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 It’s easy to lose yourself In Istanbul’s grandiose history, but modern Istanbul is a simmering metropolis, well worth a visit in its own right. The shopping is world class and the nightlife pulsates around Taksim Square. Even though Istanbul is no longer the capital, it’s still the country’s business and cultural centre, still the city where new trends are created.

currency

Turkish Lira, TL1 = 100 kuruş

phone

112

newspaper

English language:
- Daily Turkish News
- www.turkishpress.com

hours

The official opening hours for shops are 9.00-18.00. However, some traders and shops stay open until midnight.
Most hotels will have at least one 24 hour restaurant.

population

Approximately 15 million in greater Istanbul

info

Atatürk Airport (right after customs)
+90 212 465 31 51
Hotel Hilton (entrance)
+90 212 233 05 92
Railway station Sirkeçi
+90 212 511 58 88
Hippodrome
+90 212 518 18 02

Istanbul at sunset - Galata district, Turkey TTstudio/Shutterstock.com

The City

Constantinople, the centre of the Byzantine Empire which lasted over a thousand years, later became Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire for almost 500 years. The city is a mixture of Europe and Asia, a unique urban composition. A stroll around Sultanahmet, inside the city walls, among mosques, museums and the Great Bazaar is a trip through both history and daily life.

Modern Istanbul is on the other side of the Galata Bridge in Beyoglu, around Taksim and the northern suburbs with lots of good restaurants and shopping. Istanbul’s Asiatic quarters have avoided much of the tourism and have retained a more humdrum character. Waterways play a central role in the life of the city and boat traffic on the Bosporus, the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara is extremely intensive. Along the banks you can find small cafés where you can enjoy a glass of tea and magnificent views over the town.

Young woman traveler looking on amazing Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey RossHelen/Shutterstock.com

Do & See

Istanbul is a vibrant city whose grandiose history is utterly fascinating. Take a stroll around the city and admire the amazing mosques, museums and the Great Bazaar, or even visit an authentic Turkish bath.

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Turkish Baths

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Topkapi Palace

Rui Ornelas

Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia)

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Sultanahmet or The Blue Mosque

Gabriel Garcia Marengo

Süleymaniye

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Chora Monastery / Kariye Camii

Dennis Jarvis

Grand Bazaar

Moyan Brenn

Boat trips

Edal

Sakip Sabanci Museum

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Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Kiselev Andrey Valerevich/Shutterstock.com

Hodjapasha Cultural Centre

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Emirgan Park

M. King

Eminonu Pier

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Istanbul Aquarium

Rahil Rupawala

Rahmi M. Koc Museum

night cafe in the narrow streets of Istanbul badahos/Shutterstock.com

Dining

A meal often begins with meze—a number of small dishes such as aubergine purée, börek, various salads and cheese. Filling vegetables such as tomatoes, paprika, aubergines and zucchini with rice and minced meat is typically Turkish (dolmasi). There are special restaurants that only serve kebab or köfte, meatballs, look for Kebabci or Köfteci. Simpler restaurants are called Lokanta.

Helen Cook

Pandeli

Alpha

Yakup 2

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Kumkapi

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Galatasaray Fish Market and Çicek Pasaji

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Four Seasons

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Ozi Pizza & Pasta

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Barbeku House

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House of Medusa

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Eleos

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Nostra Casa

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Rana by Topaz

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Beyti Restaurant

Drinking traditional Turkish Tea Leyla Ismet/Shutterstock.com

Cafes

Coffee has played an important role in Turkish lifestyle and culture so there is no wonder that Istanbul offers many old and new cafés. Why not try a cup of traditional Turkish coffee or tea which is served in a tiny gracious cup?

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Patisserie De Pera

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Pierre Loti

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Mesale Restaurant

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Mangerie

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Fazil Bey

Istanbul Turkey at night - architecture travel background Tatiana Popova/Shutterstock.com

Bars & Nightlife

The really trendy places are outside the city centre, in Etiler, Levent and Ortaköy, but there’s also plenty to do around Taksim.

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Orient Express Bar

Quinn Dombrowski

Hodjapasha

halbag

Galata Tower

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Roxy

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360 Istanbul

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Litera Restaurant / Lounge-Club

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Smyrna Cafe

Stalls selling spices in the Spice Bazaar Wojtek Chmielewski/Shutterstock.com

Shopping

Formerly, the various guilds had their own special areas in the Great Bazaar, Kapali Çarsi, now it’s mostly leather, carpets and gold. The Bazaar has over 5.000 shops and haggling is essential.

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Galleria Ataköy

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Bagdat Caddesi

Kim Ahlström

Spice Bazaar

Jerzy Kociatkiewicz

Istiklâl Caddesi

B Heliker

Avrupa Pasajı

Beyoglu tram, Istanbul. Turkey Alexandra Lande/Shutterstock.com

Tourist Information

Atatürk Hava Limani - Airport

The international airport, Atatürk Hava Limani, lies near the Sea of Marmara, around 25 km from the city centre. Buses run to Taksim Square every 30 minutes, journey time 45 min. The simplest and quickest journey is by Metro to Aksaray and takes around 35 minutes.

+90 212 465 55 55
www.ataturkairport.com

Istanbul’s other airport, Sabiha Gökçen, is on the Asiatic side and is used mostly by domestic flights and some smaller airlines. There is no direct transport between the airports - change at Taksim.

+90 216 585 50 00
www.sgairport.com

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Public Transport

There is one public and one private bus network, IETT and Halk Otobus, respectively. The underground, Tünel, runs from Karaköy till Istiklâl Cad in Beyoglu and takes a few minutes. There is also a museum tram up toward Taksim Square.

Another tram route goes from Kabatas via Galata bridge and the Spice Bazaar to the south-western suburbs. The Metro goes from Taksim north to Levent and from Aksaray to Otogar in Esenler, where buses depart for other parts of Turkey and Europe and to the airport.

Dolmuses are minibuses or large taxis that depart when they are full, and stop where you want them to. They are the cheapest form of transport.

Ferries between Europe and Asia leave from Eminönü, Karaköy and Besiktas to Üsküdar, Kadiköy and Harem.

Akbil is a type of payment card that can be loaded with various sums and used on buses, boats and trams. Can be bought at major junctions.

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Taxi

Taxis are yellow in the inner city and lilac in the suburbs. There are numerous taxi companies. Different hotels work with different companies and can book your transport to the airport. It’s best to hail a taxi on the street, or go to a taxi rank and ask for a business card.

Istanbul Taxi Service
+90 212 518 1518

City Transfer Istanbul
+90 212 517 0090

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Post

The main post office is on Yeni Posthane Cad., near the railway station Sirkeci. Other PTT-offices are on Taksim Square and Istiklâl Cad. Open 09.00-17.00 Closed Sundays.

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Pharmacy

Pharmacy is called Eczane in Turkish. In the window of the pharmacy there is the address and telephone number of the current duty pharmacy.

Istiklal Pharmacy
Asmalı Mescit, Beyoğlu
+90 212 244 2618

Itır Eczanesi
Next to Taksim Square
+90 212 244 4325

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Electricity

220 volt

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Telephone

Country number +90

Area code: 212 and 216

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