Istanbul: Generalities, tips & Extras

The most difficult part of preparing our trips is gathering all the information that we need isn’t it? But Hey you don’t have to worry about that, because that is why I am here.๐Ÿ˜Š

So in this small Article, I will tell you all you need to know for you to prepare your trip to Istanbul!๐Ÿคฉ

What are the top things not to be missed in Istanbul?

  • Visit the Historical Sultanahmet and its Iconic Hagia Sophia
  • Go for the Famous Turkish bath experience and indulge yourself in their Spa.
  • Go on a cruise in the Bosphorus & enjoy its lights at night.
  • Have some street food! You can’t go to Istanbul and don’t enjoy this delicious food and experience.
  • Do some shopping!!! Especially if you are into leather and Cotton. Turkey has the best Quality for lower prices.
  • Check out the Grand Bazar Experience.
  • Allow yourself to wander in those narrow streets and discover some hidden gems.

Generalities

  • Istanbul is not the Capital of Turkey but the main city visited by tourists from around the World. The city is nothing else than the historical Constantinople. It is divided between Asia and Europe. The European part includes the most important touristic landmarks.
  • Currency: Although some touristic places take Euros & USD, the official currency is: Turkish Lira TL. The Lira rate is always on fluctuation, so I advice you to check the Lira rate before booking your trip. The Lira rate today in 2021 is around 1 USD = 7.5 TL
  • Official language: Turkish is the official language but almost everyone there speaks English especially in touristic areas. Arabic is also spoken by many locals!

Tips & Extras๐Ÿ˜Ž

  • The airport Taxi is a bit expensive. But you can take the Bus Airport Havaist if you arrive at Istanbul Airport or Havabus if you land in Sabiha airport. Both buses have many stops in the city and the one-way ticket price is 30TL.
  • Donโ€™t exchange any money at the Airport! The rates are not good at all.
  • In case you take any taxi, pay attention for them not to put a price on the ride but to turn on the taximeter.
  • Get the Istanbul card which you can use for all metros, busses, tramways and even ferries. The card itself costs 6TL and each one-way journey 3.5TL. Pay attention though! The machine doesnโ€™t give any cashbacks.
  • Sim Card: Not all European or International SIM cards can work in Turkey. You can buy a pre-paid sim card with 25GB for around 250 TL
  • Istanbul’s Asian Part is less famous but as impressive as the European part with less touristic landmarks. Make sure to spend a day at Kadikoy.
  • If you wish to spend a day of adventure with nature, check Sapanca area and Lake.

Istanbul’s Hotels๐Ÿฉ

Hotels are typically not expensive in Istanbul and this gives a wide variety of choices. Well itโ€™s not easy to pick the perfect location, because there are many different main areas in Istanbul and each one has its charm. So let me help you out with your choice:

  • Besiktas & Ortakoy area: This is the vibrant area of the city and the one known for its cool restaurants and Cafes. Not to forget that it offers the main view over the Bosphorus. So if you are looking for that sea view and more like a nightlife trip experience this is where you should stay.
  • Taksim area: Taksim is very central and very well connected. Also you can find hotels of all budgets and tastes there. Which makes it the main Hub of accommodation, and maybe your best Choice for your shopping trip.
  • Sultanahmet area: At only 15min away from Taksim, Sultanahmet is considered the historical area of the City and also a good area to stay in. It is close to some of the mentioned malls and areas.
  • Karakoy & Galata Tower area: A very cool area known for its narrow unique streets and view to the Bosporus. This is a nice area to stay in! Very well connected, Very close to Taksim and more or less calm.

Tip: Because of the fluctuated rate of the Turkish lira, Some of the hotels, accept only Euro cash and Cards.

Top day trips from Istanbul๐Ÿคฉ

So as we all know it, Istanbul is not the Capital of Turkey but its number 1 touristic City. But this is not the whole experience and here are some of the surrounding areas or cities that you should consider visiting.

Princess Island

This one is the most famous day trip from Istanbul. At only 20Km from the city you will find yourself on this beautiful island enjoying some moment of peace and relaxation. You will get there by ferry, which is one of the nicest experiences to do in Istanbul.

Tip: If you wish to visit the island you better go to Istanbul in spring or summer time.

Bursa

You need less than 2hrs from Istanbul and you are there, in Bursa. This city which is the 4th largest in the country is is known for its historical landmarks from the early Ottoman Empire. So if you are looking for some history, this is where you should go.

Sile & Agva๐ŸŒŠ

In also less than 2hrs drive, you can allow yourself to enjoy a relaxing day on the shores of the black sea. Sile and Agva town resort is the best choice for those of you who love escape to the nature.

Tip:Take a boat ride down the scenic Goksu River.

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