IstanbulTurkey

Image for Galata Tower which includes a city and heritage architecture

Visit Istanbul

A delightful fusion of European and Asian culture awaits in the capital of Turkey. A fantastic array of historic buildings intersperse a dynamic, modern city.

Istanbul offers the best of old and new, of both East and West. Shoppers will be kept occupied by the best department stores and luxury boutiques, while the city also displays its rich heritage with the many bazaars, mosques, and palaces. The warm climate of the eastern Mediterranean makes this a very easy place to enjoy and to fall in love with.

Historically, Istanbul is identified as the point where Europe meets Asia, at the crossing of the Bosphurus Strait, and has a population of over 13 million people. It was also the centre of power for the Byzantine Empire. More recently the Ottoman Empire, whose rule stretched at one point from Persia to the gates of Vienna, made it its capital. Ottoman rule was in turn succeeded by the establishment of modern-day Turkey in 1923.

All of this rich history is reflected in the complex and fascinating development of the city's diverse built heritage. First on many itineraries is a visit to the Old City where you'll trace the repeated rises and falls of Istanbul and its empires among the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), Topkapi Palace (Topkapı Sarayı), the Hippodrome (Hipodrom) and the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque). The Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi) – a survivor from the 14th century – offers views over these and much of the other architecture of interest throughout the city. The Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Carsı) is the beating heart of life here, and is also a wonderful place to pick up souvenirs. Miniaturk allows you to see the city in miniature, while you can enjoy some well-earned cool chillout time at the underground Basilica Cistern.

Crossing the straits into the New City, you are met by a very different experience – modern-day Turkey. Contemporary Western design is to be found in the many skyscrapers, the shopping areas and the vibrant nightclubs. Taksim Square is the centre of this part of the city, with business executives rubbing shoulders with the cool young people of Istanbul.

Public transport is very easily accessible – an Istanbulkart allows you access to it all. Make good use of it, and see the Beylerbeyi Palace from the ferry across the Bosphurus Strait.

Istanbul offers centuries of history and change, alongside all of the conveniences and attractions of a modern city. The past and the present are linked in this fascinating melting pot of cultures.

Where to stay in Istanbul

Sultanahmet
Blue Mosque which includes heritage architecture, a mosque and religious elements

Sultanahmet

Known for Cathedrals, Museums, Historical Buildings

Gourmet restaurants interesting history and top sights from Sultanahmet Square to Hippodrome of Constantinople – discover Sultanahmet, a destination also famous for its shopping.

Taksim
Taksim, Istanbul, Turkey

Taksim

Known for Cafés, Theatres, Shopping

4/5(309 reviews)

Enjoy the popular shops in Taksim. Taksim Square is a worthwhile stop, and you can jump on the metro at Taksim Station or Findikli Station to see more of Istanbul.

Istanbul City Center
Galata Tower which includes a city and heritage architecture

Istanbul City Center

Known for Historical Buildings, Cathedrals, Museums

4/5(109 reviews)

Known for its charming cafes and popular shops, there's plenty to explore in Istanbul City Center. Check out top attractions like Suleymaniye Mosque and Spice Bazaar, and jump on the metro at Laleli-University Station or Aksaray Station to see more of the city.

Fatih
Istanbul showing markets and food

Fatih

Known for Cathedrals, Historical Buildings, Churches

4.5/5(1,361 reviews)

Enjoy the popular shops in Fatih. Suleymaniye Mosque is a worthwhile stop, and you can jump on the metro at Aksaray Station or Yusufpasa Station to see more of Istanbul.

Besiktas
Bosphorus Bridge showing a bridge, a coastal town and a river or creek

Besiktas

Known for Cafés, Shopping, Castles

4/5(74 reviews)

If you're spending time in Besiktas, you might enjoy attractions like Dolmabahce Palace and Zorlu Performing Arts Center. You might also enjoy the neighbourhood's ample dining options before hopping on the metro at 4.Levent Station to see more of the city.

Kadikoy
Kadikoy, Istanbul, Turkey

Kadikoy

Known for Cafés, Shopping, Theatres

4/5(58 reviews)

You might take some time to check out the abundant dining options in Kadikoy. Spend some time visiting top spots like Bagdat Avenue, and catch the metro at Bahariye Station or Kilise Station to see more of the area.

Top hotels in Istanbul

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
YOTEL Istanbul Airport LANDSIDE
YOTEL Istanbul Airport LANDSIDE
Tayakadin Mah. Terminal Cad. No.: 1, Arnavutkoy, Istanbul
Rs8,549
per night
26 Dec-27 Dec

Situated near the airport, this hotel is 11.1 mi (17.8 km) from Belgrad Forest and within 20 miles (32 km) of Mall of Istanbul and Kilyos Beach. Ataturk Olympic ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (46 reviews)

"Very unique and creative. Everything was clean and neat."…"

Reviewed on 24 Nov 2019

YOTEL Istanbul Airport LANDSIDE
Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center
Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center
5 out of 5
Silahsor Cad. No: 42 Bomonti Sisli, Istanbul, Istanbul
Rs6,903
per night
20 Dec-21 Dec

Located in Sisli, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Bomontiada, City's Nişantaşı Shopping Center and Istanbul Cevahir Shopping and Entertainment Centre. ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (1,965 reviews)

"Architech, cleanness, design, arrangement, breakfast"…"

Reviewed on 21 Nov 2019

Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center
YOTELAIR Istanbul Airport AIRSIDE
YOTELAIR Istanbul Airport AIRSIDE
Tayakadin Mah. Terminal Cad. No.1, Arnavutkoy, Arnavutkoy, Istanbul
Rs9,960
per night
20 Dec-21 Dec

Situated near the airport, this hotel is 11.1 mi (17.8 km) from Belgrad Forest and within 20 miles (32 km) of Mall of Istanbul and Kilyos Beach. Ataturk Olympic ...

3.8/5Good! (32 reviews)

"Great for the guests with kids in case of long transit time. But it is too expensive. And it should provide with more flexibility with hours."…"

Reviewed on 3 Dec 2019

YOTELAIR Istanbul Airport AIRSIDE

Popular things to do in Istanbul

Blue Mosque
Image for Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

4.5/5(635 reviews)

Named for its dazzling interior covered in blue tiles, this is a hub of Istanbul's religious life.

Grand Bazaar
Image for Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

4.5/5(635 reviews)

Visit one of the biggest and oldest covered markets in the world, a real taste (and smell and sound!) of the diversity that Turkey has to offer.

Hagia Sophia
Image for Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

4.5/5(578 reviews)

A world famous monument to the ever-changing history of Istanbul, and one of the largest churches in the world.

Topkapi Palace
Image for Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

4.5/5(505 reviews)

Stately home to the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years with an array of Turkish design and foreign art.

Basilica Cistern
Image for Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern

4.5/5(326 reviews)

'The Sunken Palace' is the biggest of the hundreds of underground reservoirs underneath the streets of Istanbul, dating from Byzantine Constantinople.

Suleymaniye Mosque
Image for Suleymaniye Mosque

Suleymaniye Mosque

4.5/5(265 reviews)

Admire the stunning exterior architecture and captivating interior design of the grandest mosque in Istanbul.

Reviews of Istanbul

4.6

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
1091
5 - Excellent 68.27284105131415%
4 - Good
405
4 - Good 25.3441802252816%
3 - Okay
76
3 - Okay 4.755944931163955%
2 - Disappointing
11
2 - Disappointing 0.688360450563204%
1 - Terrible
15
1 - Terrible 0.9386733416770964%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

3 Dec 2019

Great place to explore been many times and alwats find new places to explore

5/5 - Excellent

Thaissa

3 Dec 2019

Amazing City with plenty to see. Local are fantastic but watch out for taxi drivers starting the clock before you get in the taxis. It should start at 5 Turkish lira

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

3 Dec 2019

Lovely beautiful city with very nice people and good food.

5/5 - Excellent

Erkol

30 Nov 2019

There's only one city around world has got 2 continent in the world and nice bosphorus view

5/5 - Excellent

Ammar

28 Nov 2019

People dont queue. Be prepared for someone to end up infront of you.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

27 Nov 2019

An authentic cultural experience!!!!!

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