Little Secrets for Those Who Will Come to Istanbul
When visiting Istanbul be prepared for a lot of walking. It’s a crowded city and can be tiring, but also rewarding. Below are some recommendations for things you’ll need on your trip. You can either bring them with you from home or pick them up in Istanbul. When flying to Turkey you can bring a maximum of two liters of liquid, and limitations apply to certain medicines and similar products. For more information, please click here, or contact your tour company or airline.
1. What to Pack For The Trip
Scarf: Essential if you plan to visit any religious sites. There are no rules on dress in the city, but visitors to religious areas are not permitted to wear strappy tops, short shorts or short skirts. When you enter a mosque you should wear a scarf to cover your head.
Waist Bag or Small Messenger Bag: A waist bag or small messenger bag will help to avoid being pickpocketed while walking through crowded bazaars.
Comfortable Shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of walking so we recommend wearing comfortable shoes. Remember some streets are cobblestone so make sure you have appropriate soles.
Earplugs: As you’re probably not used to it, your sleep may be interrupted by the sound of the call to prayer in the early morning. For this, earplugs are a good idea.
Raincoat: In addition to protecting yourself from rain showers you can use it to cover your shoulders when entering mosques.
Bikini: You can take a bikini to wear in the hammam (optional)
2. Average Prices For Everyday Payments
Prices vary depending on where you are in the city.
Even in the popular tourist areas such as Sultanahmet, Taksim, Galata, etc., you’ll find prices vary significantly, so it’s best to check before ordering food.
Don’t forget to barter when buying souvenirs or clothes. Some traders increase prices for tourists so don’t shop without bartering, especially in tourist places such as the Grand Bazaar.
The price of accommodation varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. Hostels can be 20 euros per night for 2 adults. If you want to rent a flat, you’ll normally pay a monthly rental fee. The price of mid-range hotels around the tourist zones, eg Taksim, Sultanahmet is usually moderate. Check out Agoda or Trivago to find accommodation options to suit your budget.
3. How to Travel Fast Around City
Instead of taking a taxi in Istanbul, you can use public transport, especially the underground. The most enjoyable journey between the continents is by ferry or boat. We suggest you buy an Istanbulkart, which can be used on all public transport systems as well as Ispark parking lots, iTaxi, city beaches, and toilets and city bikes.
4. Useful Turkish Phrases
Turkish is a phonetically simple language and most words are pronounced exactly as they’re spelt. But there are some unique letters.
“ğ” is in most cases a silent letter. It has a special sound to it when pronounced. (The closest would be the “r” sound in French, but ğ is not a guttural letter.)
E.g: Sağlamak (sa:lamak – to provide)
Ağaç (a:ch – the tree)
Here is the list of the pronunciation of some letters in Turkish:
a – car (pronounce it like “a” in this word)
c – jam
ç – chat
e – ever
h – half
ı – cousin
i – tea
ö – first
r – role
ş – shore
u – wood
ü – fruit
During your stay in Turkey, you will need some Turkish words and phrases. Idioms you might need the most are as follows:
|(In a shop) Can you help me?||Bakar mısınız? (In a shop)
Yardım eder misiniz? (When you need help)
|May I have (e.g. water)?||(Su) alabilir miyim?|
|Do you speak English?||İngilizce konuşuyor musunuz?|
|How are you?||Nasılsın?|
|How much is it?||Ne kadar? (or Kaç lira?)|
|I can’t speak Turkish||Türkçe bilmiyorum|
|Please speak more slowly||Lütfen, daha yavaş konuşur musunuz?|
|Pleased to meet you||Memnun oldum|
|See you soon||Görüşmek üzere|
|Where is/are……?||Nerede …..?|
In Case of Emergency
|Call an ambulance!||Ambulans lazım!|
5. Best Souvenirs to Buy
Nazar Boncuğu (Evil Eye): Available in all souvenir shops. According to ancient beliefs, evil eye beads keep bad energy away from your home.
Ceramics: You’ll find ceramic bowls of all sizes decorated with hand embroidery and special patterns.
Soap: If you visited the hammam you might want soap and towels as a souvenir. You can buy these from anywhere in Istanbul. Visit the shops on Sultanahmet Street to buy traditional towels (Peshtemal).
Glass Lamps: Each glass lamp is unique. Each one is of a different colour and beauty and has its own design. Visit İstiklal Street and Grand Bazaar to buy a lamp, and don’t forget to barter.
Carpets&Rugs: For hand-woven carpets and rugs, visit the shops in Sultanahmet, the Grand Bazaar and the surrounding area. Don’t buy without bartering and visiting a few different shops.