Istanbul

Travel Guide
Istanbul which includes heritage architecture, mist or fog and a sunset

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

Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center
Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center
5 out of 5
Silahsor Cad. No: 42 Bomonti Sisli, Istanbul, Istanbul
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is £118 per night from 2 Dec to 2 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. ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (937 reviews)
"The staff was so friendly. Gulsar welcomed us in a unique manner that made us to feel at home"

Reviewed on 26 Nov 2021

Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center
YOTELAIR Istanbul Airport AIRSIDE
YOTELAIR Istanbul Airport AIRSIDE
Tayakadin Mah. Terminal Cad. No.1, Arnavutkoy, Arnavutkoy, Istanbul
The price is £141 per night from 3 Dec to 3 Dec
Situated near the airport, this hotel is 19.9 mi (32 km) from Mall of Istanbul, and within 32 mi (52 km) of Grand Bazaar and Blue Mosque. Taksim Square and Galata ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (515 reviews)
"compact but nice"

Reviewed on 17 Nov 2021

YOTELAIR Istanbul Airport AIRSIDE
Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus
Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus
5 out of 5
Cihannuma Mahallesi, Saray Caddesi No:5, Besiktas, Istanbul, Istanbul
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is £122 per night from 2 Dec to 2 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 ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (941 reviews)
"The view was amazing. The location is quiet and not very far from public transportation. I used to go to Fatih area by bus and tram both ways without any difficulty. The only downside is the outdated furniture."

Reviewed on 12 Nov 2021

Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus
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.
Nisantasi Residence
Nisantasi Residence
Mesrutiyet Mh Kevser Sk No39 Sisli, Istanbul
The price is £85 per night from 3 Dec to 3 Dec
Located in Sisli, this residence is within 2 miles (3 km) of American Hospital, Taksim Square and Trump Towers Istanbul. Istiklal Avenue and Dolmabahce Palace ...
5/5 Exceptional! (3 reviews)
"Владелец квартиры Абдулла - замечательный человек, помогал абсолютно во всех наших вопросах. Квартира маленькая, но уютная и чистая. Район хороший, в пешей доступности магазины и кафе."

Reviewed on 9 Oct 2021

Nisantasi Residence
Somerset Maslak Istanbul
Somerset Maslak Istanbul
Maslak 1453, Maslak District, Sogut Street No:20AA C15, Sariyer
The price is £115 per night from 23 Dec to 23 Dec
Located in Maslak, this aparthotel is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) from Belgrad Forest, and within 9 mi (15 km) of Bosphorus Bridge and Dolmabahce Palace. Taksim Square and ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (96 reviews)
"The staff need to be trained how to deal with customers ."

Reviewed on 11 Nov 2021

Somerset Maslak Istanbul
G Tower Residences
G Tower Residences
Mimar Sinan Cd 35, Istanbul, Istanbul
Located in Bagcilar, this residence is 1.9 mi (3.1 km) from 212 Istanbul Power Outlet and 2.3 mi (3.7 km) from Acibadem University Atakent Hospital. Mall of ...
3.4/5 Good! (9 reviews)
Amazing!!
"G Tower is one of best solution for residency either for family or business reasons. Well cleaned, furnitures are amazing, everything is available in the kitchen and overall flat. I will be back again to G tower for the next time due to their staff well communicated, attitude and help."

Reviewed on 22 Aug 2021

G Tower Residences
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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