the smells? RM: You know, after dark everywhere’s really,

all of residential London’s really quiet. My son was so agitated by the absence of traffic noise and voices outside our window and all of that, he sounded, I mean, he said it was boring, but I think it wasn’t that it was boring, it was that it was so alien and so distressing.

  • And certainly now in my life, I am ready for some quiet and I’m, and I love the fact that I can, you know, I, there’s not this incessant noise coming through the window.
  • But certainly, when I was in my mid 20’s in New York, that noise, that constant kind of clangor and agitation was something that I loved about it.

And I loved being part of it. LA: Well, then I feel like there’s a sorta certain period of your life in New York which is about not being in your apartment, it’s about being out in the city and being in that noise. And to me, I always think about how, if and when I move back to London I’ll be seeking out something slightly different.

  1. RM: Yeah. Yeah, no, absolutely.
  2. And—and, you know, there’s also the—the difference in temperament between the people, which is also part of the environment.
  3. So, I remember feeling when I moved to New York that I was so relieved, or kind of energized by the fact that people yelled at each other on the subway, or, you know, you could cuss somebody out if they shoved you or something like,

There was all these things that were, there was a kind of vocal energy. You know, and in—in London nobody says anything and everybody sits and quietly fumes. LA: I know. Yeah. We are strange. Like, you sort of touched on it a bit and you mentioned kind of some of the contrast, but obviously this episode is sort of focused on that ritual of walking.

RM: London is so convoluted and, you know, all these little villages all stuck together with all these peculiar routes between them. And I never really understood how London joins up, and there’s vast wades of it that I don’t know how they connect. You know, and if you ride around on the tube in London, you emerge and you don’t know how far you’ve gone or how you got from one bit of one corner to another.


So, when I first got here, I did, and I still do as much as I can, walk between places, or take a bus if—if I have to, so that I can sort of see the way that the bits of the city connect. And you, uh, you learn something about the history of the city that way.

Like, you know, the Hampstead Road that my bus goes along is, you know, the old road that the farmers used to drive the livestock down to get to the meat market at Smithfield. And because it is such an old city and there’s so much history inscribed in these streets, you know, when you walk around in the city of London and past these massive skyscrapers and banking buildings, and then you come across bits of the old Roman wall of London, and that is, I find it, absolutely thrilling.

LA: Where in London, for those who don’t know it, where do you live and what’s it like? Des- describe it a little? Rebecca Mead: I live in North London, I live very close to, I mean, minutes walk from Hampstead Heath, which is a beautiful area of kind of preserved countryside.

  • Lale Arikoglu: One place I think of in Hampstead Heath but I’d like to know if there are others you’re thinking of, are the ponds.
  • Rebecca Mead: Yes.
  • Lale Arikoglu: And the swimmers in the ponds.

Rebecca Mead: Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, so, there are, for your listeners that don’t know, there are many ponds on the Heath, but there are three in which swimming is permitted. There’s a men’s pond, a ladies’ pond and a mixed pond. And the men’s and the ladies’ ponds are open all year.

  • And I ended up swimming through the winter and now I do that regularly.
  • I mean, I’ve become one of those crazy people that swims year round.
  • I mean, I swim alone.
  • I’m quite in my head when I’m doing it, and also when it’s very cold, you’ve got to just be, like, concentrating on, you know, not dying.
  • But it’s also, it’s—it’s very social.

And everybody’s like heads above the water, breast stroke, chat, chat, chat. You know, it’s really charming and quite fun to eavesdrop on other swimmers as they go by like the ducks. LA: I love that. RM: Tell me next time— LA: Maybe I should go. Maybe—maybe at Christmas I should go for a swim.

RM: Yeah. Tell me next time you’re here and I’ll take you. LA: I will take you up on that. RM: Definitely. LA: In contrast to the chatter of- of the ponds, walking around London is sort of, I mean, obviously you can do it in groups, but is sort of inherently can be filled with solit—. a sense of solitude.

You know, where have been some of your favorite places that you’ve somewhat stumbled upon? RM: There are lots of places I’ve sort of just wandered through and stumbled across. I mean, the one that comes to mind is the old St. Pancras Church Cemetery, which is right by St.

  1. Pancras station founded in the 18th century.
  2. And it had to be partially dug up for the laying of the railroad into St.
  3. Pancras station.
  4. So, you know, graves were dug up and the gravestones were removed and there’s a tree around which dozens of gravestones have been arranged.
  5. And it’s called the Hardy Tree.
You might be interested:  Transfer From Istanbul Airport To Taksim?

And the story about it is that Thomas Hardy, the novelist was, and this is a true fact, that Thomas Hardy, before he became a novelist, was an architect, and he worked on, as a, as a very young man, one of his early jobs, was working on this removal of these graves from the graveyard.

  • And he writes about it in his autobiography about how they had to exhume these bodies at night so that gawkers wouldn’t look at them.
  • But what’s happened is that the roots of the tree and the trunk of the tree have grown in and among these arranged gravestones so that you can’t tell exactly what’s tree and what’s stone and the inscriptions have become very, very faded, and they’re covered with moss and they’re covered with liken.

And so, the- the stones look like stone again. You know, they don’t look like manufactured things anymore. So, that’s—that’s one that I had never heard of and found, and found very, Do you know it? LA: I don’t, and I’m like, I mean, my jaw’s sort of open because I just, I didn’t know it at all and I have to go see it next time I’m in London.

  1. RM: Yeah, it’s beautiful.
  2. LA: And it’s making me think about how London has so many, like, physical layers of history and lives led.
  3. And I never thought about it when I was growing up there, but when I go back now, it’s a ve-,
  4. And- and I do- I don’t say this in, like, negative way, I say I find it, like, enchanting.

But it’s a very, like, haunted city to me. Is that something that struck you walking around? RM: Yeah, yeah. I mean, yes. This very, very conscience of this sense of, you know, very ancient history. And maybe we should point out of course that there were people in North America.

LA: Yes, yes, yes. RM: Um, and they do have a history, it’s just that it’s not as visible and has been rendered invisible. You know, I mean, there have been efforts to make it more visible, but it’s not part and parcel of the fabric of, the material fabric of the city. I mean interestingly though, in New York so many of the names come from Native American names for places.

So, Manhattan and so on. I mean, they’re, you know, if you stop to think, it’s there. But it’s not. But we don’t, mos—mostly don’t stop to think. LA: Sort of, uh, put—put you on the spot, but kind of in a few words, what does London sound like to you? RM: Oh, god.

I don’t know. There are so many different sounds, but there’s like, you know, the sort of blur of voices of, like, a group of people gathering around a pub at the end of the working day on a Thursday or a Friday evening, that kind of, just—just that, that sort of hilarity and chatter that you can’t really distinguish but you can sort of s—sense in the same way that you can, like, sense the smell of the beer in the air.

That’s one thing that I find, um, really kind of charming about London. The—the sort of willingness and eagerness to just have fun and unwind. But so, that’s one of the sounds. But, you know, everything from, as I say, the, you know, the heels on the, on the pavement to this, to the, just the silence.

All the—the sounds of the foxes, you know, squawking and fighting and night ’cause there are, that’s another thing that I just found unbelievable, that there are, the streets are full of foxes. And, um, people here regard them as pests, I think, a lot of the time, I think of them as magical creatures, visitors from another realm.

Um, but that’s ’cause I’m new. LA: I also think of the foxes that way. RM: Yeah. LA: There was one that used to sunbathe at the back of my parent’s house, on the top of some extension, and literally he, so, this fox would be there every day it was sunny.

  • And I just thought it was the most, yeah, like, a visitor from another realm.
  • I love that.
  • So, I actually just want to ask one more question which I’d meant to ask earlier and then got excited about the ponds and the foxes and the Thomas Hardy Tree.
  • RM: I mean, who wouldn’t? Who wouldn’t, honestly? LA: Uh, exactly.

But from, I think we, um, both share a connection to Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn. RA: Yeah. LA: ‘Cause I live a stone story away, and it has a very special place in my heart and also kind of got me through the darkest points of lockdown. What does that park mean to you and do you think that the Heath is the equivalent that you found in London? RM: There’s a weird familial connection to Fort Greene Park.

  1. So, I didn’t just live close to it, but my husband is, on his mother’s side, descended from the general from whom the park,
  2. That- that- the fort, not the park, but the fort was originally named, which is not Fort Greene, but Fort Putnam.
  3. Uh, I think all of us, you know, if we think about place and we think about our place in those places, you want to sort of knit yourself into the fabric of the place and to see your own story kind of knitted into it.

LA: It is very funny, my best friend from secondary school actually lives sort of a few blocks away from me, which is amazing. And I was walking, uh, I was running through Fort Greene Park a few weeks ago and I ran into her, and she was reading your book.

And- RM: Oh, wow. How wonderful. LA: So, you can know that your book is being read in here, in Fort Greene Park. RM: Oh, that’s very, that’s very moving to me. Thank you for letting me know. LA: Of course. RM: Thanks. LA: Remember, to stay up to date on all things Women Who Travel, make sure you’re subscribed to the Women Who Travel Newsletter via the link in our show notes, and that you’re following Women Who Travel on Instagram.

After the break, author Elif Batuman maps out the city of Istanbul. Author Elif Batuman spent four years living in another old city, Istanbul. It was during a time of protest, and she experienced the city in all its turbulence and sense of great possibility.

  1. Elif Batuman: Yay.
  2. LA: Which—
  3. EB:
  4. LA: I will say that growing up in London feel like—
  5. EB: What a treat for you.

LA: I was gonna say, I mean, what a wild family to have back in Turkey. But, you know, growing up in London, my year was relatively diverse at school, but for some reason I was just like, I’m not interested in that side of me. I, like, just wanna be English.

  • Which would probably break my dad’s heart to hear me say out loud now.
  • And it’s only in, like, recent years that I’ve started to get really excited about that part of my life and seeing that there’s this whole kind of place to explore and get to know, and all its complexities and also magic.
  • EB: I almost felt like Turkish identity was something that I wasn’t entitled to have because my parents, especially my mom, had made so many sacrifices for me not to have to experience a burden and for me to kind of get to be American.

And it—it wasn’t until relatively recently that I was like, you know, I can have my own relationship to this side of my identity that’s not completely mediated by my parents. Which also came from, like, spending time in Turkey and meeting people who are younger than me and they have their own way of viewing the world.

It’s been really fun to interact with them too. LA: I was reading something you wrote in, like, the London Review of Books, that talked about some time you spent in Istanbul about 2010, you moved there for a stint? EB: Yes, 2010 to 2013, 2014, I was there, yeah. Speaker 6: In Gezi Park, 100 yards away, everyone was suffering.

The tear gas drifted across in great invisible clouds. Speaker 7: There seems to be tear gas everywhere tonight. It’s dispersed around a wide area. And it’s not completely clear where it’s coming from. We’re not seeing the running battles that we saw last night.

  • But what we are seeing are many people with their eyes streaming, unable to cope.
  • Speaker 6: The protesters’ focus has turned to the behavior of the police and the belligerence of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan.
  • Speaker 8: He will not say, “I’m sorry,” but what he needs to say, the brutal force is not needed.

We are coming back, so we are giving the Taksim Square to all the people, and we are free. LA: What was that three, four years like there? EB: I was a writer in residence at Koç University in Istanbul, and I was teaching writing in English mostly, to native Turkish speakers.

  • And I was writing for The New Yorker about subjects that had to do with Turkey.
  • But I was kind of avoiding politics.
  • Like, oh, man, I really wanna write about that time, but it was so, it was so complicated.
  • There was so much going on.
  • It was kind of, like, some people were still pro-Erdoğan, like, including people in the American Left were still pro-Erdoğan.

And some people were already like, “He’s an authoritarian.” LA: What was sort of your daily routine? EB: I, so, for part of the time I lived on the university campus. And then I moved to Cihangir, where some of my ex-pat friend-, that was where all the New York Times people were at that time.

A lot of the, like, war correspondent people were kind of, their base was in Istanbul and they would, they would go to, you know, wherever they would go, Iraq and—and Syria. That’s actually where I was when, in 2013, when the Gezi protests started. And then I had an apartment that was in Cihangir right near Taksim, where the protesting was.

So, a lot of the time the road would be closed. So, there were, like, people staying in my apartment sometimes to do protests. That was a very exciting time when a lot of my ideas changed. And it felt like all of these stories were coming up, and it just felt like this incredibly rich and exciting time that then the- the promise of that did not last in quite the way that we’d all hoped.

I did a couple of architecture stories, but this one was when they—they were constructing the Marmaray train line to connect Europe and Asia. There was all of this kind of the construction going on and uprooting and excavations and also, like, the barricades, like the political protesters had uprooted some amount.

You know, like, I just remember the ground being dug up for all of these different purposes. I was reporting a story about, they did this excavation and they found this large number of freakishly preserved Byzantine shipwrecks. And then they were like, “Uh, finally we got these shipwrecks out and now we can excavate further.” And then they found, like, neolithic footprints and they didn’t even know that there had been a land bridge there.

  1. LA: That’s such, like, a visual description of the, just, literally, like, the ground being turned upside down to unearth all these stories.
  2. I love it.
  3. EB: Mm-hmm.
  4. LA: The loose overarching theme of this episode we’re putting together is walking and sort of getting to know and understand cities by foot.

It was sort of inspired by the fact that I can’t drive. EB: What a productive limitation. LA Yeah, exactly. I like to think it’s a good one. Istanbul is, I would say is a walking city but it’s a sprawling city, and it has so many layers to it and so many hills.

  1. When you kinda parachute in for a family trip do you kind of, like, see who you need to see and do the things you need to do and then you leave.
  2. And to actually have the time to just get to know it by foot, even if it just like walking to the bus to go to the university campus, like even just those moments give you such, like, an understanding of the place.

Did you feel like it gave you something that other trips, those shorter trips haven’t? EB: Oh, yeah. Definitely.I, When I was living in the university campus, it was sort of, like, up in the hills. And you would take these, you, as you know, there’s this network of dolmuş buses, which are, like, these mini buses that are connecting everything, which is the actual geography that the people who are, especially the people who aren’t so wealthy and don’t necessarily have cars, like, that’s how they get around.

And there’s, you know, a certain amount of professors and grad students, and then there’s also livestock. And I remember once I was on one of those buses and I was just sitting there and this woman who was dressed in kind of, like, village dress, she had, like, a little girl with her, and she was like, “Okay,,” And she just, like, plunked her kid on my lap, like big sister, like, just,

And then I just had this kid on my lap. I thought that where I was living was like a one mile minibus ride from where my office was. And I thought, “Oh, I’ll just walk.” But part of the walk was on this highway, so, I, you know, I walked there once and there was, like, no kind of shoulder on the road and, like, you know, it was, like, a 15, 20 minute walk.

  • And in that time, like, at least 10 cars honked or stopped, and then finally one delivery guy on a moped stopped and he was like, you know, “You can’t walk here, this is not safe.” And I was like, “Why is it not safe?” And he was like, “Bad people come, like they come fr-,
  • I was like- like, what bad people? And he’s like, “How should I know what bad people? Like, just get on the bike.” So, then the,

I just remember this, like I don’t know, just, like, the wind, the breeze in my hair as I was sitting on the back of the moped and we got to the place where I lived and he was like, “It’s here, right?” And I was like, “It’s a little further.” LA: EB: I didn’t wanna get off.

And by then, I think he, like, he wanted to get rid of me and I wanted to keep riding, so our dynamic had changed. LA: I love that story so much. Oh, that’s great. I visited Istanbul a lot as a child and then have started to get to know it again as an adult, but I find it an incredibly overwhelming and intricately mapped city.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, give us a little bit of a overview of the map of the places that you were spending your time in. EB: I was, I was really spending most of my time on the European side of the city. So, the university was north of Sariyer.

  1. So, there were all of these sort of former fishing villages that go down the Bosporus.
  2. And there are all this kind of, like, relatively posh places.
  3. And you go down, and at the bottom there is Taksim, which is, in so far there is a center of Istanbul, that’s, it’s Taksim.
  4. It’s like this very transportation hub.

And there’s Taksim Square and then there’s this, like, pedestrian street, Istiklal Caddesi, which is where all of the sort of biggest brand stores are. And it’s- it’s this packed street. If- if you’ve seen any pictures of Istanbul, you see pictures of this, like, giant street.

And that’s the shopping center, at least of the European side. The Byzantine shipwrecks were at north of Taksim. There’s a, so previously there were only bridges connecting the European and the Asian side. And then they finally built an underground train line. And that’s where they found the shipwrecks.

LA: When I move around the city, I look Turkish enough that people just assume I’m Turkish, and then as soon as I open my mouth, I out myself as—as British—British born, and I can’t speak Turkish. EB: But do they have a concept of that? Like, oh you don’t speak Turkish? LA: And I don’t speak Turkish.

  • EB: Okay.
  • LA: Do you feel like you’re treated first and foremost as Turkish or as an American?
  • EB: I speak Turkish with an accent. I can, like, go for several sentences before-
  • LA: Mm-hmm, hm.
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EB:, problems come up. I also remember noticing that I would want people not to notice that I was not from Turkey. Like I would be like, “Oh, maybe I can get through this conversation without anyone being like, “Where are you from?” I find it more and more travel to be kind of like, ethically complicated, ’cause you’re also,

  1. Like, as soon as I talk, e- especially depending on the class, it’s like they’re like, oh, you have enough money to get on an airplane and I’ve never been on an airplane.
  2. Like, it, immediately all of these things come in, which is, like, why do you have these things that I don’t have? And then to feel in myself, oh, I hope I don’t have to go to that place of guilt in this conversation makes me feel like I’m trying to get away with something.

LA: I think what you said about just thinking about travel kind of being, like, ethically complicated is really interesting. EB: Yeah, it’s not, there are, these questions don’t have very clear answers. LA: I think part of it is just- EB: Not to be a bummer on the travel podcast.

  • LA: No, no, this is exactly what I wanna talk about in this podcast.
  • And I think it’s, like, accepting that the important thing is to ask those questions and maybe we just haven’t figured out some of the answers yet.
  • EB: I don’t remember these questions being asked when I was a kid when I was younger.

So, the fact that we’re asking them, we’re, of course we’re not at the answers yet. And it’s important not to be demoralized just because we don’t have the answers right now. LA: On the subject of choosing places to live, and you said that, you know, you’re based in New York right now, how do New York and Istanbul compare? And do you feel like they each give you something different? EB: They’re so different, the New York world view and the Istanbul world view.

And I did feel like they were a very productive and fun alternation. This summer I was actually, I was in Istanbul and I was hanging out on Burgazada, which is one of the Princes’ Islands, with some friends, and you know, you can go swimming there in the Sea of Marmara. And the produce was so wonderful.

And, I mean, they’re having a horrible economic crisis and people are really, really suffering. And as a result, the dollar is very strong. It’s, you know, so, there’s, uh, ethical problems everywhere. But, like, I just had such a wonderful time there. And the human relations felt so much more kind of, like, organic and it was so much easier to see people and there were more public spaces and outdoor spaces where we could kind of, like, congregate and not feel like we were fleeing from one place where we’re gonna have to pay $23 for a glass of wine to another.

  • And there were children and old people, and I was like, “Okay, this is actual life.” There’s several islands that are known as the Princes’ Islands, and they’re between 40 and 70 minute ferry ride from the main land.
  • So, some people live there all year round, and they’re- they’re popular for vacations.

But they’re a part of Istanbul. But you, most of them you can’t drive a car. LA: I visited one of those islands as a kid, and I still remember the magical feeling of getting to know a place that has no cars. Finally, here’s a lyrical description of an evening in Malta from Genevieve Aron, who sent us this dispatch.

  1. Genevieve Aron: I decided to go to Malta solo, and my most memorable experience was in Bay, it’s a narrow bay with steep cliffs on either side.
  2. And the south side has layers of five floor apartments, a row, then stairs down to a promenade, then more stairs down to the promenade.
  3. And after dinner I grabbed a gelato to go, and walked over to the steps just above the water to watch the sunset.

It was a Saturday night and someone lit candles all along the steps. I’m assuming it’s so you know where to walk once it got dark. And a pop up stage was setup in the corner of the bay where live music played. And, like, even night divers were getting into the water, and I saw their flashlights swim by.

  • There was so much life going on around me, but it was so peaceful at the same time.
  • I sat there for almost a full hour, being in the moment, not even really thinking about anything, just watching diminish of daylight, the growing glow of candle light and town light and the gentle waves.
  • It was a really memorable experience.

LA: Thank you for listening. I’m Lale Arikoglu and you can find me as always on Instagram, @lalehannah, and follow along with Women Who Travel on Instagram @womenwhotravel. You an also join the conversation in our Facebook group. Allison Leyton-Brown is our composer.

How much money is enough for Istanbul?

High-end traveller: 5000 TRY / person / day – A generous budget of 276 USD per person per day (or 1932 USD/week) is more than enough for Istanbul. A boutique hotel costs around 2500 TRY/night (twin share), which leaves you with spending money of 2500 TRY/day: Use it for taxis, a fancy Turkish breakfast and other meals at higher-end or international restaurants, a private guided tour and fun experience such as a cooking class, a luxury hammam treatment, and a sunset cruise on the Bosphorus.

Is Istanbul very cheap?

1. Is Istanbul Expensive? – When compared to many major cities in the world and in Europe prices, Istanbul isn’t too expensive, It is expensive relative to the other destinations in EU such as Poland, Romania or Bulgaria. Istanbul was ranked 173rd over 206 cities in the world in the 2021 Mercer Cost of Living Survey (was 156th in 2020).

How should I dress in Istanbul?

Istanbul Dress Code For Tourists – The general Istanbul dress code for tourists and especially women is to cover your legs at least past to your knees, cover your chest and cover any cleavage and cover your stomach, Based on my experience visiting and living in Istanbul, having the bottom of your legs showing and feet is fine.

  • Having your lower forearm showing and even all of your arm and shoulders showing in the summer is also fine, as it is very hot.
  • Talking of the heat again, Summer in Istanbul is very very hot and dressing more modesty like this is hard, below I’ll give you some ideas of what to pack for summer in Istanbul.

However, in the cooler months like March, April, May, October, and November, and the very cold months like December, January, and February, how to dress in Istanbul as a tourist and how to dress in Istanbul as a woman is very easy because you’ll naturally want to wear more covering clothes to stay warm.

Can you wear shorts in Hagia Sophia?

Venere Travel In 2020, Hagia Sophia has been converted into a mosque and there is no entrance fee when visiting the monument. A few things you should know when you are visiting Hagia Sophia are as below: Christians, Jews, and people of other faiths are all welcome at Hagia Sophia.Before entering the mosque’s carpets, you should remove your shoes.

  • You are kindly requested to be quiet during the five daily prayers at the mosque, not to make so much noise, and not to run in front of others while they pray.
  • On Friday worship at noon, certain parts of the mosque are temporarily closed to avoid disturbing people praying.
  • Please be advised that women must wear a head covering when they enter the Hagia Sophia.

Head scarves are available for free at the entrance. No shorts or sleeveless shirts on either men or women are allowed, It is permissible to take pictures, but you should not photograph the individuals in prayer. There are also numerous guided tours available, and they’re highly suggested because Hagia Sophia has a long history.

Because there is no entrance fee, the cost of guided visits was reduced. There are few things more nerve-wracking than trekking around. It’s far better to learn everything there is to know about the structure, mosaics, imperial dome, upper galleries, and current decoration with the help of a knowledgeable guide.

Keep an eye out for unofficial guides (official guides should have an official badge). It’s essential that you allot at least 60 minutes for the visit.90 minutes, on the other hand, is preferable. Visit at the height of the day, when natural light inside will enhance your appreciation of the space considerably.

How far is Cappadocia from Istanbul by train?

Trains from Istanbul to Cappadocia – How long is a train journey to CAPPADOCIA from Istanbul? The distance between CAPPADOCIA and Istanbul is 884 km. The train from Kadikoy station to Konya station takes 11 hours.

Is Cappadocia worth visiting?

21. You Will Want To Come Back – Istanbul What To Do In 3 Days Honestly, before visiting Cappadocia, I pegged it as an Instagram destination, But thankfully my preconceptions were wrong. I had no earthly idea of how diverse and interesting this place would be. Now we can easily say that it is one of our favorite places that we visited during our 3 month trip through Turkey, and it is high on our list of places to revisit.

Fethiye : 17 Incredible Things To Do In Fethiye Oludeniz : 9 Popular Things To Do In Oludeniz Sanliurfa : Your Ultimate Guide To Sanliurfa, Turkey Istanbul : Amazing Istanbul Itinerary Options For 4, 7 or 10 Day Visits

Tired of reading? We have an entire Turkey travel series on YouTube, Follow the link! Don’t forget to Subscribe to follow along with the adventures 🙂

How long do I need in Cappadocia?

HOW MANY DAYS IN CAPPADOCIA? – Cappadocia is a beautiful region that we loved visiting on our Turkey itinerary, You need at least 2 days to see the main highlights of Cappadocia, allowing for 2 mornings to take the balloon ride in case there are cancellations for weather.

Which is the best month to visit Istanbul?

By Lale Surmen Aran and Tankut Aran – Istanbul has a moderate climate year-round. It is generally hot and humid from mid-July to mid-August, and it can snow during January and February. The peak-season months (with the best weather) are from mid-April to June and September to October.

During the off-season, you can generally find better deals and smaller crowds, the weather is usually good, and all the sights are open. Weather conditions can change throughout the day — especially in spring and fall — but extremes are rare. Summer temperatures generally range from 65ºF to 85ºF (42 º –60 º in winter).

Temperatures below freezing and above 90 º make headlines. Keep in mind that prices in Istanbul are higher during festivals and holidays such as Easter, Christmas, and New Year’s. On holidays, you’ll see lots of vacationing Europeans, mostly from Spain, Italy, and France.

Is 4 days in Istanbul too much?

Is 4 days enough in Istanbul? Yes, absolutely! In fact, 4 days in Istanbul is the perfect amount of time to spend in this wonderful city which is split between Europe and Asia!

What is the best month to go to Turkey?

When is the best time to visit Turkey? – The best time to visit Turkey is between June and September, Turkey has a mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild winters. The hottest month of the year is July with an average daily maximum of 35 C and an average low of 25 C. The coolest month of the year is January with an average daily maximum of 14 C and an average low of 5 C.

What is the most beautiful part of Istanbul?

Sultanahmet District in Istanbul – Sultanahmet is one of the most beautiful places in Istanbul, an archaeological and tourist area, with many mosques, churches, restaurants, gardens and museums. Here are some of the most popular tourist places in the Sultanahmet region:

Sultan Ahmet Mosque (the Blue Mosque) Eminonu Topkapi Palace The Egyptian Market Gulhane Park

Sultanahmet represents the historical and tourist face of Istanbul, where many ancient historical and cultural treasures gather. We recommend that you visit it as it will take up much space from your tourism program and it will not be enough for a day to see all its landmarks.

What is the best way to get around in Istanbul?

The best ways to get around Istanbul are the buses and trams, which conveniently cover the touristy areas. But remember, buses don’t have maps inside and drivers do not announce stops, so you’ll need to remain vigilant and watch where you are going. The metro is also a reliable and cheap means of getting around; however, stops are farther apart and not as well-positioned for seeing the sights.

The city’s metro and bus networks can also be used to get to downtown from Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST). When visiting Sultanahmet and Eminönü, walking between the area’s attractions is doable, but you’ll need to rely on another mode of transportation to reach other neighborhoods. Driving is strongly discouraged since road signs are in Turkish and accidents are fairly common.

Ferries are also available to get to the Princes’ Islands and between the European and Asian sides.

On Foot You’ll find walking is easy and enjoyable in neighborhoods like Sultanahmet and Eminönü, but other areas are less dense. Definitely explore the alleys and bazaars on foot, but hop on a bus or tram if you are going greater distances. Also, be sure to carry a reliable map.
Bus Istanbul’s bus system – operated by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality – is very effective, with routes running throughout the entire city. Buses do not have maps, so you should know where you’re going before stepping on. A bus map can be picked up at any terminal, and timetables for all routes are available on Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Route/Station Search page, Most buses run daily between 6 a.m. and midnight. To ride one of the city’s buses, you’ll need to purchase a limited use ticket or an Istanbulkart card. Limited use tickets are good for one, two, five or 10 rides; fees start at 4 Turkish lira ($1). Istanbulkart cards, meanwhile, work on buses, trams, metros and ferries and cost 6 Turkish lira (about $1.50). When using one of these reloadable, plastic cards, ride fees are reduced to 2.30 Turkish lira ($0.50); trips to and from the airport cost 8 Turkish lira (roughly $2). Istanbulkart cards can be refilled at bus and metro stops, and limited use tickets and Istanbulkart cards are sold at more than 2,100 transportation counters and participating vendors.

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Istanbulkart

Tram You’ll see the tram scurrying through the streets, and you’ll want to hop on. They are a good way to see the city and get from one place to the other. Four tram lines are available, but the Bagcilar-Kabatas (T1) Tram will probably be the most helpful to get around the touristy portions, as it makes stops near must-visit sights like Galata Tower, Istanbul Modern and the Hagia Sophia Museum, One-time rides on any tram line will set you back 4 Turkish lira (approximately $1). If you have an Istanbulkart card, each tram ride costs 2.30 Turkish lira ($0.50). A tram network map is available on Metro Istanbul’s website, Note: Metro Istanbul’s Taksim-Tünel (T2) and Kadiköy-Moda (T3) tram lines are not handicap-accessible.

Metro Istanbul Istanbulkart

Metro Metro Istanbul offers six metro lines, most of which service the European side of the city. The Yenikapi-Atatürk Havalimani (M1A) makes stops at the airport and the central bus station (Otogar). The majority of the metro’s stations are not the closest public transportation option for popular attractions, but this system’s underground tracks made it a quicker option during rush hour. One-time rides cost 4 Turkish lira (about $1) per person, while travelers with Istanbulkart cards will pay 2.30 Turkish lira (roughly $0.50) per ride.

Metro Istanbul Istanbulkart

Ferry Known locally as vapurlar, ferries – which are operated by Sehir Hatlari – depart multiple times a day from the city’s European and Asian sides. Several ports along the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn are available, including ones in Kadiköy, Eminönü, Ortaköy and Karaköy. Using the ferry system is the best way to reach the Princes’ Islands, and it is also the most affordable way to tour the Bosphorus. To ride the ferry, you’ll need to purchase a one-way token for 4 Turkish lira ($1) – trips to and from the Princes’ Islands cost 5.50 Turkish lira (about $1.50) – or tap your Istanbulkart card. Fares for Istanbulkart cardholders vary by route but start at 2.30 Turkish lira (roughly $0.50). Two-hour Bosphorus tours cost 12 Turkish lira ($3) per person, while full-day, round-trip tours are 25 Turkish lira ($7) per passenger.

Sehir Hatlari Istanbulkart

Taxi Taxis are plentiful, cheap and convenient in Istanbul, but the drivers have a reputation for scamming riders. A sly cabbie might tell you the meter is broken and quote you a higher flat rate. If this happens, you should have no qualms about getting out of the cab and into a different one. It might also be helpful to write down the address of your final destination to and show your driver – this will make communication much easier. Taxis can be hailed on the street, but to decrease your chance of getting scammed, ask your hotel to call one for you. Taxi drivers are less likely to overcharge passengers being picked up from a hotel because it may hurt their future business. All taxis charge a base rate of 3.45 Turkish lira (about $1), plus a metered rate of 2.10 Turkish lira per kilometer traveled (or less than $1 per mile). The Uber ride-sharing service also operates in and around Istanbul.


Car Driving in Istanbul is not recommended. Istanbul traffic tends to be slow and congested, distances are measured in kilometers, parking is hard to find and gas is expensive. The roads are also difficult to navigate. But if you absolutely need to have your own set of wheels, you can acquire a rental car at the airport. You’ll need to get an international driving permit, which is available through AAA and, Rental car fees vary by company, but expect to pay $20 to $30 per day for standard models.

Alamo Budget Europcar Thrifty

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Is food expensive in Istanbul?

Istanbul Restaurant Prices – Restaurants in Istanbul differ and average meal costs will differ too. I would also add to this category casual diners, canteens, cafes, and restaurants with a view and upscale restaurants. A traditional Turkish breakfast, Kahvaltı Tabağı (which includes several types of cheese, sausage, cucumbers, tomatoes, a boiled egg, olives, butter, bread, tea or coffee) costs 20-30 lira (€3-€4.35) per person.

  1. For a plate for two the price is 30-40 TL (€4.35-€5.8).
  2. Tea in a cafe will be around 3.5-4 TL (€0.50-€0.60), Turkish coffee between 7-9 TL (€1-€1.30).
  3. Chicken Kebab plate which includes rice, vegetables, and lavash in a restaurant costs between 35-40 TL (€5-€6).
  4. In a cafe or restaurant with a view (there are a lot of those places in Istanbul), the price is usually 1.5-2 times higher.

If you want to save money but still dine in a restaurant type establishment, look for places with the name “Lokanta” or “Lokantasi”. This cafe often has a counter with food, so you can see what’s there on offer and pick up whatever you like. Usually, meat dishes are the most expensive but veggie, soups, bulgur, and rice dishes don’t cost a lot.

Prices for lunch in Lokanatasi generally start from 15 TL (€2.2). Tea is usually free and unlimited, although not every Lokantasi offers it. When it comes to food and if you are visiting Istanbul for a short period of time, I recommend you go on a food tour. It will give a clear idea of what people in Turkey eat and what are the most famous foods in Istanbul.

There are a lot of various tours on the market. I checked some of them and recommend this 4 hours long evening walks and food tasting tour and 7-hour private guided food tour, For more options, click here to see all the food tours in Istanbul,

Is Turkey cheap for tourists 2022?

One of the questions we get asked the most is; is Turkey expensive to travel to? No, Turkey is a really cheap place to visit, especially since the Turkish Lira is declining in value by the month. But how much does a trip to Turkey cost? How cheap is it really? In this guide, we’ll be breaking down the cost of everything from transport, food, accommodation and attractions, so you know exactly how to budget for your Turkey trip.

Is food cheap in Turkey?

How to Save Money on Food in Turkey – Good news: not only is food in Turkey delicious, but it’s exceptionally cheap, too! There are plenty of ways to save money on food and drink while you travel around the country. Let’s start with those options first.

  1. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll likely save money by cooking rather than eating out, so if you’re willing to sacrifice some of your meals, this is an excellent way to stay on track with your budget.
  2. Hostels will usually offer a shared kitchen, and if you’re opting for an Airbnb, the owners will often give you access to the kitchen.

If that’s the case, you can head to a local market (a great cultural experience) and stock up on ingredients. Many hostels and hotels offer free breakfasts within their room rate, so if that’s the case, I always recommend eating later in the morning and eating a lot, as you may find you’re too full to have lunch.

But, as I’ve mentioned several times in this post already, Turkish breakfasts!!!! The breakfasts in Turkey are so fantastic that I’d recommend having them outside of your accommodation as often as possible. The real budget-buster when it comes to food and drink in Turkey is, unfortunately, alcohol. There are huge taxes on alcohol, to the point where Turkish drinkers pay more than double the price for alcohol than locals in the EU.

Not only that, but the local beer, Efes, is, um, kind of terrible. I usually recommend skipping out on the alcohol while you’re in Turkey, but if you’re determined to have a drink while you’re there, expect to spend more than you’d like — as in more for your beer than your meal.

Unfortunately, the tap water in Turkey isn’t safe to drink, so I’d recommend investing in a GRAYL water purifier to ensure every drop of water you drink is safe and clean — I used mine to drink the tap water in places like Mozambique and the Congo and didn’t once get sick! Not only will you keep yourself safe, but you’ll also cut down on your plastic consumption through not buying water bottles, and will save money in the long-term.

So let’s take a look at some of the best local eats you should try in Turkey, along with the typical cost of these meals. When it comes to breakfasts, the options in Turkey are going to change. your. life. Seriously — Turkish breakfasts are my favourite in the world! A traditional Turkish breakfast consists of fresh bread, olives, cured meats, tomatoes, spicy sausages, feta cheese, honey, and lots of delicious tea.

  1. Menemen is another great Turkish dish comprising scrambled eggs, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and spices, and served on top of a slice of fresh, crusty bread.
  2. You can expect to spend around 15₺ (€2.50) for breakfast in Turkey.
  3. Lunches are just as fantastic and you’ll be spending a lot of time snacking on kebabs and pides, with lamb a common option for meat.

If you’re vegan or fancy skipping out on the meat, you’ll be able to opt for fresh salads and crusty bread at most restaurants across the country. But let’s talk about pide, as that’s one of my favourite Turkish dishes. It’s a type of Turkish pizza, but with the pizza-esque toppings served on flatbread.

  • One of my favourite toppings is lamb, spinach, and local sheep’s cheese.
  • You can expect to spend around 15₺ (€2.50) on pide and 20₺ (€3) on kebabs and kofte.
  • Dinners are — you guessed it! — always delicious.
  • If you’re going to be spending time in Istanbul, I recommend hunting down one of the city’s most iconic treats: balik ekmek, which is a sandwich containing grilled fish, onions, and tomatoes.

It’s one of the best cheap eats in the city and only 6₺ (€1), You have to try this while you’re in town! Aside from cheap eats, traditional Turkish dinners in restaurants will come to around 25₺ (€4) and 40₺ (€6). And when it comes to desserts and sweet treats, you’re not going to want to stray far from baklava ( 30₺ (€5) per kg) and Turkish delights — you can get these all over the country and they’re so much better than the stuff you’ve likely tried at home.

I recommend picking some up from the Istanbul Spice Bazaar and opting for the pomegranate flavour for a fun take on the treat. You’ll be looking at around 50₺ (€6.50) for 1kg of high-end Turkish delights. You can always ask the locals for food recommendations, too! Ask at your accommodation for recommendations on the best budget eats, or simply walk around and see which restaurants are full of locals.

Here are some typical prices of food and groceries in Turkey to help you budget better:

Meal at McDonald’s: 20₺ 0.5l of draught beer: 15₺ A bottle of house wine in a restaurant: 40₺ Doner from a deli for lunch: 10₺ A 30 cm pizza for dinner: 15₺ Local dish in a fancy restaurant: 25₺ Cappuccino in an hipster area of town: 10₺ Litre of milk: 4₺ A loaf of bread: 2₺ A dozen eggs: 9₺ 1 kilogram of tomatoes: 5₺ 1 kilogram of potatoes: 4₺ A 1.5l bottle of water: 2₺

What is the cheapest time to visit Istanbul?

When is the best time to visit Istanbul? – The best time to visit Istanbul is either April-May or mid-September to October-end when the days are longer, drier, and sunnier, but not as hot as in the peak of summer. Temperatures range between 12°C and 25°C and there are a few brief showers occasionally. These months also avoid the large tourist crowds. The best time to visit Istanbul is April, May, and mid-September to the end of October.

Best Time for Good Weather : April to October. Best Time for Honeymoons : April, May, and September. Best Time for Nightlife : May to September. Best Time for Saving Money : Avoid the peak months of June, July, and August when hotel rates are at their highest. The cheapest time is the winter, from December to February, but the cold weather is less inviting. Best Time for Sightseeing : During the summer months of June, July, and August, the crowds around the sights in the old city can be overwhelming – and made worse by the hot and sticky weather. So, the optimal time is April, May, and from mid-September to October-end. During April, the entire city is in bloom for the tulip festival (see later). Best Time of the Day for Sightseeing : The most pleasant time to visit Istanbul’s abundant sights during summer is soon after opening, or later in the day, but in winter there are usually no queues or crowds at any time. In summer, however, expect sweltering heat, massive crowds, and long lines at entrance gates. Weekends (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) are usually busier, but most attractions have their own closing days and slightly different operating hours, so always check before visiting. Best Time for a Bosphorus Cruise : During September, the weather is usually warm, the crowds are reduced, and the winter gusts have yet to settle in. May is the next best option and an ideal time to look for the 3 species of dolphins that inhabit the strait. However, cruises along the Bosphorus are worthwhile at any time. Cruises might be canceled in winter because of poor weather; those in the morning will offer the best chance of sunshine. Best Time for Shopping : Istanbul is a popular shopping destination, offering a wide variety of world-famous brands along with high-quality local designs. The city’s local fashion industry is also booming, so seek out non-chain stores for the best prices. Spread over 40 days in June, July, and August, the Istanbul Shopping Fest offers substantial discounts across various malls and markets, although the abundance of tourists at the Grand Bazaar at this time reduces the possibility of too many bargains. Discounts are also possible across the city between mid-December and early January. Best Time for Water Activities : Despite so much of the city facing the Bosphorus Strait and Golden Horn, water-sports are really limited to boat cruises which are especially popular after dark. Strong winds can make sailing, or even traveling a short while by ferry, a little uncomfortable. The water is calmest in the summer (June to August).

Can you get around with English in Istanbul?

Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul

1. What’s the best time of year to visit Istanbul?

Istanbul is a popular destination all year round, although summer can get very hot and winter is usually cold and rainy with the occasional snow flurry. Spring and autumn months are best advised for a pleasant temperature and less crowding at the major sites.

2. How should I dress in Istanbul?

Turkish dress sense is generally westernised although revealing clothing is not very common in Istanbul (nightclubs along the Bosphorus are more of an exception). As a secular state, Turkey is tolerant of other cultures and religions. Female visitors are not expected to don a head scarf, unless they are visiting a mosque and scarves are usually available to borrow.

3. What is there to do in Istanbul?

Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city and offers many sites and things to experience. As well as the many markets and bazaars on offer, we would recommend taking a trip to the sites of the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) and Topkapi Palace.

4. What is it like as a non-Muslim visiting Turkey?

While Turkey is a largely Muslim country and some are strict followers of Islam, there are many more moderate Muslims and also smaller minorities of Christian and Jewish faiths. As a secular state, Turkey is generally very open and welcoming to other cultures, and it is rare to experience any problems as a non-Muslim in Turkey.

British nationals travelling for tourism or business purposes will no longer need a visa to enter Turkey for visits of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. To get a full list of which nationalities require e-Visa’s click on the following link to the MFA web page: Compared to most western countries, Istanbul is a safe city.

The incidence of violent crime against foreigners is very low and few visitors to the city experience any problems. There are some scams and pickpockets operating (more so in the tourist-heavy areas) so you should exercise usual caution.

7. Is Istanbul easy to get around? What kind of transport options are there?

Despite its huge size and number of waterways and hills, Istanbul is reasonably easy to get around. There are a large number of transport options such as bus, minibus, dolmus, tram, metro, metrobus and ferry. Also, as stated earlier, it is mandatory for travellers to wear a face mask when in transport.

8. How can I get from the European to the Asian part of Istanbul?

There are buses, metrobuses and dolmus that make the trip between the European and Asian parts of Istanbul but the cheapest and easiest way to do it is by ferry. Ferries make the trip between Eminonu and Kadiköy and Üskudar on a regular basis. Other ferries leave from Besiktas and Kabatas.

9. Is it safe to drink water from the tap in Istanbul?

Although the water is chlorinated in Istanbul, it is recommended you drink bottled water. Bottled water is widely available and reasonably cheap in Istanbul.

10. Is it safe to eat food from the street and small restaurants in Istanbul?

The standard of hygiene in Istanbul is generally fairly high, and few visitors report problems related to unsafe food in the city. Practice common sense and only eat at an establishment if it looks clean and busy. Fresh fruit should be peeled before eating and salads should be avoided if you suspect they have been washed in tap water.

11. Do I need any vaccinations for a trip to Istanbul?

No. There are no required vaccinations for Turkey, although a typhoid vaccine is recommended for longer stays.

12. Is alcohol available in Istanbul?

Yes. Although the majority of Turks are Muslims, alcohol is readily available in Istanbul. The national drink, raki, is especially popular, along with beer and wine – of which there are numerous local brands. Istanbul also has some of the best nightlife in Europe with a seemingly never-ending supply of bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

13. What language do they speak in Istanbul? Will it be hard to get by with only English?

Turkish is the official language of Turkey and English is widely spoken in Istanbul; visitors are often surprised by the relatively high level of English spoken by most Turks. An attempt to use Turkish is very much appreciated and considered good manners, though.

14. Should I take out travel insurance before visiting Turkey?

Yes. It is important that before you book your holiday, you make sure that you have relevant travel insurance for you and your party. If you or any of your party develop COVID-19 symptoms while abroad, you should contact your travel insurance provider.

15. Do I need to exchange money? Are there many ATM’s in Istanbul?

Although Euros are accepted at some larger stores and in the tourist areas, it is generally better to trade in the Turkish currency – the Turkish Lira. Exchange rates are almost always better if your currency exchange is done in Turkey, and a good strategy is to take enough local currency for your first day or so, and change the rest once you arrive.

16. Should you tip in Istanbul?

It is customary to tip around 10% at restaurants in Turkey. If the bill reads ‘servis dahil’, then the service charge has already been added. Hamam (Turkish bath) attendants will generally expect up to 25%. It is not typical to tip taxi drivers or barmen in Turkey. : Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul