Istanbul City Guide

Istanbul City Guide

İstanbul is the largest city of Turkey. More than 15 million people live in İstanbul and it’s located in Marmara Region of Turkey. İstanbul is the megacity of the Turkish Republic. The city is connection bridge between Anatolian side and European side of Turkey. This ancient city has been the capital of many civilizations throughout history. Historical artifacts and buildings from many civilizations living in these lands reflect the face of the city. In addition to this, İstanbul, is a mirror of Turkey’s modern appearance. İstanbul, where culture and art events meet together, appeals to all tastes with its world-famous entertainment venues and restaurants.

İstanbul is 14th crowded  city of the world with increasing population. When compared to other Turkish cities, İstanbul is the most livable city. Also, İstanbul is the center of business life in Turkey. It is home to international and local companies. The city contributes more to the Turkish economy than other cities of Turkey. The International New İstanbul Airport and İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport are located in the city and you can find many international flights to different cities and countries of the world. If we look at the education perspective, İstanbul also have the highest quality universities of the country like Boğaziçi, İTÜ, Marmara, Yıldız, İstanbul, Koç and Sabancı. There are universities located in İstanbul. However, İstanbul is the most important attraction point for industry and technology investments. There are important industrial and technological zones in different districts of İstanbul. Check out the most comprehensive İstanbul city guide now. You will find the answers of many questions like “Places to see in İstanbul” or “How to get to İstanbul ?” in this guide.

City Name



Population Density

Population Growth Rate

Surface Area

Number of Districts

Postal Code

Area Code

GDP (Per Capita)




2921 / km2

3,00 %

5.343 km2




76.769 ₺

There are important districts in İstanbul like Esenyurt and Küçükçekmece in terms of population. These two districts are the mega districts of Turkey and Europe with about 2 million population. Beyoğlu, Beşiktaş and Kadıköy are also have an important feature for İstanbul. These districts are among the most popular districts of İstanbul. For tourism, Historical Peninsula attract the interest of tourist with historical places in the city. Eminönü and Fatih are important tourism centers of the city. Historical Peninsula is within the boundaries of these districts. Tuzla, Ümraniye, Beylikdüzü and Başakşehir are important industrial centers of the city. The biggest organized industrial zones in Turkey are located in these districts. Ataşehir, Bayrampaşa and Esenler are the developing districts for real estate investments in İstanbul.

The districts of İstanbul are Adalar, Arnavutköy, Ataşehir, Avcılar, Bağcılar, Bahçelievler, Bakırköy, Başakşehir, Bayrampaşa, Beşiktaş, Beykoz, Beylikdüzü, Beyoğlu, Büyükçekmece, Çatalca, Çekmeköy, Esenler, Esenyurt, Eyüpsultan, Fatih, Gaziosmanpaşa, Güngören, Kadıköy, Kağıthane, Kartal, Küçükçekmece, Maltepe, Pendik, Sancaktepe, Sarıyer, Silivri, Sultanbeyli, Sultangazi, Şile, Şişli, Tuzla, Ümraniye, Üsküdar and Zeytinburnu. You will find detailed information for all districts of İstanbul in this guide.

Short History of İstanbul

Its strategic location between Europe and Asia and its location on important waterways have made İstanbul an important settlement throughout history. İstanbul is a city that has been among the most important and largest metropolises of the world for about sixteen centuries from the 4th to the 20th century. It has been the undisputed single judge of a large region where continents of Europe, Asia and Africa meet, and has managed to influence world history significantly. İstanbul has been the capital of four different empires, including the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Latin Empire and the Ottoman Empire, for one thousand six hundred years. Three of these empires went down in history as the most powerful and powerful states in the world when they existed. Considering that they are all managed from İstanbul, the historical importance and value of the city can be easily understood.

In 1923, after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey has started to regain the old property along with the history of the republic today has found its place among the most important centers of Europe and the Middle East. The city has hosted different civilizations and cultures throughout the ages, preserved the cosmopolitan and metropolitan structure of people of various religions, languages ​​and races for centuries, and has become a unique mosaic in historical time.

Cultural Mosaic of İstanbul

İstanbul has an ethnic and religious population structure throughout history. For this reason, the historical and cultural features of İstanbul are very rich. The main source of this is its deep-rooted history. İstanbul was a region blended with race, ethnic past, language, social class, religious orientation and other cultural elements that make up the multicultural structure. Religious and ethnic diversity, while determining the architectural and cultural identity of the region, on the other hand, led to the emergence of a colorful and active life. You can see traces of various layers of beliefs and lifestyles all over the neighborhood. On the other hand, the city has had many cultural heritage from the prehistoric period until the Republic of Turkey. İstanbul is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as four main titles: Archaeological Park including Hippodrome, Hagia Sophia, Hagia Irene, Little Hagia Sophia Mosque and Topkapı Palace, Suleymaniye Conservation Area, Zeyrek Conservation Area and Historical Walls Conservation Area.

Accommodation in İstanbul is an important issue for people who visit city for different purposes like tourism or business. In İstanbul, close to the city center, it is possible to find world-famous luxury hotels in all-inclusive concept and accommodation options that serve in bed and breakfast, half board and room concepts only. You can stay in İstanbul hotels with pools as well as city hotels suitable for the needs of visitors coming to İstanbul for business and conference purposes. If you want to get away from the city center to north coast of İstanbul and benefit from the beaches, you can choose the boutique hotels in Şile region. You can find a lot of accommodation alternatives in almost all districts of İstanbul. There are world-famous hotel chains like Hilton, Sheraton, Radisson Blue, Ramada, Swissotel, Conrad, Ritz-Carlton, Mövenpick, Holiday Inn, Marriott and Four Seasons.

Marmara climate is seen in İstanbul. Marmara climate shows a transition feature between continental climate, Black Sea climate and Mediterranean climates.  Summers are some hot and dry, winters are generally warm and rainy. In winter, warm lodos from the Mediterranean are followed by cold weather from the Balkans or rainy weather from the Black Sea. The average annual temperature is 13,5 °C. İstanbul is beautiful in all four seasons. The best time to visit İstanbul is May, June, July and August. Find the best hotels in İstanbul in our guide easily.

If you are looking for real estate for sale in İstanbul or real estate for rent in İstanbul, you are on the right page.  The real estate sector is growing fastly in İstanbul. İstanbul is the biggest metropol of Turkey. So, the city much more attractive and preferred for branded housing manufacturers. It is possible to see housing projects of various construction brands in most parts of the city. In İstanbul, where branded housing projects increase, housing prices are valued and rising accordingly.

İstanbul has the highest population in Turkey. Since it does not have a large lands like Ankara, every district of İstanbul is valuable for residential investment. In recent years, housing sales have increased in the developing districts of İstanbul such as Esenyurt, Sancaktepe, Beylikdüzü, Pendik and Başakşehir. Since affordable and luxurious sites are built in these regions, it is preferred by those who want to invest. You can make the most correct investment by examining our ads for apartment options for sale from İstanbul real estate agent. You can also add your listings easily if you are selling or renting a house in different districts of İstanbul.

Do you want to get detailed information about hospitals in İstanbul? If you’re, our special health guide will be helpful for you. In İstanbul, there are 3 city hospital, 18 state hospitals, 24 training and research hospitals, 17 university hospitals and more than 100 private hospitals. Almost all districts have hospitals in different regions of the city. You can get high-quality health services in many health instutitions in İstanbul. Especially, new İstanbul Başakşehir City Hospital, Okmeydanı Prof. Dr. Cemil Taşcıoğlu City Hospital and Kartal Dr. Lütfi Kırdar City Hospital are three of the modern hospitals of the city with their huge capacities.

If we look at the general perspective to İstanbul, the city is located in Marmara Region of Turkey. Thanks to its central location between Asia and the European continents, there are many transportation alternatives for the city. You can reach İstanbul by air, railway, seaway and road transportation. The New İstanbul Airport, located on the European side of the city, is located 54 kilometers from the city center. The second options, İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport, located on the Asian side of the city, is located 50 kilometers from the city center.  You can come to the city center by using Havaist, Havabus and IETT services from the airports to different regions of the city. If you want to come to İstanbul by bus, there are bus services from many cities to İstanbul. You can also go to İstanbul by high-speed train from Ankara, Eskişehir and Konya. It is also possible to reach İstanbul by ferry from Bursa and Yalova.

Road Transportation

For the road transportation concept, İstanbul has the most alternative connections of Turkey with three bridges and important highway connections. You can visit İstanbul by D-100, E-80/O-4 and some other important roads from İzmit, Yalova, Tekirdağ, Kırklareli, Edirne and many other cities. Esenler is the main bus station of İstanbul and it’s located in Bayrampaşa district. You can find direct lines from many cities of Turkey to İstanbul.

Air Transportation

The New İstanbul Airport and İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport are the airports in İstanbul and there are located in Arnavutköy and Pendik districts. It takes about 54 km. from The New İstanbul Airport and 50 km from İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport to the city center, so you can use Havaist, Havabus or IETT services to reach city center from the airport. You can find direct international fligthts from İstanbul to the many countries of the world like from the Middle East to the Balkans, from the South America to the Far East.  Also, you can fly to many domestic cities of Turkey from The New İstanbul Airport and İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport.

Railway Transportation

For the concept of railway transportation, it is possible to reach Ankara, the capital of the Turkey, by high-speed train from İstanbul in 4 hours. It’s too easy to visit İstanbul by high-speed trains from any other cities such as Eskişehir and Konya. You can also reach İstanbul from Kocaeli, Bilecik, Eskişehir and Ankara using the Ankara Express. On the other hand, you can reach İstanbul from Kocaeli by the Marmaray train. If you’re interested, there are some important railway lines from Ankara to the East cities of Turkey like “Doğu Express” and “Kurtalan Express”. You can use these lines by reaching from İstanbul to Ankara by high-speed train. These lines are preferred by touristic purposes generally.

Seaway Transportation

Each side of İstanbul is surrounded by the sea. Therefore, it is possible to reach Istanbul by ferry from nearby cities with sea connection. You can go to İstanbul by ferry from Bursa and Yalova. IDO and BUDO organize sea voyages from Yalova and Bursa to İstanbul every day. On the other hand, İstanbul is an important stopping port for international cruise ships.

Inner-city Transportation

There are metro, light rail system, tramway, metrobus and bus transportation alternatives in İstanbul. You can use all of the districts of the city by public transportation. The metro lines of the city :

M1A – Yenikapı – Atatürk Airport

M1B – Yenikapı – Kirazlı

M2 – Yenikapı – Hacıosman

M3 – Kirazlı – Olimpiyat – Başakşehir

M4 – Kadıköy – Tavşantepe

M5 – Üsküdar – Çekmeköy

M6 – Levent – Boğaziçi University/Hisarüstü

T1 – Kabataş – Bağcılar

T3 – Kadıköy – Moda

T4 – Topkapı – Mescid-i Selam

F1 – Taksim-Kabataş Füniküler

Istanbul Subway Map

You will find the answers of the “Best places to visit in İstanbul” or “Top 10 things to do and see in İstanbul” questions in this guide. Choose your destination, click on the guide and start discovering İstanbul deeply now. İstanbul has a lot of places to visit. First of all, we should start with Historical Peninsula, is the main attraction point of İstanbul. Almost all the must-see places in İstanbul are located here. Historical Peninsula is a popular travel destination especially for foreign visitors in İstanbul with historical palaces, mosques, churches and many other historical monuments dating back to the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. Eminönü and Sirkeci districts are among the most visited districts in the Historical Peninsula. Eminönü Ferry PiersEminönü Square, famous Egyptian BazaarYeni Mosque, historical Sirkeci Train Station and Gülhane Park are the main places you can visit in Eminönü and Sirkeci. Sultanahmet is our another stop in the Historical Peninsula. Historical places such as Topkapı PalaceHagia Sophia MuseumBlue Mosque, Sultanahmet Squareİstanbul Archeology Museums, Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum and Basilica Cistern are among the places to visit in Sultanahmet. The Grand Bazaar and Çemberlitaş in Beyazıt are also another very popular destinations. Taksim Square is the busiest point of İstanbul and it’s a must-see destination. One of the most important centers of daily life in İstanbul, Taksim Square hosts numerous shopping centers and restaurants. The square, which is close to the ever-lively İstiklal Street and the always-active in terms of nightlife and shopping. For more, check out our guide now !

There are 9 state and 40 foundation universites in different districts of İstanbul. For educational perspective, we can say the universities in İstanbul provide world-class education quality in different languages. Especially, Boğaziçi University and ITU are so popular for international academic staff and educational quality worldwide. Find the best university in our guide below.


Enes Sahin

Hello, I am Enes, I write content for Expat Guide Turkey every day. Don't forget to check it out! You can contact me via e-mail

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