Istanbul City Guide Everything You Need to Know about Istanbul

istanbul city guide

Istanbul is a world center of great importance swerving as a bridge between the past and present. The city embraces Asia on the one hand and Europe on the other. As the most populous city of Turkey, Istanbul is the cultural and financial center of the nation. Located on both sides of the Bosphorus, the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, the city is globally recognized as the point where the two major continents Europe and Asia meet both geographically and culturally. With its historical peninsula, numerous scenic and historical sites, Istanbul constitutes a unique city that has been the capital of many civilizations from past to present and still is a home of one of the most diverse populations in the world.


The city today known as Istanbul has been the site of human settlement for over three thousand years approximately. Thracian tribes founded a settlement here; its earliest known name was Lygos. Initially founded by the Thracian tribes, the earliest known name of Istanbul was Lygos.  After getting colonized by Greece, the city of Byzantion was established in the 7th century BC. Expanding the ancient Greek colony of Byzantium by the order of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, the imperial city of Constantinople for nearly a thousand years was the last remaining outpost of the Roman Empire.

This settlement was finally conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in 1453, an event that marked the end of the middle-ages. By the end of 1500, Istanbul, with a population of almost half a million, was already a major cultural, political, and commercial center. The Ottoman rule continued until its defeat in WWI and the city’s occupation by the allied forces. The Republic of Turkey was born in 1923 after the War of Independence. Today with a population of 14 million, modern Istanbul is a culmination of all these cultures and their histories coming together with a post-industrialization European influence.

Districts in Istanbul

Geographically, Istanbul is segregated into three parts by the north-south Bosphorus Strait, the estuary of the Golden Horn bisecting the western part and the Sea of Marmara forms a boundary to the south. Most sights are concentrated in the old city on the peninsula of Sultanahmet, to the west of the Bosphorus between the Horn and the Sea. The Grand Bazaar will enchant you with its bright and pleasant environment and the famous Hagia Sophia mosque exudes a sense of peace.

Property For Sale: Marmara Sea View Apartments In Beylikduzu

A tour of the pearl of the Bosporus, Ortaköy, will let you enjoy the delightful views along the deep blue coast. Across the Horn to the north are Galata, Beyoğlu, and Taksim, the heart of modern Istanbul, while Kadıköy is the major district on the comparatively less-visited Anatolian side of the city. The Black Sea forms the northern boundary of Istanbul.

Living In Istanbul

Istanbul – the epicenter of the Turkish economy, has always been one of the most popular provinces in the country where both locals and foreigners choose to invest. The keeps expanding with new construction and developments, neighborhoods that were once known as the best areas to buy have now been replaced by new districts. This transformation has occurred over decades, thanks to new developments and construction projects in the region.

These urban transformation projects and transportation infrastructure are among some of the many attractive reasons that draw the most attention of investors and provide promising long-term profit potential due to capital gains and rental yields. According to recent reports, Istanbul is also the most preferred city to get citizenship by foreign investors due to new regulations. It is where foreigners investing in Turkey also enjoy the advantage of Turkish citizenship. In lieu of new regulations made by the Turkish government, buying a property has become significantly easier for foreign nationals. Today. They can easily find their dream home in Istanbul and purchase it with no hassle.

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Some of the major projects that were recently announced in Istanbul include – Kanal Istanbul, 3rd Bridge Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, 3rd İstanbul Airport, and the Northern Marmara Motorway. These projects have significantly drawn attention towards the northern part of the city and have offered investors a new opportunity to invest big in Istanbul. The interconnection and inflow of these projects have created new traction, a kind of investment trend in Istanbul. Based on the strategic position of the cities geographically and their vantage points, we at MUB REAL ESTATE have characterized three zones that can help you with your investment journey.

Zone 1:

The first zone comprises districts Sisli, Besiktas, and Kagithane. The districts are well known for their city centers, business centers, and high-end apartment buildings. The property investment in their region is known to offer the highest return rate in Istanbul. Businesses and foreign ex-pats moving to Istanbul can avail of great deals for their commercial spaces in addition to investing in new and upcoming properties in the area.

Kağıthane was one of the districts with the highest sales and highest price increases in the last three years. Because it is on the bridge roads connecting the two sides, close to the workplaces due to its central location and the transition to Taksim with the last tunnel projects, the transportation takes less time. Mahmutbey-Mecidiyeköy metro line will make transportation between districts much easier. Due to these transportation projects, an increase in housing prices and demand for real estate projects are expected.

Zone 2:

Zone 2 of Istanbul’s topography is comprised of districts namely Bakasehir, Bagcilar, Fatih, and Bakirkoy. This part of Istanbul’s property market is popular for family living, with relatively smaller homes and properties than zone 1. The market offers a medium return on investment made in the real estate of the region.

Başakşehir is located in a commercial area and promises good investment opportunities, despite being far from central business centers. Atatürk Olympic Stadium, the big Health Center, and other investment projects in Başakşehir support this opportunity. With the completion of the Otogar-Bağcılar-Başakşehir-Olimpiyatköy metro line, new real estate projects are also increasing, and the area has high value.

Zone 3:

The third zone of Istanbul’s real estate market comprises cities like Esenyurt, Beylikduzu, and Avicilar. The region is exceptionally known for its high living, family life, green areas, bigger and affordable housing projects.  Beylikdüzü is one of the other regions with the highest value increase. The most important reason for this is the quality of the investment projects and transportation projects. With the Bakırköy-Avcılar-Esenyurt-Beylikdüzü-Büyükçekmece metro line, transportation has been greatly simplified and therefore the price increase is expected to continue.

Esenyurt has always been a valuable region because of its location and continues to maintain its value and sales interest. Especially the Sultangazi and Bağcılar provinces, which are increasing in terms of investment value and profit thanks to their new, quality real estate projects. Esenyurt is close to all transportation means and offers the potential for returns on investment and rental yields.

Zone 4: 

The Asian side of Istanbul’s real estate market is the holy grail of commercial investment. With cities like Atasehir, Kadikoy, Uskusar, Umraniye, the rates, return and the concentration of investment opportunities are all skyrocketed.

Located in Asian Side, Kadıköy is the most preferred area for investment. Because of its proximity to the European side, easy transportation thanks to the metro line and short distance to places such as Acıbadem and Bağdat Street, Kadıköy offers the potential for capital gains and attractive rental yields. Average sales in the district are rising with urban transformation projects, especially branded real estate projects. Beşiktaş, Sarıyer, and Bakırköy have become some of the most expensive areas in the past three years, with prices expected to continue to rise.

Ataşehir is improving its quality with real estate projects, especially in West Ataşehir where prices are increasing in value. With the recent Istanbul Financial Center project, both housing and commercial property sales have increased. The brand-new vogue finance center is also one of the biggest global investment attraction of the finance district of Atasehir.

With the Financial Center and Üsküdar-Ümraniye-Çekmeköy metro line projects, Ümraniye has enjoyed an increase in demand and prices. The area offers potential for return on investment given the new infrastructure and upcoming projects.

Places to Visit in Istanbul

Maiden’s Tower

Maidens Tower

Sitting at the Bosphorus southern entrance is the Byzantine Maiden’s tower. Its widespread popularity can be witnessed as the tower features majorly on Turkish postcards and tourism websites thanks to a local urban legend.

Blue Mosque

blue mosque

The Blue mosque also called Sultan Ahmed Camii which is functioning place of worship and one of major tourist attractions of Istanbul.  The mosque is known as the Blue Mosque because of blue tiles surrounding the walls of interior design.

Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia is originally a Byzantine church built in the sixth century, was converted into a mosque in 1453. It became a symbol of the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul by Mehmed II, also known as the conqueror. The building owes its splendor to the Ottoman architect of Armenian origin, Mimar Sinan.

 Bosphorus Bridge

The Bosphorus Bridge, officially known as the 15 July Martyrs Bridge is one of the three suspension bridges spanning the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul.  connecting Europe and Asia (alongside Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge. The gravity anchored suspension bridge extends between Ortaköy in Europe and Beylerbeyi in Asia.

Dolmabahçe Palace

Turkey’s biggest palace which was Built to belie the military and financial decline of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul’s first European-style palace was an opulent one, excessive in size and filled with gold and crystal.

Visa Requirements

To enter Istanbul, or Turkey for that matter, most tourists will need some kind of visa. However, there are a few visa types, several ways to obtain your visa, and different fees to pay. It all depends on your passport type, country of origin, and the purpose of your visit. Follow these four steps to determine the easiest and cheapest way to get your visa for Istanbul. Turkish Passport Visa Free Countries List 2021

Best time to visit Istanbul

The best times to visit Istanbul are from March to May and between September and November. That’s when crowds at the city’s are favorable, you can find average accommodation rates and daytime temperatures generally sit in the 60 and 70.  June and August are peak seasons and accommodation prices increase to match the demand from incoming tourists. Although, December through February, are the cheapest months to visit, but Istanbul’s rainy, snowy and chilly conditions will require you to carry cold weather attire and lug an umbrella during your stay.

Read more: 15 Best Places To Visit In Turkey


The city of Istanbul is well-connected by all airways, road and waterways. There are several private, as well as public buses. The metro buses have also been introduced recently that run on separate lanes, considerably reducing the travel time. These buses have good frequency and some buses even run for 24 hours a day. Istanbul also has an efficient five-line underground metro system.  In certain parts it is under development to extend its services in broader networks. The city also has a vast taxi network which is used by several locals and travellers as an economical way to get around and shared taxis cost even lesser. Most of the taxi drivers stick to metre rates and can speak basic English.


For tourists, Istanbul’s weather is perfect as it is a year-round destination. The season of Spring that lasts from March to May sees temperatures climb steadily with the average high going from 11°C (52°F) in March to 20°C (68°F) in May. As the temperature goes up, rainfall also decreases as the season progresses. Ideally, April and May are perfect times to visit Istanbul.

Job Opportunities in Istanbul

Job Market Istanbul

With strict employment laws and a population with a very low English proficiency, Turkish job opportunities for overseas workers are mainly limited to teaching English and the tourism industry.

Turkey is a nation of diverse cultural heritage, situated at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. Home to beautiful architecture, stunning national parks and many points of interest, it’s the sights which draw many to the country.

While the usually thriving tourism industry has suffered a downturn in recent years, due to political turmoil and growing uncertainty around the region, there have been signs of a recovery and it still plays an important role in Turkey’s economy.

Where Turkey Stands Now in terms of employment opportunities?

Despite its status as an advanced developing nation, the Turkish economy is facing a sharp slowdown due to a recent currency and debt crisis, as it struggles to maintain its rapid expansion.

The unemployment rate for the country’s 82.7 million inhabitants reached 13.5 percent in December 2018, with only manufacturing, construction, and the services sectors reporting any growth.

Its top exports are vehicles and machinery (including computers), which brought in a combined total of around £32billion in 2018 while accounting for a quarter of all Turkish exports for the year.

The capital city of Ankara, as well as the country’s employment and international relations hub Istanbul, are the focal points of Turkish business.

What jobs are demand in Turkey?

  • Engineering
  • Finance
  • IT
  • Sales
  • Supply chain management

Analysis of Istanbul’s Labour Market

As 99.8 percent of the Turkish population is Muslim, according to government figures, religious holidays are of great importance.

Two Islamic festivals, a three-day celebration of the end of Ramadan and the four-day Feast of Sacrifice, accompany the seven Turkish national holidays.

Working hours cannot exceed 45 per week and are typically divided up evenly across six days. Technically speaking, there’s no standard working week – most businesses will open 8.30am to 5.30pm, with earlier start and finishing times during the summer months.

Entitlement to paid annual leaves starts after a year’s service in any job, with 14 days available at one to five years’ service, increasing in stages to 26 days for 15-plus years of service.

Healthcare in Istanbul

International standard Heath care in Istanbul

Turkey as a current regional leading provider of healthcare services. Renowned as the healthcare destination with superior technological advances, Istanbul healthcare industry provides its services to over a thousand of patients both locally and from neighboring countries of middle east and Europe. The industry is known for attaining medical superiority and solid expertise to create a foundation for quality care for patients.

The expansion in the healthcare sector is being led by private healthcare institutions. There is also considerable potential in the medical devices market as Turkey strives to decrease its dependency on imports. With considerable potential for growth, the Istanbul’s healthcare sector provides a vast number of investment opportunities.

Healthcare Tourism and its Evolution

Attracting close to 130,000 people every year from across the globe for medical treatment, Istanbul has firmly asserted its authority and ability in the health tourism department, giving impetus to the Turkish government to force the issue and pump further funds and resources into improving amenities at an unprecedented rate.

World-Class Facilities

The medicine industry in the city is self-sufficient with regard to the domestic and international sectors for treatment. This ensures that tourists visiting from countries abroad don’t have waiting periods for treatments.

Istanbul, highly regarded for dental treatment, hair transplants, cosmetic surgery, offers incredible facilities at surprisingly low rates, making it the prime destination for patients seeking medical attention in such areas. Almost all hospitals in the city have a dedicated cosmetic surgery wing.  

Certified Staff and Hospitals

With almost all hospitals in the Turkey ISO 2001 certified and 47 Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited hospitals, Istanbul’s private medical infrastructure is a well-built option in the global medical tourism arena. The certification of the amenities ensures the maintenance of a certain standard.

Hospitals in Istanbul

Depending on your current healthcare situation, you can either go to the emergency service or polyclinics (outpatient Clinics) of hospitals. There are 190 Hospitals in Istanbul, and 52 of them are belonging to the Minister of Health. This means it is easy to find a hospital in any district of Istanbul. Remember there are differences between public hospitals and private hospitals, basically in terms of comfort and cost. There is no significant difference between public and private Hospitals regarding treatment.

Firstly, public hospitals are much less comfortable than private ones. Private hospitals can be compared to luxury hotels in this regard. In addition, most healthcare professionals of private hospitals can speak English. Therefore, foreigners often feel more comfortable in private hospitals. Additionally, you don’t wait in long queues in private hospitals, while you may spend hours in a queue in public hospitals. Secondly, the treatment expenses of private hospitals and public hospitals are quite different.

In public hospitals, you don’t need to pay any money at all if you have Health Insurance. The only thing you have to pay is the cost of your medication and a contribution margin that differs from 6 TL to 10 TL according to the hospital.  However, in private hospitals, you have to pay for every medication and procedure applied to you. Compare to public hospitals, private hospitals are very pricy. In some cases, you may pay a small fortune to afford the treatment in private hospitals.

Investment opportunities in Istanbul

Turkey is a high-growth market for many investments and businesses and one of the countries that has a high score on the ease of doing business index. Istanbul is its largest city and it is considered by many as the commercial capital of Turkey. Moreover, the government encourages entrepreneurs who want to do business in Turkey and people who are willing to invest in new projects by making the procedures quick and affordable.

Why Invest in Istanbul?

There is a saying that if the world were one country then Istanbul would be its capital. One doesn’t need to be a business genius to know that Istanbul is hub for business and investment. It is the largest city in Europe and one of the largest cities in the world. Business in Turkey is booming, even though the economy in Turkey is going through some challenges. Now is the best time to invest in Turkey. If you are thinking about buying property in Turkey, now is the time to do it. There are endless personal and commercial real estate options available in Istanbul right now at reasonable prices.

Invest In Real Estate-Property Investment

In the past few years, property prices in Turkey have gone very high due to the high level of inflation. But for foreign investors, the opportunities are attractively priced. Property investment in Turkey, specifically Istanbul, is proven to have the highest potential of return of investment. And this has encouraged a rise in foreign purchases, primarily by buyers from Gulf countries. Investors have a wide range of choices in prices and locations that generate handsome rental incomes.

For more information on real estate investment in Istanbul, visit or

Major Areas of Investment in Istanbul

Constantly growing with new construction and developments, neighborhoods that were once known as the best areas to buy have been replaced by new districts. The change occurs due to new developments and construction projects. Urban transformation projects and transportation infrastructure are among a few of the attractive reasons that attract the most attention of investors and provide long-term profit potential due to capital gains and rental yields. 

Istanbul is also the most preferred city to get citizenship by foreign investors because of the new regulations. That’s why foreigners who want to make an investment in Turkey use the advantage of Turkish citizenship. Buying a property is also very easy and the Turkish government made new regulations on the rules that enable foreigners to buy property in Turkey, so you can find your dream home in Istanbul and purchase it with no problem.

Major projects recently announced: Kanal Istanbul, 3rd Bridge Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, 3rd İstanbul Airport, and the Northern Marmara Motorway. These projects direct attention to the northern part of the city and offer investors a new opportunity. The interconnection of these projects has created a new investment trend in Istanbul.

Investment Resources for Investors

Turkey Currency

It is no secret that the local currency in Turkey, the Turkish Lira has suffered major losses over the past few years. However, Turkey is still a major influencer in the region and globally. Regardless of its economic and political woes it is not going to fall down and vanish. Turkey can only get better. As a country rich in natural resources and with the ability to produce high-quality manufactured products, Turkey will most probably be an economic superpower in the years to come. This country has stood the test of time.

In the past, the people that ruled over this land were always dominant players on the world stage. Today is no exception. Therefore, now is the time for you to capitalize on the weak Lira. This is probably your best chance to exploit the opportunity of foreign investment in Turkey. Also, the Turkish government is currently providing many residences and even citizenship options for people who are interested in living in Turkey. These options may not always be available.

Travel and Tourism

Turkey has become one of the top travel destinations and most visited countries in the world with more than 45 million visitors according to a recent ranking by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. And this is the reason why a travel agency would be a great business opportunity. Your investment in tourism can provide accommodation, transport services, and travel packages. Opening a tourism agency will require going through some regulations and procedures to register a company in Istanbul, a thing that can be very stressful if you are not familiar with the process.

In case you cannot afford to start your own company in Istanbul, there is another form of business to provide travel services to tourists. Being a personal travel guide is an easy way to start a tourism agency with no investment. You can provide essential services to tourists, such as helping them book their hotels and flights, or arranging for sightseeing and taxi services.

Real Estate in Istanbul

Istanbul is a very popular destination among foreigners who want to buy real estate property in the countryside, big cities, or coastal areas. The average price for a square meter ranges between $ 435 US and $ 2200 US depending on the district and the region.

The Turkish citizenship act of 2018 also comes as a great advantage for foreign property investors where they can avail the country’s citizenship through a minimum of 250000 $ property investment.

This is where MUB Real estate comes into the picture as one of the best real estate and property management partners. As you navigate your options for the best property investment in Istanbul, MUB can be your one-stop shop for finding and finalizing your desired property. The company also offers services in the form of advisory, consultation, property management, citizenship application, and legalities. Explore a wide range of luxury as well as budget properties through MUB’s extensive database and get your process of property investment started.

Istanbul is a land of opportunities and great potential, if you are business owner who plans on venturing into Turkish economy, Istanbul is  the place to begin. If you are a traveler in pursuit of a vacations and sight-seeing, Istanbul has everything for you as well. From a haven of heritage buildings, to cultural diversity and a fertile ground for lucrative ventures, Istanbul is the destination that gives big. This guide serves the purpose of answering some of the vital factors that you need to know before moving or  travelling to Istanbul.

For more information and insight on the city, visit

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