Navigating The City
Istanbul, the vibrant city straddling Europe and Asia, is known for being rich in history and culture. It is also a thriving hub for crypto and Web3 communities. From Nov. 13-17, the city will be the center of the Web3 universe when LabWeek23 convenes alongside Devconnect, bringing together thousands of builders. Here's everything you need to know about the exciting week.
Venue: LabWeek23 will take place at the Swissôtel The Bosphorus Istanbul. The conference will run alongside Devconnect at the Istanbul Congress Centre, which is approximately 10 minutes by taxi from the LabWeek23 venue (directions here).
Transportation: In addition to taxis, Istanbul has a variety of public transportation to get around, including the Metro, tram and ferry. There are also ride-sharing apps, such as Uber and the local app BiTaksi. Overall, traffic can be very heavy, and public transportation inconsistent. So give yourself extra time to get to your destination.
Weather: In November, Istanbul has mild temperatures, but you can expect rainy days. The average daytime temperature ranges from 12°C (54°F) to 17°C (63°F), while the evenings can get a bit cooler. It's advisable to bring a sweater for the evenings, along with an umbrella and rain gear.
Market Hours: Traditional markets and bazaars, such as the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar, have their own unique schedules. They generally open early in the morning, around 8:00 AM, and close between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Some smaller shops close briefly during the call to prayer, which takes place five times per day, but larger shopping malls are generally open from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM for visitors.
Currency: The Turkish lira. As of July 27, USD $1 is equivalent to roughly 26 lira, but the lira is known to fluctuate quite a bit, so be sure to check this site for the latest conversion rates.
Istanbul is a vast city with numerous neighborhoods, each offering its unique charm and character.
The Swissôtel The Bosphorus Istanbul is located in the neighborhood of Beşiktaş in Istanbul, Turkey. Beşiktaş is a lively and central area on the European side of the city, home to Besiktas JK, one of Turkey's most successful football teams. It is about 10 minutes away from the Bosphorus River by foot and a 20 minute drive from historic landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia.
Located in the historic peninsula, Sultanahmet is the heart of old Istanbul. It houses iconic landmarks like the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and the Hippodrome. The neighborhood's narrow streets are filled with historical sites, traditional Ottoman-style houses, and vibrant markets.
Taksim Square is a bustling area known for its bustling nightlife, shopping streets, and cultural landmarks. Istiklal Avenue, the main thoroughfare, is lined with shops, restaurants, cafes, and art galleries. The neighborhood is also home to the iconic Galata Tower, offering panoramic views of the city.
Adjacent to Taksim, Beyoglu is a lively district known for its bohemian atmosphere. It is famous for trendy cafes, boutique shops, art galleries and nightlife venues. Istiklal Avenue runs through Beyoglu, connecting Taksim Square to the iconic Galata Bridge and Karakoy neighborhood.
Located on the Asian side of Istanbul, Kadikoy is a trendy neighborhood. It offers a more laid-back atmosphere compared to the busy European side. Kadikoy's lively streets are filled with restaurants, cafes, bars, and local markets. It is also a hub for arts, culture, and live music.
Located at the northern end of the Galata Bridge, Karakoy is an artsy neighborhood known for its hipster vibe, galleries and design studios. It is a great place to explore street art, enjoy specialty coffee shops and indulge in delicious street food. Karakoy is also a transportation hub for ferries and trams.
Situated along the Bosphorus on the European side, Bebek is a picturesque and upscale neighborhood. It is known for its elegant waterfront mansions, upscale cafes and scenic walking paths. Bebek is a popular spot for locals and visitors to enjoy a leisurely stroll and soak in the beautiful views.
These are just a few of the many neighborhoods that make Istanbul such a diverse and fascinating city.
Public transportation in Istanbul is well-developed and offers convenient options for getting around the city:
The Istanbul Metro connects various neighborhoods and is a quick and efficient way to travel. A full fare costs around $2.40 for a single ride and can easily be purchased online or at a station.
The nostalgic tram line is perfect for exploring the historic Sultanahmet area and its iconic landmarks.
Take a scenic ferry ride across the Bosphorus Strait, connecting Europe and Asia, and enjoy breathtaking views of Istanbul's skyline.
Taxis & Ride sharing
Taxis are widely available, and ride-sharing apps like Uber and BiTaksi are popular and reliable. BiTaksi is a useful app to download that makes it easy to book local taxis. Traffic can be very heavy in the busy town, so always keep an eye out for public transportation options if you're tight on time.
Museums and Galleries
Istanbul is home to stunning museums and art galleries that offer a glimpse into the city's rich history and funky art scene. Here are four notable ones to visit:
Located in the Karakoy neighborhood, Istanbul Modern is the city's premier contemporary art museum. It showcases a diverse collection of Turkish and international modern and contemporary art across various mediums. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, film screenings, and educational programs.
Hagia Sophia Museum
Originally built as a Byzantine church in the 6th century, Hagia Sophia later became a mosque and is now a museum. It is an architectural marvel that exhibits stunning Byzantine mosaics, intricate calligraphy, and impressive domed interiors. Explore the rich history and cultural significance of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Topkapi Palace Museum
Situated in the Sultanahmet area, Topkapi Palace was the residence of the Ottoman sultans for centuries. The museum showcases exquisite artifacts, including the imperial treasury, beautiful ceramics, manuscripts, and Ottoman imperial costumes. Marvel at the opulent architecture and gain insights into the grandeur of the Ottoman Empire.
Located in the Beyoglu district, the Pera Museum houses a diverse collection of Turkish and international art. It features permanent exhibitions on Orientalist paintings, Anatolian weights and measures, and Kutahya tiles and ceramics. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions and cultural events.
Cabs from Istanbul Airport (IST) take about 40 minutes and range from 200-250 TL. Please make sure that the taximeter in a taxi is always turned ON. If it is turned off, please ask to turn it on. Otherwise, the driver can ask the price of whatever he wants. Taximeters always show in the price of TL but some drivers might insist that it is in USD or EUR.
There are 2 major international airports:
Istanbul airport (IST) on the European side
Sabiha Gokcen airport (SAW) on the Asian side
The actual travel time between the airport and the city center can vary depending on traffic conditions and the mode of transportation. On average, it takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach the city center from Istanbul Airport by car or taxi under normal traffic conditions. However, during peak traffic hours, the travel time can be much longer.
Places To Stay
If you would like to explore other options, here's a list of alternative hotels within a 15 minute radius by car (depending on traffic) from the LabWeek23 venue:
2.3 Kms from
2.7 Kms from
2.3 Kms from
450 m from
2.2 Kms from
2.3 Kms from
2.2 Kms from
Places To Work
LabWeek23 will have some co-working space at theSwissôtel The Bosphorus Istanbuland Devconnect also has a dedicated co-working space at the Istanbul Congress Center, a ten minute drive from the LabWeek23 venue atSwissôtel The Bosphorus Istanbul.You can find details here
Here are three additional co-working spaces across Istanbul:
Kolektif House is a popular co-working space with multiple locations throughout Istanbul. It offers modern and stylish workspaces, meeting rooms, event spaces, and amenities such as high-speed internet, printing facilities, and communal areas.
Impact Hub Istanbul is a co-working space and innovation community located in the lively Karakoy neighborhood. It provides a collaborative environment for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and professionals.
A colorful, playful vibe, this co-working space is ideal for those working in tech and content.