A significant historical city
Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey. It was a trading city and is in a strategic position on the historic Silk Road. Istanbul is the country's cultural and historical heart.
Attractions and tips about the best time to travel
This is a year round tourist destination. Summers are hot and winters can be very cold. The climate between May and October is pleasant On the 19th May the Commemoration of Atatürk is celebrated, also Youth and Sports Day. Republic Day is on the 29th October, which is Turkey's most important festival and it is celebrated with processions, flags and bands. The festivals of Eid and Ramadan have changing dates.
Information before travel to Istanbul
A valid passport is essential and it must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entering Turkey. British nationals need a visa that is available online. Vaccinations are recommended for hepatitis A, typhus, tetanus and diphtheria. Markets are must-visit places, they are colourful and noisy. Goods are overpriced, though, so follow the local tradition and haggle. The cost of living is generally inexpensive. Street food is delicious. Snacks range from 2 TRY and kebabs from 8 TRY. Fish is expensive and a beer costs from 6 TRY. Istanbul is at a time zone two hours ahead of the United Kingdom.
Local information about arrival, accommodation and transport
From Istanbul Ataturk Airport to the centre take the Metro M1 to Aksaray, the cost is 4 TRY. The HAVATA shuttle bus travels to Taksim Square and it departs every 30 mins. No buses run between 1am to 4am. The shuttle cost is around 11 TRY. Taksim is approximately 60 TRY taxi ride away. Accommodation is plentiful. One night in a hostel or guest house costs from 30 TRY. There is a wide choice of accommodation in the districts, Eminönü, where the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar are and Beyoğlu where the Taksim Square and İstiklâl Caddesi are located. The public transport network is efficient and cheap. Use bus, metro, minibus, ferry, metrobus and tram to get around. An Istanbulkart is a rechargeable ticket that is valid for all public transport. Taxis are cheaper than in the UK. Public transport is less expensive than taxis. The Prince Islands are worth visiting, they are a ferry trip away from the city. The island is pedestrianised with horse drawn carriages and bikes for transport.