Travel Planning
Travel Planning

Istanbul at a Glance

Exotic Istanbul has a long and colorful history. Once a Christian Byzantine city, it took on mosques and a Muslim flavor under the Ottoman Empire. Today you can see evidence of both religions and the sumptuous palaces, markets and monuments that make Istanbul such an attractive city to so many. 

Enter Istanbul and you'll plunge headfirst into a flurry of activity. Visit the Grand Bazaar who's artisans and shop keepers stay cool and dry under roofs. Listen to the cries of hawkers. Inhale the scent of spices. Let the juice of a street stand kabab run down your fingers. You could spend hours or even days exploring the Grand Bazaar whether your were actually shopping or not. Break away to see the city's other sights. Submerse yourself in Muslim art at the Aya Sophia and marvel at the floating dome. Head to museums, galleries and cafes where you'll see and talk art. At night, the scene really heats up with restaurants, bars, clubs and more. 

What to Expect
High Season
June - September
Low Season
October - May
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Language: Turkish
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      Getting There
      Major Airports
      • Major Airport Atatürk International Airport

      Passport / Visa Requirements

      Visitors from the U.S, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia need a valid passport and a visa. The visa can be purchased at their point of entry and needs to be paid in cash with exact change only. Learn more at the website of the Turkish Embassy to your country. American citizens can also use the U.S State Department website as a point of reference. 

      Getting Around
      Public Transportation
      • Ferry Bogaz Hatti Dock
      • Bus International Istanbul Bus Station
      • Light Rail / Rapid Transit Istanbul Tram
      • Railroad Sirkeci Railway Station
      Need to Know

      Severe Weather Wintertime, especially in eastern Turkey, is chilly. Snowfall in the mountains can close roads. The Black Sea coast sees a lot of rain year round and that can affect your trip. 

      Safety Concerns Turkey is a safe place to travel, but use common sense. Keep your valuables out of sight and protect your passport. ATM scams do occur so avoid ATMs with loiterers. Hold on to your drink to reduce the risk of it being drugged and you robbed.  Travelers should watch out for cars when they are walking or driving themselves. Traffic safety can be lax in Turkey. 

      Health Concerns Stick to bottled water or use a water purifier for your drinking and cooking water in Turkey. Travelers should also keep themselves cool and well hydrated in the heat.