Champions League final: How to get to Istanbul from Manchester
With Manchester City looking to progress to the Champions League final in Istanbul on 10 June, many supporters will be looking at booking a trip to Turkey – but what do travellers need to know and what else can they do while they’re there?
Istanbul, formerly known as Constantinople, is Turkey’s largest city but isn’t actually the capital – that’s Ankara. It sits in the north of the country and is unusual in that it straddles the Bosphorus Strait, a narrow passage of water like a river, that serves as the border between Europe and Asia meaning that Istanbul sits in both continents.
The Champions League Final will take place at the imposing Ataturk Olympic Stadium in the European half of the city.
Istanbul has a huge range of attractions for anyone looking beyond the football, from the world famous Grand Bazaar – one of the oldest and largest covered markets on the planet – to the striking architecture of Topkapi palace. It’s also got coastlines on both the north and south of the city, a range of high end shopping centres and districts and eating out and fine dining to suit all budgets.
How do I get to Istanbul?
Istanbul is served by two international airports – Istanbul Airport on the European side and Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the Asian side – and you can fly direct to either from Manchester Airport in around four hours with airlines including Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, Enter Air and easyJet. During the week of the Champions League final there are more than 50 flights to Istanbul already scheduled with more likely to become available if Manchester City qualify.
What currency do I need in Turkey?
The currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira. ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas. You can get local currency from banks and exchange bureaus, known as DOVIZ in Turkish.
What is the time difference in Turkey?
Turkey is two hours ahead of the UK during the summer months and three hours ahead in the winter as in 2016 it opted out of changing the clocks due to the disruption is causes.
Is there anything else I need to know about travelling to Istanbul?
Istanbul is hot – the average temperatures in June are a high of 27c and a low of 18c – and it can get crowded around the tourist attractions although this shouldn’t be too bad in June outside the school holidays.
Turkey is a Muslim country and so Islam is the main religion, practised by around 98% of the population. That means that many people pray five times a day and the call to prayer will ring out from the city’s many mosques.
Pork is not readily available although alcohol is – but heavy drinking and drunkenness are frowned upon.