Istanbul is the largest city, economical and cultural capital of modern day Turkey. While political power resides in Ankara, Istanbul is famous for its long and moved history. Formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, it has been one of the most important cities of European and Oriental politics for over 2.000 years. Aside from the fact that it is split between two continents (Asia and Europe), poeple associate Istanbul with its modern day lifestyle and cultural variety. Its most famous sights are the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.
Best time to visit
The city is blessed with mild winters, with the average temperature hitting a bottom 8 degrees in December and January. This alternates with very hot summers. Since it is located at the conflux of the Black Sea and Aegean Sea, humidity tends to be high all year round. If you dislike hot, humid days, avoid Istanbul during the summer. Otherwise, it is a year round destination.
From the airport(s) to the city
Istanbul Int’l Airport
This brand new airport (opened in 2018) is the main hub for Turkish Airlines. All long haul flights to Istanbul arrive here. It is located on the European side of the city. It is not yet connected to Istanbul’s metro system, so buses are the only option to get to the city center by public transport. There are 18 bus lines operating to different parts of the city, taking 30-90 minutes for 2-4€.
Istanbul Sabiha Gokcan Airport
This airport is home to many LCCs, mainly Pegasus Airlines. It is located on the Asia side of the city. It has no connection to Istanbul’s metro system, too. There are few bus lines operating to the city center, taking around an hour at a cost of 18TL (approx.2,30€).