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.