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Turkish people are generally friendly, polite and modest, and you will earn their respect if you behave in the same way. If you visit a mosque, wear longer skirts or trousers and long-sleeved tops. Women should also cover their heads. Always remove your shoes when you enter a mosque and a Turkish house or an appointment (there are more than 2,500 mosques in Istanbul) Watch your valuables in crowded locations and don’t leave them in your hotel room. Mugging, bag-snatching and other street crimes are not common in Istanbul, but avoid isolated areas at night.
Read more on this destination in the AA Citypack Guide to Istanbul.
Tourist Office: The most useful office is in Sultanahmet, at the north-eastern end of the Hippodrome.
Embassies and consulates: - UK Consulate, Mesrutiyet Caddesi 34, Tepebasi
Language: Turkish is the language spoken but you are likely to find that many locals speak English and are happy to help you. It would of course be a good idea to familiarise yourself with some of the main phrases.
Passport and Visas: UK visitors need a visa which can be purchased on arrival and is valid for several entries to Turkey over a 3 month period. Obtain your visa before joining the passport line. Fees must be paid in foreign currency.
Insurance: There is NO free healthcare for visitors so make sure you have health insurance.
Customs: Duty free allowances are 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 200g of tobacco; 5 litres of wine or spirits.
Visitors with Disabilities: Istanbul is not an easy city for visitors with disabilities to negotiate. Streets are crowded and uneven, and few public buildings, toilets or transport facilities are wheelchair accessible. There are plans to improve access to buses, trams and ferries, but for the time being provision for visitors with disabilities is limited.
Money Matters: The official currency is the New Turkish Lira (YTL), introduced in 2005. Notes are in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 YTL and coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 kurus and 1 YTL. Euros are widely accepted. there are numerous ATM’s across the city, which accept major credit and debit cards.
Lost Property: Report lost passports to the Tourist Police, Yerebatan Caddesi, Sultanahmet.
Medicines and Medical Treatment: There is NO free healthcare for visitors so make sure you have health insurance. For minor ailments go to a pharmacy. The State Hospital, Taksim Hastanesi (for emergency treatment only), can be located at Siraselviler Caddesi 112, Beyolglu.
Electricity: 220 volts AC, two-pronged round-pin plugs are used.
- 112 - Medical emergencies
- 155 - Police
- 110 - Fire services