Explore Istanbul

 There is nowhere in the world quite like Istanbul. Spread across two continents, Istanbul is a city of layers and contrasts. With historical sights like the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace brushing up against buzzing bars and lively cafes, with Ottoman-era mosques a short walk from contemporary art museums and galleries, with traditional carpet shops around the corner from trendy boutiques, Istanbul is a city of old and new coexisting. The city never stops moving.

Istanbul is the cultural capital of the country, with a plethora of independent galleries and inventive restaurants, as well as its transit hub, with flights going all over Turkey and all over the world. Each neighborhood has its own distinct identity and vibe, and it's easy to spend weeks in Istanbul without ever seeing everything. But that is what makes it so fascinating—there will always be something calling you back for more. So order a cup of Turkish coffee and a piece of pistachio baklava, and get ready to delve into this fascinating metropolis.

Time Zone

Turkey's time zone is GMT+3 year-round, and is also called TRT (Turkey Time). Turkey does not do daylight savings.

Best Time to Go

Spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October) are the perfect times to visit Istanbul, when the weather is bright and mild. During the month of April is the city-wide Tulip Festival, when the parks and green spaces in the city are bedazzled with the colorful bulbs. In the summer, the city becomes sticky and very hot, and most residents flee to the beaches in the south as soon as they can, but the streets are alive all night when the air cools off a little. Winter is gray and rainy, showing Istanbul at its most moody and evocative.

Things to Know

The main language in Istanbul is Turkish, though with a large international presence in the city, don't be surprised to hear chatter in English or Arabic or Farsi as you explore. Turkish people are generally quite helpful, even if you don't speak any Turkish, and shop owners (especially in Sultanahmet, the historic center) will often invite you to sit down and share a çay, a tiny tulip-shaped cup of strong black tea. Personal space is often a luxury in this crowded city, so don't be surprised if you feel someone is standing too close to you as you wait for a bus or in a line—it's normal here.

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Don't mistake the water that bisects the city for a river. The Bosphorus Strait connects the Sea of Marmara (and, by extension, the Mediterranean) with the Black Sea, and is therefore a major global shipping route. It's not unusual to see massive container ships floating by your commuter ferry.

While Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, the capital city is actually Ankara, in central Anatolia. But the palaces that dot the Bosphorus, left over from Istanbul's status as the capital of the Ottoman Empire, might make you think otherwise. The politicians might do their business in Ankara, but Istanbul feels like the center of the world.

Currency: Turkish Lira (TL)

(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: TurkishI don't speak Turkish: Türkçe bilmiyorum.I'm lost: KayboldumCan I have…?: …alabilirmiyim?Where is…?: ... nerede?

Calling Code: +90

Capital City: Ankara

How to Get Around

Intricate interlocking transportations—both official and informal—make it easy to navigate around Istanbul. There are multiple metro lines with clear signage and modern cars that connect to an above-ground tram line and two funiculars. The Marmaray, a cross-continent metro line that passes under the Bosphorus Strait, connects the metro system on the European and Asian sides of the city, and has recently expanded to run all the way into the suburbs on both sides of the city. Otherwise, the best way to cross from Europe to Asia and back is by ferry, with multiple ferry lines running between stations on a regular schedule all throughout the day.

The gaps are filled by city buses, which are paid for by the same IstanbulKart that gets you onto the metro, Marmaray, and ferries. And if there is no bus that runs to your destination, there might be a dolmuş, a yellow van that runs on a fixed route but stops whenever a passenger requests it and leaves whenever the van is full. There are also light blue minibuses that run on various routes throughout the city. Dolmuş and minibuses are paid in cash, with the price depending on the distance you go.

Taxis are plentiful, especially around touristed areas. Apps like BiTaksi can be useful to call taxis directly, and hotels are also usually happy to order a taxi if you can't flag one down.

Best Hotels Ciragan Palace Kempinski

Address: Ciragan Caddesi 3234349 IstanbulPhone: +90 212 326 4646Website

Housed in an ornate former Ottoman palace on the shores of the Bosphorus Strait, the Ciragan Palace is the ultimate luxurious hotel in Istanbul. The Ciragan boasts an outdoor infinity pool, an exquisite spa with a Turkish hamam, and high-end restaurants. If you want to experience Istanbul like Ottoman royalty, the Ciragan is the place to do it.

Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Istanbul, Turkey

Corinne Hotel

Address: Kuloğlu Mah., Turnacıbaşı Caddesi 4134433 Beyoğlu/İstanbulPhone: +90 212 293 94 94Website

Located in the heart of Beyoğlu, Istanbul's nightlife and entertainment district, the Corinne Hotel is an ideal base to experience the energy of the city. The boutique hotel is in a lovingly restored late-Ottoman neoclassical building, with trendy and contemporary amenities alongside a winding marble staircase. Don't miss out on its rooftop terrace, the perfect place to sip a cocktail and watch Istanbul sparkle below.

Sirkeci Mansion

Address: Taya Hatun Sokak 534120 Sirkeci/IstanbulPhone: +90 212 528 43 44Website

Nestled in the heart of Sultanahmet, Sirkeci Mansion is walking distance from the Hagia Sophia, Gulhane Park, and Topkapi Palace. The hotel contains 32 spacious rooms, a spa, and an on-site restaurant. Relax at the hotel's Turkish hamam, or head up to the hotel's rooftop, with its sweeping views of the old city.

Pera Palace Hotel

Address: Mesrutiyet Caddesi 5234430 Tepebasi/IstanbulPhone: +90 212 377 4000Website

Modern luxury and Turkish history entwine at the Pera Palace hotel, a grand Art Nouveau beauty that was built for travelers on the Orient Express and over the years has hosted illustrious guests that include Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, and Queen Elizabeth II. The Pera Palace is located close to Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul's main thoroughfare. The five-star hotel has 115 rooms, multiple restaurants and bars, and a fully-equipped spa and fitness center.

The Bank Hotel

Address: Azapkapı, Bankalar Caddesi 5/134421 Beyoğlu/İstanbulPhone: +90 212 283 00 55Website

Located in a reappropriated late-Ottoman-era bank in the Karakoy neighborhood, The Bank Hotel is a trendy boutique hotel located between the historic peninsula and the nightlife of Istiklal Caddesi. The eclectic design mixes the modern and the historic bones of the building throughout the hotel's 62 rooms. The restaurant on the rooftop offers splendid views of the city.

Splendid Palace Hotel

Address: Büyükada-nizam, Yirmiüç Nisan Caddesi 3934970 Adalar/İstanbulPhone: +90 216 382 69 50Website

This striking hotel on Istanbul's biggest island is full of early Republic charm, somehow both modern and nostalgically vintage. A highlight is the outdoor pool, where it's easy to while away the day in the sunshine. The 60 rooms and 9 suites are bright and breezy, perfect for an island escape in the middle of the city.

Best Restaurants Mikla

Address: The Marmara PeraMeşrutiyet Caddesi 1534430 Beyoğlu/İstanbulPhone: +90 212 293 5656Website

The creation of lauded Turkish-Scandinavian chef Mehmet Gurs, Mikla has long had a reputation as one of the best restaurants in Istanbul thanks to its creative twist on traditional cuisine. Located on the roof of the Marmara Pera Hotel, the views are as exquisite as the food. Try the tasting menu to get a sense of the scope of Mikla's creative culinary creations. Reservation is recommended. Indoor and outdoor dining is available.

View from Mikla

Ciya Sofrasi

Address: Caferağa Mah. Güneşlibahçe Sokak 4334710 Kadıköy/Istanbul,Phone: +90 216 330 3190Website

This unassuming restaurant in the heart of the Kadikoy neighborhood's market street belies its reputation as an Istanbul powerhouse. With cuisine drawn from various regions across Anatolia, especially its diverse southeast region, the menu is constantly shifting and incorporating seasonal produce. In the summertime, try the cherry kebab; in the springtime, don't miss the lamb stewed with erik, Turkish sour plums. Indoor and outdoor dining is available.

Akin Balik

Address: Azapkapı, Gümrük Han, Fermeneciler Caddesi 40/A34420 Beyoğlu/İstanbulPhone: +90 212 244 97 76Website

This seemingly ramshackle restaurant comes alive at night, glittering with strings of lights and lanterns. Perched right at the edge of the water in the Karakoy district, this is an evocative place to have the Turkish meyhane experience, with small plates of meze dotting the table and rakı (an anise liquor) flowing all night. Make sure to try the atom, thick yogurt mixed with hot dried peppers, and the catch of the day. Reservation is recommended, especially on weekends, and most dining is outdoors.


Address: Mesrutiyet Caddesi 107/F34430 Beyoglu/IstanbulPhone: +90 212 243 2633Website

This cozy bistro in the Pera neighborhood, walking distance from Istiklal Caddesi, combines Turkish, Persian, and Middle Eastern influences in its inventive cuisine. Make sure to try the dudi Persian rice speckled with ruby-red barberries. Reservation recommended, only indoor dining.


 Il n'y a nulle part dans le monde comme Istanbul. Répartie sur deux continents, Istanbul est une ville de couches et de contrastes. Avec des sites historiques comme Sainte-Sophie et le palais de Topkapi qui côtoient des bars animés et des cafés animés, des mosquées de l'époque ottomane à quelques pas des musées et galeries d'art contemporain, des magasins de tapis traditionnels au coin des boutiques à la mode, Istanbul est une ville de ancien et nouveau coexistant. La ville ne s'arrête jamais de bouger.


Istanbul est la capitale culturelle du pays, avec une pléthore de galeries indépendantes et de restaurants inventifs, ainsi que sa plaque tournante de transit, avec des vols allant dans toute la Turquie et dans le monde entier. Chaque quartier a sa propre identité et son ambiance, et il est facile de passer des semaines à Istanbul sans jamais tout voir. Mais c'est ce qui le rend si fascinant : il y aura toujours quelque chose qui vous rappellera pour plus. Alors commandez une tasse de café turc et un morceau de baklava à la pistache, et préparez-vous à plonger dans cette fascinante métropole.

Fuseau horaire

Le fuseau horaire de la Turquie est GMT+3 toute l'année, et est également appelé TRT (Turkey Time). La Turquie n'applique pas l'heure d'été.

Meilleur moment pour partir

Le printemps (avril-mai) et l'automne (septembre-octobre) sont les périodes idéales pour visiter Istanbul, lorsque le temps est clair et doux. Au mois d'avril se déroule le festival des tulipes dans toute la ville, lorsque les parcs et les espaces verts de la ville sont éblouis par les bulbes colorés. En été, la ville devient collante et très chaude, et la plupart des habitants fuient vers les plages du sud dès qu'ils le peuvent, mais les rues sont vivantes toute la nuit lorsque l'air se rafraîchit un peu. L'hiver est gris et pluvieux, montrant Istanbul sous son aspect le plus maussade et évocateur.

Choses à savoir

La langue principale à Istanbul est le turc, bien qu'avec une forte présence internationale dans la ville, ne soyez pas surpris d'entendre des bavardages en anglais, en arabe ou en farsi pendant que vous explorez. Les Turcs sont généralement très serviables, même si vous ne parlez pas turc, et les commerçants (en particulier à Sultanahmet, le centre historique) vous inviteront souvent à vous asseoir et à partager un çay, une petite tasse en forme de tulipe de noir fort thé. L'espace personnel est souvent un luxe dans cette ville surpeuplée, alors ne soyez pas surpris si vous sentez que quelqu'un se tient trop près de vous pendant que vous attendez un bus ou dans une file d'attente, c'est normal ici.

L'histoire continue

Ne confondez pas l'eau qui traverse la ville pour une rivière. Le détroit du Bosphore relie la mer de Marmara (et, par extension, la Méditerranée) à la mer Noire, et constitue donc une route maritime mondiale majeure. Il n'est pas rare de voir d'énormes porte-conteneurs flotter à côté de votre ferry de banlieue.

Alors qu'Istanbul est la plus grande ville de Turquie, la capitale est en fait Ankara, dans le centre de l'Anatolie. Mais les palais qui parsèment le Bosphore, hérités du statut d'Istanbul en tant que capitale de l'Empire ottoman, pourraient vous faire penser le contraire. Les politiciens peuvent faire leurs affaires à Ankara, mais Istanbul se sent comme le centre du monde.

Monnaie : lire turque (TL)

(Vérifiez le taux de change actuel)

Langue : turcJe ne parle pas turc : Türkçe bilmiyorum.Je suis perdu : KayboldumPuis-je avoir… ? : …alabilirmiyim ?Où est… ? : ... nerede ?

Indicatif d'appel : +90

Capitale : Ankara

Comment se déplacer

Les transports imbriqués complexes, à la fois officiels et informels, facilitent la navigation dans Istanbul. Il existe plusieurs lignes de métro avec une signalisation claire et des voitures modernes qui se connectent à une ligne de tramway en surface et à deux funiculaires. Le Marmaray, une ligne de métro transcontinentale qui passe sous le détroit du Bosphore, relie le système de métro des côtés européen et asiatique de la ville, et s'est récemment étendu pour s'étendre jusqu'aux banlieues des deux côtés de la ville. Sinon, le meilleur moyen de traverser l'Europe vers l'Asie et vice-versa est le ferry, avec plusieurs lignes de ferry circulant entre les gares selon un horaire régulier tout au long de la journée.

Les lacunes sont comblées par des bus urbains, qui sont payés par le même IstanbulKart qui vous emmène dans le métro, Marmaray et les ferries. Et s'il n'y a pas de bus qui dessert votre destination, il peut y avoir un dolmuş, une camionnette jaune qui circule sur un itinéraire fixe mais s'arrête chaque fois qu'un passager le demande et part chaque fois que la camionnette est pleine. Il existe également des minibus bleu clair qui circulent sur divers itinéraires à travers la ville. Les dolmuş et les minibus sont payés en espèces, le prix dépend de la distance parcourue.

Les taxis sont nombreux, surtout dans les zones touristiques. Des applications comme BiTaksi peuvent être utiles pour appeler directement les taxis, et les hôtels sont également généralement ravis de commander un taxi si vous ne pouvez pas en signaler un.

Meilleurs hôtels Ciragan Palace Kempinski

Adresse : Ciragan Caddesi 3234349 IstanbulTéléphone : +90 212 326 4646Site Internet

Installé dans un ancien palais ottoman orné sur les rives du détroit du Bosphore, le Ciragan Palace est l'hôtel de luxe ultime à Istanbul. Le Ciragan dispose d'une piscine extérieure à débordement, d'un spa exquis avec un hammam turc et d'un

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