One of the world’s great cultural crossroads
It’s often said that Istanbul is one of the world’s great cultural crossroads. Simultaneously beautiful, challenging and crazy, it’s the only metropolis in the world that straddles two continents, and cultural differences and similarities are everywhere to be seen. As a 24-year veteran of the World Heritage List, there’s more to see and do than you could possibly fit in to a weekend. Come, and you’ll plan to come back.
|Currency:||New Turkish Lira|
|Time zone:||GMT +2 hour (GMT +3 hours in summer)|
|Flight Time:||4h 10|
|Holiday type:||Beach, Summer sun, City break|
|Weather:||Average maximum temperature: 14.1°C
|Airport Name||Code||Distance to City|
If you do only one thing in your time in Istanbul, visit the Roman and Byzantine old city, also known as Sultanahmet. The Hagia Sophia, Topaki Palace and iconic (and massive) Blue Mosque are all here.
Must eat at:
Asitane, in Sultanahmet, specialises in painstakingly researched and reassembled Ottoman cuisine straight from former palaces. Expect lots of meat and fruit – and always ask for the lamb – it’s wonderful.
Must be there for:
Bosphorus, every July, is one of the world’s great mass participation sporting spectacles. The swimming challenge is particularly daunting, and thousands take it up nonetheless, seeking to swim the 6.5km strait between the European and Asian sides of Istanbul.
Be sure to visit a Hammam – or Turkish bath – before you go. But choose with care. Try either the Suleymaniye or Cagalohgu baths for starters.
The 4000 shops of the Grand Bazaar extend an invitation that most shopaholics will find hard to refuse. The stores tend to be clustered together by specialism, and, yes, you can and should haggle.
British citizens travelling to Turkey do need a visa, unless they are cruise ship passengers who enter the country for a day trip and return to the ship the same day. British citizens may obtain a multiple entry visitor's visa valid for 90 days at the port of entry on payment of £10 in cash.
Duty free shopping:
Although Turkey is in Europe, it is outside of the EU Value Added Tax Area so you can benefit from duty free prices on certain items purchased when travelling to Istanbul through our terminals. More information.
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