Where Europe meets Asia, sea gently caress the city’s shores, diversity brings out the best of the culture, and history holds young hands of modernity. Oh, did we mention the awesome food? For each and every meal, there is awesome food!
Istanbul is a city without proper introductions, because we usually do not know where to start! This stunning city is full of surprises: you can find the wildest parties in action, and in the next street, you get to meet the soothing serenity of the whirling dervishes. A city so diverse and peaceful, people from all religions, ethnicities, backgrounds and sociocultural levels have learned to settle in harmony. Which brings us to the mighty history! A capital almost since it was found, Istanbul has always been the apple of nations’ eyes, thanks to its unique location, whether it was holiness or trade routes.
Apart from its diverse harmony, Istanbul is a trade center of the country with its two big airports, and a new super-big one on the way, docks, natural wonder Bosphorus, which unites Europe and Asia continents, and its ever-lively market. Considering all these elements, it is no surprise that the greatest startups of Turkey are found in Istanbul! The city of opportunities and advancement, Istanbul continues to surprise us with its super dynamic population that always comes up with great stuff. After all, Turkey has one of the youngest population in the world, and that is where the energy of Istanbul’s whopping 15 million population comes from.
Currency and Banking
Turkey’s official currency is Turkish Lira (TRY). Many hotels quote rates in Euro or Dollar but will charge you in Turkish Lira on your bill. ATMs are common in Istanbul and usually offer instructions in English, French and German. You can use Google “1 x currency to TRY” to learn daily currency rates.
There are 24-hour exchange offices (döviz bürosu) in the arrival halls at Atatürk International Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport that offer rates, comparable to those offered by bureau in the city.
Most hotels, car-rental agencies, shops, pharmacies, entertainment venues and restaurants will accept Visa and MasterCard. Amex is less-widely accepted and Diner is rarely accepted.
Local taxis and basic eateries such as “pide, kebap and börek restaurants” usually only accept cash. So, keeping some cash with you is recommended.
Turkey uses standard continental round two-pin plugs, both earthed and unearthed. The domestic electricity supply is 220v AC, 50Hz.
Tipping in restaurants and hotels is optional yet expected. Some restaurants add a 10% service charge to their bills. If not added, you can tip 10-15%. Taxi drivers do not expect a tip, but it is usual to round up the fare. Make sure that your journey is on the taximeter and do not accept the offer of a ‘fixed price’.
Depending on your nationality, a visa may be required to enter Turkey.
If you use regular passport, Turkey don’t require visa for 90 days of stay from these countries: Germany, Argentina, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Morocco, Finland, France, South Korea, Hong Kong, Honduras, Iran, Israel, Sweden, Swiss, Iceland, Japan, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Nicaragua, San Marino, Singapore, Chile, Trinidad-Tobago, Tunis, Uruguay, Vatican, New Zealand, Greece
If you are not from one of these countries, you can apply for e-visa using the following link. E-visa is fully online system and works the same way as regular visa. You can apply, pay and get your visa online and use printed copy of the e-visa on the Turkish border.
A taxi from the airport to the city center (European side) will cost approximately 50 TL (Turkish Lira) and the ride will take between 30-90 minutes (depending on the traffic). Always schedule extra time to get to the airport and try to avoid rush hour, when possible (7.30-9.30am and 5.00-7.30pm).
At the airport you can find city taxi just outside the building and also you can use BiTaksi and Uber app to call one.
If you are looking for special transportation, you can use SecureDrive.
If you are looking to rent a car, you can use Gaaraj.com
You can use the tram when getting around in the historical area. It runs from Sultanahmet and Eminönü, and then across the Galata Bridge to Karaköy (to connect with the Tünel) and Kabataş (to connect with the funicular to Taksim Square). Trams run every five minutes from 6am to midnight. Istanbulkart or tickets can be used. A two-stop antique tram runs along İstiklal Caddesi between Tünel and Taksim Squares in Beyoğlu.
Ferries & Seabuses
The most enjoyable way to get around town is by ferry. Crossing between the Asian and European shores, these vessels are as efficient as they are popular with locals. IDO and Şehir Hatları have fare and timetable information or you can pick up a printed timetable at any of the ferry docks.