The Old City Istanbul
Istanbul is often called The Old City, as Istanbul is founded on a city called Byzantium which thrived almost thirteen centuries ago. Today, ancient monuments and buildings have been fused together with modern shopping centres and boutique hotels within the borders of Istanbul.
Istanbul travel preparations
The popular tourist season is May - October, as the weather can be cold, wet and windy the rest of the year. If you find yourself in Istanbul on the 19th of May, be sure to take part in the Commemoration to Atatürk. All Muslim festivals are also celebrated.
Useful information about visas and food prices
There are visa-related prerequisites that should be taken into account. Visitors from India are required to have a visa and these must be applied for at least a month before flights. Passports must be valid for at least six months and contain one blank page. Remember that haggling is an age-old tradition in the markets of Istanbul, so it is expected that you bargain for the price of your purchases. The city is a fast food mecca, with lots of exotic and modern choices to choose from. Expect to pay anything from 2TRY and upwards for snacks and about 8TRY for kebabs. Prices of groceries etc. tend to be about 45% more expensive than Delhi.
Making travel arrangements
When you arrive in Istanbul airport, the Metro M1 to Aksaray will cost about 4TRY into the city. There are also HAVATA buses that transport travellers to the major tourist attraction of Taksim Square for about 11TRY. The bus repeats its route every 30 minutes, but doesn't run between 1am - 4 am. Taxis are much more expensive; costing about 60TRY to Taksim Square.
In Istanbul you can expect to pay about 30TRY per night's stay in a hostel or guesthouse. The Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Istiklâl Caddesi and accommodation near Taksim Square are popular tourist accommodation regions.
Travel the city safely and cheaply using the public transport network that includes buses, metro, minibuses, ferry and tram. Buy an Istanbulkart that can be recharged and is valid for all public transport.
One major tourist attraction, the Prince Islands, is car free. You can tour the premises in a horse drawn carriage for a memorable experience.