Heading to Istanbul or moving there and unsure of how to make the most of out of the city? We´re sure you’re familiar with some of the city’s most magical locations, but do you know what to NEVER do in Istanbul?
Don’t wear revealing clothing to mosques
Goes without saying but perhaps a solid reminder. Respect Turkish etiquette and dress appropriately (cover as much of your skin as you can) – especially in mosques and churches.
Don’t stick to foods you know
Be adventurous and explore your taste buds. Istanbul is home to some of the most delicious foods (and plenty of new spices) you can find and we can guarantee you will fall in love with at least a few of them. Doner kebab, baklava, mercimek, sutlac rice pudding, dondurma sticky ice cream, sesame seed covered pretzels and delicious street food – Istanbul is an absolute paradise for foodies. And don’t even bother visiting McDonalds or Starbucks.
Don’t take a taxi (unless you really have to)
As most large cities (we’re looking at you, London), taxis are expensive and the journey through the never-ending traffic can be draining – walk and explore new neighborhoods (or better yet, those more daring can also ride a bike).
Don’t fall into tourist traps
Istanbul is the 6th most visited city in the world and thrives off tourism. Whether you are a newly-moved resident or just visiting, you should steer clear off common tourist traps and always keep an eye on your belongings. Turks are extremely friendly and will help you with everything you might need – but as you know, you can always find trouble in every city.
Don’t ignore the city’s most popular attractions
Yeah, we know they’re touristy and there’s crowds, cliches and huge waiting queues. But it’s Istanbul and there will be crowds everywhere you go. Landmarks like Aya Sofya, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern and Dolmabahçe Palace will bring an unforgettable (and sometimes very much needed) zen into your life that you won’t be able to get anywhere else so put them back on your travel itinerary.
Don’t miss out on Grand Bazaar
Test your bargaining skills at one of without-a-doubt largest and oldest markets in the entire world. With 3000 shops and stalls present, we can guarantee you will find an amazing deal on something. Our pro tip: grab a local (with their consent, of course), and wander through this old market featuring just about everything you want (but don’t necessarily need) in your life.
Don’t get scared of stray animals
Stray animals have been a huge part of Istanbul’s history and these four (and sometimes three, two or one) legged creatures are quite the controversial topic in some areas of the city. The city has a “Trap Tag and Release program” – the animals get vaccinated and then re-released back on the streets. However, these animals suffer as much abuse as they get loved – be on the good side and make sure you’re nice to these homeless creatures. Or better yet, adopt one into your new home in Istanbul!
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