April in Istanbul is the start of spring, with longer, warmer days. The average temperature for the month is 12°C, with highs of a very reasonable 16°C. The temperature does fall significantly overnight and visitors can expect lows of around 8°C. Startup Turkey is an indoor event, but if you want to see Istanbul on your free time, keep in mind that during autumn there is a sufficient chance of rain, so adding a raincoat or an umbrella to your outfit is recommended.
Depending on your nationality, a visa may be required to enter Turkey.
If you use regular passport, Turkey doesn’t require visa for 90 days of stay from these countries: Germany, Argentina, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Morocco, Finland, France, South Korea, Hong Kong, Honduras, Iran, Israel, Sweden, Swiss, Iceland, Japan, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Nicaragua, San Marino, Singapore, Chile, Trinidad-Tobago, Tunis, Uruguay, Vatican, New Zealand, Greece
If you are not from one of these countries, you can apply for e-visa using the following link. E-visa is fully online system and works the same way as regular visa. You can apply, pay and get your visa online and use printed copy of the e-visa on the Turkish border.
Turkey uses standard continental round two-pin plugs, both earthed and unearthed. The domestic electricity supply is 220v AC, 50Hz.
Turkey’s official currency is Turkish Lira (TRY). Many hotels quote rates in Euro or Dollar but will charge you in Turkish Lira on your bill.
ATMs are common in Istanbul and usually offer instructions in English, French and German.
You can use Google “1 x currency to TRY” to learn daily currency rates.
There are 24-hour exchange offices (döviz bürosu) in the arrival halls at Atatürk International Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport that offer rates, comparable to those offered by bureau in the city.
Most hotels, car-rental agencies, shops, pharmacies, entertainment venues and restaurants will accept Visa and MasterCard. Amex is less-widely accepted and Diner is rarely accepted.
Local taxis and basic eateries such as “pide, kebap and börek restaurants” usually only accept cash. So, keeping some cash with you is recommended.
A taxi from the airport to the city center will cost approximately 50 TL (Turkish Lira) and the ride will take between 30-90 minutes (depending on the traffic). Always schedule extra time to get to the airport and try to avoid rush hour, when possible (7.30-9.30am and 5.00-7.30pm).
If you are looking for special transportation, you can use SecureDrive.
The major bus stands are at Taksim Square, Beşiktaş, Aksaray, Rüstempaşa (Eminönü), Kadıköy and Üsküdar and most services run between 6.30am and 11.30pm. For buses you need to purchase an Istanbulkart.
It is probably the fastest way to get to Taksim Square if you have a metro station near to you.
You can use the tram when getting around in the historical area. It runs from Sultanahmet and Eminönü, and then across the Galata Bridge to Karaköy (to connect with the Tünel) and Kabataş (to connect with the funicular to Taksim Square). Trams run every five minutes from 6am to midnight. Istanbulkart or tickets can be used. A two-stop antique tram runs along İstiklal Caddesi between Tünel and Taksim Squares in Beyoğlu.
The most enjoyable way to get around town is by ferry. Crossing between the Asian and European shores, these vessels are as efficient as they are popular with locals. IDO and Şehir Hatları have fare and timetable information or you can pick up a printed timetable at any of the ferry docks.
Tipping in restaurants and hotels is optional yet expected. Some restaurants add a 10% service charge to their bills. If not added, you can tip 10-15%. Taxi drivers do not expect a tip, but it is usual to round up the fare. Make sure that your journey is on the taximeter and do not accept the offer of a ‘fixed price’.