Information & Facts
Things to do
City breaks to Istanbul from Dublin create a perfect opportunity to explore a once a hugely important trade route between East and West. The Grand Bazaar has over 4,000 shops where just about everything can be found and haggling is a must. Visit Hagia Sophia, a former cathedral adorned with stunning mosaics and the Blue Mosque, with its towering minarets and domes. Cheap weekend breaks to Istanbul from Ireland are a perfect way to explore The Selimiye Army Barracks and experience The Florence Nightingale Museum. Wander around The Dolmabahce Palace and discover its fashionable architecture encircled by fabulous gardens. One of the best places to eat in Istanbul has to be Karakoy Gullugolu where those who have a sweet tooth will enjoy the array of flavours. Last minute city breaks and short break deals to Istanbul are ideal for taking in the beautiful atmosphere.
In summer the weather in Istanbul is hot and humid, the temperature between June and September averaging 82°F (28°C). Summers are relatively dry, but rain does occur all year round. During winter it is cold, wet and often snowy. Snowfalls tend to be heavy, but temperatures rarely drop as low as freezing point. Istanbul also tends to be a windy city.
Turkish is the official language, but English is widely understood in the main tourist areas.
The official currency is the New Turkish Lira (TRY), which was introduced on 1 January 2005, whereby six zeros were dropped from the TL and the sub-unit New Kurush was created. Currency can be exchanged at banks, exchange booths, post offices, airports and ferry ports; banks have the worst rates and highest commissions, but will exchange lesser known foreign currencies. Banks open mainly Monday to Friday, but some are open daily in tourist areas. ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas, but Turkish ATM keypads usually do not have letters of the alphabet on their keys. Most bank branches have ATMs which accept Cirrus and Plus. Major credit cards are widely accepted; the most popular are Visa or MasterCard, but American Express is accepted in many of the more expensive places. Travellers cheques can be exchanged at some banks and currency exchange offices, but are not as welcome as cash or credit cards. US dollars or Euros are preferred. Some pensions and hotels in the most popular destinations accept US dollars as payment.