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Grand Bazaar

Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul: Turkey’s capital is one of the most exciting cities in the world! With its incredible history, beautiful culture, and bustling energy, it’s no wonder that Istanbul attracts millions of visitors each year. But if you’re planning a trip to this vibrant city, you may have some questions about what to expect when you arrive.

Read on to learn more about the city and to get answers to your questions!

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Table of Contents

1. What is Istanbul’s population? – Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul 

Istanbul Population


Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, and one of the most populous cities in the world. Istanbul is the second-largest city in Europe by population after Moscow and the fifth-largest city in the world. Istanbul’s population is a diverse mix of Turks, Greeks, Armenians, Kurds, Jews, and other ethnicities, making it one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world.

The city is also home to numerous religions, with Muslims representing the largest religious group. Istanbul is a vibrant, bustling city that is constantly growing and evolving, making it a popular destination for travelers from all around the world.

2. What are the top things to do in Istanbul?

Things to do in Istanbul

Things to do in Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, is filled with exciting and interesting things to do. From visiting the iconic Hagia Sophia to exploring the vibrant nightlife of Istanbul’s many neighborhoods, there is something for everyone. Here are some of the top things to do in Istanbul:

Visit the Hagia Sophia

This iconic former church-turned-mosque-turned-museum is an absolute must-see in Istanbul. Marvel at the beautiful architecture of this incredible building, which dates back to the 6th century.

Explore the Grand Bazaar

One of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, the Grand Bazaar is a must-see for any visitor to Istanbul. Browse through hundreds of stalls selling everything from traditional carpets to jewelry and more.

Take a cruise on the Bosphorus

Hop aboard one of the many ferries that traverse the Bosphorus Strait and take in the stunning views of both Europe and Asia. This is an experience you won’t soon forget!

Check out Taksim Square

As one of Istanbul’s most popular squares, Taksim Square offers plenty of entertainment options. Shop around the many shops and restaurants or take in a show at one of the area’s theaters.

Visit the Blue Mosque

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, better known as the Blue Mosque, is one of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks. Enjoy the breathtaking blue tiles and minarets of this beautiful mosque, which was completed in 1616.

Wander around Sultanahmet

This historic district is home to some of Istanbul’s most important sights, such as the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and more. Spend some time wandering around this beautiful neighborhood and soaking up its unique atmosphere.

Enjoy a cup of Turkish tea

Relax and take a break from sightseeing with a cup of traditional Turkish tea. There are plenty of tea houses scattered around Istanbul, so make sure to take some time to enjoy one!

Catch a performance at the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet

For an evening of culture and entertainment, head to the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet for a performance by world-renowned artists.

These are just some of the amazing things to do in Istanbul. 

From sightseeing and shopping to relaxing with a cup of tea or catching a show, this vibrant city has something for everyone!

3. How safe is Istanbul? – Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul 

How safe is Istanbul?

How safe is Istanbul?

Istanbul is generally considered to be a safe city for tourists, but certain areas should be avoided. As with any major city, it is always best to be aware of your surroundings and practice caution. The crime rate in Istanbul is relatively low compared to other cities, but there are still some areas that should be avoided, particularly after dark. It is also advisable to be mindful of pickpockets in crowded areas and on public transportation. 

The Turkish government has taken steps to ensure the safety of its citizens and visitors, such as increasing security measures at tourist sites, installing surveillance cameras, and creating a tourist police unit. Additionally, the US Embassy in Istanbul provides travelers with up-to-date security information and advice on the best places to visit and how to stay safe while in the city. 

Overall, Istanbul is a vibrant and exciting destination, but it is important to exercise common sense and be aware of your surroundings. With a little extra caution and vigilance, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience in this amazing city.

4. What is the currency in Istanbul?

The official currency in Istanbul, Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TRY). Visitors to Istanbul can exchange their currency for Turkish Lira at banks, exchange offices, and hotels, as well as some retail locations and ATMs. When exchanging money, it is important to compare rates between different locations to get the best deal.

Credit cards are widely accepted in Istanbul, and visitors should check with their credit card provider for any applicable international transaction fees before using their card in Istanbul.

5. What is the best time of year to visit Istanbul? – Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul 

Best time to visit Istanbul

Best time to visit Istanbul

Visiting Istanbul is a truly unique experience, and the best time to do so depends on what kind of activities you’re interested in. Generally speaking, spring (March through May) and autumn (September through November) are the most pleasant times of year to visit Istanbul, as the weather is warm and dry.

If you want to avoid the summer heat, spring and autumn offer mild temperatures that are ideal for sightseeing. Spring in particular is an especially beautiful time to visit, as the city comes alive with blooms of tulips, hyacinths, and other flowers. Summer (June through August) can be quite hot, with temperatures reaching into the high 30s Celsius, so if you’re not a fan of extreme heat, it may be best to avoid this season. Winter (December through February) offers colder temperatures, with occasional snowfall and sleet.

However, this can still be a great time to visit, as the city takes on a magical quality when blanketed with a layer of snow. Regardless of the time of year you choose to visit, Istanbul is sure to be a memorable experience!

6. What are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul?

most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul

Most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul

From the bustling city streets of Istanbul to its ancient monuments and monuments, this cosmopolitan city is home to a variety of tourist attractions that draw travelers from all over the world. Whether you’re looking for an action-packed adventure or a cultural experience, there’s something to suit everyone. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in Istanbul that you can explore:

The Grand Bazaar

This iconic market is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. It has over 4000 shops, selling a vast range of items such as jewelry, carpets, and leather goods.

Grand Bazaar Istanbul

Grand Bazaar Istanbul

Hagia Sophia – Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul 

This sixth-century Byzantine basilica is one of Istanbul’s most iconic sites. Its grand interior is full of artwork and religious symbolism.

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

The Blue Mosque

This stunning mosque is one of Istanbul’s most famous landmarks and it’s well worth a visit for its unique architecture and vibrant blue tiles.

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

Topkapı Palace – Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul 

This former imperial residence was built in the 15th century and offers visitors a glimpse into the luxury and splendor of Ottoman court life.

Topkapı Palace

Topkapı Palace

Galata Tower

Built-in 1348, this imposing stone tower overlooks the city and offers panoramic views of the Bosphorus and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Galata Tower

Galata Tower

Istanbul Modern – Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul 

If you’re looking for a more contemporary experience, Istanbul Modern is a modern art museum that showcases works by local and international artists.

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Basilica Cistern

This sixth-century underground reservoir has 336 marble columns, providing visitors with a unique glimpse into Istanbul’s past. 

Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern

Bosphorus Cruise – Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul 

No trip to Istanbul is complete without taking a cruise along the Bosphorus Strait which separates Europe and Asia. Enjoy views of the waterfront palaces, fortresses, and mansions from the deck.

Bosphorus Cruise

Bosphorus Cruise

7. What are some of the best places to eat in Istanbul? – Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul 

Visiting Istanbul means one thing: getting to experience some of the best restaurants in the world. From traditional Turkish delicacies to contemporary European cuisine, there are plenty of amazing options when it comes to finding the perfect place to eat. To help you out, here is a list of five of the best places to eat in Istanbul.


Located in the Alemdar district of Istanbul, Deraliye is known for its traditional Turkish dishes. Specializing in slow-cooked meals, Deraliye has been delighting customers since 2000. They offer a range of mezes, delicious grilled meats, and mouthwatering desserts.

Last Ottoman Cafe & Restaurant – Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul 

As its name suggests, this restaurant brings back traditional Ottoman recipes and flavors that were lost throughout history. Located in the Fatih district, they specialize in grilled meats and fish dishes. They also have a selection of delicious mezes and desserts. 

Gulhane Sark Sofrasi

This hidden gem is located in the Alemdar district of Istanbul and serves some of the best local kebabs. They also offer a range of traditional dishes such as stuffed vegetables, casseroles, and salads. 

Hanzade Terrace Restaurant – Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul 

Located in the Emin Sinan district, this restaurant offers stunning views of Istanbul from its terrace. Their menu includes traditional Turkish dishes like meat stews, vegetable dishes, and seafood. 

Fish Home Ahhir Kapi Restaurant – Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul 

Located in Sultan Ahmet, this restaurant offers some of the best seafood in Istanbul. Dishes include freshly caught fish, grilled shrimp, and mussels cooked with herbs and spices. 

Whether you’re looking for an authentic Turkish feast or a modern take on classic Mediterranean cuisine, there’s something for everyone at these five amazing restaurants in Istanbul. Bon Appétit!

8. What is the nightlife like in Istanbul?

Istanbul at night

Istanbul at night

Istanbul is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world, and its nightlife is no exception. Istanbul’s nightlife has something to offer for everyone, whether you’re looking for a wild night out on the town or just a quiet evening of drinks and conversation.

The city boasts plenty of nightclubs, bars, pubs, and lounges, each offering its unique atmosphere. If you’re looking for some lively dance music, head over to one of the many nightclubs that stay open late. For a more relaxed evening, check out some of the local bars or pubs that offer craft beers, wines, and other beverages. You can also find places that specialize in live music and traditional Turkish music performances.

When it comes to dining options, Istanbul has plenty to offer. From casual street food to fine-dining restaurants, there’s something for everyone. There are also many cafes and hookah bars located throughout the city that provide an excellent way to spend an evening. Whatever type of nightlife experience you’re looking for, Istanbul has something to offer!

9. What is public transportation like in Istanbul? – Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Istanbul 

Istanbul Public Transportation

Istanbul Public Transportation

Istanbul has an extensive public transportation network, making it easy to get around the city. The most popular form of transportation is the metro, a fast, efficient, and reliable way to get around. There are also buses, trams, taxis, ferries, and even a suburban railway system. Buses and trams are convenient for reaching specific destinations in the city center, and for commuting between two points on the European side of Istanbul. Taxis are also an option and are usually quite affordable. Ferries are a great way to explore the city from the Bosphorus and can also be used to travel between the Asian and European sides. Finally, the suburban railway system connects several suburbs with Istanbul’s city center. All forms of public transportation in Istanbul can be accessed with an electronic payment card called Istanbulkart.

10. What are some tips for visiting Istanbul on a budget?

Tips for visiting Istanbul

Tips for visiting Istanbul

Choose off-peak times to visit Istanbul. If you travel in the summer months, the rates will be higher than if you were to travel in the winter months.

Look for discounts and deals on flights and accommodation

There are plenty of online booking sites that offer discounted prices, so make sure to do your research before you book. 

Eat like a local

Istanbul has plenty of great restaurants that offer traditional Turkish dishes at reasonable prices. Try street food like simit (a bagel-like bread) or börek (a pastry filled with cheese or vegetables). 

Use public transportation

The public transport system in Istanbul is fairly comprehensive and relatively cheap, with many tickets costing only 1-2 Turkish Lira (approx. €0.20-€0.35). 

Stay away from tourist traps

Many popular tourist attractions in Istanbul can be quite expensive, so it’s best to stay away from them if you want to stick to a budget.

Shop in the local markets

Istanbul has plenty of open-air markets where you can find everything from souvenirs and clothing to fresh produce and spices. Prices tend to be much lower than those in tourist shops, so it’s worth checking out these markets if you’re looking to save money.

Visit the free attractions

Many of Istanbul’s most famous attractions, such as the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya, and Topkapi Palace are free to enter, so make sure to visit these landmarks during your trip!

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Looking for inspiration for your next holiday in Istanbul?

Check out here: Nightlife in Istanbul: all the places and activities for the ultimate experience