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Istanbul visit in December 2019

Planning a visit to Istanbul in December 2019 for 1 week, with so many negative travel advisories it is getting confusing if we should move forward with the trip.
Could someone presently visiting Istanbul respond to this request to let us know how things are at the moment ?

Tourist Visa requirements for Canadian citizens , do you have to apply for tourist visa in advance or is it available on arrival ?

Also since December is going to be a cold month could someone recommend a good hotel for seniors in the central area close to everything including good Turkish food ?

Best way to commute from airport to hotel ?

Quick response will be much appreciated.

Thank you

Posted by
16883 posts

The Turkish government prefers you to process your easy visa application online at least 48 hours in advance of arrival:

Istanbul's new airport has bus service into the city:

Anything can happen in a big city, but the security alerts I've seen really apply to other, less visited areas of the country. The Canadian version suggests that you "exercise a high degree of caution," which is different from avoiding to travel:

Posted by
21 posts

By all means go! i just returned and was the the week the U.S. started threating Turkish gov.. The Turkish citizens were very kind to me. Politics and its people as they told me --not the same. From the airport take a taxi. It is worth the ease of travel after a long flight. If you staty at a high end hotel they will send a driver at a decent price.

Dec. will be cold so check your weather app. Gets windy too. Close to all the great monuments is the Sultuanhmet area.Get a hotel with elevator. You will like it. Istanbul is Lots of walking and cobble stone streets but worth it. If walking is hard hire a driver. Pay attention a million places to trip but it is a beautiful city.

You will not have problem finding good Turkish food if you dont eat at hotels. Near the Grand Bazaar are lots of places where you can see the food in the window. Point and be surprised. It can be spicy but not hot unless you ask. I love Sultanahmet Koftecisi on Divan Yolu. It is the street with the street cars across the street from the park near the Blue Mosque. Established 1920 and family run. Sit upstairs if there is room.
Enjoy. Buy a suitcase to bring home spices and pottery you cannot get it anywhere as good. Go to a turkish bath, so much fun.

Posted by
83 posts

If Mexico is safer, then Turkey is 10 times safer than it surely and absolutely.

Posted by
8293 posts

The hotel we stayed at in the Sultanhamet area was the Empress Zoe. We were very happy there but there is no elevator if that would be a problem. Only 3 storeys though, as I remember. Close to much of interest.

Posted by
433 posts

I am staying at the Darussaade in Istanbul next year.

It's very near all the major sites and there is a restaurant on site. I recommend booking directly with the hotel.

I have stayed at the Hotel Divalis in the past - excellent hosts and hotel but no elevator. Also about 10 minutes walk to the major sites like the Blue Mosque and Aga Sofia.

Posted by
159 posts

I just returned from 4 weeks in Istanbul. The political issues are not a problem for tourists. I strongly suggest you go. Bring an umbrella and shoes you can wear in the rain. I recommend the Antik Hotel in the Sültanahmet area. Very close to most major historical sights. The Antik Hotel has a wonderful restaurant that is definitely worth going to even if you don’t stay at the hotel. Go for brunch on the weekend or for lunch since the views are amazing. Food and service are great. Prices are reasonable for a restaurant of this level since the US dollar is very strong. Additionally, there is an ancient cistern in the basement of this hotel. After your meal, ask to see it and they will take you downstairs!

To get to the Sültanahmet area from the airport, take HavaIst bus number 20 from the lower level of the arrivals area in the airport. Cost is 18 TL per person (a bit over $3). They use very comfortable buses.