When entering Turkey some countries are required to purchase a visa, which is valid for 90 days  The cost for Australian and Canadian Residents is Euro 45 or US60  For US citizens and most other countries it s Euro 15 or US20  This must now be purchased online through the link  Visas are still available on arrival by using a machine but the price is higher and the queues are long.   When you receive your visa online print it off and keep it with your passport and you can go straight to passport control line.  You also need to have it with you passport on departure!


If you have a transfer booked via Ayasofya Hotel the process is as follows

Come through the arrival doors into the arrival hall and turn left then cross over to the barrier.   The transfer monitor will have a sign with your name on it with Ayasofya Hotel underneath.  He will ask you to come to the other side of the barrier and wait while he calls up the vehicle to the terminal building.  Please be patient as this does take a little time.  When it arrives he will take you outside to the waiting car and the driver will bring you directly to the hotel. DO NOT GO OUTSIDE THE TERMINAL DOORS AS THEY WILL NEVER FIND YOU.


The official currency in Turkey is Turk Lirasi.   There are abundant Cash Machine withdrawal points in Istanbul and at the airport on arrival.   Money change office are plentiful in Sultanahmet and around the Grand Bazaar area.  Called Doviz in Turkish most  do not charge commission.   You can change money on arrival at airports but the rate is less favourable and it is best to wait until your arrival into Sultanahmet.


Turkey is an Islamic country and modesty and politeness are much admired.  Having said that, Turkish people are tolerant of tourists. Common sense in your dressing is advised.  When you are entering mosques women need to cover their heads and legs, and shorts for men are not allowed.     Always have a scarf handy for those times when you want to enter a mosque.

In the summer jeans, shirts and shorts are acceptable but it is best not to wear brief shorts and tops out of respect.


Temperatures in Istanbul vary from -2 in the winter to 38+ in the summer time

Below is a chart showing the average weather patterns for Istanbul 





Turkish is a language like no other!  Most people in the tourism sector in the Old City speak some English and in other areas it is sometimes difficult to find anyone who speaks good English.  Regardless people will always try to help you and be hospitable.  It is nice to have a few basic words as it is always appreciated.   And a SMILE  can cut across cultural boundaries!   And try a few Turkish greetings to break the ice!

Merhaba – Hello (mare ha bah)     Guniyidin – Good morning (goon i den)

Memnum oldum – Nice to meet you (mem num old um)

Iyi aksumlar – good evening (ee uk shum larr(

Tesekkur ederim – thank you (tear share care ed erum)