İstanbul Guide, Step by Step
As many said, Istanbul is incredible and it is home for breathtaking natural sights, ancient complicated architecture, delicious food, and fun activities.
If you are travelling to Istanbul for the first time, then you should know a lot of information that will help you having the best time in your life.
First if all, let’s start with a glance about Istanbul:
Istanbul city, is the economic, financial, and culture city of Turkey and it is located at the western north of Turkey split into half, one on the European side and one on the Asian side with the Bosphorus bridge connecting the two parts with each other. Thanks to its location, Istanbul is considered one of the most important cities in the world in terms of trade especially that it is also located on the famous Silk Road. Thus, it is not strange when everyone in the world shows more interest in Istanbul than other cities.
The best time to visit Istanbul:
Except for December, January, and August. Istanbul is an exciting city to visit but if you are looking for the perfect time then it is during spring especially April, and May when you can enjoy the warm sunlight, clear sky, cool air, and beautiful colorful natural sights. In addition to the many festivals that happen during these two month like the Tulip Festival, International Jazz Festivals, and many other festivals. You can also go to cities and villages around the city like Sapanca, or spend a day at the Princes Islands to eat fresh seafood and ride horses around the island.
In general, Istanbul during April and May has more to see or to do than other months, and you also need to know that August is a very hot and sticky month so if you are not a fan of hot weather, you are probably going to be annoyed.
Where to book a hotel:
Depending on your tour plans or destinations but if you are not sure where to go, you can book an hotel in the SultanAhmet area, Beyoglu, Taksim, Sisli, or around the Bosphorus for high class residence. This is to stay close to the heart of the city where all touristic sites are near you and you can reach anywhere relatively spending the same time. Overall, hotels in Istanbul are not bad and most of them have good service, you may find some hotels with small rooms but still offer good services.
Except for the very luxurious hotels, the prices are not expensive you can always find a lot of hotels where not to pay more and still have good services.
What airport is better to land at:
Istanbul city is supported with two airports. The first one is Istanbul airport and it is located on the European side, while the second one is Sabiha Gokcen airport and it is located on the Asian side. In terms of time, both of them are 90 minutes away from the heart of the city, and in terms of transportation, Sabiha Gokcen is near to the metro station but still, you can use the airport busses to everywhere in Istanbul from both airports.
In terms of organizing, Istanbul airport is more organized and bigger than Sabiha Gokcen airport and has busses really comfortable busses that take you everywhere in Istanbul.
Generally, flights heading toward Istanbul Airport are usually more expensive than flights heading to Sabiha Gokcen and at the same time, many airlines do not fly to Sabiha Gokcen
Where to go and what to visit:
Istanbul city has literally a lot of activities to do and a lot of sites to visit but if it is your first time in Istanbul, you can start by visiting the historical ancient sites and museum like Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Sarayi, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern which are all located in SultanAhmet area.
Next day, you can hit the road toward Dolmabahce sarayi and Ortakoy square next to the Bosphorus where you can taste delicious Turkish food after finishing your tour at Dolmabahce great palace. You can also buy yourself a ticket on the Bosphorus tour cruise to see the most famous monuments of Istanbul from the heart of the Bosphorus.
Later on, you can spend some time at different natural places like Princes Islands, Camlica Hill, Pierre Loti Hill, and many other places where you will be definitely amazed by the breathtaking views.
Shop like a Sultan:
Probably one of the best things about Istanbul is its markets, because you can literally find anything you want in different qualities and the best places to do shopping it the famous Grand Bazaar which is registered as first mall in the world and the largest one, and the famous Spice Bazaar where you can find many types of spices and Turkish traditional desserts
Do not miss the food, Coffee, and tea:
You are in one of the richest cities in terms of food. So make sure to treat your stomach well and give it a present by tasting the delicious Turkish food whether it is meat like Kebap, seafood like fresh grilled fish sandwich, or chicken like Tavuk Sis, or only a dessert like Baklava, you are absolutely going to fall in love with the Turkish food. Most importantly, try the Turkish coffee and Turkish tea they are different than any other coffee or tea you ever tasted.
When it is your last day in Istanbul, make sure to check out from the hotel early because the airport is far away from the heart of the city and be there 4 hours before your flight, it is safer for your flight.