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IstanbulTurkey

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

Taksim featuring street scenes and a city

Taksim

4/5Very Good!(1,856 area reviews)

Taksim Square and Istiklal Avenue are top sights in Taksim, and you should be sure to explore the popular shops. Hop aboard the metro at Taksim Station or Findikli Station to see more sights in the area.

Taksim
Blue Mosque showing heritage architecture, religious elements and a mosque

Sultanahmet

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

Sultanahmet
Galata Tower which includes heritage architecture and a city

Istanbul City Center

4/5Very Good!(235 area reviews)

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

Istanbul City Center
Istanbul featuring markets and food

Fatih

4.5/5Wonderful!(2,609 area reviews)

Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar are top sights in Fatih, and you should be sure to explore the popular shops. Hop aboard the metro at Aksaray Station or Yusufpasa Station to see more sights in the area.

Fatih
If you need a little weekend away in Istanbul, you will be happy to have a short road trip to Agva.
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Sile

Sile is noteworthy for its river views, and you can make a stop at top attractions like Sile Beach and Ağlayan Kaya Beach.

Sile
Kadikoy, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

Kadikoy

4/5Very Good!(165 area reviews)

Spend some time visiting places like Bagdat Avenue while getting to know Kadikoy, and be sure to check out the abundant dining options. You can hop aboard the metro at Bahariye Station or Kilise Station to see more of the area.

Kadikoy

Top Hotels in Istanbul

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Cityloft 161
Cityloft 161
Zümrüt Sokak, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is $32 per night

Located in Atasehir, this hotel is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from Yeditepe University and within 12 mi (20 km) of Kadikoy Port and Bosphorus Bridge. Dolmabahce Palace ...

4.2/5Excellent! (625 reviews)
Pleasant stay

"Quiet area, pleasant stay. Reception personnel was quite helpful and polite. Rooms are clean and tidy, kitchen needs more utensils yet can be managed by asking from the reception. Regular rooms are at the lower levels of the building so dont expect to see foresty hill view on a regular room."…"

Reviewed on Feb 29, 2020

Cityloft 161
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 $193 per night

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! (996 reviews)

"View is good but you should close the curtains for neighbors. 😞"…"

Reviewed on Mar 17, 2020

Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul
YOTELAIR Istanbul Airport AIRSIDE
YOTELAIR Istanbul Airport AIRSIDE
Tayakadin Mah. Terminal Cad. No.1, Arnavutkoy, Arnavutkoy, Istanbul
The price is $157 per night

Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 20 mi (32 km) of Belgrad Forest, Mall of Istanbul, and Kilyos Beach. Venezia Mega Outlet and Eyup Sultan Mosque ...

4.1/5Very Good! (172 reviews)

"Perfect location. A must for long connections! Rooms are small but have everything you need with great beds and very helpful staff. Would recommend the 20 euro lounge. All you can eat and drink!"…"

Reviewed on Jul 3, 2020

YOTELAIR Istanbul Airport AIRSIDE

Popular places to visit in Istanbul

Blue Mosque
Image for Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

4.5/5(2,201 reviews)

The nickname of this 17th-century structure refers to the brilliant color of its tiled interior.

Taksim Square
Image for Taksim Square

Taksim Square

4.5/5(1,890 reviews)

You can learn about the local history of Istanbul when you make a stop at a well-known site like Taksim Square. Stroll along the area's seaside or experience its fascinating museums.

Grand Bazaar
Image for Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

4.5/5(2,165 reviews)

Enter the maze of shop-lined streets in one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world to browse hundreds of thousands of hand-crafted objects.

Hagia Sophia
Image for Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

4.5/5(2,130 reviews)

Once a church, then a Byzantine cathedral, later a mosque and now a monument, this iconic building is a national treasure.

Topkapi Palace
Image for Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

4.5/5(1,437 reviews)

The official residence of the Ottoman sultans for about four centuries is now accessible to the public and home to sacred relics.

Galata Tower
Image for Galata Tower

Galata Tower

4.5/5(1,209 reviews)

Istanbul’s medieval lookout point offers panoramic views across city’s historic district and the water of the Golden Horn.

Top things to do in Istanbul

Istanbul in One Day Small-Group Tour
Image for Istanbul in One Day Small-Group Tour

Istanbul in One Day Small-Group Tour

$68
Per adult
86% of travellers recommend
Cruise on the Bosphorus & Cable Car Ride
Image for Cruise on the Bosphorus & Cable Car Ride

Cruise on the Bosphorus & Cable Car Ride

$40
Per adult
80% of travellers recommend
Istanbul Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Image for Istanbul Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Istanbul Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

$56
Per adult
78% of travellers recommend
Istanbul Tourist Pass: Top 30+ Attractions & Services
Image for Istanbul Tourist Pass: Top 30+ Attractions & Services

Istanbul Tourist Pass: Top 30+ Attractions & Services

$130
Per adult
Small Group - Skip the Line Istanbul Half Day Tour
Image for Small Group - Skip the Line Istanbul Half Day Tour

Small Group - Skip the Line Istanbul Half Day Tour

$41
Per adult
80% of travellers recommend
Private airport transfer service
Image for Private airport transfer service

Private airport transfer service

$10
Per adult
90% of travellers recommend

Reviews of Istanbul

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
3131
5 - Excellent 64.59665772642872%
4 - Good
1378
4 - Good 28.429956674231484%
3 - Okay
236
3 - Okay 4.868991128533113%
2 - Disappointing
47
2 - Disappointing 0.9696719620383742%
1 - Terrible
55
1 - Terrible 1.1347225087683104%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

May 28, 2020

Taxi drivers are very aggressive and arrogant towards tourists

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Apr 29, 2020

Istanbul is a very vibrant city. It's an interest mix of cultures and played a key role throughout many points in history. We spent a week here after a week in Athens. 1 week was enough to enjoy our time and see the highlights in Istanbul.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Apr 25, 2020

This was not our first trip to Istanbul. We had visited many of the places before and were only there for a day and a half this trip.

5/5 - Excellent

Melissa

Apr 22, 2020

Beautiful, clean city especially suited to couples or individual travelers. I would imagine it difficult to keep children interested in historical sites although plenty of outdoor walking. A multicultural destination where we felt welcome.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Apr 20, 2020

Very beautiful city we really enjoy our stay We definitely come back in the future..

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Apr 13, 2020

The new airport is very far from town. Don't arrange a shuttle. They couldn't find us. Take a bus or a taxi if you are four people. They plan to have the metro connect to the airport next year.

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