A quick guide to Istanbul, Turkey

Tired of reading lengthy encyclopedias for information on one city? Keeping this one real short! A dreamy city like Istanbul doesn’t need much advertisement, the city speaks for itself.

Who should visit Istanbul?

Ask yourself these questions:
Do you admire great art and architecture?
Are you drawn towards experiencing rich cultures?
Do you enjoy photographing majestic mosques, magnificent designs and intricate scriptures?
Are you interested in witnessing stunning landscapes?
If your answer to some or all of above questions is “Yes”, Istanbul is an ideal destination for your next trip!


When to visit Istanbul?

Give a miss to the cold winters and unbearably hot summers and visit Istanbul either in April-May or September-October.

Stunning views of the Golden Horn from Galata tower

How to travel to and around Istanbul?

The best way to fly Istanbul is by Turkish Airlines. Turkey shares its north western border with Bulgaria and Greece, which means road trips are a possibility here.
Easiest local commute is taxi, but buses are also convenient. If you’re planning to stay in Istanbul for only a few days, I would suggest staying in the city area in which case the main spots are simply a walk away.

Where to stay?

You would think Istanbul wouldn’t be travel friendly but quite the contrary, it has backpacker hostels, airbnbs, lodges, chain hotels and high-end hotels. If you’re sceptic, go with a chain hotel to ensure your comfort and safety. IHG hotels are sprawled across the city close to almost every landmark.

Streets of Istanbul

What to do in Istanbul?

If you’re concerned about safety while traveling alone, consider signing up for group tours.
First stop should be the deck of Galata tower to take in some panoramic views of the Golden Horn. For people who admire great architecture, visiting Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace and Sultan Ahmed or Blue Mosque is a must. There’s a fine line where Turkey ends and Europe begins. Grand bazaar and spice bazaar are a shopper’s paradise.
While roaming the Grand Bazaar, beware of scammers like in any other place. People will flock you offering “special services”, just politely decline and keep walking.
The Bosphorus ferry is good day trip. For the cuisine connoisseurs, the spice bazaar will engulf you in an aromatic cloud and tease your senses into buying a whole bunch of condiments and spices with unending choices to decide from. Haggle at every shopping joint.

Florists near Taksim square

What to eat?

Apart from the famous Baklava, Ottoman dishes are highly recommended in Istanbul. Not forgetting a good serving of pide, you must not miss lahmacun and fresh seafood, besides the obvious top-quality kebabs.

How to stay safe in Istanbul?

Like in any other part of the world, observing some basic rules may make your trip easier and avoid any troubles. Firstly, watch your pockets! Keep your valuables safe. Secondly, avoid getting dragged into the prostitution scam when people pull you to a corner and start negotiating hourly rates. Just politely decline and keep walking. Next, make all your bookings through verified websites so that you don’t fall victim to scams.

Like many other people, I was dubious about traveling to Turkey. However, the vibe is surprisingly liberal. All hesitations vanished with the clouds and I spent some sunny days in Istanbul.

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