USEFUL INFORMATION

Istanbul has always been a meeting place and a cross point destination. Located at the crossroads of East and West, Istanbul offers easy air connections. Getting to and from Istanbul has never been easier. With a capacity of far over 25 million travelers per year Istanbul is surprisingly within reach - in fact, it's less than a three-hour flight from most European cities.

Istanbul Airport houses an Aircraft Maintenance and Repair Centre and it provides service in compliance with the EU standards. This centre, established over 700,000 square meter area located between the two parallel runways, offers services to Turkey at international standards and promises hope for the future of Turkish aviation sector. Having become an emerging business line in Turkey, aircraft maintenance and repair sector will have the opportunity to become the leader of the industry worldwide thanks to the centre established.

The Istanbul Airport strengthens Istanbul, the center of a vast geography from the East to the West, with its extremely high capacity, various kinds of facilities and sound infrastructure opportunities. Having a strategic location considering the transfer routes, Istanbul acts as an attractive hub for transit flights between the USA and Europe, as well as the Middle East, Central Asia and North India.

Today, the Istanbul Airport launches flights to a total of 146 destinations at various continents within 3 hours connecting 120+ countries, 60+ capital cities, 250+ international and 50 domestic destinations. When the airport is put into operation in full capacity, the number of flight destinations will exceed 350.

The city is reachable via ship from Italy, Greece, and other Mediterranean countries, and is in addition a major port of call for cruise lines and chartered yachts. Via land, several rail lines connect Turkey to neighboring countries as well as many bus lines which easily and affordably connect Istanbul to other cities across Turkey, Europe and the Middle East. Highways represent another increasingly viable alternative to getting in and out of Istanbul.

The Turkish Lira is the official currency of Turkey. Credit cards are widely used and accepted. Visitors can use their Visa and Master Cards. ATMs can be found all around the country. All of them offer foreign language options and pay out Turkish liras. Foreign exchange offices may be found throughout the country. Operating hours are mostly Monday to Friday, from 09:00 to 17:00. In the arrivals section of İstanbul and Sabiha Gökçen Airports, there are 7/24 open exchange offices. Also the exchange offices located in shopping malls and touristic areas are open later and on Saturdays.

Istanbul falls in the Eastern European Time Zone. Eastern European Standard Time (EET) is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).

Turkey's electrical system operates on 220 volts, 50 Hz, with round-prong European-style plugs that fit into recessed wall sockets.

The weather in August is clear and the sunny days provide the ideal weather to explore the city in the best possible way - on foot, plenty warm enough to eat and to outside, take the Bosphorus Cruise. The weather should be expected sunny and around 32 - 30 C during day time.

Istanbul is a culinary delight no matter what your budget. From simple workers' eateries and sidewalk cafes to posh culinary palaces with liveried waiters, Turkish cuisine is good and the value-for-money unbeatable. A typical Turkish dish generally consists of lamb, mutton, and veal with a variety of vegetables. Pilaf, all kinds of pastry, bulgur, haricot beans, rich olive oil, and vegetables are also common side dishes. Meatballs, shish kebab, and doner kebab are also classic dishes. Because of its coastal location, fish is also popular although it is usually cooked simply, such as grilled, or fried with olive oil and lemon juice. Istanbul is the commercial and cultural center of Turkey; and there are restaurants of many nationalities such as Korean, Russian, Italian, and Chinese.

Famed as the City of a Thousand Colors and Fragrances, Istanbul is a paradise for shoppers. A large variety of traditional carpets, jewels, gold, and leather goods can be purchased on the street in the tourist areas, or one can visit the city's modern shopping malls where Turkish brand goods can be found. The shops are open from 08:00 to 21:00 from Monday to Saturday. The Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar open their gates at 08:00 and close at 19:00. The large shopping malls open from 10:00 to 22:00 seven days a week. Shops do not close for lunch.