Istanbul

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

YOTEL Istanbul Airport LANDSIDE, City Entrance
YOTEL Istanbul Airport LANDSIDE, City Entrance
Tayakadin Mah. Terminal Cad. No.: 1, Arnavutkoy, Istanbul, 34283
The price is $194 per night from Jul 26 to Jul 27
Stay at this business-friendly hotel in Arnavutkoy. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and a 24-hour fitness center. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (879 reviews)
"Very good hotel to stay in airport"

Reviewed on Jun 26, 2022

YOTEL Istanbul Airport LANDSIDE, City Entrance
Pera Palace Hotel
Pera Palace Hotel
5 out of 5
Mesrutiyet Cad. No. 52, Tepebasi Beyoglu, Istanbul, Istanbul, 34430
The price is $237 per night from Jul 19 to Jul 20
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Istanbul. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 coffee shops/cafes, and breakfast. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (963 reviews)
"Great location for accessing attractions. . Beautifully decorated and food is delicious. I felt that the reception personnel could have been more helpful in giving me options about room choices."

Reviewed on Jun 25, 2022

Pera Palace Hotel
Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus
Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus
5 out of 5
Cihannuma Mahallesi, Saray Caddesi No:5, Besiktas, Istanbul, Istanbul, 34353
The price is $238 per night from Jul 4 to Jul 5
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Istanbul. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 bars/lounges, and a full-service spa. Our guests praise the breakfast and the pool in our reviews. ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (980 reviews)
"Fantastic place and location"

Reviewed on Jun 17, 2022

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.
Life Span Hotel Taksim
Life Span Hotel Taksim
Topçekenler Sk. 8, Istanbul, Istanbul, 34435
The price is $48 per night from Jul 12 to Jul 13
Stay at this aparthotel in Istanbul. Enjoy free WiFi, a 24-hour front desk, and an airport shuttle. Popular attractions Taksim Square and Galata Tower are located ...
3.6/5 Good! (9 reviews)
"Clean room, renovative hotel, the reception is very good they give me the room once arrived before two hours of the check in time Near to istiklal street 5 mins walk No elevator is Available"

Reviewed on May 20, 2022

Life Span Hotel Taksim
G Tower Residences
G Tower Residences
Mimar Sinan Cd 35, Istanbul, Istanbul, 34209
Stay at this business-friendly residence in Istanbul. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a 24-hour front desk. Popular attractions Mall of Istanbul and Florya ...
4/5 Very Good! (33 reviews)
"I so like that building and the mr yigit was so excellent"

Reviewed on Jun 10, 2022

G Tower Residences
Classy Suite Taksim
Classy Suite Taksim
Inönü Mah. Elmadag Cad. No 44 / 50, Sisli, Istanbul, 34381
The price is $134 per night from Jul 1 to Jul 2
Stay at this spa aparthotel in Istanbul. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and 2 restaurants. Popular attractions Taksim Square and Galata Tower are located nearby. ...
3.3/5 (12 reviews)
"Amazing property and all the facilities are top range"

Reviewed on Mar 2, 2022

Classy Suite Taksim
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.

Getting around Istanbul

The Sultanahmet district, which is packed with many of the city’s major sights, is easy and fun to walk around. Beyond this area, you can travel on various public transportation networks. As well as trams, trains, buses and a metro system, there are minibuses or shared taxis knows as Dolmuş. Standard taxis are available too. Alternatively, climb aboard a ferry or a sea bus for a more novel experience. Visit the Istanbul Electric Tram and Tunnel Company website. Browse Istanbul rental cars.

Best time to visit

Istanbul’s climate has a distinct pattern of four clear seasons, with very hot summers and low temperatures in winter. Visit in April or May or in September or November for warm but not uncomfortable temperatures. One advantage of coming in the fall is that you will get to see the changing colors of the city's foliage, which completely transforms the streets and green spaces.

Popular places to visit in Istanbul

Top things to do in Istanbul

Cities near Istanbul