Coming to the last few days of my trip in Greece, I had 2 days to spare before returning back home, I wanted to do another solo trip but wasn’t sure where to go. I decided last minute whilst I was in Greece to book my flight from Athens to Istanbul, my accommodation & my flight back home. My main reason why I wanted to go Turkey was that I wanted to visit Cappadocia & Pamukkale, but for me I would’ve needed more than 2 days to visit as it would’ve been too rushed. Once my trip ended in Greece I caught my next flight out to Istanbul, as I arrived at night time- I was picked up from the airport by my private transfer to my accomodation. After checking in I settled down and freshened up before going to bed, the next morning I woke up and got ready to venture out in the streets of Istanbul to discover what the city had to provide.
It was absolutely beautiful- I loved everything about this city, just being able to walk around and look at the pretty old buildings surrounding me. It was good as I was staying next to the Blue Mosque which was absolutely amazing. After taking some photos nearby, I was walking towards the main strip of the city when I saw a bus stop, which happened to be the bus stop of the Hop on Hop off Bus. I bought a 48 hour bus pass which I used that day and the next, it was so convenient as it took me to the sights and attractions which I wanted to see. In Istanbul you can easily cover the city within 48 hours of your trip!
I will provide information about Istanbul along with photos of my trip below!
Istanbul is a major city in Turkey that sits between Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait. It is a 20 hour and 35 minute plane ride from Melbourne with a stopover in Dubai flying with Emirates, otherwise if you’re flying with other airlines it generally takes longer.
The most common languages that people speak in Istanbul are Turkish and English.
The currency in Istanbul is the TRY Turkish Lira.
Best season to travel
March, April, May & mid June when it’s Spring, otherwise mid June, July, August & September when its Summer.
Before you travel
Don’t forget to apply for your Turkey Visa before travelling to Istanbul (Online Turkey E-Visa) before your flight.
What to know
- People of Istanbul are welcoming, warm and friendly and they’re happy when there are visitors to their city. Don’t be scared to interact with them if they start a conversation with you.
- If you get invited to a Turkish persons house after you’ve known them for half an hour don’t stress. They’re extremely friendly and hospitable and as a guest, it means you’re highly valued. Many will deem it an honour if you accept their invitation. Once inside you will be fed with food and Turkish coffee.
- The best way of getting around in Istanbul is by purchasing a Istanbul Card, which is accepted on all public transport even on boats. You can top up your card as you go.
- Dress more formally so you don’t attract any attention upon yourself.
- Bring socks with you when planning to go to a mosque, as you’ll be asked to remove your shoes once entering.
- Men have to cover their knees while visiting religious places and buildings. If you forget then there is material that can borrow at the entrance of mosques for visitors.
- Women have to cover their hair with a headscarf while visiting religious places and buildings. It is ideal to have a scarf with you even if you forget to bring one, there are scarves you can borrow at the entrance of mosques for visitors.
- If anyone offers you to go to a bar or ask if you’re interested in carpet, kindly say no as it often leads to a scam.
- Pack wipes with you as a precaution incase you go to a place that may not be stocked on toilet paper.
- Always have some loose change on you as most public bathrooms charge 1 lira to use, especially in the more touristy areas.
- Make sure you negotiate the price of items when shopping at the Grand Bazaar (unless you want to pay twice the price for everything). As a general rule, you should not pay much more than half of their original offer. Tourists are an easy target.
Sights and attractions
- Grand Bazaar
- Topkapi Palace
- Hagiah Sophia
- Sultan Ahmed Mosque
- Basilica Cistern
- Galata Tower
- Dolmabahce Palace
- Taksim Square
- Suleymaniye Mosque & more
It depends on how you spend your days although money does add up quite quickly whilst you’re over there. On average I would say $50 AUD is enough to spend for the day.
All photos posted on my blog are taken and belong to me.