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Istanbul travel guide


Temperature: High 20s / Low 30s (°C) in summer.
Best time to visit: April to June and September to October.
Istanbul enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot and humid summers, and cold, wet winters of sub-zero temperatures overnight. Late spring and early autumn offer milder heat and sunshine.


History lovers: Learn about the rich cultures of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires.
Shoppers: Bargain for carpets, spices and souvenirs at the Grand Bazaar and Egyptian Spice Bazaar.
Culture fans: Discover the influences of both European and Asian cultures in this city of contrasts.


Language: The language spoken in Istanbul is Turkish.

Currency: The currency used in Istanbul is the Turkish Lira (TRY).

Local time: Istanbul is two hours ahead of GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Ataturk International Airport (IST) is approximately 20 km west of the city centre on the European side. Sabiha Gokcen International Airport is located on the Asian side, 50 km from the city centre.

Flight time from UK: Approx 3 hours 30 mins.

Tourist information: Further Istanbul tourist information can be found at www.goturkey.com/en/city/detail/istanbul.

Visa / health: Before your holiday to Istanbul, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey for recommendations and advice on visas and health.


By metro: Modern, air-conditioned 'light rail' and trams are cheap and efficient.
By taxi: The city's official yellow taxis are plentiful and operate 24 hours a day. Make sure the meter is on!
By dolmus: Shared dolmus taxis and minibuses are a cheaper option for fixed routes throughout Istanbul.


World-class music: For a month starting mid-June, the world's best in opera, classical music and ballet descend on the city for the International Istanbul Music Festival.
Tulip festival: In April, Istanbul parks showcase a variety of tulips, celebrating a flower originally cultivated in Turkey before being exported to Holland.

International contemporary art: The Istanbul Foundation for Culture / Arts presents the International Istanbul Biennial in September and October. Artists from around the world exhibit their works in unusual places, from churches to ferries.