IstanbulTurkey

Image for Galata Tower which includes a city and heritage architecture

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

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

Sultanahmet

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

Sultanahmet
Taksim, Istanbul, Turkey

Taksim

4/5Very Good!(345 area 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.

Taksim
Galata Tower which includes a city and heritage architecture

Istanbul City Center

4/5Very Good!(118 area reviews)

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

Istanbul City Center
Istanbul showing markets and food

Fatih

4.5/5Wonderful!(1,480 area reviews)

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

Fatih
Kadikoy, Istanbul, Turkey

Kadikoy

4.5/5Wonderful!(63 area 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.

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

Besiktas

4.5/5Wonderful!(80 area 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.

Besiktas

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
Rs7,201
per night
Mar 1 - Mar 2

Situated in Arnavutkoy, 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. Istanbul Cevahir ...

4.3/5Excellent! (147 reviews)

"Good location inside the airport. Quite and clean is good to find."…"

Reviewed on 22 Feb 2020

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
Rs5,902
per night
Mar 5 - Mar 6

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! (2,002 reviews)

"Breakfast was good, staff were friendly, far from attractions needed taxi, clean, bath and spa relatively expensive for Turkish standard."…"

Reviewed on 22 Feb 2020

Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center
Movenpick Hotel Istanbul Golden Horn
Movenpick Hotel Istanbul Golden Horn
5 out of 5
Silahtaraga Caddesi, No. 87, Eyup, Istanbul
Rs3,470
per night
Mar 13 - Mar 14

This family-friendly Eyup hotel is located on the waterfront, 2.7 mi (4.3 km) from Halic Congress Center, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Istiklal Avenue and Topkapi ...

4.3/5Excellent! (597 reviews)

"The staff are so friendly and helpful the hotel is nice and room was nice had great sleep night ."…"

Reviewed on 14 Feb 2020

Movenpick Hotel Istanbul Golden Horn

Popular things to do in Istanbul

Blue Mosque
Image for Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

4.5/5(678 reviews)

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

Taksim Square
Image for Taksim Square

Taksim Square

4/5(587 reviews)

You can learn about the local history of Istanbul during your trip to a well-known site such as Taksim Square. Stroll along the area's seaside or experience its fascinating museums.

Grand Bazaar
Image for Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

4.5/5(682 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(618 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(545 reviews)

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

Galata Tower
Image for Galata Tower

Galata Tower

4/5(429 reviews)

Standing for over 650 years, this imposing cylindrical lookout point continues to offer special views over the city of Istanbul.

Reviews of Istanbul

4.6

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
1196
5 - Excellent 67.91595684270301%
4 - Good
447
4 - Good 25.38330494037479%
3 - Okay
89
3 - Okay 5.053946621237933%
2 - Disappointing
11
2 - Disappointing 0.6246450880181715%
1 - Terrible
18
1 - Terrible 1.0221465076660987%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 23, 2020

Istanbul's historic background, with its iconic buildings to attract a wide cross section of tourist provide a unique experience.

5/5 - Excellent

Maisiemoog

Feb 22, 2020

Loved Istanbul. Felt really safe at all times (more so than London!) Many of the main attractions are within easy walk of each other. Public transport is excellent, really cheap with an Istanbulkart and easy to understand.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Feb 21, 2020

It was crazy lots to do. Also alot of scammers/beggars/ BK & McDonald's were rip offs you order a meal and they sell extras without explaining it clearly don't hand over your money until you know for sure your getting what you ordered!

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 20, 2020

Shopping restaurant museums.. wherever you go, very nice city.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Feb 18, 2020

I was very surprised that it was that modern! The people were really friendly. The streets were always so crowded, sometimes I needed a break in the calm hotel room. But Istanbul is worth to travel to!

5/5 - Excellent

Nusret

Feb 17, 2020

I have been to Istanbul 5 times, I love it there. This was the best trip out of the lot as the hotel made it for us. The amenities in the room included Netflix and YouTube.

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