Above: Istanbul and the Bosphorus - GETTY IMAGES

Good to Know: Istanbul

Aerial view of Istanbul and the Bosphorus - Getty Images

You could spend a lifetime in Istanbul without uncovering all the city’s secrets, but even just a long weekend can prove to be a thrilling adventure. It can be intimidating for first-timers to try and tackle such a big city on their own; here’s how to make the most of a trip.

Getting there: Thanks to a larger airport that opened in late 2018, Istanbul is easier to reach as ever, with nonstop flights from most major U.S. cities. Turkish Airlines has a highly comfortable business class and excellent food prepared by in-flight chefs. Keep in mind that this bi-continental city has two airports. Istanbul Airport (IST), on the European side, is where you’re most likely to arrive, but Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW), on the Asian side, also has direct flights to destinations in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Both airports are quite far from the city center. Since traffic can be unpredictable, you’ll want to budget at least an hour of driving time between the airport and your hotel. The Travel Office can arrange a VIP arrival service to meet you at the plane and escort you through customs and passport control.

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