Istanbul

Travel Guide
Galata Tower
Turkey’s largest city is both European and Asian and has been part of many empires. As a result, Istanbul is modern and traditional, familiar and exotic.

It is Istanbul’s unique blend of Western and Eastern heritage and culture that attracts tourists from all over the world. Experience the comforts of modern Turkey in its malls, galleries and clubs, and the delights of traditional Turkish bazaars, palaces, taverns and mosques. Istanbul’s natural beauty, with pleasant Mediterranean climate, completes its glorious appeal.Located on the Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul has the Sea of Marmara to the south and the Black Sea to the north. Istanbul connects Europe with Asia and this strategic position evoked many power struggles. Under its previous names of Byzantium and Constantinople, Istanbul served as the capital of the Roman, the Byzantine, the Latin and the Ottoman empires and was once also the capital of Islam. The Turks started to call it Istanbul, a name that was made official when the Turkish Republic was proclaimed in 1923.The Sultanahmet peninsula, which is home to the Old City, reflects Istanbul’s diverse political and religious past, particularly in the architecture. The iconic Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), for example, was once a Christian cathedral and later a mosque. Visit the nearby Topkapi Palace (Topkapı Sarayı), Hippodrome(Hipodrom) and Blue Mosque(Sultan Ahmed Mosque) and save some of your liras for the souvenirs in the Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı). Get a bird’s-eye view of it all from the top of the 14th-century Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi) or visit nearby Miniatürk to see miniature versions of all these buildings. Cool off in the underground Basilica Cistern.Cross the Galata Bridge, spanning the Golden Horn, to visit Taksim Square and the New City. Enjoy modern skyscrapers, nightclubs and shopping malls and watch hip youngsters mingle with businessmen. Buy an Istanbulkart, for easy access to all public transport the ferry is a good way to see the Beylerbeyi Palace across the strait.Over 13 million people live in Istanbul, making it Europe’s most populous city, and it’s easy to see what the attraction is. Istanbul’s fusion of East and West, reflected in the culture, architecture, art and cuisine is truly unique.

Where to stay in Istanbul

Blue Mosque featuring a mosque, a pond and a fountain

Sultanahmet

Discover the charm of old Istanbul in this working-class district, featuring narrow streets with tightly packed apartment buildings. Explore historic sites like Topkapı Palace and Hagia Sophia, or indulge in diverse cuisines, all easily accessible by tramway.

Sultanahmet
Taksim featuring street scenes and a city

Taksim

4/5(1,856 area reviews)

Major tourist hub, Taksim Square boasts a lively atmosphere with numerous restaurants, shops, and grand hotels. Explore İstiklal Caddesi, ride the nostalgic tram, and visit iconic landmarks like the Republic Monument and Taksim Mosque.

Taksim
Galata Tower which includes heritage architecture and a city

Istanbul City Center

4/5(235 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 Blue Mosque, and jump on the metro at Aksaray Station or Aksaray Tram Station to see more of the city.

Istanbul City Center
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Kadıköy

4/5(165 area reviews)

Cosmopolitan and bustling, this area boasts numerous bars, cinemas, and bookshops, as well as diverse dining options and shopping centers like Tepe Nautilus. Explore historic sites, Süreyya Opera House, and enjoy walkable paths along the seafront.

Kadıköy
Istanbul which includes a marina, landscape views and general coastal views

Fatih

4.5/5(2,609 area reviews)

Explore historic libraries and diverse cuisines in this area, home to Istanbul University and the Orthodox Christian Patriarchate. Visit iconic sights like Topkapı Palace and Hagia Sophia, and discover what's nearby via the tramway from Sirkeci to Aksaray.

Fatih
Bosphorus Bridge which includes a coastal town, cruising and a river or creek

Beşiktaş

4.5/5(331 area reviews)

Scenic views of the Bosphorus strait and historic sites like Dolmabahçe Palace await in this bustling financial center. Enjoy modern shopping malls, diverse dining options, and easy access to ferries and metro lines for seamless exploration.

Beşiktaş
The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul
The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul
5 out of 5
Suzer Plaza, Askerocagi Caddesi, No:6, Elmadag/Sisli, Istanbul
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $287 per night from May 30 to May 31
$287
$321 total
includes taxes & fees
May 30 - May 31
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Istanbul. Enjoy free WiFi, an outdoor pool, and a full-service spa. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean rooms ...
9.2/10 Wonderful! (851 reviews)
Excellent service, but expect more for name
"The staff was amazing- excellent customer service. From front desk, to spa, to house keeping, to waiters, to porters- wonderful interactions. Breakfast was great- loved the omelettes. It was clear that pastries were a day or two old at times and butter tasted like fridge once. That is ok. The view ..."

Reviewed on May 15, 2024

The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul
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 $267 per night from May 26 to May 27
$267
$300 total
includes taxes & fees
May 26 - May 27
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Istanbul. Enjoy free WiFi, an outdoor pool, and a full-service spa. Our guests praise the breakfast and the pool in our reviews. ...
9.2/10 Wonderful! (1,005 reviews)
"The staff were excellent - Hussein in the dining room at breakfast was a star as well as the housekeeping staff and Concierge - a huge shout out to the staff at Swisshotel Bosphorous - great team!"

Reviewed on May 15, 2024

Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul
The Green Park Pendik
The Green Park Pendik
5 out of 5
Kaynarca Mah. Erol Kaya Cad., No:204 Pendik, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is $57 per night from May 24 to May 25
$57
$65 total
includes taxes & fees
May 24 - May 25
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Istanbul. Enjoy free parking, an outdoor pool, and 5 restaurants. Popular attractions Sedef Island and Viaport Outlet Shopping ...
6.8/10 (1,246 reviews)
Relax
"It was so nice and comfortable"

Reviewed on May 2, 2024

The Green Park Pendik
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.