LUXE City Guides - Istanbul - - Front Page -

Only got a few days in this leg­endary cap­i­tal of two of the world’s great­est em­pires, built on seven hills and span­ning two con­ti­nents? Nova Roma, Byzan­tium, Con­stantino­ple, it’s had more names than Liz Tay­lor, but one thing is for sure, there’s nowhere quite like Istanbul. We’ve schlepped, slept, sipped, supped and shopped all over so you can sit back like a Sul­tan and en­joy this Turk­ish de­light. On your marks, jet set, go...


Think of the glit­ter­ing Bospho­rus, Golden Horn and Sea of Mar­mara di­vid­ing Istanbul into an up­side down ‘Y’. The top two seg­ments are the Euro­pean side; to the left is an­cient Sul­tanah­met stacked with trea­sures; on the right are Beyo g˘ lu and Nisanta¸si¸ with all their shop­ping and en­ter­tain­ment. The bot­tom seg­ment is the res­i­den­tial Asian side. That’s all you need to know...

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Have your ho­tel’s num­ber on you at ALL times Sum­mer sea­son (and the best time to visit) is MayOct, win­ter gets cold and snowy. Check dates ahead to avoid Ra­madan (date varies, cur­rently around Aug/Sep) if you can, as the city fasts un­til sun­down Istanbul is sea­sonal, many places move premises or close al­to­gether in win­ter (and for some of Aug), so do check ahead to avoid in­tense an­noy­ance English is widely spo­ken in vis­i­tor-fre­quented ar­eas Atatürk air­port to town: 30-60 mins / ≈ TL50/€25 by cab Taxis are cheap and plen­ti­ful, but it’s me­ter on, or get gone! Or, hire a car and driver (see Very Use­ful) There is no need to tip cabs and they have two rates: ‘gündüz’ – day, and ‘gece’ – night (mid­night-6am) which costs dou­ble; beware of rip-off cabs in Sul­tanah­met who of­ten at­tempt to switch the rates Al­ways al­low ex­tra time for any jour­ney, as traf­fic can be heinous, even out­side of rush hours Visa on ar­rival (EU ex­empt) – pay in US$ or euro, cash There’s a smok­ing ban in all en­closed pub­lic spa­ces, bars, cafés and restau­rants, but com­pli­ance varies Istanbul is very lib­eral, but mod­est dress is re­quired none­the­less when vis­it­ing mosques ATMs are nu­mer­ous and very easy to find Cur­rency = Turk­ish Lira (a.k.a. TL/YTL), euros some­times ac­cepted but beware of atro­cious ex­change rates Cad­desi (Cad.) = road, Sokak (Sok.) = street The di­alling code for Istanbul is +90 212 (Euro side) and 216 (Asian side), all num­bers quoted in this guide use 212 un­less oth­er­wise spec­i­fied Direc­tory enq. 118, int’l op­er­a­tor 115, po­lice 155, int’l am­bu­lance 505 7272, tourist po­lice 528 5369

Th­ese Turk­ish phrases will come in handy...

Mer­haba / Hosh cha kal : Howdy / Laters Teshshekur Ay­derim / Choc merci : Thanks a bunch Yik­iliyor! : Oh my gaaad that’s faaaaaab­u­lous

...’kay let’s party

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