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IstanbulTurkey

This transcontinental megopolis brings together the best of Europe and Asia. As one of the largest cities in the world, you’ll need more than a day in Istanbul.

Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey is home to over 13 million inhabitants, and one of the largest cities in the world.

Visitors flock to Istanbul’s modern and ancient sides, which often coincide. Find your bearings in this extraordinary capital by way of a city tour, before hand-picking landmarks to further explore.

Experience Istanbul’s vibrant history at the unmissable 15th-century Topkapi Palace. This former Ottoman residence has a colourful past, in the main, due to its former hedonistic occupants, the sultans and their famous harem. Explore the palace’s ornate décor, mysterious harem and Turkish bath, the green courtyard and spectacular sea views. Beat the rush of tourist crowds by going early morning or late afternoon.

See the stunning architecture of Istanbul’s spiritual spectacle, the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii). Dating back to the early 17th-century, this fascinating mosque is one of the city’s most visited sights and is still in use today. Check visiting times as tours are normally organised outwith hours of worship. Visitors are advised to enter via the mosque’s west entrance for the optimum view of the mosque.

The Byzantine Chora Church, in the old city walls, is another of Istanbul’s grand religious effigies. The church is one of the finest surviving examples of its kind, with some parts dating back to the 11th-century. Marvel at the church’s beautiful mosaic design and painted frescoes.

Slightly off the traditional tourist track, the Byzantine Basilica Cistern is a surprising, but must-see, attraction. This ancient underground system was designed in the 6th-century to channel water into the city, known then as Constantinople. The cistern ceiling is supported by a network of staggering ornate marble columns, at around 9 metres tall (30 ft). Although presently empty, the cistern has capacity for more than 100,000 tonnes of water.

Above ground, this extraordinary ‘mega-polis’ invites visitors to indulge. The city’s infamous Turkish baths (hamans) are ideal for relaxing after a day’s touring. Here you can self-serve or enjoy a wash, scrub and massage from a willing attendant. Check out the etiquette before a visit to avoid embarrassment.

For retail therapy on a grand scale, shop at Istanbul’s world famous Grand Bazaar. This is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world dating back to the 15th-century with thousands of shops and many more visitors. It closes on Sundays and some bank holidays. After the bustle of the Bazaar, try a reviving Turkish Coffee and some authentic food in a local cafe.

Foodies will appreciate Istanbul’s many cosmopolitan restaurants and bars. After dark, watch the city come alive at one of the city’s numerous nightclubs. Nightlife is a huge part of Istanbul’s modern culture.

Where to stay in Istanbul

Top hotels in Istanbul

YOTEL Istanbul Airport LANDSIDE
YOTEL Istanbul Airport LANDSIDE
Tayakadin Mah. Terminal Cad. No.: 1, Arnavutkoy, Istanbul
The price is £98 per night from 29 Nov to 30 Nov

Situated in Arnavutkoy, this hotel is within 20 miles (32 km) of Belgrad Forest, Mall of Istanbul and Kilyos Beach. Venezia Mega Outlet and Eyup Sultan Mosque ...

4.2/5Excellent! (351 reviews)

"It's perfect for what it is and it's location. I stayed a night in October 2020 in order to take the Covid test inside the IST airport (just 10 minutes or less walking from the Yotel) and be able to get the results and fly the following day. The Covid test is now 250 TL and results are given withing ..."…"

Reviewed on 25 Oct 2020

YOTEL Istanbul Airport LANDSIDE
Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus
Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus
5 out of 5
Cihannuma Mahallesi, Saray Caddesi No:5, Besiktas, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is £85 per night from 30 Nov to 1 Dec

Located in Besiktas, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Besiktas Pier and Vodafone Arena. Dolmabahce Palace and Zorlu Performing Arts Center are also ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (944 reviews)

"I thought I booked a sea view room. Turned out a city view room. The receptionist offered a suite with a sea view but it was twice my budget. Yet I didn’t regret it. The city view was also soo good. Had dinner on the top floor bar with the Bosphorus view. It was amazing. The staff at the hotel are ..."…"

Reviewed on 23 Oct 2020

Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus
Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul
Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul
5 out of 5
Visnezade Mah. Acisu Sok. NO. 19, Macka Besiktas, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is £159 per night from 29 Nov to 30 Nov

This family-friendly Istanbul hotel is located in the historical district, within 1 mi (2 km) of City's Nişantaşı Shopping Center, Dolmabahce Palace and Taksim ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (978 reviews)

"This is a very nice high end property. The location is superb - the views of Bosphorus are amazing and the hotel is within walking distance of high end shopping and good restaurants. We had a small check-in problem with upgrade being offered and then reversed, but Guest Relations Manager Zeynep addressed ..."…"

Reviewed on 16 Oct 2020

Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Holiday Rentals in Istanbul

Retro 9 Homes & Suites Istanbul
Retro 9 Homes & Suites Istanbul
D-100 Güney Yanyolu, Istanbul, Istanbul

Located in Bahcelievler, this apartment building is within 3 miles (5 km) of CNR Expo Center, Istanbul Expo Center and Istanbul Aydın University. Atakoy Marina ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (7 reviews)

"Great place would definitely stay there again and recommend to others"…"

Reviewed on 20 Nov 2020

Retro 9 Homes & Suites Istanbul
Somerset Maslak Istanbul
Somerset Maslak Istanbul
Maslak 1453, Maslak District, Sogut Street No:20AA C15, Sariyer
The price is £97 per night from 29 Nov to 30 Nov

Located in Maslak, this aparthotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Belgrad Forest, Istinye Park and Istanbul Sapphire. Acibadem Maslak Hospital is 2.5 mi (4 km) ...

4.3/5Excellent! (66 reviews)

"Excellent location Quite area Near by restaurants Excellent service"…"

Reviewed on 27 Jun 2020

Somerset Maslak Istanbul
Lily Airport Otel
Lily Airport Otel
Fatih Caddesi No 183, Mustafa Kemal Pasa Mah, Arnavutkoy, Istanbul
The price is £20 per night from 29 Nov to 30 Nov

Situated in Arnavutkoy, this condo is 3.2 mi (5.1 km) from Belgrad Forest and within 12 miles (20 km) of Başakşehir Fatih Terim Stadium and Ataturk Olympic Stadium. ...

4/5Very Good! (22 reviews)

"Lots of space"…"

Reviewed on 27 Nov 2020

Lily Airport Otel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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