Vibrant bridge between east and west
Exhilarating Istanbul takes visitors on a colourful journey through an extraordinary history. This unique city spans the waters of the Bosphorus, the boundary between Europe and Asia. Visitors will find that every corner pulsates with markets, historic sites, tea gardens, bars and restaurants.
Seasonal attractionsLate spring to autumn - May to October - is considered the best time to visit Istanbul. Summers can be hot, spring and autumn are mild and pleasant.
The city celebrates modern Turkey's founder, Atatürk, on 19th May with a youth and sports day, while 29th October brings parades for Republic Day. The Festival of Eid and Ramadan are always observed.
Handy tips before you get there
All British nationals need a visa to go to Turkey. Applications can be made online. Your passport should be valid for at least six months after the date of entering Turkey. Vaccinations recommended: typhus, tetanus, hepatitis A as well as diphtheria.
One important tip is always to haggle at markets (and have fun doing so!). Whether you're at the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar, traders traditionally over-price stock. Haggling is an expected social ritual.
The excellence of Turkish cuisine gives Istanbul some of the best, well-priced fast food that you'll ever come across. Street food includes snacks from 2 TRY and kebabs as they really should be from 8 TRY. Beware though - fish is expensive. If you're drinking, beer costs from roughly 6 TRY. Turkey is two hours ahead of British time.
Local information - and transport to the centre
From the airport, take Metro M1 to Aksaray. The cost is about 4 TRY. The Havata shuttle bus takes passengers to Taksim Square every 30 minutes, at a cost of around 11 TRY. Taxis are plentiful at the airport and the journey to Taksim will cost about 60 TRY.
There's a wide choice of accommodation in all of Istanbul's main districts, for instance Eminönü (for the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar) and Beyoğlu (for Taksim Square and İstiklâl Caddesi). A night at a hostel or guest house starts at 30 TRY.
Taxis are cheaper than in the UK, but more expensive than the comprehensive public transport system - bus, metro, minibus, ferry, metrobus, tram, which are all covered by the rechargeable Istanbulkart.
The car-free Prince Islands are well-worth visiting. Once there, only horse-drawn carriages are allowed.