Do you want to go to Istanbul? Then this is the page for all useful information for a good trip!
- Things to think of when going to Istanbul
- Where to stay in Istanbul
- 7 things to do when you are in Istanbul
Things to think of when going to Istanbul
Being allowed to visit the country
In Istanbul/Turkey it depends on the country of origin (origin on your passport) which rules there are about any necessary visa. If you have two passports, check which one is easiest to use for the visa procedure. Check on this site what kind of visa you need to enter the country. Look for your country in the list of the page and here it is clearly explained. https://www.mfa.gov.tr/visa-information-for-foreigners.en.mfa.
In this list you will also see that any minimum to enter the country is that your passport or identity card is valid for at least 6 months.
Now that you know how to enter the country you can look further into the place to stay and activities in Istanbul.
Where to stay in Istanbul
To explore as many sights as possible in such a large city, a convenient location of your hotel is essential. To minimize travel between sights, a hotel within the red circle is what we recommend.
7 things to do when you are in Istanbul
Visit a Mosque
Visiting a Mosque is indispensable in your trip to Istanbul, that’s why it is number 1 on this list. Every Mosque has its own history, below you can find a list of Mosques that are fun to visit.
Hagia Sophia: This Mosque is very centrally located in the city and if you have chosen a hotel in the red circle also easy to walk. Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century by a Byzantine (Greek) architect. It was built as a cathedral (at the time the largest in the world). In 1453 it was converted to a Mosque after the Ottomans (Turks) took over the city.
Sultan Ahmet Mosque: this Mosque was built in 1606. This Mosque is also called as blue Mosque, it comes from the blue tiles on the inside of the Mosque. It is located one minute walk from Hagia Sophia and is definitely worth the visit.
Süleymaniye Mosque: in the time when the Ottomans had taken over the city they built many new Mosques but still the Hagia Sophia was the biggest which was built by the Byzantines. The king wanted to make a change in this by making another bigger one and that became this Mosque.
Negotiate in the Big Bazaar of Istanbul
The Big Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest indoor markets in the world with over 58 streets, 1,200 stores and has between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors a day. The bazaar is known for its stores for jewelry, pottery, spice crops and carpets. Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by type of goods, with special areas for leather jackets, gold jewelry and the like. So perfect for a day of shopping. People in the Big Bazaar expect you to haggle, so take advantage of this so you don’t overpay.
Go to a hookah lounge
In Turkey and therefore also in Istanbul, they love hookah lounges and there are a lot of them throughout the city. Here you can get the cheap but good quality hookah in beautiful lounges. Definitely worth it after a long day of seeing Istanbul to order a typical Turkish tea and hookah.
Climb the Galata-tower
Want to see Istanbul from above? Then Galata-tower is the best place to go. This tower is 63 meters high which doesn’t sound very high, but since it is on a mountain it is still a lot higher allowing you to look over the beautiful city. In this tower there is also a museum that takes you back to the history of the old city.
Eat at a rooftop
In Istanbul there are a whole bunch of restaurants with a great view of the city, also (unlike many big cities) they are very affordable. Definitely a recommendation!
Walk through Topkapi palace
If you want to see from where the Ottoman Empire was ruled for 400 years, this is the place to be. This palace was built around 1465 and was the center of the Ottoman Empire until 1853. Admire from the outside and inside how the emperors of that time lived and ruled there. It is important that you get your ticket online in advance, because it may be that there are very long lines where you can get tickets.
Shop at Venice mall
Feel like fancy shopping and always wanted to go to Venice? Then this is the mall for you! This shopping center has recreated Venice in miniature. The best time to come here is in July and August when the canals are actually filled with water and boats.