Istanbul is an incredibly unique city as it straddles two different continents. Part of it is in Europe, and the other part is in Asia. This makes it a city of contrasting cultures, which gives you loads to explore as a tourist. If Istanbul is on your radar for some travelling this year, then here’s a guide to help you while you’re there:
Don’t Carry Big Notes With You
The golden rule of travelling around Istanbul is to try and keep small bank notes in your pockets. This is because most of the taxi drivers here have very little change. So, if you’ve got big notes, then expect a small taxi journey to become very expensive when they can’t give you the correct change. A simple tip, but one that can save you a lot of money.
Be Careful When Walking Through Markets
Istanbul is known for its many market stalls with people trying to sell you something wherever you go. You shouldn’t avoid these markets as they’re an iconic part of the city that you can enjoy! However, be careful as there are pickpocketers around, and the sellers can also be quite ‘in your face’ about things. They want your money, and will often try to invite you to their stalls and push the hard sell. In general, don’t engage with market sellers unless you want to buy something.
Stay Near The City Centre
If it’s your first time visiting Istanbul, then I recommend you stay somewhere close to the city centre. There are plenty of places to choose from, like the Istanbul Marriott Hotel Sisli. There are two main reasons I say you should stay near the city centre. The first is because it puts you close to a lot of the action in Istanbul, with loads of market stalls and things to explore nearby. The second is because you can get some amazing views across the whole city from a hotel here!
Buy An Istanbulkart
Like most major cities, Istanbul has a good public transport network that offers a relatively cheap way of getting around. Your best option is to buy an Istanbulkart that you can load and reload with money for journies. This lets you travel around as you please, and there are normally tram stops near the top tourist attractions.
Go To Sultanahmet
This is an area of Istanbul that’s often referred to as the Old City. This is because it’s home to most of the great tourist attractions in Istanbul. Here, you will see some quite magnificent buildings and architecture from ancient times. There are loads of things you can see and do here, which is why it’s somewhere you need to spend a lot of time at. My suggestion is to find the best things to do in Sultanahmet and tick them all off your list. If you do this, then you’ve pretty much accomplished your mission to Istanbul already, and everything else you do is a bonus!
A unique city with so much to offer, Istanbul is definitely a worthy travel destination, and I hope this guide has helped you get the most out of your trip.