Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, Istanbul, Turkey

10 reasons why you should travel to Istanbul instead of Ankara

Nargiz Mammadzade Nargiz Mammadzade 15 March 2021
19 view 6 min. read

Have you thought about where your next trip will be? What about Turkey? This country receives more than 30 million tourists annually, and in 2019 this number reached a record level - more than 45 million tourists. According to these statistics, Turkey is always among the top countries for tourism.

But why should we travel to Turkey? Turkey is a very beautiful country with a rich culture and history. The warmth and hospitality of the locals will always make you feel positive and at home. We also cannot forget to mention one of the richest and most world-famous cuisines in the world.

You will also have the opportunity to see new modern buildings in almost every city in the country and shop at large attractive malls that will fascinate you, but that is not all. Sea, sand, and sun are other factors that make Turkey worth seeing.

Now we are going to talk about Istanbul and why you should travel to Istanbul instead of the capital - Ankara.

1. Where is Istanbul?

istanbul city night view

First, we have to answer this question: Where is Istanbul? Istanbul is located in the northwest of Turkey, its geopolitical importance is very high, as it hosts the Bosphorus Strait, which connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara and separates Asia and Europe. The city ranks 34th in the world in terms of economic size, first in Europe, and sixth in the world according to the ranking based on municipal boundaries in terms of population. Istanbul is a transcontinental city, its part in Europe is called the European Side or Rumeli Side, and its part in Asia is called the Anatolian Side or the Asian Side. For everyone, the location of this city is one of the main reasons to travel to Istanbul, because here you can see the harmony of European and Asian styles, and this amazes everyone. Most importantly, you can be on two continents at the same time, isn't that great?

2. Istanbul weather

istanbul

After we knew the answer to the question "Where is Istanbul?", now we can talk about the climate and Istanbul weather.

The climate of Istanbul is a transition between the Black Sea climate and the Mediterranean climate, so the climate of Istanbul is mild. Istanbul's summers are hot and humid; winters are cold, rainy, and sometimes snowy. Because of the humidity, you may feel the air warmer and cooler than it is. Unlike Istanbul weather, Ankara has a drier climate since it is not settled by the sea. Locals say that in the foggy weather that usually prevails here, sometimes this fog can take over the entire city. They even say: "Ankara is a gray city." I think this is one of the other reasons to prefer to travel to Istanbul, where the weather is brighter, what do you think?

3. What to do in Istanbul?

hagia sophia

What are the interesting things to do in Istanbul? Istanbul is one of the leading cities in the world in terms of historical and natural wealth. The Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, The Grand Bazaar (one of the oldest covered markets in the world and this place is generally regarded as the world’s first shopping center), The Blue Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque, Selimiye Mosque, Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower, Taksim Square, Istiklal Street, Sultanahmet Square, Gulhane Park, Beyazit Square... Should I continue? You will have a chance to see these historical places, collect amazing memories and photos, if only you visit Istanbul when you travel To Turkey.

4. How to get to Istanbul?

istanbul airport

There are reciprocal direct flights in all leading metropolitan cities of the world. For transportation to Istanbul by air, it is provided through 2 airports, with domestic and international flights. The total number of passengers at Sabiha Gokcen Airport reached 35,472,852 in 2019. Istanbul Airport was opened in 2018. This luxury and ultra-modern Istanbul airport is the main international airport in Istanbul, Turkey. In April 2019, all passenger operations were relocated from Ataturk Airport to the new Istanbul Airport. It is located in the Arnavutkoy district in the European part of the city. In 2019, it reached 52,578,008 total passengers.

5. Where to stay in Istanbul?

hotel building

Five-star luxury hotels rising all over the city offer a glamorous opportunity for accommodation. There are cheap and expensive hotels in every district of Istanbul. Also, if you like to take part in nightlife or enjoy crowded environments, you can choose Beshiktash, Kadikoy, and Taksim regions. You can stay in Taksim hotels and buy gifts for your loved ones from the shops on Istiklal Street or visit the art galleries in Beyoglu. If you are staying in Beshiktash hotels, you can take the Bosphorus tour by ferries departing from Ortakoy. You can look at the hotels, choose the best suitable for you, and decide where to stay in Istanbul.

6. Shopping in Istanbul

grand bazaar

If you are asking "Okay, but what to do in Istanbul?", here is your answer: Shopping! Istanbul is one of the leading cities in the world for shopping. In recent years, there has been a shopping mall explosion in every district in the city and many shopping malls have been erected. Some of the shopping centers here: Forum İstanbul, Mall of İstanbul, Emaar Square, Marmara Forum, İstanbul Cevahir, Vialand, Marmara Park, İstinye Park, and so on. You can find the branches of famous brands in the shopping malls, and you can shop more comfortably than outside, as there is a closed environment in bad weather.

If we do not count the shopping malls, there are very authentic markets in Istanbul, the most important of which is the Grand Bazaar. Most items here are handcrafted. If you want to buy souvenirs from gold, carpets, rugs, and copper products, the Grand Bazaar should be your first stop. If you are looking for spices, herbs, Turkish delight, cheese, freshly ground coffee, and various local products, the Spice Bazaar and Eminonu streets are just for you. Eminonu is located entirely within the city wall, which is the historical core of the city of Istanbul and is one of the liveliest areas of the central area.

7. Istanbul restaurants

grilled meat

Another delicious reason to travel to Istanbul! Istanbul has a culinary culture originating from Byzantine and Ottoman. Istanbul flavors from each region as a meeting point in Turkey offer a combination. Although the cuisine culture of the city changes according to the periods, some tastes have always maintained their popularity. In the last 20 years in Istanbul, kebab restaurants and restaurants unique to the Southeastern Anatolia region have become very popular. Istanbul cuisine varies between regions.

Restaurants from Asian and European cuisine take their place in the city, especially Greece, China, and France. You can also see fast food shops selling foods such as lahmajun, balik ekmek, kofte ekmek, kumpir, kokorech, and many more on the streets of Istanbul.

8. Istanbul nightlife

concert

If you are still looking for the answer to the question What are the best things to do in Istanbul at night? then you should take a look at this. Istanbul is a cultural capital, a city of events. Istanbul can surprise you with its colorful and rich nightlife. If you want, you can have fun by going to classical entertainment venues or full festivals, concerts, and theater play. 

You can come across the Istanbul Jazz Season, which starts in October - November, at İsh Sanat and Akbank Sanat. Throughout the year, these art centers feature many concerts and theater performances with global attention.

Istanbul's open-air concert centers host thousands of people and host many events. Kuchukchuftlik Park with a capacity of 17 thousand people, Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Open Air Theater, which hosted many famous artists from Leonard Cohen to Gloria Gaynor, and Turkcell Kurucheshme Arena with its unique Bosphorus view are some of them.

If you are in winter, Zorlu PSM, Babylon, Ghetto, If Performance Hall, The Hall, Santralistanbul, and Volkswagen Arena will be waiting for you. Musical, theater, concerts, and countless parties are held in these venues.

If your understanding of nightlife consists of bars and nightclubs, we can recommend Beshiktash, Kadikoy, and Taksim venues for you first. The best popular places in recent years have been gathered especially in Kadikoy. There are places to sit, eat, drink, and chat, as well as the opportunity to listen to concerts every night. These places, which are always full, invite you to have fun all night long.

9. Festivals in Istanbul

fireworks

Visiting historic buildings, shopping, enjoying the vibrant nightlife ... but it's not over yet! We have another answer to the question "What to do in Istanbul?" Festivals! There are festivals, fairs, events, and organizations that are not interrupted in every season of the year. The festivals, which gradually increase with the arrival of spring and spread to almost every park in the summer season, are held with the participation of thousands of people.

Istanbul International Puppet Festival, Istanbul International Dance Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, Istanbul Sahaf Festival, Istanbul Shopping Fest, Istanbul Design Biennial, and many more ... The colorfulness of this city is countless!

10. Is it safe to travel to Istanbul?

galata tower

Last but not least, is it safe to travel to Istanbul? Istanbul is generally pretty safe, the level of petty crime is low, and terrorist attacks have subsided. If you are worried, "Is it safe to travel to Istanbul or not?", we can say that it is undoubtedly safe to travel to Istanbul alone. It is also safe to walk around Istanbul at night. If it is safe to have a good vacation in one of the most colorful and interesting cities in the world, what are you waiting for?

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Nargiz Mammadzade
Nargiz Mammadzade Madridista

Nargiz loves sharing. Gradually, she learnt to direct this feeling by sharing what she experienced and read with her readers. Nargiz started her career way by writing short stories and articles and aims to publish her book in the future. She believes that by writing we express ourselves and leave memories for future generations. Her favourite gift is a book. She wants everyone to contribute to her future library. She is very interested in art and learning new languages. If she expressed herself in one sentence, that sentence would be: "I am a 12-year-old Madridista who wants to watch a REAL MADRID game at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium while being in Madrid during the world trip I dream of one day."

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