Istanbul

Flights to Istanbul

Direct prices from airlines | Crazy Llama

March 17

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Turkish Airlines and most international airliners have daily direct flights to Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, which is on the European side, and is able to accommodate 90,000 passengers a day. The airport is situated 28 km from the city centre. The second international airport, Sabiha Gokcen, is located on the Asian side, 50 km away from Taksim in the city centre. There are also daily local flights to various parts of Turkey with multiple airlines.

 

Modes of transportation from the airports into the city include bus, taxis, metro, and bus/taxi + ferry if you need to cross the bosphorus to the other side.

Quick facts about Istanbul

Car rent

from $ 39 per day

Hotel booking

from $ 15 per night

Currency

TRY
Turkish lira
Reference average prices in Istanbul

🌭 Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant

$ 4.59

🍕Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course

$ 18.36

🍺 Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)

$ 2.75

🚌 One-way Ticket (Local Transport)

$ 0.49

🏠 Apartment rent per month (1 bedroom in City Centre)

$ 334.20

The weather and best times to visit Istanbul

Best time is from April to May and September to mid November for pleasant weather.
Prices
Hotel from $ 15
Temperature
The temperature over the course of the year varies from 3°C to 29°C.
Precipitation
The average rainfall in a year is 747 mm.

Weather

Winters in Istanbul are cloudy, cold and long and the summers are hot, humid and dry.

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A city of two continents

A city of various cultures, mostly Asian and European and various peoples, Istanbul is a beautiful city of the past and the present, divided by the waterway known as the Bosphorus. Known historically as Byzantium and Constantinople, the city of around 15 million residents is Turkey’s most populous and also its cultural, economic and historic centre. A third of its population live on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, while its historical and commercial centre is on the European side. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia that lies between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. It is seen as a bridge between the East and the West, blending continents, various cultures and people, and this only adds to its beauty and diversity.

Things to do in Istanbul

An exploration of the city of Istanbul can go on for weeks on end. There is always so much to see and do in its distinct neighbourhoods with thriving culture, rich and delicious foods and its compelling history that all but draws you in.

 

Try donurma - local analogue of ice cream, made of milk, sugar, mastic and sweet flour; climb onto the bastions of the fortress; go to the 4d show on the roof of a skyscraper, pet hundreds of street cats; visit the harem's former quarters and try sweet corn. There is something for everybody in Istanbul, and a lot to take in.

 

So you have to only buy a ticket to Istanbul, and feel the dimensionless greatness of this city in person.

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Grand Bazaar

One of the largest covered in the world, the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul can be found on the European side and is over 500 years old. With 60 streets and over 4,000 stores, the bazaar is famous for souvenirs, jewelry, leather, ceramics and carpets. The constant hustle and bustle and the chaos is a great way to experience Istanbul all at once, however be careful not to get lost. But if you do, shopkeepers are always willing to help you find your way.

 

A great place to hone in your bargaining skills, the bazaar has local everyday shops as well as 12 mosques, 18 fountains, 60 restaurants, and even a school. Almost anything can be found in this gargantuan marketplace which has been open since 1461.

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Bosphorus Cruise

A visit to Istanbul is incomplete without a cruise on the Bosphorus where visitors can enjoy not only views of the city, but also the shores of both the European and Asian sides. There are several types of cruises. There is the full Bosphorus day tour, all the way to the black sea and back; there is also a short tour to the second suspension bridge and back. Then there are sunset tours in the summertime.

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Süleymaniye Mosque

Arguably the most impressive Istanbul Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque was designed for Süleyman the Magnificent by the famous architect, Sinan. A complex of buildings which contain a kitchen, hospital, a school and more, the Mosque is much more than a place of worship.

 

Visitors to this expansive location can expect to see the tomb of Sinan, which lies outside the complex, and the tombs of an and Roxalana situated behind the graveyard.

 

Also don’t forget to visit the Alley of Addicts where you can have a taste of local dishes like fasulye (haricot beans) in one of the many restaurants that line the alley.

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Hagia Sophia

One of the world’s greatest architectural achievements is the Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya), a church turned mosque, and now museum. Stand under the splendor of a 65 meters high and 43 meter wide dome. Climb up to the gallery where you can gaze at magnificent Byzantine mosaics of the Christ, Emperor Constantine IX and also his wife, Empress Zoe.

 

The Hagia Sophia was first built in 537 AD and is one of the most famous former houses of worship in the world. You can catch beautiful views of the also famous Blue Mosque through its second story windows.

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The Blue Mosque

Popularly known as the Sultan Ahmed mosque, named after the sultan who mandated its construction in the 17th century, the Blue Mosque is a major tourist attraction in Istanbul.

 

Still a functioning mosque, it is closed during prayers each day, however open to visitors who have to dress appropriately with legs and shoulders covered (hair also for women), to enter.

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Galata Tower

For the best view of the city, make sure to climb the Galata Tower. Built since the 14th century, the tower gives you magnificent views of Sultanahmet, the Bosphorus Strait Topkapi Palace and even the Blue Mosque.

 

A visit to the tower shows the very colourful and picturesque nature of the city of Istanbul. Visitors do not have to do much climbing as an elevator has been installed to carry tourists most of the way. There is also a restaurant on the top floor for those who want to relax more and enjoy the scenery while having a meal.

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Day trip to the Prince Islands

A perfect day trip while still in Istanbul is a visit to the Prince Islands, a small archipelago of islands situated just outside the city. It offers a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and is especially fun in the summertime.

 

Go back in time as you visit a place where cars aren’t allowed, only horses and carriages; it’s like the stuff of movies. There are ferries to and from Prince Islands daily on both the European and Asian sides; so whenever you choose to visit, it will be as easy as getting on board.

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Basilica Cistern

The underground Basilica Cistern also known as Yerebatan, is a fascinating piece of Byzantine engineering. The cistern used to transport drinking water through aqueducts from Bulgaria to Istanbul. Spooky to some and romantic to others, Yerebatan is a must-visit with its ambiance of classical music and dimmed lights integrating with the constant sound of dripping water.

 

Watch fish swim between the over 300 columns, which support the ceiling, and tread the walkways all the way to the end where you will find the Medusa head lying upside down on the base of a column.

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Turkish Hammams

An experience like no other is the Turkish Hammam which involves a scrub down, rinse and massage from a masseur usually the same sex as you. This relaxing experience, which usually takes place in a steamy room, is unique and leaves your skin feeling silky smooth as the procedure helps to remove a lot of dead skin.

 

There is usually a separate area for men and women since traditional hammams usually involve nudity.  A hammam is a fine way to end a long day of walking and exploring the city of Istanbul.

Istanbul Cuisine​

Food is a very huge deal in Istanbul and the options are endless and absolutely scrumptious. The Asian and European mix results in a wide variety of delicious dishes. There is none however, as popular as the famous Turkish breakfast. It is a must-have.

A complete Turkish breakfast is several spreads in one. breads, cheeses, olives, honey, and more, plus sausages and eggs alongside surplus amounts of delicious Turkish tea. It is a completely filling and incredible meal.

You can also try tavuk göğsü, a creamy chicken meat dessert pudding, or the popular kebap; also Turkish sweets and the popular yoghurt drink Ayran. You can eat fish sandwiches made from freshly caught fish under the Galata bridge. You can also book a Bosphorus dinner cruise and delight yourself with a Turkish dinner and wine (Raki) while watching the sunset over the city.

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Istanbul Istanbul
Istanbul Istanbul
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