- Visit the Spice Bazaar. So many colors.
- Take in Atatürk Bridge. This is the bridge that join Europe and Asia. Conceptually, it’s a pretty big deal.
- Turkish delight. Heard of it? You’re in Turkey. Try it.
- Take in the call to prayer. You’ll be strolling around town… and then you’ll know. It’s such a rich display of culture and belief. It’s moving.
- The Turkish flag is everywhere. It’s a heartwarming sense of pride.
- Cats.There are more cats than flags. I don’t know how that’s possible.
Most people, including U.S. citizens, will need a visa to enter the country. You can apply online in advance of your trip (the cheaper option), or on arrival at the airport. More information can be found here.
Get cash: Check ATM fees and know where your card has better rates. If you can get cash from an ATM it’ll most likely be cheaper than exchanging at the Exchange Counter. Even better is the exchange rate at your hotel.
Dress conservatively: Istanbul is a modern city, but there is no dressing like you live in SoCal in Istanbul. Be respectful.
Trust your instincts: If there’s a gentleman talking to you and you don’t feel comfortable, don’t doubt yourself. Be respectful and move along. Same thing with crowds. Most likely everything is fine, but don’t put yourself at risk.
Be kind: It’s obvious, I realize. But you’re traveling. Talk to your taxi drivers and people on the street you meet. If they want to engage, they will, and you’ll both be the wiser and freer because of it.
What to bring on your walking tour of Istanbul:
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Scarf to cover your head or shoulders
- Cross-body shoulder bag or small daypack
- Wrap or jean jacket for if/when you get chilly
- Camera/cell phone (obvious, I know)
- An open mind and smile
Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):
The Best Travel Shoes
How to Pack for a Weekend Away
Packing List for the City