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Why visit Istanbul?

Turkey’s capital city is a thriving destination for tourists and with its traditional charm and modern conveniences, there’s a lot for visitors to see and do. A vast variety of beautiful Ottoman mosques can be explored, whilst Turkish cuisine and beverages are the perfect way to relax into the country’s ambiance. Meanwhile, Istanbul’s modern culture has embraced galleries, clubs, bars and restaurants in a big way, giving visitors many ways to spend their time.

During the day, Istanbul has a plethora of historical buildings, exciting architecture, modern art installations and interesting museums to visit. One of the county’s most famous buildings is Aya Sofya, otherwise known as the Church of Divine Wisdom. Completed in 537A.D, it’s a building that shouldn’t be missed. Its beauty is rivalled by the Blue Mosque; another stunning piece of architecture to enjoy.

As dusk descends, the city turns into a vibrant metropolis of eateries, bars and thriving nightspots. Whilst traditional attractions, such as the tranquil çay bahçesi tea garden and raki-soaked meyhane (tavern) haven’t been forgotten, there’s an exuberance of new and glamorous evening entertainment. These range from stylish bars and booming nightclubs, to live music spots such as the Jazz Café. And, for anyone wanting a vacation that fuses tradition with modern entertainment, Istanbul is perfect.

Which major airlines fly to Istanbul from UK?

Istanbul has two international airports; Atatürk International Airport and Sabiha Gökçen International Airport. Both British Airways and Turkish Airlines offer direct flights from UK to Atatürk International Airport, with the former airline operating from London Heathrow, and the latter providing services from Birmingham, Edinburgh, London Gatwick and Manchester. Meanwhile, easyJet offer a London-Luton to Sabiha Gökçen International Airport flight.

How to get to city centre from the airport?

Getting into Istanbul is easiest to do via Atatürk International Airport. The heart of Old Istanbul is 23km to the west, and the Istanbul Metro provides a quick way into the city. This is also true for the airport shuttle service which runs every 30 minutes. Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, meanwhile, has a bus service. However, it’s often a better idea to get a taxi to Pendick, where a train can be taken into the heart of Istanbul.

What are the visa requirements for EU and non-EU nationals?

For many EU countries, including the United Kingdom, entry to Turkey only requires a valid passport and a visa sticker stamp that’s obtained when going through immigration. This allows visitors to remain as non-working guests for up to three months. This also applies to residents of the USA, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. All other visitors must obtain a visa.

How to get around Istanbul?

One of the easiest ways to get around is by taxi, though visitors must look out for con-artists. As a rule of thumb, taxis without a working, digital meter should be avoided. A good bus network, and a subway and light railways system also exist for those wanting to avoid cars and taxis.

What’s the best time to visit Istanbul?

The best time to visit Istanbul is during April and May, or September and October. At these times of year, clear skies and moderate temperatures provide the perfect warm retreat. In the height of summer, the city can become extremely hot and steamy, with many locals heading to the west and south coasts for cooler weather.

Airport Overview

Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul claims to be the airport serving the most non-European routes in 2011. Like Istanbul, Ataturk Airport is a meeting-point between east and west. Ataturk International Airport is a major air hub for the region and is one of the top 20 busiest airports in the world.

Passengers travelling through Ataturk International Airport will be pleased to know that the airport has a great selection of duty-free shops including tobacconists, perfume shops and many name brand stores such as Hugo Boss, D&G, DKNY, Dior, Armani, Gucci, Guess and Prada. What better way to keep yourself entertained between flights or while waiting for your flight than to embark on a shopping extravaganza?

Most airlines from across the world offer flights to Istanbul. Low-cost carriers such as Atlasjet, Pegasus Airlines, IZair and Sky Airlines all offer cheap flights to Ataturk International Airport. Ataturk is also the main hub for the national carrier Turkish Airlines, which flies to destinations including Amsterdam, Birmingham, Cape Town and Chicago as well as Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, and Paris.

The airport was designed with Istanbul’s unique East-meets-West history in mind. This is particularly evident in the architecture of the building, such as the intricate mosaic tiling of the airport floors. It serves as a great introduction to the beautiful Ottoman architecture in Istanbul.

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This is useful information about Ataturk International

Photo of Instanbul   Istanbul
Temp on Avg for this month inAtaturk International25 °CSource: World Weather Online
Average monthly rainfall inAtaturk International43.7 mmSource: World Weather Online
Average flight duration toAtaturk International3 hrs 43 mins
Foreign-exchange rate inAtaturk InternationalTL1.00 = £0.28Source: Oanda
Airlines flying toAtaturk InternationalOlympic Airways, British Airways and Turkish Airlines
Deals available on flights toAtaturk International958
Advertisers with deals toAtaturk InternationalOpodo, Dream World Travel and Crystal Travel
Advertisers with offers toAtaturk International19
Lowest flight deal toAtaturk International£117
Avg flight offer toAtaturk International£431

 How much do things cost in Istanbul?

  • Imported beer (0.33 litre): £2.44
  • Bottle of beer (imported beer): £1.68
  • Pair of Nike trainers: £40.90
  • Cappuccino: £1.68
  • 3 course meal for 2: £16.72
  • Pack of Marlboro cigarettes: £2.51
  • Bottle of wine: £6.97
  • Cheap meal: £3.34
  • Cinema ticket: £4.18
  • One-way ticket (local transport): £0.56
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