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 airport being quite far from the city center, the taxi ride to Taksim or Sultanahmet may cost you a bit; it will be around 300TL for Taksim and 350TL for Sultanahmet.
To find them, get out of the airport and pick one that is in the line. Taxis in Istanbul are yellow or light blue, do not ride in the car of anyone else. Please note that the maximum number of passengers in an Istanbul taxi is 4.
Be careful, not all Istanbul taxis are honest, especially in touristic areas, sometimes they see the tourists as a way to make some extra Turkish Liras, so one advice, always go by the meter and don't try to negotiate!
These are the shuttles belonging to the municipality of Istanbul. You will find them at the exit of the airport. The shuttles operate almost 24/7. It is the best option to reach the city center. The ticket for Taksim costs 52 TL, payable by credit card or "Istanbulkart” and the ride takes about 100 minutes. You will find the machines just in front of the shuttle stop from which you can buy or reload this public transport card which you can then use for all means of transport in town. The shuttle makes several stops on the way, (4.Levent Metro - Zincirlikuyu Metrobus - Beşiktaş - Taksim), most people stop in Taksim.
Once in Taksim Square you can take a taxi or public transport to get to your hotel. To see all the other Havaist trips and fares: http://www.hava.ist/Home/Index_en
İstanbul's second airport, Sabiha Gökçen, is located in the Anatolian side of the city. From Sabiha Gökçen, there are also several ways to get into the city.
There is the Havataş bus service to Kadıköy and Taksim.
Departure Point in Kadıköy is Kadıköy Rıhtım İETT Bus Stops.
It takes approximately 1.5 hours from/to Taksim to/from Sabiha Gökçen and this period may vary according to the traffic density. Routes are as follow;
Departure: Taksim-Beşiktaş- Bosphorus Bridge -Tem Access Road-Sabiha Gökçen Airport
Return: Sabiha Gökçen Airport -Kavacık-FSM Bridge-1.Levent-Zincirlikuyu Metrobus- Dolapdere-Taksim
Ticket Price: 52.50 TRY
You can take the public bus run by IETT. The E10 line goes to Kadıköy. From there you can take a ferry if you plan to continue to the European side
For more information about Sabiha Gökçen transportation, please click here.
For more information about how to transport within the city, please click here.
Istanbul falls in the Eastern European Time Zone. Eastern European Standard Time (EET) is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+3).
The Turkish Lira is the official currency of Turkey. Bank notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 TL. Coins come in the amounts of 1, 5, 10 and 25 Kuruş and 1 Lira.
ATMs can be found all around the country. All of them offer foreign language options and pay out Turkish liras. Cash withdrawal limits vary from bank to bank and are around 800 TL to 1.500 TL.
Foreign exchange offices, which are known as "döviz bürosu" can be found throughout the country. Operating hours are mostly Monday to Friday, from 09:00 to 17:00. In the arrivals section of Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen Airport, there are 24-hour exchange offices. Also the exchange offices located in shopping malls and touristic areas are open later and on Saturdays. US Dollars and Euros are accepted in highly touristic districts like Sultanahmet and Taksim but rates are often not competitive.
Credit cards are widely used and accepted. Visitors can use their Visa and Mastercards but Amex and Diner's are often not accepted.
Traveller's cheques can be changed at banks or post offices. Note that you'll need to have a valid passport with you.
There is a lot to be seen in Istanbul and Turkey. A selection of tours will be available throughout the congress including the famous sites at the Historical Peninsula -also known as the Old City- and the Bosphorus cruises. The Aegean, Anatolian and Mediterranean sections of Turkey are also packed with archaeological sites of varying ancient civilizations and can be visited in the offered pre and post congress tours.
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 centre of Turkey; and there are restaurants of many nationalities such as Korean, Russian, Italian, and Chinese. American-style fast-food outlets are becoming more popular, but for a quick snack it is more appropriate to fill up at the plethora of tiny takeaways offering kebabs and snacks. It is easy to sample good quality regional cuisine in typical small restaurants, usually at low cost, especially in the commercial and business areas.
Turkey's electrical system operates on 220 volts, 50 Hz, with round-prong European-style plugs that fit into recessed wall sockets. You will need a voltage converter, and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.
Registration fees do not include the insurance of participants against personal accidents, sickness and cancellations by any party, theft, loss or damage to personal possessions. Participants are advised to take out adequate personal insurance to cover travel, accommodation, cancellation and personal effects.
It is recommended to have a travel insurance policy with a full medical coverage before traveling. Note that in some cases, a Europe-only travel insurance policy does not cover you on the Asian side of İstanbul.
Famed as the City of a Thousand Colours 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 8:00 to 21:00 from Monday to Saturday. The Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar open their gates at 8:00 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.
Service charges are included in the cost of all goods and services. Although it is not mandatory, a small tip is customary for good service. As a guideline, add about 10% to the total bill. When paying by credit card, a cash tip is preferred.