Istanbul is the most popular city in Turkey, with a population of over 15 million people; it is also the most populous city in the country. The city is known as one of a few transcontinental cities in the world since it is situated in both Asia and Europe. Recently, it has become a well-known location for medical tourism. The medical centers offer excellent services with skilled doctors and strict medical protocols. The medical procedures in the city use world-class techniques and are very cost-effective. Some of the most popular procedures are Rhinoplasty and Breast Augmentation. Hisar Intercontinental Hospital, Medipol Mega University Hospital, and Medicana International Istanbul Hospital are among the more popular medical centers in Istanbul.
Istanbul is the perfect mix of old and new as it is home to magical architecture, awe-inspiring attractions, and scrumptious food. The most popular area for tourism is in Sultanahmet which houses Hagia Sofia, Topkapı Palace, Basilica Cistern, and the Blue Mosque. The city is steeped in history, so it is only natural for tourists to visit its historical sites such as the stunning Byzantine churches and the magnificent Süleymaniye Mosque. Visiting the country will never be complete without shopping in one of its famous bazaars such as the Grand and Egyptian Spice Bazaars, which comprises over 3,000 shops.
The main gateway to Istanbul as of 2019 is the newly built Istanbul Airport. The airport serves domestic flights as well as international flights to numerous countries all over the globe (mostly European and Asian countries). Budget airlines such as AtlasGlobal, Pegasus Airlines, and SunExpress offer inexpensive domestic flights to many cities within the country. Tourists can choose trains, trams, buses, or ferries to travel to many parts of the city. Taxis are widespread, inexpensive, and comfortable. However, always be aware of taxi scams.
Turkey allows citizens of 78 countries to visit without a visa for up to 90 days per 180-day period. Citizens of 40 countries, such as China, the UK, and the US can apply for an e-Visa before arrival. The e-Visa is generally valid for up to 90 days.
Summer can be very hot, with the temperatures getting as high as 40°C. Spring and autumn are known to be the best time to visit Istanbul since the temperatures are significantly cooler than the summer. Winter is mainly cold and snowy.
- Local Currency: Turkish Lira is the official currency. 1USD converts to 5.7TRY.
- Money & Payments: ATMs can be found easily and credit cards are accepted in most restaurants, shops, hotels, and hospitals. In many places, it is customary to tip at least 5% to 10% of the bill.
- Local Language: The local and the most common language is Turkish. English is spoken in tourist areas and hospitals.
- Local Culture and Religion: Most of the population follows Islam, but there are people who practice Judaism and Christianity.
- Public holidays: The city celebrates numerous holidays, including New Year’s Day, Labor Day, Victory Day, and Ramadan feast.