A number of companies offer guided tours through Istanbul on a variety of themes, including architecture tours and day trips that feature walking tours of the mountainous wilderness in the nearby Cappadocia region or the Ihlara Valley gorge.
One of the most popular districts in Istanbul is the Historical Peninsula, which is the location of Hagia Sofia, which was constructed during the 6th century A.D. The Grand Bazaar near Eminonu Square is another favorite spot for visitors with its busy marketplace atmosphere.
Ataturk Airport is the largest airport in Istanbul and the arrival point for most international flights. Because traffic can be heavy in Istanbul during all times of the day, many tourists prefer to use city buses, large eight-person taxi cabs called Dolmus, minibuses and private taxis to navigate the city.
Like the eastern United States, Istanbul has four distinct seasons. The average high temperature in the summer months of July and August is 82 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average lows in winter months of December through March range from 37 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Overall, the average yearly temperature is about 57 degrees Fahrenheit.
State Department Recommendations
Upon arriving at Istanbul, tourists with a U.S. passport receive a 90-day visa to visit Turkey for around $20, according to the U.S. State Department. The State Department recommends that all Americans visiting Turkey keep a low profile and remain vigilant because, though rare, violence against U.S. citizens is possible.
Remember that upon entering a mosque, everyone must remove their shoes, and that all women must cover their heads with a scarf, even if you are only visiting to tour the premises. Also, keep in mind that the museums in Istanbul are typically all closed on Mondays.