Top 10 Crucial Details No One Will Tell You About Visiting Istanbul, Turkey for the First Time

Tags: #Istanbul ,   #Turkey ,   #TravelAddict ,   #Travel

Scarlett Goldstein

Scarlett Goldstein

Last updated:  2022-07-22 06:04:08

Istanbul is obviously one of the most significant business centers in Europe. Just imagine a city on two continents, blessed by the beautiful Bosphorus strait connecting the two parts. There are various reasons to pack your bags immediately and start exploring Istanbul. Still, how well do you know seemingly minor details you'll need there? Let us help you with our list of top ten things you must know to have a good time!

10. Don't Hesitate to Try the Dishes, Especially Sweets

Turkish baklava served on a plate
Turkish Baklava with pistachio is a delight you have to try! (Photo by Ömer Haktan Bulut on Unsplash)

If you're one of those tourists that rather stick to international food, Istanbul will change this. It will make you try the weirdest stuff that you'll adore! Is the Turkish delight way too sweet for you? We're sorry, but you'll have to take some more sugar this time since it's a crime to skip something as attractive as that!

Moreover, this rule is the most crucial when you're heading to the Egyptian (Spice) Bazaar since that's the place where people will offer you basically anything to try. Baklava, Pişmaniye, all the tea flavors, and many more will be in front of you. People dedicating their lives to working at this bazaar will be salty if you don't try their dishes. Of course, you'll do it for free!

9. Taxi Is Cheap, But Be Careful

Taxi car in Istanbul, Turkey
Taxi drivers in Istanbul aren't always that polite (Photo by abdurahman iseini on Unsplash)

Learning about public transportation is crucial when you're visiting a city as massive as Istanbul. The good thing about it is that the taxis are actually pretty cheap. Unfortunately, some drivers will attempt to take advantage of you if you don't know how to deal with them.

While taxis in Istanbul usually don't cost more than 50 lira (or way less, depending on the distance), some drivers will offer a higher price. You have to stay smart and tell them you know that it's a ripoff, and before you start driving with them, don't hesitate to talk about the cost. When you ask first, they'll know they won't fool you!

8. Bargain, Everywhere

Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey
Have the best shopping of your life at the Grand Bazaar (Photo by Svetlana Gumerova on Unsplash)

They'll probably tell you that bargaining is a must when you're visiting the Grand Bazaar. That's true – don't ever accept the price the seller is offering since he won't even expect you to agree! Bargaining is a skill that you master along the way, and as time goes by, you'll get better and better deals.

However, the Grand Bazaar definitely isn't the only place in Istanbul you should bargain at. Use that skill basically anywhere since Turkish people are ready to make an agreement whenever it's needed! In a taxi, lower the price if you can. In any other shop, do the same. It won't work everywhere, but you'll know you didn't waste the chance!

7. Ask the Waiters About the Prices and Basically Anything

A restaurant in Istanbul, Turkey
Restaurants in Turkey are cheap and pretty useful (Photo by Osman Köycü on Unsplash)

We bet you have no idea how beneficial the restaurants in Turkey are. They're the center of the best food you'll try, especially because Istanbul offers some of the most delicious dishes worldwide. However, we're not talking about food here – we're trying to tell you that people that work there can help you way more than any other locals!

Judging by all the experiences the tourists had in Turkey, the waiters are usually those that speak English correctly. Hence, it makes you communicate easily with them. Luckily, these people are also beyond polite, they take their time for every guest ever, and they'll help you if someone's trying to fool you. Feel free to ask them anything – they'll be happy to help!

6. People Don't Even Speak English That Well

A seller in Istanbul, Turkey
The sellers will know English enough to understand you and 
give a short answer, though (Photo by Michael Parulava on Unsplash)

Unfortunately, you'll have problems if you don't speak Turkish in Istanbul. English isn't anything too exotic in the smaller places with many tourists, such as Kuşadası by the sea. However, some people won't understand you even when you're there. In Istanbul, though, don't expect an answer in English, especially in taxi cabs!

Even though people rarely point this out, it's actually true that you'll need to know some Turkish phrases to get along. As we mentioned before, the waiters are very fluent in English, and the same goes for the sellers since they're focused on the tourists. On the other hand, some hotel staff also struggle with English!

5. Prepare Well for Your Boat Trip

A boat in Istanbul
No one skips a boat trip when they're in Istanbul for the first time (Photo by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash)

As soon as you arrive in Istanbul, everyone will offer you a boat trip since Bosphorus is the most precious experience on the water. You can observe many palaces, bridges, and buildings from that perspective. However, you shouldn't choose your trip absolutely randomly, as there are some details to know!

You'll definitely need a local guide to show you what you're seeing since it's pointless to stare at all these buildings without a backstory. Furthermore, you should choose the right side to look at, as if not, you'll miss all the prettiest things on the other one. Also, take a jacket with you, because it can get freezingly cold!

4. It Can Get Cold By Night

Sunset in Istanbul
Sunsets in Istanbul are gorgeous, but the temperature slowly becomes lower (Photo by Tom PREJEANT on Unsplash)

Just like we mentioned, the weather in Istanbul can change rapidly – from warm to very cold, so don't leave your hotel unprepared. If you have a tour lasting a few hours, know that you'll probably need a jacket as soon as the sun slowly goes down, even though some evenings may be warm.

When it comes to the icy days, Istanbul rarely has them since it doesn't even snow there too much. However, the days are sometimes so hot that you forget to bring a jacket for later. The city is so big that it's probably complicated for you to go back to the hotel and change your clothes. 

3. Make Priorities

A woman looking at the map of the city
Making a plan is the only way to truly enjoy a large city (Photo by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden on Unsplash)

Most of the tours that agencies plan last a maximum of five nights, so prepare for fast tempo throughout the day. Most of the time, you won't even sleep because you'll wish to see as many things as possible. However, running around without priorities will just ruin your chance to enjoy it!

First of all, you just have to know that seeing Istanbul at once isn't possible. You can't visit everything you should when it's your first time there. Hence, you should make your own priorities and follow a plan that will make everything easier. Next time you're there, you can see some other stuff – don't worry, you'll definitely go there more than once!

2. Take Your Time – The Traffic Jams Are Terrible

Rush hour on the highway
A picture like this is usual for cities like Istanbul (Photo by Alexander Popov on Unsplash)

Going out of the hotel as early as possible is a must if you're in Istanbul. If you have something scheduled, maybe you'll need to start your journey even 45 minutes earlier, just in case the traffic jam won't let you live. When the traffic blocks all the streets, you might struggle for half an hour to get a taxi.

Moreover, sometimes you don't even need a traffic jam to arrive somewhere too late. The distance between all the districts is just too insane, so you'll need to spend a lot of time traveling to your destination. Patience is the keyword in Istanbul, so stay calm and think about all the lovely things you'll see there!

1. Communicate with People – They'll Most Likely Help You

A crowded city street
In all these crowds, some people are really willing to help (Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash)

When you were a child, they told you to not speak to people on the Internet, only to meet some fantastic fellows there. They usually say you shouldn't talk to strangers too, but meeting people is crucial when you travel. That's how you'll get the natural feel of living in Istanbul, and these people will tell you the real story and help you!

Of course, you should be careful wherever you go and pay attention to who is approaching you. However, you definitely shouldn't be closed off for any conversation because people in Turkey are beyond polite, and they love tourists. They'll know how to show kindness and make you feel welcome!

After you master all the skills we've mentioned above, we're sure you'll be a pro at knowing Istanbul. It's a large city, and one of the best city breaks so visiting it might be a big deal at first, but don't hesitate. The world is basically your oyster, especially when you prepare properly and read all the experiences – you're about to have the time of your life!

Have you already had your first trip to Istanbul? Did you know all the details we mentioned in our top ten list?

Cover Photo: xxoktayxx from Pixabay


Comments

2

Add new Comment

Characters 0 of 1000

Thank you for comment

WoggyJ Says:

I can confirm everything said about bargaining - even if you are not used to it, you'll be fine.

July 21 at 02:07:46 PM

Domenico Says:

People should be very careful with taxis everywhere, even in their homeland.

July 12 at 01:06:26 PM

Similar Articles

Latest Articles

Top 5 Articles

Trending Articles

Sponsor Ads