Istanbul is one of the largest cities of the Republic of Turkey. It features among the top 10 tourist destinations in the world and has been named as a European Capital of Culture. The city is known as a perfect blend of the modern and the ancient where exquisite mosques from the Ottoman Empire share space with museums and art galleries.
When to Go
Istanbul is an ideal tourist destination during autumn and spring. The weather is almost perfect during two periods, mainly from September to October and April to May. The summers, July to August, are steamy and hot which can make travelling and sightseeing difficult. The winters are exceptionally chilly with snow and cold winds. The average snowfall in Istanbul is 18 inches.
Where to Go
Istanbul offers an array of sights and sounds that can interest every tourist irrespective of age. During the warmer months, tourists can enjoy an assortment of musical events and art festivals. The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts organizes most of the cultural festivals in the city.
The Blue Mosque is one of the well-known attractions of Istanbul. Built by Sultan Ahmet I, the religious sanctuary has one of the biggest courtyards among Ottoman mosques. The Blue Mosque has more than 250 windows and is covered in thousands of blue tiles. Most of the hotels offer special rooms with a view of the Blue Mosque from their balconies.
The Topkapi Palace is the second most popular landmark in the city. The palace is known for its opulence and has many stories and legends. As the palace is enormous, it is advised to set aside a full day to visit and explore it. The palace is an architectural marvel with cobbled pathways, ornate structures and intricate carvings.
The Grand Bazaar is the most famous, largest and oldest markets in the world. It offers a manic and incredible shopping experience with the sheer varieties of produce, leather and fur products and handicrafts. Intricate pieces of jewellery with precious gems can be purchased in Jewellers Street.
Istanbul offers good value for money even though the city is not known as the bargain tourist destination any more. Most of the tour operators and hotel owners accept euros but the local currency is the Turkish Lira (TL)..
In Sultan ahmet, a good hotel room for two people can be bought at a minimum of €60. With 20 to 25 TL, tourists can take pleasure in a scrumptious kebab meal. Istanbul offers cost-effect public transport facilities. Some of the historical landmarks in the city do not require a visiting charge and TL 15 is the average entry fee for a museum.