Getting around in Istanbul

Transportation

The easiest way to get around Istanbul is by taxi. Make sure you have some Turkish liras with you. No taxi driver will accept credit cards. You will find ATMs and a currency exchange office inside the airport. We advise you to only take official taxis. They are bright yellow and have a sign on the roof with the word “taksi” on it. Furthermore, their taxi registration number (and sometimes company logo) should be clearly visible on the front doors and the roof. Most importantly, all official taxis have digital meters.

Currency

The Turkish Lira is the official currency of Turkey. Banknotes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 TL. Coins come in the amounts of 1, 5, 10 and 25 Kuruş and 1 Lira.

ATMs

ATMs can be found all around the country. All of them offer foreign language options and payout Turkish liras.

Changing money

Foreign exchange offices, which are known as “döviz bürosu” can be found throughout the country. Operating hours are mostly Monday to Friday, from 09:00 to 17:00. In the arrivals section of Istanbul airports, there are 24-hour exchange offices. Besides the exchange offices located in shopping malls and touristic areas are open later and on Saturdays. US Dollars and Euros are accepted in highly touristic districts like Sultanahmet and Taksim but rates are often not competitive.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are widely used and accepted. Visitors can use their Visa and Mastercards but Amex and Dinersclub are often not accepted.

Time Zone

Time is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+3).

Climate

Average day temperature in Istanbul at the beginning of June is around 20-25 °C.

Electricity

Turkey’s electrical system operates on 220 volts, 50 Hz, with round-prong European-style plugs that fit into recessed wall sockets. You will need a voltage converter, and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Restaurants

There is a wide choice of restaurants in Istanbul offering everything from excellent national cuisine to first class international dishes. Traditional Turkish cuisine is famous for its many specialties prepared with fresh vegetables.

Shopping

Most shops in Istanbul are generally open from 09:00 to 19:00 Monday to Saturday. Some of the supermarkets, shops, newspaper kiosks, restaurants, and food shops are also open on Sunday.