Best Time To Go
Summer is the most popular time to visit but can be uncomfortably hot and humid. Spring and fall are more pleasant, with fewer visitors (and shorter lines at major tourist sites). Winter can be a great time to visit if you can brave the cold and damp; hotel prices drop dramatically, and under a cloak of fog or snow the brooding city feels especially romantic; a teahouse around every corner makes it easy to chase away the chills.
Purchase a reloadable Istanbulkart from a büfe (convenience-store-like stalls found around the city and outside ferry terminals), which lets you ride—and save money on—the city’s vast network of trams, funiculars, subways, buses, and ferries. Taxis are plentiful, but beware: drivers can be on the surly side.
July is the hottest month, with a daily average of 74°F; February is the coldest, with an average of 42°F. The January is the rainiest month.
Know Before You Go
Beware carpet sellers in the Old City and the Grand Bazaar, who will lure you in with the promise that you can “just look” and offer glasses of tea before laying on the hard sell (remember: you are not obligated to buy, even if you drink that tea). Hoard small bills, especially if you plan to use taxis to get around; drivers rarely carry much change. Istanbul locals are incredibly hospitable; don’t be surprised if a perfect stranger offers you a glass of tea at a teahouse. A few words of Turkish (merhaba for “hello,” kolay gelsin for “take it easy,” and tessekur ederim for “thank you”) will smooth encounters.
Turkish, though English-speaking assistance can often be found in tourist-heavy areas like Sultanahmet (the Old City), at museums, and in many shops, restaurants, and bars.
Type C (two-prong round plug)
Turkish lira (TL)