Istanbul is one of the largest cities not just in Europe but globally too and is truly a tourist’s paradise. There is so much to see and explore in Istanbul that we are sure one visit to the city won’t be enough. It is an interesting country for its transcontinental position in Eurasia and is straddling the Bosporus strait bifurcating the Marmara Sea and Black sea. Its business hubs and historical places are located in the European zone and about thirty percent of its population lives on the Asian side. This is one phenomenal city where you will find the touch of both European and Asian traditions. Here are a few Istanbul travel tips to help you plan your vacation.
Travel Tips For Istanbul
For a huge city like Istanbul which is known for its ancient heritage, depth of its history, and diverseness of the city, one needs to plan really well before visiting this place. To help one plan better we have researched and created a list of tips which can be very handy for your travel to this magnificent city. Here is our list of top Istanbul travel tips:
1. Ideal time to visit
The ideal time for tourists to visit Istanbul is in between March to May and between September and November as the weather is pretty pleasant. During these months, the weather is amazing. It isn’t too extreme making it an ideal time for travelers to explore the city. Have fun exploring the city!
Istanbul has two international airports, the Istanbul Ataturk which is the bigger of the two but it is an extremely busy airport. The second one is Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, which is a bit smaller and is also farther to the city center as compared to Ataturk airport. Book your flights and accommodation keeping the travel time and airports in mind.
3. Visa and passport
These are the two most important things while traveling online. Interestingly tourist visa for Turkey is different from other European nations as Turkey isn’t in the union. A part of the visa process is now online which makes applying for it easier. One can apply for the visa from the country’s customs portal. So, what are you waiting for?
4. Hotel location
The location of one’s stay is very important while on a vacation. While booking the hotel, one should check that the location makes for an easy travel around the city and is convenient. The best hotel locations are near Sultanahmet or near Taksim square. Both of these locations offer great places at affordable prices. Sultanahmet may get a bit crowded if you are looking for a peaceful place.
Shopkeepers in Istanbul are extremely good salespeople. They are very hospitable and you would be welcomed in the bazaars and shops. Some may even offer you Turkish tea. But the smart shopkeepers may also add a good premium to their products when you go to buy. Do ensure that you negotiate nicely and bargain to get the best of discounts and offer. Also, research about the products a little before you go shopping.
6. Turkish Lira
Turkish Lira is the local currency in use in Turkey. Ensure that you keep enough of this local currency with you. You can get the currency exchanged at the airport too. Some travel agents, and shops may not accept international cards. Therefore having the local currency comes in handy when traveling abroad. Do take care of the cash.
7. Learn basic Turkish phrases
It will be really good for you if you know basic Turkish language and a few important phrases. The staff at most of the hotels and restaurants may not be very conversant in English, which may cause some communication problem. Pronunciations also differs a little in Turkey and therefore it is best to get a hang of the language a bit. It always helps to talk to locals when in a foreign country.
Suggested Read: 9 Istanbul Restaurants For That Perfect Turkish Culinary Affair
8. Local travel in Istanbul
Hiring a taxi is the most convenient option in Istanbul but it is also the most expensive one. If you are in a group it will be better to avail shuttle services especially while traveling to and from the airport. A lot of places are also accessible by the city metro and you can also get a tourist pass to travel via the metro. Havabus is a very popular mode to travel here. It is a municipality owned reliable airport shuttle bus service. One can easily locate these outside the airport terminal.
9. Istanbul’s history
It always helps to know some basic history of anyplace, especially the one you are traveling to. Istanbul is a country with an extremely rich history of hundreds of years. It is a beautiful mix of cultures and heritage which can be overwhelming for any tourist. It is strongly advised that you read some of its history before you travel to the city as it will make your travel less confusing and you will appreciate the culture and the historic places there a lot more.
Suggested Read: 6 Theme Parks In Istanbul For Letting Out The Kid In You!
10. Pickpockets and cheats
Generally, people in Istanbul are kind and mingle easily with the tourists. While traveling to the bazaar and on the streets, one needs to be extra careful with their belongings. Also, there are many fake agents who may approach you with great deals. So ensure that you are dealing with a genuine person. Do not trust anyone easily.
11. Travel guide book
For Istanbul, we will recommend that you buy a good city guidebook. Read a bit on Istanbul and Turkey. There is just too much to see, too much to explore in this city. A guidebook can be really handy to help you while traveling here. It will give you a fair idea of the city and the things to do there.
12. Mosque etiquettes
When you are traveling to mosques in Istanbul, especially the Blue Mosque, ensure that you are not wearing shorts. For females, at some mosques, it is compulsory to keep their heads covered. It is advisable to carry a shawl or scarf if required to cover one’s head. Shoes are not allowed inside the mosques. Be prepared in advance whenever you are heading to a mosque.
Visiting Istanbul can be a mesmerizing experience, one that you will surely cherish for a long time. Ensure that you plan well before visiting so that you make the best out of your tour of this phenomenal city. Follow these Istanbul travel tips and we are sure you would have a great time on your trip to this city. Book with TravelTriangle now!
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Frequently Asked Questions About Istanbul Travel Tips
What to know before traveling to Istanbul?
There are numerous interesting things to know before planning your trip to Istanbul. The following are a few of the important factors:
1. Make sure you carry a scarf or a handkerchief before entering mosques.
2. Dress decently before visiting religious places
3. Avoid visiting dangerous areas.
How many days do I need in Istanbul?
Istanbul is known for its popular attractions and if you don’t want to miss out any of the major attractions here then must stay in the city for a minimum of 2 to 3 days.
Is Istanbul a good place to visit?
Yes, Istanbul is quite a beautiful place to be explored during a vacation. The place is known for their interesting culture, history, cuisine, unique architecture, art, popular attractions and a lot more.
Can you wear shorts in Turkey?
Yes, you can surely visit shorts in Turkey while roaming in the city but avoid wearing the same to mosques in Istanbul and other religious places. However, it is advised to be decently dressed while holidaying in Turkey.
Is it safe to walk in Istanbul at night?
Yes, you can surely have prolonged walks in Istanbul at night but you must surely avoid strolling in unsafe areas such as Istiklal Cad, etc. at late hours.
Is Istanbul safe for female tourists?
According to the existing records, Istanbul is equally safe as any other major city in Europe for women. However, it is advised to restrict your visit to touristic areas.
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