When it comes to city breaks in Istanbul, they can be expensive or as cheap as you like. The city has this marvellous knack of accommodating everyone from five-star hotels to budget B&Bs
Spread across Turkey’s Asian and European continents, the vasy city of Istanbul has been a pivotal point on the map throughout history. Decisions made here by the Byzantine and Ottoman empires shaped the course of history and led the city to the great metropolis that it is today, far outshining the capital Ankara for tourism, education, health, business, leisure, arts, and culture.
There are two airports in Istanbul. To visit the Asian side, book a flight to Sabiha Gokcen. Book a flight to the new Istanbul airport to visit the European side. The experts at Property Turkey have shared with us their expertise so you can have the perfect trip to Istanbu lthis June.1
During this month, temperatures are not cold, but neither are they too hot to get active in the daytime. Average daytime temperatures are about 30 degrees, so pack those shorts and T-shirts. Night-times are also cool enough to enjoy al fresco style dining. Perhaps try Bosphorus shore front restaurants to enjoy the city skyline at night.
The hot event on everybody’s lips during June is the Istanbul Music Festival. Hosted by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, this prestigious classical music event is Turkey’s biggest and best. Having run annually for over 40 years, many artists have highlighted their skills and dedication to music. Featuring renowned orchestras like the New York Philharmonic, solo artists, and dance groups, make sure to book your ticket well in advance.
As to be expected from major cities, there are loads of places to spend your cash. For Istanbul’s equivalent of Rodeo Drive, head to Bagdat Avenue on the Asian side. This long street is Turkey’s most expensive shopping district. Streetside cafés and bistros surround the high-end brand name shops, and while sitting there, the odd Lamborghini will probably drive by since Bagdat Avenue also runs through the luxury Nisantasi district. Otherwise, in the new part of Istanbul, Istiklal Avenue is Turkey’s longest street. Here you will find brand-name shops and individual vendors. Break up the shopping by exploring the various landmarks of interest, including Flower Passage and the Saint Anthony of Padua church. Put the Grand bazaar on your list of places to buy souvenirs.
Now is your chance to let your palette run wild by tasting your way around Istanbul. First, take this time to sample Turkish food in traditional restaurants known as lokantas. Street food is also sold during June including corn on the cob, midye, jacket potatoes, and the honoured doner kebab. Finally, try Ayran, a traditional Turkish drink made from water, yoghurt, and salt.
Istanbul is the perfect place for an introduction to Turkish culture, history, and tradition. The perfect start is a Turkish bath, that as well as prepping the skin up for a golden tan, will relieve stress and anxiety. Then, head to Pera Museum on Istiklal Avenue for art galleries, where the Tortoise trainer, Turkey’s most expensive painting ever sold, hangs. Next, the Jewish Museum in the Galata district talks about the history of Jews in Istanbul and how they contributed to society. While the military museum gives an insight into Ottomans and how they fought wars. Also, tour the Fener and Balat districts to see the old-fashioned houses.
There are plenty of free things to do in Istanbul. The city’s ancient mosques are an excellent place to start because they are free to enter and give great insight into how Turk’s practise Islam. Also, tour city parks, and visit the Spice Bazaar and grand bazaar for free.
The Sultanahmet district is the touristic hub of Istanbul. This is from where the Byzantine and Ottoman empires ruled their lands. It is possible to see all the significant landmarks within one day, or to take sightseeing slowly, take two days. Places to visit include the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, once the world’s largest domed building. Around the corner, the Topkapi Palace was the Ottoman’s first ruling centre and includes exciting displays like the kitchens, circumcision rooms and relics room that contain the prophet Muhammad’s sword and staff. Also, see the Archaeology Museum, Basilica Cistern, Hippodrome, and Turkish Islamic Art Museum.