Free city map from the Tourist Information
Miscellaneous: Istanbul is said to have six Tourist Information Offices in the European part of the city. I only visited the branch in the Sirkeci Train Station. It can be found on the outside of the new entrance to the train station.
Here I picked up a helpful free city map, which besides the streets also the ferry ports and tram lines showed. Apart from that the main sights with short descriptions were included in the map.
I must admit that the guy in charge was not much interested in helping me. I asked a few questions about the use of public transport, but had the feeling that I was disturbing his break.
- Budget Travel
Pack list for the weather
Luggage and bags: Since many VTes are asking me about the weather there.Let me tell you something;
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: 4Winter and Autumn
anything for winter:
in winter,Istanbul is cold and snowy most of times.Usually,the weather starts getting bad within end of november till middle of march.
Autumn is warm and rainy or warm and sunny ( you never know)
4Summer and Spring
Anything for summer included ;sandals,umbrella,raincoat,a few sweaters (can be rainy sometimes)
Istanbul is humid and hot in Summer and rainy and sunny in Spring (most of times is sunny and fresh there)
Suggested time to go is spring (april,may) and autumn (september,november)
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: you dont need to bring anything you can anything there.Pharmacies are open bwtn 9a.m. -7.30 pm. Besides these times ,you can find "Nobetci Ezcane" which open after 7.30 pm till the morning.To find those Pharmacies on guard just check the the windows of the closed pharmacies. You will see a list there,which tells you the addresses of closest guard pharmacies around there
Photo Equipment: you can find anything,you dont need to bring anything.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Camping areas are out of Istanbul either Outdoor Gears. Beacher are in Prince's Island and out of Istanbul which names Kilyos.
Miscellaneous: ISTANBUL Turizm Polisi (The cop of the tourist)
Yerebatan Cad. No:6 - Istanbul / TÜRKiYE
Tel : +90 (212) 528 53 69.
For the weather
(for the map of Istanbul)
if i forgot to add something,please remind me.
Since i am not going there as a tourist,i might not be that objective :-))
Packing to Istanbul
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Since the weather changes every day, I packed clothes for every occasion. Some days I needed to use pullover and jacket. I was expecting it to be hotter that time of year, but found every day different.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Is always better to have fresh bottled water, as Istanbul is known for dodgy tap water.
Photo Equipment: A camera is essential to capture all these Islamic art details, street scenes, the Bosporus, etc.
Packing for Istanbul
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Even in summer, expect to wear long pants (or long skirts for women) and shirts with at least short sleeves. This is because mosques forbid shorts and short skirts and bare shoulders and you will likely be touring mosques during your stay in Istanbul. Also, most Turkish men do not wear shorts, so you will stick out much more as a tourist if you are wearing shorts. Also, women should bring a scarf or two to carry in your purse so that you will have one to wear when touring mosques.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring plenty of toilet paper, since public bathrooms often do not have (or run out of) toilet paper. Also bring wipes and hand cleaner. If you have fair skin, also bring sunscreen, since you will do a lot of walking outdoors in Istanbul.
In terms of medical supplies, bring something for diarrhea and food poisoning. We brought Immodium and did need it once in our 10-day visit.
Photo Equipment: Bring lots of memory card capacity, extra batteries, and a charger. You will probably take a ton of photos and videos in Istanbul, and will burn through memory and batteries more quickly than usual. Photo equipment is available for sale in Istanbul, but is much more expensive than in the USA.
Miscellaneous: Bring the following guide books:
The Istanbul book from the DK Eyewitness travel series. It has lots of photos and info about not only the main tourist sights, but also about numerous less well-known sights thrughout the city.
Rick Steve's Istanbul book. It contains well thought out self-guided tours through some of the main tourist sites.
Top 10 Istanbul. This book has numerous top 10 lists (Top 10 mosques, Top 10 museums, etc.) that help you make decisions about how to spend your time.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
Things to bring
Luggage and bags: It is hard to visit Istanbul and come back home without any souvenirs. Be sure to leave some space in your bags for a water pipe or a backgammon game. You could even put a small collapsible bag inside your luggage, leaving it reserved for things purchased at the Grand Bazaar or the Arasta Bazaar.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: A lot of people make the mistake of assuming Istanbul is warm the entire year. If you are traveling in the late winter/early spring, bring an umbrella and a warm jacket. I could not believe how cold it was in March, not to mention how much it rained!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Unless you find a supermarket, most shops have a limited supply of toiletry options. Sure, you can find aftershave lotion, but it might not be of the same quality that you are used to in your home country.
Photo Equipment: Bring plenty of film, as you will likely pay a lot more for it in Istanbul. Plus, the quality might not be the same. If you need a replacement battery or your camera brakes, there is a whole block of camera shops a minute away from Sirkeci train station.
Miscellaneous: If you are going to Istanbul during the summer, bring sunscreen and a hat. A compass might also come in handy.
Books for your trip
We took the 'Dorling Kindersely Guide' with us (a good balance of information) and the 'Companion Guide', by John Freely.
There are a number of books by Turkish writers, read before, during and after the trip, and I particularly recommend:
Orhan Pamuk: 'My name is Red'.
I've reviewed it in my bookclub
Perihan Magden : 'The Messenger Boy Murders.'
Yasar Kamal : 'Mehmet, My Hawk'
There are a number of translations of the poems of Nazim Hikmet available.
One VT member who has a really beautiful website with Turkish writing quoted alongside beautiful pictures is Rumisabuncu
- Arts and Culture
A Shopping Heaven...
Luggage and bags: Preferably buy your luggage in Istanbul. There are many stores offering reasonable prices.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Turkey is already a leader country in textiles industry. and buying them in Istanbul will be enjoyable and cheap.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Having protective creams is better for windy days near Bosphorus.
Photo Equipment: Istanbul is the good place for buying those items. Especialy Sirkeci is full of stores selling various products of photography.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: According to changeable spring and autumn weather, raincoats and umbrellas are useful items.
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
Good quality film
Photo Equipment: If you've run out of film in your camera and need to buy some more, try to buy from photography shops and busy malls. Small shops and groceries also tend to have some, but you can never be sure of how long they have been there, and under what conditions.
When Will You Be Visiting Lovely Istanbul?
Miscellaneous: Between the couple of trips to Istanbul I have made, both were in different seasons, one in summer, and one during the winter. This made all of the difference in the world in regards to clothing! In the summer, it was warm enough to wear short sleeve shirts, even short pants, on most days. But during the winter, it was tremendously cold, it even snowed several days I was here. A thick jacket, long sleeve shirt, and jeans or pants were a must! So depending on the time of year you visit, adjust the wardrobe you bring accordingly.
2 constants that a visitor to Istanbul will want, regardless of the season - confortable walking shoes, and a good camera! I did so much walking here, even with my cushioned athletic shoes, my feet were still sore after each day. Worth every blister I got though! :) And if you have a digital camera, try to have a large-capacity media card or memory stick. So many photo opportunties here it will blow your mind! :)
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
customize your packing list
Miscellaneous: Climatological Information for istanbul is based on monthly averages for the 72 -year period 1929 - 2000 .
DailyMinimum DailyMaximum Total Rainfall (mm) Mean Number of Rain Days (in Celcius)
Jan 2.9 8.7 87.3 17.7
Feb 2.8 9.1 71.3 15.3
Mar 3.9 11.2 63.2 13.6
Apr 7.7 16.5 44.9 10.3
May 12.0 21.4 32.6 7.8
Jun 16.0 26.0 25.3 5.3
Jul 18.5 28.4 23.7 3.6
Aug 18.7 28.5 23.6 4.0
Sep 15.5 25.0 44.3 6.1
Oct 12.0 20.1 70.7 10.3
Nov 8.5 15.3 84.7 12.9
Dec 5.3 11.1 106.7 16.9
DailyMinimum DailyMaximum Total Rainfall (mm) Mean Number of Rain Days (in Fahreneit)
Jan 37.2 47.7 87.3 17.7
Feb 37.0 48.4 71.3 15.3
Mar 39.0 52.2 63.2 13.6
Apr 45.9 61.7 44.9 10.3
May 53.6 70.5 32.6 7.8
Jun 60.8 78.8 25.3 5.3
Jul 65.3 83.1 23.7 3.6
Aug 65.7 83.3 23.6 4.0
Sep 59.9 77.0 44.3 6.1
Oct 53.6 68.2 70.7 10.3
Nov 47.3 59.5 84.7 12.9
Dec 41.5 52.0 106.7 16.9
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Istanbul weather is little complex , last time i visit it on July and the waether was hot for 5 days suddenly the weather be colder and windy for 4 days and i didn,t realize that i need jacket or some thing to wear it for this , so bring some thing with you to warm you if this happen .
Photo Equipment: it,s better to bring with you your pro. photo equipment cause here it little bit expensive .
In winter is really cold here
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Although most of the tourist go in summer, Turkey is also beautiful in winter.
If you come at this season, be prepared for A REAL WINTER. In summer here is bl**dy hot, but in winter is freezing cold, snow and all that, so bring warm clothes....
Try feslegen yagi.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: mosquito repellant a must in summer! bring it with you, or if already in istanbul, try feslegen yagi, which is basil oil. works well if you use lots. relatively inexpensive if you bargain with the shopkeepers in the egyptian bazaar, and it smells much better than chemical mosquito repellents.
- Budget Travel
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Forgot to take my winter underwear with me and it was kind of difficult to find
long underwear to wear right away. If you need some walk over Istikal Caddesi (st) in Taksim area and you will find some.
Take with you hat, gloves and a good jacket. Umbrellas are easy to find and they sell them almost everywhere for the rainy days.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Miscellaneous: Yep, that item is not so common there, so it might be helpful if you carry around your own supply.
Otherwise, you might end up in some restaurant/bar/public restroom (especially in non-tourist areas) without it.