Türkiye

Istanbul

Istanbul

For many people, Istanbul is at the top of their list of must-visit cities. This one-of-a-kind city is situated on two continents - part of the city is located in Europe and the other in Asia.

Istanbul on map

Overview

Istanbul is known for its storied past as one of the centers of many civilizations, from Greek and Roman to Byzantine and Ottoman to the modern Republic of Turkey. Today, Istanbul is a huge metropolis with a well-developed network of surface trams, metrobuses (buses running on dedicated lanes), sea trams and underground metro.

The best time to visit Istanbul

Trees in bloom in front of the Ayia Sofia Mosque

We recommend visiting Istanbul in spring from March to May or autumn from September to November. During this period the weather is pleasant for long walks and the number of tourists is acceptable. Summer is the most difficult time, the city is hot and you have to queue for most of the attractions. In winter Istanbul has frequent rains and winds.

What to see in Istanbul?

View of the Galata Tower

In Istanbul there is a large concentration of tourist attractions, which will take more than one day to visit. The most famous of them are:

The Hagia Sophia Great Mosque (formerly the Cathedral of Saint Sophia)

The Blue Mosque

Galata Tower

Basilica Cistern

Dolmabahce Palace

Archaeological Museum

Grand Bazaar

Princes' Islands

Topkapı Palace

Church of St. Anthony of Padua

Airports of Istanbul

Two international airports are open in Istanbul: Istanbul Airport (IST) on the European side and Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) on the Asian side of the city.

Sabiha Gokcen Airport Baggage Claim Area

It is important to know that previously the IST code belonged to Ataturk Airport. This airport is now closed for international flights.

We recommend taking the metro to get to and from airports, as the cities are so heavily congested with traffic. It can sometimes take a few hours to get to the city centre. Metro M4 recently opened from Kadikoy to Sabiha Gokcen Airport and the M11 metro line from to Istanbul Airport to Kagithane.

Where to stay in Istanbul?

There are a lot of hotels and accommodation places in Istanbul. Be sure to consider their location and your travel route. One of the best places to stay is in the Sultanahmet area. Not only is it conveniently located near many attractions, it is a center of nightlife, with hundreds of street cafes and restaurants. If you prefer to cook at home you can find fresh fruits and vegetables at the Egyptian bazaar or at convenient small shops which can be found on almost every street in the city.

You can stay on the Asian side of the city but remember the road to the Western part will take no less than 30 minutes. On the Asian side, we recommend staying in the Kadikoy area where you can find plenty of cafes. Another interesting place might be the Moda district where you can take a pleasant stroll along the modern and comfortable embankment and a break from the hustle and bustle of big Istanbul.

The Embankment in Moda district

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October 25, 2023

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