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How to Stay Safe in Istanbul

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How to Stay Safe in Istanbul

Istanbul offers some of the most amazing tourist attractions in the world, but there are a few things that visitors to the city should be aware of in order to ensure that they stay safe throughout their trip. Despite its physical beauty and historical magnificence, Istanbul can be a dangerous place for tourists ‒ with petty crime and pickpocketing being the most common hazards. As a result, it is essential for tourists to take a few extra precautions in order to stay safe during their time in Istanbul.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the top tips and tricks for staying safe in Istanbul, including advice on what to do and what not to do in the city.

Common Threats in Istanbul

When it comes to staying safe in Istanbul, it is important to be mindful of the various threats that can arise. The most common forms of crime in Istanbul are: pickpocketing, group/solo scams and harassment/violence. It is also important to be aware of other potential risks such as terrorism and political instability, although these are far less common.

Top Tips for Travellers

Here are some tips and tricks that travellers should follow in order to stay safe in Istanbul:

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times and be sure to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash around and try to use a credit or debit card as much as possible.
  • Don’t leave your belongings unattended as they could easily be stolen.
  • Be especially vigilant when travelling on public transport.
  • Be sure to have all necessary contact details (including your embassy’s) on hand just in case.
  • Avoid walking alone late at night and consider taking taxis instead.
  • Be mindful of your dress code – avoid wearing clothes that make you stand out too much.
  • Don’t engage in conversations with strangers and don’t trust anyone until they have proven themselves trustworthy.
  • Keep photocopies of travel documents such as passport, visa, travel insurance papers etc.
  • Take out travel insurance before your trip so that you are covered should anything unfortunate happen.

Travelling Smartly

When travelling to Istanbul, it is important to plan your itinerary ahead of time so that you know exactly where you are going. It is advisable to avoid taking risks such as visiting unusual places or entering into unfamiliar or sketchy areas. If you need directions or advice, it is best to ask someone at a nearby restaurant or café ‒ avoid asking strangers or people that appear shady. When travelling in public transport such as buses and metro trains, it is important to keep close watch of your items as pickpocketing is particularly common here. Additionally, it is advisable to keep your valuables locked away out of sight.

Political Instability & Terrorism

Although Turkey is more secure than it used to be, there can still be safety concerns due to political instability and terrorism. As a result, it is advisable to avoid demonstrating any political opinions or taking part in any political activities while travelling in Turkey. The government has also put out warnings about the potential risk of terrorist attacks in some parts of the country, particularly in heavily populated areas such as Istanbul. Therefore, it is best to stay informed about local news and tackle safety concerns before travelling.


Overall, Istanbul is a wonderful destination with plenty of amazing sights and activities to enjoy. However, visitors should take extra care to take precautions in order to stay safe during their trip. Be wary of petty crime such as pickpocketing, avoid engaging in conversations with strangers and keep your valuables out of sight at all times. Additionally, travellers should be vigilant about any political instability or terrorist activity that may exist in the area and be sure to keep themselves informed about these issues before travelling.
For more information on safety advice and precautions while visiting Turkey, please visit the United States Department Of State – Country Information page for Turkey.

The Insider’s Guide to Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey is a dynamic city with a rich history and an impressive mix of cultures. With this guide, you’ll discover some of the city’s hidden gems and local favorites that will help you explore Istanbul beyond the tourist crowds.

Local Attractions

While the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace are iconic landmarks, Istanbul is filled with lesser-known gems that locals adore. Start your day with a scrumptious breakfast at Bebek Kahve, a charming café in the Bebek neighborhood. Visit the Fener and Balat neighborhoods, and experience the world-renowned Orthodox Patriarchate and the colorful narrow streets.

Another place to visit is the Forum Istanbul Shopping and Entertainment Center. It might not be the typical historical site to go to, but it’s a covered mall with waterfalls, aquariums, street performers, and also a popular spot for locals and tourists.

Dining Spots

Istanbul is known for its diverse cuisine, and you can’t leave the city without trying the traditional lamb kebabs, balik ekmek (Turkish fish sandwich), and Baklava. As for authentic Turkish cuisine, locals prefer Ciya Sofrasi, a family-owned restaurant run by Chef Musa Dagdeviren, who uses traditional Anatolian recipes and fresh ingredients.

For a real treat, visit Lokum Istanbul, a café devoted to Turkish Delight, or Kumpiristan, a restaurant where you can try Kumpir, a dish made of baked potatoes, meat, salad, and cheese. Istanbul’s street food scene is also impressive, so don’t miss a chance to try the simit, a sesame bagel, or the stuffed mussels sold in numerous food carts.

Cultural Experiences

Istanbul is a city rich in history, art, and culture. One must-see spot is the Chora Museum, a Byzantine church that has been converted into a museum, exhibiting some of the most intricate mosaics and frescoes surviving from the Byzantine era. A great experience to witness is the Whirling Dervishes performance at the Galata Mevlevi Museum.

During summer, you can experience the International Istanbul Music Festival, featuring world-class performances from classical, jazz, and world music artists. To witness the traditional side of Istanbul, visitors shouldn’t miss the Saturday markets held in several neighborhoods. You can taste various local street foods, purchase Turkish souvenirs, and experience the colorful Turkish culture.

Local History

Istanbul is a city that has lived through different empires, civilizations, and historical events. A fascinating attraction is the Basilica Cistern, once used for storing water for the Great Palace. To this day, visitors can witness the Medusa heads pedestals in the dark and damp underground location.

Another recommended place to visit is the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, which showcases over a million artistic, historical, and cultural artifacts, including mosaics, sarcophagi, and ancient coins.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Suggestions

Visitors should take a ferry ride from the old city to the Asian side of Istanbul, which offers a different perspective. Take a walk in the Kadikoy neighborhood of the Asian side, which is famous for its historic market, fishmongers, and trendy cafes, making for a unique experience.

The Prince’s Islands are located just a few hours away from the city center, and it’s worth visiting Burgazada, inhabited by fishermen and Greek Islanders. Cycling or taking a horse carriage are idyllic ways to explore, and you can immerse yourself in some of the fantastic beaches and hidden trails.

Istanbul is a city that captivates visitors with its iconic landmarks, history, and culture, but it’s also less known spots and hidden gems. With the tips and tricks from this insider’s guide, visitors can enjoy Istanbul beyond the cliche tourist attractions and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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How to Stay Safe in Istanbul

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!