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    City of contrasts

    You’ve heard it all before: Istanbul is where east meets west, a bridge between civilisations. But with nearly 15 million inhabitants, Turkey’s biggest city is considered such an important cultural crossroad with good reason. How many other skylines feature ancient mosques jostling with skyscrapers? Before Constantinople finally fell to the Ottomans in 1453, it was the greatest city in the known world;

    surviving highlights include the mighty church of Hagia Sophia and the fabled Blue Mosque. Such fascinating contrasts are what define the heaving metropolis: from the old quarter’s dizzying tangle of streets, fragrant with spices and shisha, to the trendy bar-strewn Beyońülu District that lies across the Bosphorus Strait separating Asia and Europe.


    24 hours in Istanbul

    Hamam, 24 Stunden in, Lufthansa, Istanbul, Türkei, Travel Guide, Markt

    09:00 a.m. - Market and büryan

    Mah. İtfaiye Cad. No: 4
    34440 Fatih Merkez/İstanbul
    Tel. +90-212/635 80 85
    Show on map

    We begin our tour off the beaten tourist track in the Fatih district of Istanbul’s old town. Most of the people who live here came to Istanbul from eastern Turkey and neighboring countries, such as Iraq, Iran and Syria. Gastronomically speaking, the eastern Anatolian city of Siirt is particularly well represented here. At Fatih market, (the largest in the city, incidentally) stallholders offer passersby the chance to sample Siirt butter, Siirt cheese as well as traditional regional dishes, like perde pilavi – rice, almonds and chicken wrapped in a pastry case.

    Arguably the most important and best-known specialty here is büryan lamb, and one of the best places to try it is Siirt Seref. There, the meat of several lambs is baked for hours on end in an earth oven, or cooking pit, and then cut into small pieces by the usta, the master, and served on homemade pide bread. Büryan is traditionally washed down with ayran, a wonderfully thirst-quenching, savory yoghurt drink.

    12:00 p.m. - Spices and sweetmeats

    Hamidiye Caddesi No: 83
    34110 Fatih
    Tel. +90-212/522 06 66
    Show on map

    The old town of Istanbul is not just where we find the Hagia Sophia museum and Topkapı Sarayı palace, once the residence of the Ottoman sultans, but also the Mısır Çarşısı, the spice bazaar. The bazaar came into being here in the 17th century and owes its existence to Istanbul’s importance as a commercial center along the trade routes between Asia and Europe, where spices have always been an important commodity. As we move through the bazaar, enthusiastic vendors call to visitors at the top of their voices and in at least five languages – in each of them promising only “the best of the best.”

    Beneath the ancient vaulted roof, the tantalizing scents of saffron and sage competing with clove buds and thyme, and the gorgeous arrays of ginger, Turkish nougat, pistachios and dried apricots, figs and dates almost always prove irresistible. The oldest candy shop in town (established in 1777 by Ali Muhiddin Hacı Bekir) with its array of large brown jars filled with colorful gleaming boiled candies, countless varieties of Turkish delight (lokum) and nut pastes is a sight for sore eyes and a treat for the taste buds.

    03:00 p.m. – Mackerels and shopping

    Şakayık Sok. No: 75/B
    Tel. +90-212/247 30 31
    Show on map

    At the foot of the Galata Bridge, which connects the old town with Beyoğlu district, we happen upon a simple but delicious snack, balik ekmek, a kind of sandwich filled with freshly grilled mackerel, onion and lettuce that is sold from boats. Stalls brimming with gleaming silver fish, lush displays of grapes and mountains of sweet, fragrant melons line two narrow streets close to the Galata Bridge. The vendors wave us over, gesticulating wildly and extoling the quality of their wares, while to left and right, delicious odors waft across from nearby food stalls and restaurants.

    Louis Vuitton and Prada have taken up residence in Nişantaşı, a district also favored by small Turkish designer boutiques and contemporary art galleries.

    Once we have quenched our thirst for shopping, we take in the ample culinary delights on display in Mahalle, a gourmet food court on the top floor of the City’s Nişantaşı shopping mall, where some of the best and best-known restaurants in the city now have branches. After the sight of all that food, it’s a good idea to drop by Tatbak, one of the country’s most famous lahmacun bakeries, for a bite to eat.

    Zeynep Kürşat Alumur’s olive oil store sells premium oils, delicious olives and capers, and also pretty olivewood tableware – all family-produced and all perfect souvenirs for the folks back home. Zeynep’s family hails originally from Ayvalık in southwestern Turkey, and in the Kürşat family everything has revolved around olives since 1923. They created their own brand in 1996 and opened their first store in Istanbul in 2004 – in Nişantaşı.


    08:00 p.m. – Meze most fine

    Eski Çiçekçi Sokak No: 3
    34250 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
    Tel. +90-212/252 60 52
    Show on map

    The evening begins at a meyhane, a traditional restaurant for meze, the small hot and cold dishes that are Turkey’s equivalent to Spain’s tapas. We head to the Mekan Restaurant & Cafe, where Marie Esgici serves the best meze in town and is so welcoming and cheerful, you immediately feel right at home. Marie is originally from Armenia, which explains one of the specialties to land on every table – topik, a mixture of chickpeas, potatoes, onions and cinnamon that rests on each plate like miniature softball. Everything at the Mekan is homemade – so if you don’t become a regular, you must be a tourist.

    12:00 a.m. – Cocktail with a view

    Serdar-ı Ekrem Cd No: 24
    Tel. +90-212/244 24 23
    Show on map

    Luckily, it’s only a short walk to the bar-restaurant Le Fumoir at the Georges Hotel Galata, a small, but elegant designer hotel with just 20 rooms. Sitting on the terrace here, replete and happy, with one of the establishment’s excellent cocktails in your hand and the glorious sight of the Golden Horn and the moonlit Bosporus before you, is a fine way to end the evening – especially when only a few stairs separate you from your bed.


    Top 10 sights in Istanbul

    Basar, Istanbul, Türkei, Travel Guide, Lufthansa, Gewürze

    Blue Mosque

    Atmeydani Caddesi, Sultanahmet
    34122 Istanbul
    Tel: (+90) 212 458 0776

    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0900-1830

    Better known as the Blue Mosque in the West, Sultanahmet Camii was built to outshine Hagia Sophia after the Ottoman conquest. Its six minarets and glorious domes make it one of the most recognisable symbols of Islamic architecture.

    Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia)

    Ayasofya Meydanı, Sultanahmet
    Tel: (+90) 212 522 1750

    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Sun 0900-1900 (summer)
    Tue-Sun 0900-1700 (winter)

    For a thousand years before the fall of Constantinople, it stood as the mightiest church in Christendom. Today this pink cathedral is a little shabby on the outside, but its golden mosaics inside gleam in the dim lighting.

    Süleymaniye Mosque

    Mimar Sinan Caddesi

    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0900-1730

    Looming down from a high hill, enclosed within old walls, this important mosque is more solemn than the extravagant Sultanahmet Camii. It was built in the 16th century.

    Rüstem Paşa

    Hasircilar Caddesi 90
    34116 Fatih/İstanbul

    Show on map

    The grey elegance of Istanbul’s mosques can feel a bit samey, but Rustem Pasha is a colourful exception. Named after the Grand Vizier to Süleymaniye, it is found on the edge of the spice bazaar.

    Istanbul Modern Sanat Müzesi (Istanbul Museum of Modern Art)

    Meclis-i Mebusan Cad. Liman İşletmeleri
    Sahası Antrepo No: 4,
    34433 Karaköy/Istanbul
    Tel: (+90) 212 334 73 00

    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Sun 1000-1800
    Thu 1000-2000

    The city’s thriving art scene owes much to this contemporary art museum. Documenting the history of modern Turkish art, it’s situated in a vast former warehouse by the Bosphorus.

    Pera Müzesi (Pera Museum)

    Meşrutiyet Caddesi No.65
    34443 Tepebaşı - Beyoğlu - İstanbul
    Tel: (+90) 212 334 99 00

    Show on map

    Opening hours:
    Tue-Sat 1000-1900
    Sun 1200-1800

    Housed in a palatial Victorian building, the museum’s permanent ambassadors’ collection of works is impressive, including the iconic painting by Osman Handi Bey, “The Tortoise Trainer”. There are also high-profile visiting exhibitions from the likes of Goya and Botero.

    Türk ve Islam Eserleri Müzesi (Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts)

    At Meydanı Sok. No:46 İbrahim Paşa Sarayı Sultanahmet
    34122 Istanbul
    Tel: (+90) 212 518 18 05

    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Sun 0900-1900 (april-october)
    Tue-Sun 0900-1700 (november-march)

    Expected to reopen soon having undergone renovation works, this museum features intricate woodcarved doors, chests and furniture, while the gallery of regional Turkish rugs are captivating.

    Kapali Çarşi (Grand Bazaar)

    Tel: (+90) 212 519 1248
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Mon-Sat 0900-1900

    Though it’s a bit touristy, the Grand Bazaar labyrinth of shops is worth visiting as the legendary market of the Ottomans, dating back to 1461.

    Topkapi Sarayi (Topkapi Palace)

    Cankurtaran Mh.
    34122 Istanbul
    Tel: (+90) 212 512 0480
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Wed-Mon 0900-1845 (summer)
    Wed-Mon 0900-1645 (winter)

    Housed within enormous, majestic gardens, this palace was the base from which the Ottoman sultans ruled over a vast empire.

    Bosphorus cruise

    Bedrettin Mh, Evliya Celebi Caddesi 1-4, Beyońülu
    Tel: (+90) 212 444 1851

    Show on map

    Boat trips crossing from Europe to Asia and vice versa are essential, not least for glimpsing the Blue Mosque as it was meant to be seen, via the Golden Horn.

    Good to know

    Country Information

    Country overview

    For sheer diversity, it’s hard to beat Turkey. The country seems to exist in multitudes – of people, of natural landscapes, of cultures. It is a land of vast open spaces, massive mountain ranges, fertile valleys and rugged coastline, fast-growing cities and sleepy villages, bustling neon-lit seaside resorts and unfrequented beaches.

    Countless waves of invasions, rebellions and ongoing immigration have created a country that may surprise visitors with the breadth and depth of the cultural melting-pot, not just in the major cities but across the country, with Kurds, Greeks, Arabs and many more groups to be found.


    Turkey borders the Black Sea and Georgia and Armenia to the northeast, Iran to the east, Iraq to the southeast, Syria and the Mediterranean to the south, the Aegean Sea to the west and Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest. Asia Minor (or Anatolia) is the name given to the peninsula that forms a bridge between Europe and Asia. It accounts for 97% of the country’s area and forms a long, wide peninsula 1,650km (1,025 miles) from east to west and 650km (400 miles) from north to south.  The biggest city is Ankara, which is situated in the central plains of Anatolia.

    The other 3% of the country is Thrace, the tiny land mass which is the European portion of Turkey bordering Bulgaria and Greece and separated from Anatolia by the Bosphorus, a strait linking the Black Sea and Aegean Sea. Despite its small size 10% of the population lives here, with most of these in Istanbul.

    Two east-west mountain ranges, the Black Sea Mountains in the north and the Taurus in the south, enclose the central Anatolian plateau, but converge in a vast mountainous region in the far east of the country. It is here that the ancient Tigris and Euphrates rivers rise.

    General knowledge

    Key Facts

    Area: 783562 sq km

    Population: 80694485

    Polulation density: 103 per sq km

    Capital: Ankara

    Government: Republic since 1923


    Turkish is the official language. Kurdish is also spoken by a minority in the southeast. French, German and English are widely spoken in major cities and tourist areas.


    New Turkish Lira (TRY; symbol YTL) = 100 New Kurus (Ykr). Notes are in denominations of YTL200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1. Coins are in denominations of YTL1 and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 New Kurus.

    Standard time zone

    UTC/GMT +2 hours (October – March)
    UTC/GMT +3 hours (March – October)


    220 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are used.

    General business opening hours

    Mon-Fri 0830-1200 and 1330-1730.

    Public holidays

    Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2016 – December 2017 period.


    New Year’s Day: 1 January 2016
    National Sovereignty and Children’s Day: 23 April 2016
    Labour Day: 1 May 2016
    Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day: 19 Mai 2016
    Ramazan Bayrami (End of Ramadan): 12-14 July 2016
    Victory Day: 30 August 2016
    Kurban Bayrami (Feast of Sacrifice): 12-15 September 2016
    Republic Day: 29 Oktober 2016


    New Year’s Day: 1 January 2017
    National Sovereignty and Children’s Day: 23 April 2017
    Labour Day: 1 May 2017
    Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day: 19 Mai 2017
    Ramazan Bayrami (End of Ramadan): 25-27 July 2017
    Victory Day: 30 August 2017
    Kurban Bayrami (Feast of Sacrifice): 1-4 September 2017
    Republic Day: 29 Oktober 2017

    Good to know

    Getting around

    Public Transport

    Istanbul boasts a terrific public transport system, notably the T1 tram that runs between 6am and midnight. It connects the old quarter of Sultanahmet with Beyońülu, and also links up with the modern metro. The mammoth Marmaray project connecting Europe and Asia by underwater tunnel, as well as modernising the current rail network, is also set for completion in 2014. Its worth buying the city travel pass, Istanbulkart to get around; it covers tram, bus and ferry.


    The city is served by a fleet of yellow taxis, but haggling over prices can make them uninviting for tourists. Be sure to ask that the meter is switched on, or procure a set price by booking through your hotel.


    Discover Istanbul!

    In spring 2014 Lufthansa held a video contest to give its fans the chance to play the main role in its #inspiredby #instanbul video. Daniel, the winner of our contest, went to Turkey for some rest n’ relaxation before his “big day” in the US and enjoyed a city full of unforgettable sights, sounds, flavors – plus one very unique experience that he probably won’t be able to repeat in good old Texas.

    To learn more about our #inspiredby campaign and for more videos visit:





    While some frown upon alcohol in this city of contrasts, Istanbul boasts one of the liveliest night scenes in the world. Taksim Square and Beyońülu are the main party spots,

    packed with bars, live music and a great atmosphere. Even when they’re not drinking, Istanbulites keep going ’til dawn.


    Ortaköy Mh. Muallim Naci Caddesi 44
    34347 Istanbul
    Show on map

    Overlooking the glittering Bosphorus, this decadent club draws Istanbul’s richest and most stylish.


    Istiklal Caddesi, Balo Sokak 32, Beyońülu
    Show on map

    The famous venue has live music every night including Turkish stars and world-music favourites.


    Cevdetpaşa Caddesi No:51 B, Bebek
    Show on map

    Perhaps the poshest bar in Istanbul, Lucca is an exclusive nightspot in the centre of the high-flying Bebek District.


    Istiklal Caddesi 163, Misir Apartman Floor 8, Beyońülu
    34330 Istanbul

    Show on map

    Named with good reason, this trendy rooftop bar provides unmatchable views of the city.


    Sali Pazari Sira Mańüazalar 101-1a, Beyońülu
    Show on map

    On a chaotic street in restless Tophane full of drinking holes and music, Nargilem is a slightly more sedate bar-cum-café.


    Restaurants in Istanbul


    Far from revolving solely around the ubiquitous kebab, Turkish cuisine is richly varied with plentiful stews, salads, sweets and pastries including the delicious baklava.

    As the culinary capital of the nation, Istanbul buzzes with a mixture of traditional cafés, gourmet eateries and international-style restaurants.


    Meşrutiyet Caddesi 15
    34430, Beyoğlu, İstanbul

    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    A mix of Istanbulite and Scandinavian influences, courtesy of Finland-born chef Mehmet Gürs, this is perhaps the finest restaurant in the city.

    Ciya Sofrasi

    Caferaga Mah. Güneslibahce Sk. No:43 Kadiköy

    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    With a mind-boggling assortment of dishes including lamb-stuffed aubergine parcels, roasted fig and traditional Turkish bread, this bustling eatery is unmissable.

    Çukur Meyhane

    TurnacIbasi Caddesi Kartal Sokak No.1/A Galatasaray

    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    This traditional local restaurant is famed for its excellent fish and great atmosphere, courtesy of the lively crowd fuelled by bottles of raki.


    Siraselviler Caddesi 20, Taksim

    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    To get your fix of classic Turkish doner kebab, look no further than Bambi, a low-priced café for locals in the know.


    Events in Istanbul

    International Istanbul Film Festival

    7 – 17 April 2016

    Venue: Various cinemas and theatres in Istanbul

    Organised by the prestigious Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, this annual film festival shows a great selection of Turkish and foreign language films. Screenings take place at various venues throughout Istanbul and there are a number of prizes awarded to the best films in different categories. The International Istanbul Film Festival was first held in 1982 and has grown to become one of the biggest film festivals in the country, attracting thousands of visitors each year.

    International Theatre Festival

    3 – 28 May 2016

    Venue: Various theatres and performance spaces in and around Istanbul

    Performances of a wide variety of theatrical works from Turkey and Europe.

    International Music Festival

    1 – 24 June 2016

    Venue: Various venues

    Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, this annual event is one of the biggest festivals of its kind in Turkey. Since it was first held in 1973, the popular International Istanbul Music Festival has presented an exciting programme of opera and classical musical performances by artists and groups of regional, national and international repute. Performances take place in a number of stunning venues around the city and have ranged from international orchestras to traditional Turkish music groups.

    One Love Festival

    July 2016

    Venue: Santralİstanbul

    A two-day, open-air rock and dance music festival that takes place around midsummer.

    Bosporus Swimming Race

    24 July 2016

    Venue: From Kanlica to Kuruscesme

    Contestants from all over the world enter Istanbul’s Cross-Continental Swimming Race and put their all into crossing the Bosporus from Europe to Asia – from Kanlica to Kuruscesme. The spectators, on the other hand, put their all into cheering them on.

    Kurban Bayrami

    12 – 15 September 2016

    Venue: Various venues

    Many people leave Istanbul and head for the country with their families when the Muslim “feast of sacrifice” Kurban Bayrami comes around. This considerably slows the pace of life in the bustling metropolis, allowing visitors to get to know the quieter side of Istanbul.

    Akbank Jazz Festival

    October – November 2016

    Venue: Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall, Babylon and the Akbank Cultural and Arts Centre

    A jazz festival with a number of big international names performing.

    Istanbul Biennial

    September – November 2017

    Venue: Various venues

    Istanbul’s main arts festival takes place in a variety of historic buildings and venues across the city. The aim since its foundation in 1987 has been to bring together artists from home and abroad to encourage a free exchange of ideas and inspiration. A showcase for contemporary art, the Istanbul Biennial has attracted leading exhibitors such as the British Turner prize winners Gillian Wearing and Gavin Turk.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.


    Hotels in Istanbul


    Modern and cosmopolitan, Istanbul has no shortage of accommodation, from boutique properties and converted Ottoman houses,

    to luxury international hotels. The tourist centre in the old quarter of Sultanahmet contains a range of budget options.


    Abdulhak Hamit Caddesi 25B, Taksim
    34000 Istanbul
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    This stunning art hotel was created by local-born designer, Zeynep Fadillioglu, Turkey’s first woman to build a mosque.


    Çırağan Palace Kempinski

    Çırağan Caddesi 32
    34349 Istanbul
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    This restored palace was once occupied by the Ottoman sultans and offers breathtaking views of the Bosphorus.

    Anemon Galata

    Bereketzade Mah. Buyuk Hendek Caddesi 11, Beyońülu, Kuledibi
    34000 Istanbul

    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    Combining old and new, Anemon Galata features traditional Ottoman designs and furnishings while being near the action in Beyońülu.


    Asmalı Çeşme Sk. No: 2 Adliye Yanı Sultanahmet
    34490 Istanbul
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    Positioned ideally on the same square as the Sultanahmet Camii, Turkoman’s 20 rooms stand in full glare of the mosque’s soaring minarets.


    Mithat Pasa Caddesi Kucuk Haydar Efendi Sokak 14
    34080 Istanbul

    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    This handsome new hotel, built in 2011, has spacious rooms, is centrally located and provides good value for money.


    Happiness is a hammam

    Hamam, Best of, Lufthansa, Istanbul, Türkei, Travel Guide

    Driven by their predilection for water and cleanliness, the Ottomans built some of the most beautiful bathhouses in the world. In Istanbul alone, a dozen ancient hammams still survive, each of them centuries old.

    Generally frequented by locals, they are also attracting more and more foreign visitors who prefer the public baths to their hotel’s spa – a visit to the hammam deep-cleans the skin and pampers body and soul.

    Çemberlitaş Hamamı

    Vezirhan Cd No: 8
    Mollafenari Mh.
    34200 Fatih/İstanbul
    Tel. +90-212/522 79 74
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0600-2400

    approx. 20 euros, classic treatment approx. 30 euros

    One of the oldest and most atmospheric bathhouses in the city is located very close to the Great Bazaar. This hammam was founded by a sultan’s wife as a way of supporting a charitable institution and built by the Ottoman architect Sinan in 1584. Contrasting with the entrance area’s tall timber structures, the bathhouse itself features large domed roofs with glass insets.

    Cağaloğlu Hamamı

    Cağaloğlu Hamamı Sokak No:34
    Tel. +90-212/522 24 24
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    women daily 0800-2000
    men daily 0800-2200

    Admission: approx. 30 euros

    The list of illustrious visitors to this hammam, which dates from 1741, spans Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm, Tony Curtis and Kate Moss. Situated amid the famous landmarks of the historical old town, it numbers among the New York Times’ “1000 places to see before you die.” Come in the morning and you will have the opulent changing rooms and the steam room with its lofty domed ceiling almost to yourself.

    Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamamı

    Cankurtaran Mah.
    Bab-ı Hümayum Cad. No: 1
    Tel. +90 212 517 35 35
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0700-2300

    from 70 euros

    This hammam, considered the oldest bathhouse in Sultanahmet, was built in 1556 by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent as a gift for his wife Roxelana. After many years of use as a carpet store, it was finally restored and reopened in 2011 as the most glamorous and most expensive of the old town hammams. It operates like a western spa offering aromatherapy and reflex zone massages in addition to the traditional hammam treatment.

    Tarihi Galatasaray Hamamı

    Turnacıbaşı Sok No: 24
    Tel. +90-212/2494342
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    women daily 0800-2000
    men daily 0600-2200

    approx 25 euros, classic treatment approx. 40 euros

    Little has changed here since 1481, the year it opened, – except that in 1963 a women’s area was added. The entrance is unspectacular, the rooms are rustic, and the visitors are mainly from the neighborhood, but you can certainly experience an authentic Turkish steam bath here. Hardly anyone speaks English, you get a real good rubbing down – and it is very hot.

    Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı

    Kemankeş Mah.
    Hamam Sok. No: 1
    34425 istanbul
    Tel. +90-212/393 80 10
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    women daily 0800-1600
    men daily 1630-2330

    classic treatment approx. 45 euros

    Built in 1580, this hammam, located in Karaköy and a stone’s throw away from the Istanbul Modern Museum and the Bosporus cruise terminal, has just emerged from a seven-year period of renovations and is now open to women, as well as men. Because the building is very old, but not very large, there are no separate areas for women and men, so mornings and afternoons are reserved for women, and the men come after half past four.

    Good to know

    Best time to visit

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    Climate and best time to visit Istanbul

    In truth, there’s never a bad time to visit Istanbul. The summer heat can be stifling, but this encourages a more leisurely pace with plenty of stops for rich Turkish coffee and dining along the Bosphorus. Chill winds whistle through from the Black Sea between December and early April, but there are less tourists during this period. For those keen to hit the city’s many sights but with an aversion to cold weather of any kind on holiday, autumn is best, with sunny days but little humidity. It’s also when the film festival, Filmekimi, comes to the city, along with a jazz festival and international art fair.

    Climate & best time to visit Turkey

    Turkey is a huge country, and its climate varies widely from region to region as well as seasonally. For sightseeing holidays to Istanbul and the most important ancient and medieval sights, and for active walking holidays, the best times to visit are spring (April-May) and autumn (October-early November) when days are generally warm and sunny but not uncomfortably hot. Rainy spells and cloudy days are possible, however, in spring and autumn, so the best months for a sun-and-sea holiday on the Aegean or Mediterranean coast are June to end September. Resort areas are most crowded from June until the end of August.

    In developing ski areas such as Uludag near Bursa and Palandoken near Erzurum, the best time to visit is between December and April. Temperatures in and around Istanbul can vary from well below freezing in midwinter to above 40°C (104°F) in summer. The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts experience the hottest summers, with highs of 45°C (113°F), but midwinter temperatures can be as low as -5°C (23°F). Mountainous Eastern Turkey has the most extreme climate of all, with winter temperatures as low as -43°C (-45F) and highs up to 38C (100F). The climate of the central Anatolia is also extreme with summer highs of 40°C (104°F)and winter lows of -25°C (-13°F). The Turkish State Meteorological Office (www.mgm.gov.tr) provides a day to day, region by region online weather forecast.


    69.8 °F

    8.6 °F

    75.2 °F

    3.2 °F

    78.8 °F

    12.2 °F

    89.6 °F

    30.2 °F

    93.2 °F

    35.6 °F

    102.2 °F

    44.6 °F

    102.2 °F

    50 °F

    104 °F

    50 °F

    98.6 °F

    42.8 °F

    93.2 °F

    35.6 °F

    78.8 °F

    19.4 °F

    69.8 °F

    14 °F


    99 mm

    67 mm

    62 mm

    49 mm

    31 mm

    21 mm

    19 mm

    26 mm

    41 mm

    71 mm

    89 mm

    122 mm


    2 h

    3 h

    4 h

    6 h

    8 h

    10 h

    11 h

    11 h

    8 h

    5 h

    4 h

    2 h


    80 %

    79 %

    76 %

    73 %

    74 %

    71 %

    70 %

    70 %

    74 %

    78 %

    80 %

    80 %


    46.4 °F

    46.4 °F

    46.4 °F

    51.8 °F

    59 °F

    68 °F

    71.6 °F

    73.4 °F

    69.8 °F

    66.2 °F

    59 °F

    51.8 °F

    absolute maxabsolute minØ absolute minØ absolute minrelative humidityØ depositdays with deposit > 1mmsunshine duration
    Jan69.8 °F8.6 °F46.4 °F35.6 °F80 %99 mm122.6 h
    Feb75.2 °F3.2 °F48.2 °F37.4 °F79 %67 mm103.5 h
    Mar78.8 °F12.2 °F51.8 °F39.2 °F76 %62 mm94.5 h
    Apr89.6 °F30.2 °F60.8 °F46.4 °F73 %49 mm76.4 h
    May93.2 °F35.6 °F69.8 °F53.6 °F74 %31 mm58.7 h
    Jun102.2 °F44.6 °F78.8 °F60.8 °F71 %21 mm310.7 h
    Jul102.2 °F50 °F82.4 °F64.4 °F70 %19 mm311.6 h
    Aug104 °F50 °F82.4 °F64.4 °F70 %26 mm311.0 h
    Sep98.6 °F42.8 °F77 °F59 °F74 %41 mm48.3 h
    Oct93.2 °F35.6 °F66.2 °F51.8 °F78 %71 mm75.9 h
    Nov78.8 °F19.4 °F59 °F46.4 °F80 %89 mm94.0 h
    Dec69.8 °F14 °F51.8 °F41 °F80 %122 mm122.6 h
    year104 °F3.2 °F64.4 °F50 °F75 %697 mm846.7 h
    Good to know

    Telephone & Internet

    Telephone/Mobile phones

    International dialling code: +90


    The cheapest way to make calls is from PTT telephone booths, which are found in all areas. These operate using phone cards, which can be bought from kiosks, or by using major credit cards.

    Mobile Phone

    Mobile phone coverage is generally good, but can be patchy in some rural areas in eastern Turkey. As Turkey is outside the EU, roaming charges are very much more expensive than for mobile phone use in the UK and the rest of the EU.


    There are internet cafés throughout Turkey, even in small towns and rural villages. Almost all hotels (including even small guesthouses and budget hostels) offer free Wi-Fi internet access, as do many restaurants, bars and cafés.



    Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Shopping, Einkaufen

    Key Areas

    Bridging East and West via the Bosphorus, Istanbul has been an important trade route since antiquity, and as such has long been a shopping hub. Apart from finely woven carpets and Ottoman relics, there are designer shops, malls and boutiques to explore. The main commercial street is ńįstiklal Caddesi in Beyońülu, while the lanes winding off this busy boulevard are full of little shops and vintage spots worth a look.


    Just about anything from lanterns to silverware can be found in the fabled Grand Bazaar, but if it’s too crowded

    and stressful, there are several other markets dotted around the city. One is Saturday’s Bakirköy Market on Osmaniye Mahallesi; another is the charming Kadiköy Bazaar on the Asian side. Also, don‚Äôt miss the spice market lying within the maze of streets by Galata Bridge.

    Shopping Centres

    Mall lovers will be impressed by the vast Istinye Park, complete with golf carts to help shoppers back to their car. There’s also the shop city that is London-style Kanyon.


    My Istanbul

    If I have friends visiting Istanbul for the first time, I like to take them for a Turkish coffee in Ortaköy district, down on the waterfront near the Bosporus Bridge. Ortaköy is also famous for upmarket nightclubs, like the Sortie, Angelique and Reina.

    Istanbul, Türkei, Lufthansa, Travel Guide

    Araci Kadriye, flight attendant

    Good to know

    Traveller etiquette

    Social conventions

    Shaking hands is the normal form of greeting a stranger;  kissing on the cheek is reserved for meeting friends and family. Hospitality is very important and visitors should respect Islamic customs. Informal wear is acceptable, but beachwear should be confined to the beach or poolside. Smoking is widely acceptable but prohibited in cinemas, theatres, buses, coaches and dolmuş (collective taxis).

    There is no law against women wearing headscarves in public but those in public roles and campus students are banned from wearing them. However, if visiting a mosque, women are advised to take scarves to cover their hair and to wear long-sleeved tops. Both men and women should have legs covered from the knees upwards.

    Good to know


    Main emergency number: 112

    Food & Drink

    Mains water is chlorinated in towns and cities, but it is advisable to drink the widely available bottled mineral water. If a water source bears the words içilmez, it is not potable; sources labelled içilir or içme suyu are safe to drink. Milk is pasteurised. Eat only well-cooked meat and fish. When it comes to street food, common sense is advised; eat food that is freshly cooked and ideally, has been prepared in front of you. During the summer Turkey can experience temperatures up to 40°C so carry a bottle of water to avoid dehydration.

    Other Risks

    Vaccinations against tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended. It is recommended that travellers visiting rural areas, get a rabies vaccination as this may be found in dogs, cats and other animals throughout the countryside. Turkey has very low risk of malaria, with the risk increasing towards the Syrian border in the south east of the country, but keen trekkers may want to stock up on supplies of insect-repellent.

    Contractual physician of Lufthansa

    Dr. Sayali, Erhan
    Kadiköy 3 No´Lu ASM
    Eminalipasa Cad. 7
    Tel. +90-532-2329443

    Please note that Lufthansa accepts no responsibility for the treatment nor will it bear the cost of any treatment.
    Good to know

    Visa & Immigration

    IATA Travel Centre

    The IATA Travel Centre delivers accurate passport, visa and health requirement information at a glance. It is a trusted, centralized source for the latest international travel requirements. The IATA Travel Centre is the most accurate source available because it is based on a comprehensive database used by virtually every airline, and information is gathered from official sources worldwide, such as immigration and police authorities.

    IATA Travel CentreIATA Travel Centre

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