Istanbul: where east meets west
Istanbul, the infamous city straddling Europe and Asia, will astonish and delight you with its diversity and verve. It boasts a rich cultural heritage, having served as the capital city of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires: dive right in by visiting the Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, Galata Tower, and the Grand Bazaar. Many historic sites in İstanbul can be found on the World Heritage List of UNESCO, including Sultanahmet Square, which is one of the world’s most famous examples of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture.
Istanbul’s endless variety will captivate visitors from all walks of life. You’ll find excellent fare in top-notch restaurants and local kebab joints, a lively nightlife scene, and charming cafes and boutique shops. Munch on Turkish delight or Borek (a savory, pillowy snack) as you roam Istanbul’s diverse neighborhoods, or watch the world go by with a glass of strong Turkish tea. Food is inexpensive, and you will find plenty to eat around Taksim Square and along İstiklal Avenue.
Visa and Immigration Issues
We highly recommend that you read the related information about your country’s visa requirements before arranging your travel to Turkey. While some applicants may be exempt from holding a visa for their visit, others can obtain an e-Visa. All other applicants will need to get a visa through Turkish Representations abroad. More information about Turkey’s visa policies is available at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Istanbul is easily accessible from all around the world by most of the major international airlines and charters. It hosts two international airports (Atatürk Airport on the European side and Sabiha Gökçen Airport on the Asian side). The city is about 2 to 5 hours from European destinations and 9 hours from North America.
As soon as you arrive, we recommend you get the Istanbul Visit Card. This card is accepted on all public transportation. Most of the tourist attractions can be reached by public transport. Exploring the city on foot is another opportunity to meet and interact with the locals while enjoying the beautiful city.