Istanbul is one of the few cities in the world to be shared by two continents including Europe and Asia. Istanbul is too beautiful, too mysterious, and makes you overwhelmed in ease, “lost” and possibly in danger after just a few minutes to get this ancient city. Therefore, to ensure your safety and enjoy the most interesting and exciting trip to Istanbul, Turkey as your expectation, you should know what to do and not do before going to Istanbul, Turkey. Let’s check out and note our 09 must-know Istanbul travel tips below for your perfect trip to Istanbul, Turkey.
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So, what to know before going to Istanbul? Let’s check out our list of 9 things to know before visiting Istanbul and tips for visiting Istanbul (Istanbul travel tips), what to know before traveling to Istanbul that we compiled to help you have a safe and smooth trip to the city that lies on two continents of Asia and Europe!
What to know before going to Istanbul: Restrictions on traveling by taxi
It is certainly a wise choice for your trip by taxi to visit popular attractions located far away from the city. However, that is for your trips to the cities of Los Angeles, Paris, Amsterdam, etc. It is extremely wrong to choose a taxi in Istanbul.
Because the famous ancient capital of Turkey is a city with heavy traffic congestion, especially during rush hours and traffic jams, you will take a lot more time to get to the next destinations, or even back to the hotel.
Therefore, you should choose to take neither taxi nor a bus if the route is not far, you should walk as well as see many different corners of the city. It is also an interesting experience in the “capital of ancient capitals”.
In case, you need to go a long route, you can choose to travel by tram or Metrobus. These vehicles have so much, but it still moves quickly and is more cost-effective than taxis.
What to know before traveling to Istanbul: Need an Istanbul travel map
To Istanbul in Turkey or other cities in any country, you should also bring a city map wherever you go. With a map, you will be more confident while having a trip around a seriously “troublesome” neighborhood system in Istanbul, a famous city with a very narrow alley system.
The locals hang full of colorful clothes throughout the neighborhood, which makes you confused between the streets. In addition, the streets of Istanbul are not flat. You sometimes go up and down suddenly, and if you realize you’ve lost your way, you will feel tired and get a lot of difficulties during your movement.
Hence, when you come to Istanbul, don’t be afraid to bring a map to go to the place quickly, limit the situation of getting lost, going to the wrong places in the city, and easily find great homes for your free exploration.
Note that you can use Google Maps instead of paper maps, you should arrange a map if possible because you sometimes may not use Google Maps.
Things to know before visiting Istanbul: Do not go to protest sites in Istanbul
In recent years, Turkey has been constantly politically unstable, coups and bombings have taken place many times. Therefore, when you travel to Turkey, especially in major tourist cities like Istanbul, you need to keep away from the protest points with a large number of people to avoid endangering yourself.
Protests or large gatherings are often in the central areas of the city, which happen both during the day and at night. So, during your trip around this city, if you find many people who are agitators or troublemakers gathering at your arrival, you should leave and move to other places, it’s better for you.
Tips for visiting Istanbul: Do not book your accommodation around Taksim
Taksim Square is always a gathering place for a lot of people who like “nightlife” and this place also doesn’t have a curfew. Hence, this area is very messy at night, there are also many disturbances in the morning. These are the reasons that you should avoid booking in the area around Taksim square.
If you still prefer to stay in the city center, you can change to a hotel or homestay in Cankurtaran, Galata, which are also in the city center but much safer and quieter. Some recommended hotels below are introduced as brief information to you before going to Istanbul.
Address:Cankurtaran, Terbıyık Çk. No:6, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Phone: +90 212 517 00 25
The Galataport Hotel
Address:Bereketzade, Laleli Çeşme Sk. No:10, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Phone: +90 212 245 10 95
Byzantium Suites Hotel
Address: Cankurtaran, Akbıyık Cd. No:29, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Phone: +90 212 458 62 00
Not stay in Taksim, but the “nightlife” in this area is most interesting and vibrant. As a result, if you prefer the nightlife and discovery, please try once to experience Istanbul at night in Taksim, this will surely be an unforgettable experience.
Istanbul travel tips: Get tea invitations from natives
Turkish people are very friendly with their guests, if they offer you a cup of traditional Turkish black tea and apple tea, don’t refuse them, boldly accept and enjoy these warm cups of tea. You will feel closer to strangers in a foreign land and fall in love with this half-Asian and half-European country.
However, if you have an urgent matter that needs to be done right away, you can politely refuse, the Turks will sincerely accept and don’t think that you are impolite.
What to know before going to Istanbul: Discreet outfits in mosques
When you go to churches and mosques, women should pay attention to covering their heads with headscarves, wear discreet outfits, and do not wear 2-string tops, shorts, or short skirts. These outfits will make the natives uncomfortable, even you may be prevented from entering the mosques.
In case, you carelessly wear these revealing costumes when going to mosques, you can quickly treat yourself by wrapping a Pashmina scarf all over your body to cover, but it’s best to dress modestly here to express your respect for the sacred places.
Istanbul tips: No noise at the sanctuaries
These sanctuaries are also churches and cathedrals. During prayer times for believers, if you are noisy, and disorderly and use your phone to record videos or take photos of believers, these may make the prayer session become a reality. That means it’s easy to make believers uncomfortable, and angry; you may not be welcome here.
Things to know before visiting Istanbul: Do not confuse Turkish food and Greek food
Coming to Turkey for a cheap tour, don’t think that you come to second Greece, Turkey, and Greece with the same features of culture and cuisine, but they still have many different sides. While eating Turkish food, if you get the mistake to think that it is Greek food, you will hurt the Turks very much.
The Turks are extremely proud of their cuisine, so during your arrival in Turkish restaurants, you feel that the dish is very similar to Greek food and you can name it after the Greek name, but be more sensitive. Please ask the waiter about Turkish pronunciation and order, the waiter will smile friendly with you.
What to know before going to Istanbul: Do not go to Pudding Shop
Near Hagia Sophia church, there was a restaurant called Pudding Shop, which was a popular gathering place for tourists from all over the world on the way to Kathmandu. But that’s the story of 50 years ago, now the name of the shop is still Pudding Shop at the old address. On the contrary, the food and culture of the shop are no longer as special as before, you should not be cheated to come here unless you disappoint.
Instead of choosing Pudding Shop, you can go to Tarihi Sultanahmet Koftecisi, a famous restaurant in Istanbul that has a modest number of dishes, but affordable prices, excellent food taste, excellent service, and a convenient taking away service. Therefore, let’s free to choose your food here.
The Turkey travel tips on what to do and what to know will provide you with some great information, and amazing advice for your first trip to Istanbul, even travelers who have rich Istanbul experiences, to avoid limitations or taboos for your perfect trip to Istanbul, Turkey.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Istanbul you can refer to
- Istanbul Welcome Card
- Hagia Sophia Introduction Tour with Audio Guide
- Istanbul Classics Tour
- Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque Small Group Tour
- Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, & Basilica Cistern Combo Tour in Istanbul
- Istanbul Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tours (Open-Top)
- Hop-on Hop-off Bosphorus Sightseeing Cruise
- 4G SIM Card (MY Delivery) for Turkey from joytel2u
- Istanbul Museum Pass
- [Sale] Sea Life Aquarium Ticket in Istanbul
- Round Trip Ferry Tickets between Prince’s Islands and Istanbul
- Princes’ Island Full Day Tour from Istanbul
- Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise Tour
- Istanbul: Mevlevi Sema and the Whirling Dervishes Show
- Istanbul: Bosphorus Music and Dinner Cruise w/ Private Table
- Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise with Audio App
- Istanbul: Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia Small-Group Tour
- Best of Istanbul in 1 Day
- Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Guided Tour and Skip The Line
- Istanbul: Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Luxurious Yacht
- Istanbul: Basilica Cistern Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
Are you looking for more top things to do in Istanbul: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out here. And My trip to Istanbul — Explore the bridge city of Asia and Europe. And Turkey travel guide here.