Istanbul, a historic and mysterious city, is a wonderful surprise. With a history going back over 2500 years, and a unique culture as a crossroad between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, it is a fascinating place to visit. It is loud and crowded in a good, fun way, with streets full of energy and ancient markets full of treasures. The sights are unlike anything else in Europe. What a spectacular city!
Istanbul is very budget-friendly, so it’s a great choice for enjoying wonderful hotels, foods, wines, and souvenirs without breaking the bank. Here are our quick travel info tips for planning a visit to Istanbul.
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Travel Info: Istanbul
Istanbul is a spectacular city with a history that goes back over 2500 years and a unique culture as a crossroad between Europe, the Middle East, and Asia
Warmth and hospitality of the people
Many people speak English very well
One of the least expensive large European cities to visit, with so much to see and do
Visiting the Grand Bazaar and surrounding area is an amazing experience
The food, the flavors, the spices, unique dishes
WHAT TO SEE
Hagia Sophia, a masterpiece of art, originally a Christian church, then a mosque, a museum, and now a mosque again; go early to visit for the tour inside
The Blue Mosque, built to rival the Hagia Sophia next door
The quaint and unique antique and souvenir shops in and around the Grand Bazaar
The Spice Market for spices and more souvenir treasures
Topkaki Palace, home of the Sultans, built in the 1400’s
If you have time, combine with a 2-day trip to see the hot air balloons in Cappadocia or to the coasts, either the Mediterranean or the Black Sea
WHAT TO DO
Take a ferry to the Asian side of Istanbul, especially to visit the quaint bohemian neighborhood of Cihangir, and to catch amazing city views from your trip on the Bosphorus
Buy fabulous souvenirs and spices, have a Turkish Rug shipped home, a special souvenir
Enjoy the crazy-fun atmosphere of sitting at an outdoor café while motorbikes zip past servers gracefully carrying full trays of food and drinks
Tour the Basilica Cistern underground, built during the Byzantine Empire
WHAT TO KNOW
Currency: Turkish Lira, also Euros are welcome
Time Zone: Turkey Time, +3 GMT, +7 hours EST (New York City)
Plug-in Adaptor: Standard EU plug-in
Language: Turkish, many people also speak English
Weather: Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and cold winters
Good to Know: Dress conservatively to visit mosques, women must cover their heads with a scarf
Do Not Drink the Water – use bottled water 100% of the time, including to brush your teeth
Thank You: Tesekkür ederim
Two Pints of Guinness, please: Two Pints of Guinness, lütfen
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