Travelers of the world take note of this historic and beautiful city. Istanbul is the 5th largest city in the world and is THE only city that is situated on two continents (Europe and Asia). Dating back to 300 BC and serving as capital to the Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires there is a vast amount of history and wonderful sights to see here.
Now I was a little hesitant to travel to Turkey, mostly due to my own ignorance. When I would tell people that I was going to Turkey the typical response was: "why, isn't it dangerous?" Just looking at it on the map it is located near places that don't have a very high opinion of America or Americans in general. I can tell you after traveling to Turkey and experiencing the city firsthand that I feel foolish for even worrying in the first place. I at no time felt unsafe or less safe than in any other major city I've ever visited.
The people are very friendly and welcoming. Turkish values you will find probably align with your own. I had, on several occasions, strangers come up to me just to shake my hand and welcome me to Turkey. I had pleasant experiences with rug dealers who invited me into their store and offered me tea - even-though they knew I wasn't going to buy anything. There is a great sense of pride in the country.
Taxis are everywhere and very cheap compared to other major cities. The drivers are pretty wild so I wouldn't recommend driving yourself unless you are familiar with racing and city driving combined! The hotel I stayed at was the Renaissance Polat Istanbul Hotel which is located near the airport. They have a free shuttle to and from the airport and also into the city center daily. The staff were very friendly and the hotel was just lovely with many nice amenities.
I would recommend 5 or 6 nights to see what Istanbul has to offer...must-sees include:
2- Hagia Sophia
6- Grand Bazaar
Always keep an open-mind, there is a big world out there to see and you only live once!