11-05-2021 - Tips & Guides

Must Know Tips to Know Before Traveling to Istanbul

Many visitors from all around the world consider Istanbul a dreamy destination. Layers of history, tradition, colors, and scents are buried under the surface of the unique city, which links two continents where you can feel the East and the West. When you need a break from it all, there's always a beautiful park, a small tea house, or a café where you can rest, breathe, and relax. Join us to discover a collection of must-know tips that will guide you to organize your stay in the best possible way!

Best Time to Travel Istanbul 

The best season to visit Istanbul is spring and autumn, whether you will be there for sightseeing, shopping, or medical tourism. Especially during April, May, September, and October,the weather is charming. It does not rain often, and the sun does not burn you. So you can walk all around the Ancient city, visit Hagia Sophia or do some shopping in the Grand Bazaar. Moreover, if you are interested, there are many events and festivals during these months. The good thing is that there are not too many tourists!  So, if you are looking for sunny days when it is not too hot, spring and autumn are the best time to see this beautiful city. 

How many days to Spend in Istanbul?

Istanbul is a massive city with various places to visit, too many foods to taste, and breathtaking views to see! So if you are planning one or two-day trips, beware that it would never be enough.  Suppose you are here in Istanbul for the first time and wish to see as much as possible. In that case, a one-week trip can be more than enough to see all significant attractions taste different things from the Turkish cuisine, stop by other neighborhoods, and maybe do a daily trip to a close Island. Main tourist attractions in Sultanahmet, such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapı, Blue Mosque, or Basilica Cistern, will take your whole day. Not only because there are long lines to wait, but they are worth seeing for a long time. You can devote your other days to doing exciting activities such as walking through parks, visiting museums, seeing different neighborhoods like Karaköy, Balat, Ortaköy… 

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How to Arrive in the City from Istanbul Airport?

Istanbul has three airports; however, only two of them are open: Sabiha Gökçen Airport and the New Istanbul Airport.  

Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, near the Pendik neighborhood. Between Sabiha Gokcen Airport and the city center, there is no direct metro service. The HAVABUS Airport Shuttle is the most practical method to get between the airport and downtown Istanbul.

The New Istanbul Airport (IST) is located in the Arnavutkoy neighborhood of Istanbul, near the Black Seashore. The average distance between the New Istanbul Airport and main Istanbul city center areas is about 45 kilometers. There is no direct metro line from New Istanbul Airport to the city center. Several regions of Istanbul and Istanbul Airport are served by IETT (Municipal) public buses; however, most public buses go to non-tourist locations. Popular tourist areas like Sultanahmet, Taksim, Besiktas, Beyoglu, and others have no public buses.

You may also utilize HAVAIST airport shuttles with a considerable discount if you have an Istanbul Tourist Pass. Check out Istanbul Tourist Pass for all of the advantages, including over 100+ attractions in Istanbul You can save up to 80% on your Istanbul Tourist Pass and skip the queues at museums and guided tours! 

Private Transfer 

The IETT or HAVAIST- HAVABUS airport shuttles will drop you off in the city center, where you must either take a cab or walk, which will be more difficult for you with your children and baggage.  So if you are a group with a lot of luggage, we strongly advise you to use private shuttle transfers to and from your hotel. These private shuttle transfers provide a fixed rate, comfortable, and safe transfer that includes meet-and-greet airport pickups and luggage assistance to and from your hotel from the airports.  Private shuttles may be costly, but they are the most pleasant and convenient for newcomers to Istanbul unfamiliar with the city's public transit system. Therefore, if you have an Istanbul Tourist Pass, you may take advantage of a discounted VIP shuttle service reserved exclusively for you. You will be picked up from the airport and dropped off right before your hotel by your own shuttle. 

Where to Stay in Istanbul? 

  • Taksim - The center: Taksim is the neighborhood around the well-known eponymous square. It really is the nerve center of the city where all the gatherings take place and the somewhat special events. You will also find many shops, restaurants and small shops of all kinds. The square is crowded from morning until evening. As it is very central and easily accessible, it is a good starting point for visiting the city.
  • Sultanahmet - The historic center: Sultanahmet is also a tourist area crowded from morning to night (especially around the Grand Bazaar), but the atmosphere is already more authentic than in Taksim. You can come across monuments like the Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace, Grand Bazaar, etc. So with these most significant concentrations of historical buildings in Istanbul, you won't be able to stop yourself from being amazed by them.
  • Karaköy- The trendy corner: Karaköy has become the contemporary corner in Istanbul. This is where chic restaurants, small cafes, or designer boutiques can be found. It's super lovely to stroll through its small streets, which come alive when night falls. Nearby you also have the Galata tower and its district, a meeting point for Istanbul hipsters for a long time.
  • Ortaköy - The tiny village: A bit further north of Taksim is the Ortaköy district, which is a place where you can find an atmosphere of a small fishing village. In the early morning, you can also see the fishermen meeting near Ortaköy Mosque, a magical place at sunrise. A large part of the universities and embassies are also right next to it, it is not the most lively place in the city, so you will have to take transport to reach the city center.
  • Üsküdar - The Asian part: Istanbul is divided into a European and an Asian side. Üsküdar is a sea-side district that faces the European side. It is one of the most popular because it has a rich architecture that stands out from the rest of the city and because at night you can walk along its coastline watching the sunset behind Istanbul.

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