The Bridge between Europe and Asia
Istanbul is Turkey's most populated city as well as being the cultural and financial hub of Turkey. It is located on both sides of the Bosphorus, with a number of bridges connecting its European and Asian sides.
Best Istanbul attractions and travel tips
The best time to visit Istanbul is between May and October. The rest of the year it can be quite cool, wet, and windy making it uncomfortable for visitors. Some special dates to keep in mind when booking your visit include May 19th, which is the Commemoration of Ataturk: Youth and Sports Day. Another annual highlight is October 29th, Republic Day.
A number of major Muslim festivals are also celebrated: e.g. the festival of Eid and Ramadan for which dates vary.
Visas are required for citizens visiting from many countries, including India. You must apply a month before the date of travel, and passports must be valid at least six months and have one blank page.
Istanbul information for visitors
Before visiting Istanbul be sure to sharpen your haggling skills, as that's how you will be purchasing all of your goods at the markets, including the Grand Bazaar and Egyptian Bazaar. Goods are often marked overprice with the expectation of haggling. Istanbul is a fast food paradise, with snacks from around 2 TRY to kebabs around 8 TRY. Fish is another speciality, and beers cost around 6 TRY. Groceries tend to cost a little more.
Istanbul's public transport and other tips
One night in a hotel/guesthouse will cost around 30 TRY. There are a wide variety to choose from all over the city, including in the Eminönü and Beyoğlu districts. There is also a good and cheap public transport network, which includes buses, subways, minibuses, ferries, metrobuses, and trams. Be sure to pick up a rechargeable Istanbulkart which is valid for all public transport. Taxis are also widely available, however they cost considerably more than public transport. While in Istanbul be sure to check out the Prince Islands. It is a large car free area, with only horse drawn carriages allowed.