Things to know before visiting Istanbul

The days for your trip to Istanbul are getting closer! Before your departure, read these useful tips about this wonderful city


1) Istanbul offers 2 airports. One on the European side, the Ataturk airport and one on the Asian side, the Sabiha Gocken Airport

2) An easy way to get to the city center (Taksim) from the airports, is with the Havatas buses. You can find them right outside the airport and each ticket costs 11TL from Ataturk and 14TL from Sabiha (per person)

3) For your transfers you should buy the Istanbul Card. Load it with TL and use it for all public transportation means. Each route costs 2.30TL

4) There are 2 big covered markets in the city. The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar. Try to bargain and not to buy impulsively

5) In order to enter mosque, you should follow some rules. First of all you must take off your shoes and secondly, if you are a woman, you must wear a scarf to cover your head and neck

6) Although Euro and Dollars are widely accepted, you should exchange your currency to Turkish Lira. There are exchange offices all over the city, with the best rates close to Grand bazaar or Spice bazaar

7) In order to avoid a taxi scam, you should either ask from the driver to use the meter or prearrange the amount to be paid before you enter the taxi

8) The best period to visit Istanbul is during Spring and especially May

9) Visitors can wear anything they want, as if they were to visit a European city

10) Buy the Museum Pass and visit some of the most famous museums in Istanbul, saving not only money but also time. It costs 85 TL and lasts for 5 days

11) Istanbul is one of the safest major cities in Europe with a relatively low incidence of violent crimes

12) The most convenient areas to stay during your travel to Istanbul, are the Taksim (city center) and Sultanahmet area (historical center)

13) You can get an e-Visa before your arrival in Istanbul. Check here for details:

14) During summer months most of the museums stay open until 18:00 and until 17:00 during the winter months

15) Using common sense during your stay in the city, you can wander around all areas of the city. There are no places you should avoid

16) Istanbul is a city full of cats. So in case you are allergic, bring your medication treatment

17) There are 3 telecommunication stores: Vodafone, Turkcell and Turk Telekom(Avea). In order to buy a Turkish number or internet, you will need your passport

18) Public toilets are all over the city! You can use them either by giving 1 TL or by using the Istanbul Card

19) Turks love all kids… So don’t misunderstand their warm behavior!

20) Usually, when you order drinks, the waiter brings nuts or fruits. Most of the times they are not free of charge, so before you accept them, ask him if you have to pay for them

21) The emergency numbers are: 112 for Ambulance, 110 for Fire, 155 for Police

22) A common fact in Istanbul, is the street food! Dozens of stalls selling from fresh fruits to fish sandwiches. Enjoy them during your stay

23) You will meet many beggars on the roads. If you feel you want to help them, either give them money or food

24) Especially at the touristic areas, there are men outside shops, restaurants and cafes, trying to convince you to get inside or buy something from their shop. Kindly let them know if you are not interested

25) You have to be very careful when you try to cross the road! In Istanbul, although the drivers are very experienced, they think they have priority all times! Check twice even if the light is green for you

26) On the 1st of May, you should avoid visiting the center of the city, because during the day many demonstrations take place

27) Turks are warm-blooded men and like to state their admiration to the opposite sex! In case you feel offended or awkward, kindly let them know and continue on your way

28) Solo women travellers will feel absolutely safe in Istanbul especially using common sense during their stay. No need to walk around deserted alleys and side streets at late night hours or follow men whom they don’t know

29) There are ferries every 20 minutes, which connect the European with the Asian side of the city


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