An ancient Turkish city

Istanbul is a city steeped in history, wonderful flavours and cultures. As an influential trade city since ancient times, it has a thriving modern economy and reflects the many wonders of its ancient influences. Some of these include beautiful attractions such as the Roman hippodrome, Egyptian obelisks, Christian mosaics and much more. The Prince Islands are also well worth visiting as they are enchanting and completely car free, with only horse drawn carriages allowed.

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Best time to travel and festival highlights

The ideal time to visit Istanbul is from May to October. Some of the attractions you can enjoy during this period are the Commemoration of Atatürk on the 19th of May, also Youth and Sports Day, while Republic day falls on the 29th of October. Another interesting time to visit the city is at the end of Ramadan, during the Festival of Eid. The dates of this celebration are based on the Islamic lunar calendar and vary. It is a festival filled with much celebration, food and entertainment, which makes it a wonderful experience to behold. 

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Istanbul: what to know before you leave

The Istanbul time zone is two hours ahead of London. All British nationals need a visa, which can be obtained online, and all passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of entering Turkey. Before you travel to Istanbul, it is recommended that you get vaccinated for hepatitis A, typhus, tetanus and diphtheria. It is also good to practice your haggling skills as the markets, such as the Grand Bazaar and Egyptian Bazaar, have wonderful merchandise and souvenirs, but they are often overpriced and haggling will help you get a good deal.

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Inside knowledge on travel and accommodation

Istanbul has an extensive and cheap public transport system, which includes buses, metro transport, minibuses, ferries and trams, which operate almost constantly, except between 1am to 4am. Bus fares will cost around 11 Turkish lira to most destinations in the city, while a taxi will be about 60 Turkish lira. You also have the option of buying an Istanbulkart, which is used for all public transport and is easy to recharge with more money. One night in a hostel or guesthouse will be about 30 Turkish lira and there is a wide choice of accommodation available in the districts of Eminönü (Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar) and Beyoğlu (Taksim Square and İstiklâl Caddesi).

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