Istanbul is located in northwestern Turkey between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, and is split by the Bosphorous (a strait that connects the two seas), which situates it partly in Asia and partly in Europe. It’s the only city in the world situated on two continents
Climate and Geography
Turkey sits on the strip of land that divides the Black sea and Sea of Marmara. Approximately half of Istanbul’s 5343 km2 sits in Europe. The other half sits in Asia. It is split between the two by the Bosphorous. Istanbul is known as the City on the Seven Hills, and the southern part of the European half of the city does sit on seven hills. Istanbul also sits on the North Anatolian fault, which divides the African and Eurasian plates and has had many earthquakes. Seismologists say there more than a 60% chance that a 7.6-magnitude earthquake will strike Istanbul before 2030.
Istanbul has a Mediterranean climate. Summer temperatures average around 23 °C with the hottest days topping 32 °C. In the winter the temperature averages 4 °C and sometimes receives heavy snow. Istanbul is very humid, and has fog an average of 288 days each year, most commonly on winter mornings.
Istanbul is Turkey’s capital and largest city with 13.1 million (17.8% of Turkey’s population). The former capital of four empires (Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman), Istanbul is one of the most historically rich cities in the world. Subsequently it is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Although it’s definitely richer in culture and history than outdoors adventures, the city’s proximity to the two seas and the unique geological characteristics of the area create some interesting opportunities nearby. There is surfing not too far away at Wattabe Beach, and there is said to be excellent kitesurfing at Burc Beach. Turkey is rife with caves (there are more than 40,000 in the country) so spelunking is popular. Yarimburgaz Cave near Istanbul is known as the site of the oldest evidence of human presence in Turkey. You can go climbing at Ballikayalar about an hour southeast of Istanbul, and the nearest ski hill is 104 km away in Uludag. Combined, these options can make for pretty exciting Turkey holidays.
- Stand-up paddle boarding
- Scuba diving
- Hang gliding
- Sky diving
- Bungee jumping
- Hot air ballooning
- Whitewater rafting
- Kayaking (sea)
- Caving and spelunking
- Rock climbing (all levels)
- Mountain Biking (novice to expert)
- Horseback Riding
- Skiing and snowboarding
On a Budget?
- Hostels in Istanbul are quite reasonable, with one of the cheapest, the Erasmus, charging less than $7 USD per night for a dorm bed. Most hostels, such as the Istanbul Harmony Hostel, start around $10 USD, and Istanbul hotels, of course, run significantly more.You can find a full list of Istanbul Hostels here.
- Meals can be purchased for as little as $2 USD, or assembled in supermarkets or markets for as little as $1 USD. An average restaurant meal, though, will probably run around $4 – 8 USD.
Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance) modenadude, CharlesFred, das21, zeynep’arkok, Kıvanç Niş, Kıvanç Niş, denovich, heydrienne, CharlesFred, Cirquemusician, ae35unit, and modenadude on Flickr.
Click on the images for more information
The information on this page was provided by My Istanbul Info. If you want to know more about Istanbul they are the people to ask.
4 thoughts on “Istanbul, Turkey Adventure Travel Guide”
Hey — that’s a gorgeous photo up on top of your post. I like the one at the market — is that you?
Never been to Turkey. I’d love to explore the caves there someday.
Thanks! But unfortunately the photos aren’t mine. It was they were sourced from Flickr. The caves there should be fantastic!
As it so happens I’m a Canadian visiting Istanbul as well and I was wondering if you could give me some info. I was wondering if you could tell me where you found stand up paddle boarding and kayaking here? My friend and I would love to do some water adventure stuff but we can’t find a beach and Google isn’t helping much.
Thanks in advance!
I love Istanbul. The history is rich – like a blend between Islamic, Middle East, Greece and Roman. Love the beautiful mosques. Love the Turkish bath (if slightly awkward). Love the Bosphorus cruise with so many gorgeous marble buildings around. I’d really don’t mind returning there someday! =)