Istanbul has always been a meeting place, a crosspoint and a destination. With the Ataturk Istanbul International Airport, getting to and from Istanbul has never been easier. With a capacity of far over 25 million travelers per year Istanbul is surprisingly within reach - in fact, it's less than a three-hour flight from most European cities. Located at the crossroads of East and West, Istanbul offers easy air connections.
Recommended airport is the Atatürk International Airport. It is located on European side of the city and serves domestic and international scheduled and charter flights 24 hours a day. It is located 24 km west of the city centre. The Ataturk International Airport is served by more than 50 major airlines to hundreds of cities around the world. There are direct flights from over 130 international airports to Istanbul.
In addition to Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul has a second airport located on the Asian side of the city, Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, which is an important arrival point especially for charter and cargo flights and special events.
The city is reachable via ship from Italy, Greece, and other Mediterranean countries, and is in addition a major port of call for cruise lines and chartered yachts. Via land, several rail lines connect Turkey to neighboring countries as well as many bus lines which easily and affordably connect Istanbul to other cities across Turkey, Europe and the Middle East.
Highways represent another increasingly viable alternative to getting in and out of Istanbul.
Airport Transport to /from City Center (Taksim Area)
Most flights arrive at İstanbul Atatürk Airport, which is located 20 km west of the city centre. From this airport, there are several ways to get into İstanbul.
Havataş Shuttle Services are provided at every half hour from 4 am to 1am from both stops (Atatürk Airport & Taksim) mutually. It takes approximately 40 minutes and this period may vary according to the traffic density.
Departure Point in Taksim is across Divan Hotel, in front of Point Hotel. Routes are as follow;
Departure: Taksim-Aksaray-Coast Road-Atatürk Airport
Return: Atatürk Airport- Coast Road -Bakırköy-Yenikapı-Aksaray(Marmaray)-Taksim
Ticket Price: ₺ 11
You may visit www.havatas.com for the timetable
Private transfer could be booked through the conference secretariat.
The 96T city bus operated by IETT also goes downtown but has fewer departure times.
A taxi currently costs around 40 TL to go to Taksim.
The Metroline is located inside the airport and connects with the city's transit system.
İstanbul's second airport, Sabiha Gökçen, is located in the Anatolian side of the city. From Sabiha Gökçen, there are also several ways to get into the city.
There is the Havataş bus service to Kadıköy and Taksim.
Departure Point in Kadıköy is Kadıköy Rıhtım İETT Bus Stops.
It takes approximately 1.5 hours from/to Taksim to/from Sabiha Gökçen and this period may vary according to the traffic density. Routes are as follow;
Departure: Taksim-Beşiktaş- Bosphorus Bridge -Tem Access Road-Sabiha Gökçen Airport
Return: Sabiha Gökçen Airport -Kavacık-FSM Bridge-1.Levent-Zincirlikuyu Metrobus- Dolapdere-Taksim
Ticket Price: ₺ 14
You can take the public bus run by IETT. The E10 line goes to Kadıköy. From there you can take a ferry if you plan to continue to the European side
For more information about Sabiha Gökçen transportation, please click here.
All taxis are yellow in Istanbul and they all have taximeters. Please make sure that the taxi driver turns on the taximeter. The opening charge is 2,95 TL and charge per km. is 1,83.- TL. There are no price difference between the day & night charge, it's a flat rate for 24 hrs. There are no central taxi numbers in Istanbul.
For more information about how to transport within the city, please click here.
Istanbul falls in the Eastern European Time Zone. Eastern European Standard Time (EET) is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).
BANKS & CURRENCY EXCHANGE
The Turkish Lira is the official currency of Turkey. Bank notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 TL. Coins come in the amounts of 1, 5, 10 and 25 Kuruş and 1 Lira .
ATMs can be found all around the country. All of them offer foreign language options and pay out Turkish liras. Cash withdrawal limits vary from bank to bank and are around 800 TL to 1.500 TL.
Foreign exchange offices, which are known as "döviz bürosu” can be found throughout the country. Operating hours are mostly Monday to Friday, from 09:00 to 17:00. In the arrivals section of Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen Airport, there are 24-hour exchange offices. Also the exchange offices located in shopping malls and touristic areas are open later and on Saturdays. US Dollars and Euros are accepted in highly touristic districts like Sultanahmet and Taksim but rates are often not competitive.
Credit cards are widely used and accepted. Visitors can use their Visa and Mastercards but Amex and Diner's are often not accepted.
Traveller's cheques can be changed at banks or post offices. Note that you'll need to have a valid passport with you.
MAPS & TOURS
There is a lot to be seen in Istanbul and Turkey. A selection of tours will be available throughout the congress including the famous sites at the Historical Peninsula -also known as the Old City- and the Bosphorus cruises. The Aegean, Anatolian and Mediterranean sections of Turkey are also packed with archaeological sites of varying ancient civilizations and can be visited in the offered pre and post congress tours.
Istanbul is a culinary delight no matter what your budget. From simple workers' eateries and sidewalk cafes to posh culinary palaces with liveried waiters, Turkish cuisine is good and the value-for-money unbeatable. A typical Turkish dish generally consists of lamb, mutton, and veal with a variety of vegetables. Pilaf, all kinds of pastry, bulgur, haricot beans, rich olive oil, and vegetables are also common side dishes. Meatballs, shish kebab, and doner kebab are also classic dishes. Because of its coastal location, fish is also popular although it is usually cooked simply, such as grilled, or fried with olive oil and lemon juice. Istanbul is the commercial and cultural centre of Turkey; and there are restaurants of many nationalities such as Korean, Russian, Italian, and Chinese. American-style fast-food outlets are becoming more popular, but for a quick snack it is more appropriate to fill up at the plethora of tiny takeaways offering kebabs and snacks. It is easy to sample good quality regional cuisine in typical small restaurants, usually at low cost, especially in the commercial and business areas.
ELECTRICITY & VOLTAGE
Turkey's electrical system operates on 220 volts, 50 Hz, with round-prong European-style plugs that fit into recessed wall sockets. You will need a voltage converter, and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.
LIABILITY & INSURANCE
Registration fees do not include the insurance of participants against personal accidents, sickness and cancellations by any party, theft, loss or damage to personal possessions. Participants are advised to take out adequate personal insurance to cover travel, accommodation, cancellation and personal effects.
It is recommended to have a travel insurance policy with a full medical coverage before traveling. Note that in some cases, a Europe-only travel insurance policy does not cover you on the Asian side of İstanbul.
SHOPPING IN ISTANBUL
Famed as the City of a Thousand Colours and Fragrances, Istanbul is a paradise for shoppers. A large variety of traditional carpets, jewels, gold, and leather goods can be purchased on the street in the tourist areas, or one can visit the city's modern shopping malls where Turkish brand goods can be found. The shops are open from 8:00 to 21:00 from Monday to Saturday. The Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar open their gates at 8:00 and close at 19:00. The large shopping malls open from 10:00 to 22:00 seven days a week. Shops do not close for lunch.
All registered participants are cordially invited to attend the Congress Welcome Reception. Further details on the social program will be listed on the website.
Service charges are included in the cost of all goods and services. Although it is not mandatory, a small tip is customary for good service. As a guideline, add about 10% to the total bill. When paying by credit card, a cash tip is preferred.