Istanbul, Turkey

Local Reading

Innocents Abroad
A refreshing and funny travel narrative based on the famed author's writings from his 1867 steamshi...

A Short History of Byzantium
No one tells a better story. By John Julius Norwich....

Tracking Turkey's First Starchitect
A good piece on the mosques of the 16th century architect, Sinan. By Andrew Ferren....

Read More about Istanbul, Turkey



Turkey’s largest city is both European and Asian and has been part of many empires. As a result, Istanbul is modern and traditional, familiar and exotic.

It is Istanbul’s unique blend of Western and Eastern heritage and culture that attracts tourists from all over the world. Experience the comforts of modern Turkey in its malls, galleries and clubs, and the delights of traditional Turkish bazaars, palaces, taverns and mosques. Istanbul’s natural beauty, with pleasant Mediterranean climate, completes its glorious appeal.

Located on the Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul has the Sea of Marmara to the south and the Black Sea to the north. Istanbul connects Europe with Asia and this strategic position evoked many power struggles. Under its previous names of Byzantium and Constantinople, Istanbul served as the capital of the Roman, the Byzantine, the Latin and the Ottoman empires and was once also the capital of Islam. The Turks started to call it Istanbul, a name that was made official when the Turkish Republic was proclaimed in 1923.

The Sultanahmet peninsula, which is home to the Old City, reflects Istanbul’s diverse political and religious past, particularly in the architecture. The iconic Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), for example, was once a Christian cathedral and later a mosque. Visit the nearby Topkapi Palace (Topkapı Sarayı), Hippodrome (Hipodrom) and Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) and save some of your liras for the souvenirs in the Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı). Get a bird’s-eye view of it all from the top of the 14th-century Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi) or visit nearby Miniatürk to see miniature versions of all these buildings. Cool off in the underground Basilica Cistern.

Cross the Galata Bridge, spanning the Golden Horn, to visit Taksim Square and the New City. Enjoy modern skyscrapers, nightclubs and shopping malls and watch hip youngsters mingle with businessmen.

Travel Tips

We can arrange a variety of transportation options throughout Europe to make your Europe vacation truly spectacular. Whether you simply need transportation between the airport and hotel, or you want to charter a private yacht or jet, we offer you choice and will manage the important details.

While traveling in the Turkey we recommend :

  • Private transfers at time of booking - All transfers include a meet-and-greet by English-speaking drivers, luggage assistance, and bottled water in modern vehicles to and from all points of entry as well as between cities.
  • The Turkish Lira is the official currency. Exchange rates vary by currency and economic seasonality.

Tipping Etiquette

  • Restaurants: In general 10% if no service charge
  • Porters: $1
  • Taxi's: Round up
Time Difference
  • Turkey is GMT + 2

Europe spans three time zones:

  • Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) which is 5 hours ahead of Eastern standard Time.
  • Central Standard Time which is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
  • Eastern European Time which is 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Entry Requirements

  • A passport is required when traveling outside of your country. If any passenger carries anything other than a Passport supplied by your home country, please contact the Consulate of the country(s) you are visiting to verify document requirements. If you do not have appropriate documentation, you will be denied entry. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your return trip for international travel.