Amidst Istanbul’s tapestry of rich history, colorful architecture, vibrant night life, and warm, smiling locals is a cuisine that just as remarkably dynamic as its other treasures.
Turkish cuisine is known for its seemingly infinite breadth of flavor imparted by herbs and spices such as mint, parsley, cinnamon, cumin, garlic, and dill. What’s remarkable is that even with the wealth of flavors, the Turks are able to maintain a balance of tastes, never overpowering.
Turkish cuisine is diverse, a wonderful exposition of the abundant flora and fauna with which the land is blessed. When in Istanbul, expect to indulge in delicious vegetable-based dishes, lamb, breads and pastries, cheeses, and yogurt.
Worried about gaining too much weight from all the good food in Istanbul? Burn the calories by walking around the city and admiring its gorgeous sights.
Enjoy this guide to the best food in Istanbul and where to get them at reasonable prices:
While being in Istanbul, you won’t find it hard to buy a unique, cultural gift for everyone on your list. Turkish tea for tea lovers, Turkish black soap for the beauty conscious, or Turkish spices for the culinary master. If all else fails, you can always buy the delicious Turkish delight which is a sure hit with everyone.
Read on to find out more options. This list features the 10 must-buy souvenirs with information on pricing and where to buy them included in.
When you are in Istanbul, the Turkish Lira (TRY) notes will be your best friends as it can make any of your payments done smoothly, especially at teahouses and market stores.
You will find the Lira notes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Liras. There is also 1-lira coin, which is equivalent to 100 Kurus.
A money changer in Istanbul is called change office by locals. When you see the word “doviz“, which means foreign exchange, in front of a place, then you know that you are going to walk past a change office.
Those planning to exchange currency in Istanbul’s airport, at hotels or banks should think twice. Because most airport money changers charge a commission, which can be as high as 5%. And most importantly, rates offered by the above mentioned service providers are not the best one can find in town.
So where can we look for money changers with rates that will make us say yes happily?
Just like the way it is in Singapore and Hong Kong, good money changers in Istanbul usually get together at commercial areas and major tourist places. You can find many of them at the Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Sultanahmet, Laleli, and Taksim. This is such a nice combination, bringing convenience to visitors.
A useful rule of thumb is that always ask a change office if there is a commission or surcharge. And choose to go with the money changer with the narrowest difference between buy and sell rates.
If you bring traveler’s cheques with you in your trip to Istanbul, then you are advised to have them exchanged at post offices. Because they are the only service providers that won’t collect commissions for this kind of service. 9% fee is the amount that is charged as commission at most of the money changers in town when dealing with traveler’s cheques.
Note that post offices (PTT) also offer currency exchange service that apply to US Dollars, Euros, and UK Sterling.
Every day, more than 5 million people use public transportation in Istanbul. That’s more than the population of any European capital, except London.
So you can imagine how difficult it is to squeeze all those 5 million people (both travelers and residents) into different modes of transportation… every day!
And there are lots of different modes of transportation in Istanbul, which can be very confusing for a person who hasn’t been to this city before.
So let’s figure out which modes of transportation are cheaper, easier and faster to use to get around in Istanbul.
Given that you’re checking out Istanbul as your next destination, you probably know that there are two airports in the city: Atatürk International Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW).
But since Atatürk is the busiest of Istanbul’s two airports and since you’re most likely going to land there, let’s review different ways you can get from this airport to Taksim Square in central Istanbul. The distance between the airport and Taksim Square is about 23 kilometers.
The allure of Istanbul lies in its strategic location between the continents of Europe and Asia. Visitors flock to Istanbul to get the best of both worlds and experience European and Asian life which blends uniquely in this Turkish city.
There is no lack of fun things to do in Istanbul. This historical and cosmopolitan city is a great destination that can be enjoyed by everyone, from the rich and famous to the most budget-conscious backpacker.
Below is a list of top 10 things to do in Istanbul. Each item is chosen to include activities that offer great value for your money and help you capture the best beauties of Istanbul.