Istanbul has been one of Europe’s leading metropolises for almost 2000 years. It is one of the oldest cities in the world; proud and majestic, it is situated directly on the Bosporus, that famous waterway.

Istanbul is old, and yet somehow also the youngest city in Europe – or should we now say Asia? – and has over 2000 mosques. The Yeni Cami (New Mosque) and Sultanahmet Camii (Blue Mosque) are both well worth a visit. A stroll through the lively bazaars, bartering, dining in exquisite restaurants, snacking on Turkish sweetmeats from the street vendors, and always the fabulous views of the Bosporus or magnificent old buildings – all this is Istanbul.

Melancholy coexists alongside pulsating life. The city lives through its history, but it also surprises and impresses its visitors with its exciting lifestyle and galleries, museums, bars, restaurants and stylish clubs. A visit to the island of Burgazada is pure romance. «Crossing the Bridge – the Sound of Istanbul» by the German-Turkish director Fatih Akim is the perfect introduction to a visit to Istanbul.

City Facts

  • Location

    Most populated city in Turkey, situated on the Bosporus.

  • Population

    About 14 million

  • Size

    Approx. 5300 km²

  • Public transport

    A somewhat complicated system of underground, buses, commuter train network, trams and ferries.

  • Climate

    Mild, humid maritime climate. Temperatures often reach 30°C in the shade in summer. Winters are cool, with an average temperature of 4-5°C.

  • Best time to visit

    March to May. Although it’s usually still cool in the mornings, the city is ablaze with millions of tulips.

  • Good to know

    Always agree a price in advance before availing yourself of any service. Con artists are not unheard of in Istanbul.

  • Nice to know

    Istanbul was the capital of Turkey until 1923.

  • Airport

    Istanbul Atatürk; 24 km west of the city.

  • Bus

    The express goes to Taksim station every 30 minutes.

  • Metro

    Take the underground (Metro) to Zeytinburnu, and from there the tram downtown. The travel time is about 45 minutes, and it runs until midnight.

  • Taxi

    The travel time is normally 25 minutes, but depending on the volume of traffic it could be longer.