Istanbul is a city which inhabited by 14 million people according to internet, but 22 million according to locals. It’s a multicultural city where many different religions come to one place and lamb kebabs are eaten on every corner. It’s a city spread over two continents – Europe and Asia – and it’s airports are the main hub for the biggest airline company of Europe – Turkish Airlines.

How to prepare yourself for visit in Istanbul?

#1 Flight searching

The best way to explore Istanbul is to combine any trip with Turkish airlines with a trip to Istanbul. It’s up to You to decide whether to explore it before or after the destination that You want to visit to. The final destination could be some cities in Asia, Africa, Middle east or even America. For the cheap ticket offers use Travelfree, Skyscanner or Momondo. Skyscanner even allows you to set up a flight reminder, so you can get any price changes of your desirable destination right to your e-mail. It’s possible to find flights from any destination in Europe through Istanbul to Bangkok (for example) for 300 euros both ways per person.

Don’t forget: There are two airports in Istanbul: Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen. If it’s possible choose Ataturk cause Sabiha is far away from the city.

#2 Accommodation in Istanbul

As always the best way to search for accommodation is either on Booking  or AirBnB,  but the problem with this city is not a price of your living place or quality. The city is huge and it’s important to choose the right district to live, so location comes first. As I already wrote about Istanbul’s public transport, you can reach any place by using it. Istanbul is divided in numerous districts but these are our favorits:

Karakoy – best choice as you can reach any place of interest in Istanbul just in 20 minutes by public transport.
Eminonu – same as Karakoy, it’s just a bit more expensive.
Sultanahmet – in case you’re in Istanbul just to explore popular destinations as Blue mosque, Hagia Sophia or Grand Bazaar.
Beyoglu – if you’re in Istanbul for it’s nightlife or shopping.
Kadikoy – for authentic asian side exploration.

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#3 Trip duration

The city itself is big but actually You don’t need a month or a week to explore it. Depending on your age or speed abilities the best duration is 3-5 nights. All you need to do it’s just examine a city map and build your trip before you go there. Make your priorities – let it be famous places, restaurants, museums or parks.

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#4 Where to eat?

Turkish people are very proud about their cuisine and they’re actually superb in it. Hardest part about it is to choose a really good place to try real Turkish food. There aren’t any truly good list of eating places in Istanbul and it couldn’t be just because of huge variety. Here are some guidelines to find an authentic eateries in this city:

x Turkish people are really welcoming and try to invite You to their places but it’s a sign of quantity not quality.
x Try to avoid places where all signs are in english, actually the best places have no menus outside at all.

Where to look:

x Kadikoy market and outside of it

x Karakoy pier and in outskirts

x every districts around Eminonu

x Fish market in Kumkapi

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#5 Study, examine, search

Usually I don’t recommend to study or examine the places narrowly but Istanbul is different:

x Study public transport system
x Examine the city map and know how to reach any place from your living place
x Find a good spot for money exchange (top place-Grand Bazaar)
x Search every corner of the city as the secrets hiding in narrow streets, small streets of Istanbul
x Spend more time outside. Don’t get a whole day in mosques, tunnels or other inside places.

Give us your ideas and tips if you have ever been to Istanbul! Write us hello@traveloffin.com!

L&T