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Istanbul City Guide

Istanbul is Turkey’s biggest city and is the economic, cultural and historical centre of the country. It’s also the most populated urban area in Europe and the fifth largest city in the world with a population of over 14.1 million. Founded in 660BC, Istanbul has developed into one of the most significant cities in the history of Europe.

When in Istanbul be sure to visit:

  • Istanbul is an ancient city and it shows in the architecture. The “Hagia Sophia”, which was once a church and eventually turned into a mosque, is now a museum. It showcases many mosaics and other historical religious items that are dear to the city.
  • The Spice Bazaar is the second largest market in Istanbul and is home to over 85 individual shops that sell spices, dried fruit and nuts, souvenirs and jewellery. It’s a distinctly unique place with a rich history.
  • For the best bird’s-eye-view the city has to offer, travel to the Galata Tower. Built in 1348, Galata towers above the city at a height of 219 feet. With a café and restaurant at the top it makes for the perfect spot for an afternoon in Istanbul.

Transport information:

  • Taxi cab is one of the most convenient ways of getting around Istanbul. Although traffic can be very heavy at times, taxis are accessible 24/7.
  • The Metro runs every 15-20 minutes from 06:00 to 23:00 and an average journey costs approximately 1.95 Turkish Lira (£0.54).
  • The public transport also includes ferries, which operate across three routes every half an hour.

Airports:

Airport lounges:

Airport lounges are available in Ataturk International Airport, which houses six different lounges:

  • Prime Class Lounge is located at the International Terminal and offers privileged access to “prime pack” guests. This lounge is open 24/7 and provides Wi-Fi, international daily newspapers and magazines, massage chairs, a shower room and snacks.
  • Yapi Kredi World CIP Lounge offers access to Yapi Kredi bank card holders only. It provides the same features as the Prime Class Lounge.
  • Millennium Lounge is open to Bank Card holders and business class passengers of certain airlines (it’s worth checking before booking). Wi-Fi, newspapers, TV and snacks are all included.
  • The HSBC Advantage Lounge offers all privileged card holders 24/7 access to hot or cold drinks and a snack bar.
  • British Airways Terraces Lounge offers many services for privileged British Airways “business class” passengers from 06:30 to 18:30. Services include hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and a snack bar.

Transfer details:

  • Metro services run from the airport to the city centre and cost approximately 2.18 TRY (€0.75) for the half-hour trip.
  • There’s an airport shuttle service that runs every half an hour to the main areas of Istanbul. The buses also connect with the ferry terminals in Bakırköy. The municipality buses run to several destinations and are a slower but cheaper travel option.
  • Taxi ranks line the outside of the terminal and are not hard to find in the city. They’re the most convenient way of getting around the city if you’re travelling in a group.

Schools:

  • Istanbul University is the most famous university in the city and was established in 1453. There are over 60,000 undergraduates studying there.
  • Marmara University is the second biggest university in the country after Istanbul University. It has over 50,000 students and was established in 1883.
  • Bogazici University is a public university in the European side of Istanbul, Turkey. It was established in 1863 and was amongst the top 200 worldwide universities in 2013/14.

Currency:

TRY = Turkish Lira (Euros are also accepted)

Weather:

Istanbul has a Mediterranean climate – being warm in the summer months but generally cold in the winter. As a very concentrated city, it’s often referred to as a microclimate and weather is generally changeable. It’s worth checking weather forecasts before travelling.

Apartments in this area:

SilverDoor operates a vast range of serviced accommodation options in the city of Istanbul.

We recommend Valikonagi Caddesi Residence Apartments, which come as spacious studios, one or two bedroom apartments. All of these apartments feature kitchenettes and the building has a free on site fitness centre with a sauna and Jacuzzi.

Gayrettepe Apartments are available as one bedroom penthouses or two bedroom apartments. The apartments are stylish and have a contemporary design. Kitchens include a dining area and the bedrooms are fitted with modern bathroom units. The apartment building also has a business centre, secretary service and a meeting room, which makes it ideal for corporate travellers.

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About the Author

Alice Brunel-Cohen

With a strong background in real estate and the serviced apartment sector, Alice has developed solid property partner relationships all over the UK and the world. You’ll usually find Alice providing up to date information on new properties, featured apartments, industry events and new property partners, as well as compiling comprehensive city guides.