ISTANBUL TRAVEL HACKS
Hi everyone! We’ve prepared a great guidebook about the Istanbul Travel Hacks that you are better to read and learn before Travel to Istanbul! We mentioned almost all Istanbul Travel Tips that can be useful while Traveling in Istanbul.
ABOUT ISTANBUL TURKEY
Istanbul is the beating heart of Turkey, serving as the nation’s center for finance, commerce, and trade. With an estimated population of 16-18 million, it is the most populous city in the country, offering diverse business opportunities to both locals and foreigners. As a reminder, however, it is important to note that Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey. This title is held by Ankara, which was established as the nation’s capital in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk during the formation of the modern Turkish Republic. Though Istanbul was once the seat of the Ottoman Empire, it has since ceded this title to Ankara.
SOME OF THE FAMOUS DESTINATIONS IN ISTANBUL!
Istanbul is a very well-developed city in Tourism. And, it catches the attention of millions of travelers from all around the World! There are thousands of Hotels, touristic destinations, activities, historical places, and local experiences that await you. The main historical places are as below; Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Süleymaniye Mosque, Chora Museum, and Basilica Cistern, all of those located at a very close distance to each other. You can read about Istanbul Old-City from the following link: “Highlights in Old-City of Istanbul“!
Hagia Sophia is a breathtaking monumental building that was constructed during the Byzantine period and became the symbol of that time. Located in the center of Sultanahmet Street and the opposite side of the Blue Mosque, it is within easy reach of visitors, regardless of where they are staying, as it is very easy to walk to the site, or to access it via tram or public transportation. In addition, it boasts great architectural beauty, with stunning frescoes and mosaics representing the golden age of the Byzantine time in Constantinopolis. Hagia Sophia is the most visited museum in Istanbul and is truly an awe-inspiring sight that should be on everyone’s must-see list!
Once the mighty Fatih Sultan Mehmet, one of the most influential Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, had successfully conquered Constantinapolis, the majestic Hagia Sophia was transformed into an active Mosque and became a symbol of the conquest of Istanbul. Despite the fact that this structure has endured and survived numerous earthquakes, causing great destruction and damage, it has been restored to its former glory and grandeur thanks to some renovations conducted by Mimar Sinan, one of the most famous architects in history. To this day, Hagia Sophia continues to dazzle and captivate visitors with its awe-inspiring beauty.
In 1935, after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the modern Turkish Republic, he converted into the Hagia Sophia from a Mosque to a Museum. And, presented it in service of Muslims and Christians. Here is the official link where you may see more about: Hagia Sophia Museum!
In the 10th of July 2020, with the signature of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is the President of the Republic of Turkey, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque again. Find more about Hagia Sophia and Istanbul!
Sultanahmet Camii or called Blue Mosque is a very historical and meaningful example of Islam. It is located in Istanbul in Sultanahmet Street, on the opposite side of the Hagia Sophia. Sultanahmet Mosque is also known as the Blue Mosque because of the interior walls adorned with blue tiles. It was built around 1609 – 1616, during the rule of I. Ahmet Pasha. Besides, it is still an active mosque, also open to visits of the tourists. There is no entrance fee to visit and explore this unique structure. However, we do recommend checking praying times before your visit!
Topkapi Palace is a very large museum located next to the Hagia Sophia in Sultanahmet Street. Around the 15th and 16th centuries, it has been served as the main residence and administrative place of the Ottoman Sultans.
After the Conquest of Constantinapolis in 1453, Fatih Sultan Mehmed has ordered the construction of the Palace. The construction started in 1459. The first name was “New Palace”. In the 19th century, it has been turned to Topkapi Palace, meaning Cannon Gate. With major renovations at around the 1509 earthquake and the fire in 1665, the Palace expanded over the centuries. There are four main courtyards and many small buildings in this Palace complex.
When Mustafa Kemal Atatürk has founded the modern Turkish Republic in 1923, the Palace has been converted into a museum. And, it awaits its visitors today as a magnificent museum of Istanbul. There is an entrance fee of 80 Lira per person (please check, can be raised at the year you visit), and no need to have pre-arranged tickets since you may obtain them from the entrance gate. Here is the official link where you may see more about: Topkapi Palace!
WHERE TO STAY IN ISTANBUL
Istanbul is a huge Metropol city and there are Hotels all around it! If you are going to visit the historical & cultural places of Istanbul, we do highly recommend you staying in Sultanahmet / Old-City of Istanbul.
If you are at the end of your Istanbul Travel and looking for a closer hotel to the airport, the most important life-saving advice we may provide to you is about Istanbul New Airport; there were 2 airports in Istanbul. One is called Istanbul Atatürk Airport(IST), and the other is called Sabiha Gökcen Airport(SAW). Istanbul Atatürk Airport is closed and moved to a new location called Istanbul New Airport(IST). However, there are still hotels on online platforms(booking.com, etc) called Istanbul Airport Hotel which is located close to the previous Istanbul Airport. So, check the address details of your Airport and the hotel you book. So, there would be confusion or misunderstanding unless you know this information!
What about Honeymoon couples? The best area to stay in Istanbul for a Honeymoon is around Haliç and Beşiktaş! You may find several Hotels with a Bosphorus view, and spend an unforgettable time!
TRAVEL TIPS TO ISTANBUL
- There are two Airports! You should be careful while choosing your arrival and departure flights; Istanbul New Airport (IST) and Sabiha Göhcen Airport (SAW).
- All the places in Istanbul are not safe to have an overnight stay. Better to have a Hotel around Sultanahmet and Taksim Regions. This can also save your time to join activities and Tours in Istanbul.
- Better to have a minimum of 2 Days in Istanbul. At least to visit the main highlights of the city.
- The most interesting place in Istanbul located on the European side. However, you can leave a day to visit the Asian side of Istanbul too, if you have enough time.
- You can find many nice restaurants in Istanbul. However, if you would like to experience real Turkish Cuisine, the right place would be the local places such as; Ephesus, Cappadocia, etc… And, in Istanbul, you should better ask the price before giving your order.
- Summer is humid and hot around 30 – 40 degrees. Winter is snowy and cold around -15 to 0. So, better to bring suitable clothes.
- No need to have pre-arranged entrance tickets for the Museums, you may purchase them at the entrances.
- It is always better to book a Tour in Istanbul. Because it is a large city and there are many things that you do not know. So, having a guided tour can save time, money, and effort. Plus, you may have more detailed information about the treasures of Istanbul from a Local Tour Guide.
BEST TIME TO TOUR TO ISTANBUL AND TURKEY!
Turkey has 4 seasons; Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring! It is a different experience to visit Turkey in every single season! The busiest travel time is between May to September! Especially Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, and Pamukkale maybe a little too hot and crowded for some travelers who are not used to it! On this hand, we always recommend March – April, and October for the best time seekers!
In addition, if you are planning to travel to other destinations out of Istanbul (Cappadocia, Ephesus, or Pamukkale), you can keep reading our posts; Istanbul to Cappadocia, Istanbul to Ephesus, Istanbul to Pamukkale, and Day Tours from Istanbul.