Cheap Flights to Istanbul
Known for its historical relevance, Istanbul sits on either side of the Bosphorus strait between the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea. One side of the city is located in Europe while the other side is located in Asia. Istanbul is a modernized city that embraces its ancient culture, and whether you're interested in visiting the Old City and its mosques and churches or going shopping, you'll enjoy the sights and sounds of this bustling region.
Flights to Istanbul
If you're flying to Istanbul, you'll most likely land at Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST), which is about 12 miles from the center of the city. The terminal has restaurants and drinks available for purchase. In order to enter Istanbul, you may need to purchase a tourist visa, depending on your nationality. You can do this online, or purchase the visa at one of the automatic machines once you clear immigration. If you need help with your tourist visa, you can also head to the visa office. The easiest way to get to the city interior is to use the metro that is located near the baggage claim. The metro will take you to Aksaray near the center of the city. You can also transfer to the trams, which will take you into the Old City.
Attractions in Istanbul
Istanbul has a rich history that should be explored. Spend some time walking around the Historic Areas of Istanbul in the Old City. These UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the Topkapı Palace, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque and the Walls of Constantinople. In the Sultanahmet District, you can visit the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts and the Hagia Sophia Museum. If you want to take a relaxing walk while viewing artwork, you can visit Gulhane Park. Istanbul is also the perfect place to pick up high-quality items and souvenirs. You can find spices and dried fruit at the Egyptian Bazaar in the Asian side of the city. If you're looking for textiles, clothing and tea, visit the Grand Bazaar. Here, you'll also find Turkish Delights and other local delicacies that you can munch on while you wander the maze. Don't leave the city without visiting Cagaloglu Hamam, or Turkish Bath, for a relaxing steam.
Hints and Tips for Visiting Istanbul
From April to November, Istanbul is busy with the many music and art festivals. In mid-April, the International Istanbul Film Festival highlights new domestic and foreign films. In May, catch the puppet and marionette shows during the International Istanbul Puppet Festival. At the International Istanbul Music Festival in June and July, you can see more than 30 music, opera and dance performances. If you're vising in October or November, celebrate prominent writers and intellectuals at the Tüyap Book Fair. Depending on where you eat, the average meal for two costs about $20. Be sure to try kuyu kebabı, or lamb that has been specially cooked. In February, the average temperatures can dip down to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In July, temperatures can rise to an average 75 degrees.
Images by Flickr/John Picken
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