What we have here is a complete guide to visiting Instanbul and we hope you will love this if you re planning to travel to this beautiful country. Go on a great trip to Istanbul, a city that connects two places and mixes history, culture, and modern life.
Complete Guide to Visiting Istanbul
From the big mosques and old palaces to the busy markets and lively neighborhoods, Istanbul is a mix of old charm and new style.
You can walk in Sultanahmet, an old part of the city, or taste Turkish food. Every moment in Istanbul is a treasure.
How to Get to Istanbul?
To go to Istanbul, you have options:
- By Air: You can fly to Istanbul. It has two big airports: Istanbul Airport and Sabiha Gökçen International Airport.
- By Train: There are trains to Istanbul from places like Bucharest, Sofia, and Belgrade.
- By Bus: Buses connect Istanbul to many cities in Turkey and nearby countries.
- By Car: You can drive to Istanbul, but traffic, parking, and tolls might be tough.
Remember to check visa rules, transport options, and other things before you go.
Visa Rules for Istanbul
Visa rules for Istanbul depend on where you’re from and why you’re going. You should check your country’s rules before you travel.
You usually need to give some papers to get a Turkish visa. You might need a visa picture that fits Turkish rules.
If you stay in Turkey more than 90 days, you’ll need a residence permit, no matter where you’re from.
Travel Insurance for Istanbul
If you don’t need a visa for Turkey, you don’t have to get travel insurance, but it’s smart to have it. It’s safe to have travel insurance in a foreign place.
Medical Help in Istanbul
If you have a medical problem in Istanbul, call 112. The city has good hospitals like Acıbadem, Florence Nightingale, and American Hospital Istanbul.
Take your medicine info and a copy of your prescription. A translation card or app with Turkish medical words could help.
Know where the nearest hospital is and keep emergency numbers handy, including your embassy or consulate.
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Getting Around Istanbul
Istanbul has good public transport with buses, trams, subways, and ferries. The Istanbulkart card is easy to use and saves you money.
Taxis, shared minivans, and cable cars are other ways to move. Bike sharing and scooters are good for short trips. Private boat tours on the Bosphorus are fun.
Public transport is the best way to get around. The Istanbulkart card helps with many kinds of transport. Walking is also nice to see things.
Where to Stay in Istanbul
Istanbul has many kinds of places to stay:
- Ibrahim Pasha Hotel: A small hotel in Sultanahmet near the big sites.
- Villa Denise: A quiet guesthouse in a peaceful place.
- Anemon Galata Hotel: A modern hotel in a trendy part of town.
- Sumahan-on-the-Water: A luxury hotel on the Bosphorus.
- Hotel Daphnis: A city center hotel near shopping, food, and fun.
- Sinbad Hostel: A budget choice for young travelers.
- Rapunzel Guesthouse: A cozy guesthouse in a quiet place.
- Antique Hostel: A special stay in a historic place.
Food in Istanbul
Istanbul has great food:
- Turkish Breakfast (Kahvaltı): Try cheese, olives, bread, and more.
- Street Food: Get simit, dürüm, or kokoreç from the street.
- Kebabs and Grills: Taste döner, şiş kebab, and more.
- Meze: Eat hummus, dolma, and more before your main meal.
- Turkish Delight (Lokum) and Baklava: Try sweet Turkish treats.
- Turkish Pide and Lahmacun: Get a special kind of pizza.
- Turkish Tea and Coffee: Sip Turkish drinks.
Best Places to Eat in Istanbul
Some top places to eat are:
- Sultanahmet Koftecisi: Try meatballs here.
- Karaköy Güllüoğlu: For baklava lovers.
- Ciya Sofrası: Taste authentic Turkish food.
- Balıkçı Sabahattin: For seafood fans.
- Asitane: Get unique Ottoman dishes.
- Çiya Kebap: Enjoy delicious kebabs.
- Sunset Grill & Bar: For fine dining with a view.
- Street Food Stalls near Ortakoy Mosque: For street food.
- Hafiz Mustafa 1864: For Turkish sweets.
- The Melting Pot Area of Aksaray: For diverse cuisine.
Banking and Money in Istanbul
In Istanbul, they use the Turkish Lira (TRY). You can change foreign money at banks, exchange offices, or ATMs in the city. Visa and MasterCard are accepted in big places. ATMs take international cards too.
Istanbul has many local and international banks. Exchange offices, called döviz bürosu, have good rates during the day. Istanbul is safe for banking, but be careful at ATMs.
Tipping is common, and it’s good to have some cash for small buys in local shops.
Shopping in Istanbul
Istanbul is a cool place to shop. The Grand Bazaar is great for rugs, fabrics, and more. Jewelry here is amazing.
For art and old stuff, Istanbul has vintage furniture, cool lights, and other cool things. You can see modern art in galleries.
Near Galata Tower and Istiklal Street, there are designer shops and vintage stores. Malls like Istinye Park and Kanyon Istanbul have many brands.
Nightlife in Istanbul
Istanbul has a fun nightlife. You can go to nightclubs, bars, and cruises. Live music is big in Kadikoy and Cihangir. Meyhanes have Turkish music, dance, meze, and raki.
Street food is good late at night. Casinos have games and fun. Restaurants and cafes are open all night for food.
But be careful, especially in big crowds, to stay safe.
Wi-Fi and Internet in Istanbul
Istanbul has Wi-Fi in many places, so you can stay online. Before you come, check with your phone provider for a good data and call plan.
You can get free Wi-Fi in the city, but you need to sign up. You get 1 GB of data each day at 2 Mbps speed.
If you want faster internet, you can buy a local SIM card with data. Internet is important in Istanbul for email, maps, and more.
Is Istanbul Expensive to Visit?
Istanbul can be cheap or costly. It depends on where you stay, eat, and go.
The price of flights to Istanbul depends on when you go and where you’re coming from.
- Inexpensive restaurant meal – €5.48
- Mid-range restaurant for two – €26.99
- One-way ticket – €0.34 Basic utilities – €54.80
- 1-bedroom apartment in the city center – €579.20
- 1-bedroom apartment outside of center – €377.12
- 3-bedroom apartment in