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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

Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center
Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center
5 out of 5
Silahsor Cad. No: 42 Bomonti Sisli, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is ¥10,970 per night from May 10 to May 11
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. ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (1,056 reviews)
"Thanks for good service good stuff friendly"

Reviewed on Apr 4, 2021

Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Center
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 ¥24,925 per night from Apr 19 to Apr 20
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 ...
4.6/5Exceptional! (948 reviews)
"Everything was amazing. Staff was very friendly and nice."

Reviewed on Apr 16, 2021

Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul
YOTELAIR Istanbul Airport AIRSIDE
YOTELAIR Istanbul Airport AIRSIDE
Tayakadin Mah. Terminal Cad. No.1, Arnavutkoy, Arnavutkoy, Istanbul
The price is ¥19,554 per night from Apr 27 to Apr 28
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 Isfanbul Theme Park ...
4.2/5Very Good! (339 reviews)
"When I arrived I checked in quickly"

Reviewed on Apr 9, 2021

YOTELAIR Istanbul Airport AIRSIDE
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.
Radisson Residences Avrupa TEM Istanbul
Radisson Residences Avrupa TEM Istanbul
Karayollari Mh. Abdi Ipekci Cad. No: 30, Kucukkoy Gaziosmanpasa, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is ¥13,140 per night from Apr 21 to Apr 22
This family-friendly Istanbul aparthotel is located near the airport, within 3 mi (5 km) of Isfanbul Theme Park and Venezia Mega Outlet. Miniaturk and Vadistanbul ...
4.6/5Wonderful! (87 reviews)
Brilliant stay and stafg
"I needed to stay somewhere out of the UK and Europe for 14 days and could not have asked for more. Staff were amazing, very friendly, organised a coronavirus test for me in my room (precautionary before onward travel), house keeping were brilliant, nothing was a problem for them. Room was great, ..."

Reviewed on Sep 26, 2020

Radisson Residences Avrupa TEM Istanbul
Radisson Residences Vadistanbul
Radisson Residences Vadistanbul
Ayazaga Mah, Kemerburgaz St 6A No.7V/101, Sariyer, Istanbul
The price is ¥15,205 per night from Apr 23 to Apr 24
Situated in the mountains, this aparthotel is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from Vadistanbul AVM and 2.8 mi (4.5 km) from Istinye Park. Istanbul Cevahir Shopping and Entertainment ...
4.2/5Excellent! (52 reviews)
Best experience in Covid situation
"This hotel is amazing, Nice Team , there is professional front desk staff , good welcome , really clean and safe , disinfectant spray every where, even in your room , good location , 3 minutes to mall"

Reviewed on Jan 14, 2021

Radisson Residences Vadistanbul
Somerset Maslak Istanbul
Somerset Maslak Istanbul
Maslak 1453, Maslak District, Sogut Street No:20AA C15, Sariyer
The price is ¥12,068 per night from May 7 to May 8
Located in Maslak, this aparthotel is 1.1 mi (1.8 km) from Belgrad Forest and within 9 mi (15 km) of Bosphorus Bridge and Dolmabahce Palace. Taksim Square and ...
4.3/5Excellent! (72 reviews)
Perfectly Splendid!
"It was an amazing stay , so comfortable, clean easy going. Helpful staff and very lovely facility and I would definitely be back every week if I could"

Reviewed on Dec 2, 2020

Somerset Maslak 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.

Popular places to visit in Istanbul

Top things to do in Istanbul

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.

Cities near Istanbul