With a fascinating history dating back over two and half thousand years, along with one of the largest populations in the world, Istanbul is Turkey’s largest metropolis and the cultural and financial centre of the country. Situated in the north west of Turkey, this vibrant city comprises a number of districts and boasts a wealth of attractions to be enjoyed by some 10 million visitors each year. Among the major attractions for visitors to the Turkish metropolis is its vast number of architectural hotspots including mosques, palaces and synagogues, along with more modern structures such as the Kanyon shopping centre which offers spectacular views of the city from its observation deck.
Given that the city’s roads are notoriously busy, the recommended vehicle of choice for visitors to Istanbul is a small, fuel efficient car. Not only will it be able to squeeze into tight parking spaces, but it will also enable you to navigate your around the city’s busy roads with ease.
Driving in Istanbul Downtown
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
In city more than 150,000 vehicles, driving in Istanbul can be a stressful experience, particularly during the week when congestion on the highways is commonplace.
Istanbul also suffers from a parking deficit, therefore visitors should be warned that finding a free space is often challenging.
Drivers are advised to take caution when travelling around the city, as street signs are absent in many areas.
Highlights & Hotspots
A visit to a Turkish bath is highly recommended when visiting Istanbul. The baths, which are otherwise known as hamams, offer visitors the chance to experience a traditional Turkish massage and relax in luxurious hot tubs saunas. After a busy day of sightseeing in the city, this really is the perfect way to wind down.
Formerly a mosque, now a church, the Hagia Sophia Museum is undoubtedly one of the city’s most popular attractions. Visitors welcome to go inside this magnificent structure where they can marvel at its stunning features, including an extraordinary number of gold tiles which adorn the walls. Guided tours are also available for those who wish to gain greater insight into the building’s history.
For a spot of family fun, pay a visit to the Istanbul Dolphinarium located just outside the city centre. Offering exclusive dolphin shows along with courses which allow you to swim with these fascinating creatures, the Istanbul Dolphinarium is the perfect day out for both adults and children alike.
Istanbul‚Äôs main airport, Istanbul Atat√ºrk Airport is located 20km west of the city centre. Connected to the city by both a bus and metro service, the airport is easily accessible and offers flights to various destinations throughout Europe and further afield.
Ataturk can be reached via a trunk road which goes northwards onto the O-3 motorway. Eastwards, it leads to the O-1 which connects to the city centre and many major suburbs.