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Istanbul City Guide

Istanbul, with its unique blend of Western and Eastern history and culture, attracts tourists from all over the world. Enjoy modern Turkey in the malls, galleries and clubs while also indulging in the exotic appeal of the traditional Turkish bazaars, palaces, coffee houses and mosques. The natural beauty of the city plus the pleasant Mediterranean climate completes the picture. The largest city in Turkey, it was for centuries the capital of a mighty empire. Istanbul is now all things - modern and traditional, familiar and exotic.

Istanbul is situated on the Bosphorus, the strait that connects the Sea of ​​Marmara to the south with the Black Sea in the north. Istanbul is the link between Europe and Asia and this strategic location has been involved in many struggles over the centuries. It’s gone by many names over the centuries, including Byzantium and Constantinople, having been part of or even capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman empires in the past. The city was even once the capital of Islam.

The varied political and religious past is still recognizable all around the city, especially in architecture. The monumental Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), for example, was once a Christian cathedral, before later becoming a mosque. Visit the nearby Topkapi Palace (Topkapı Sarayı), Hippodrome (Hipodrom) and the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque), and also save some liras to buy souvenirs at the Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi). From the top of the 14th Century Galata Tower (Galata Tower) you have a fantastic view of all these buildings, while miniature versions are on display in Miniatürk. When it all gets a bit much, cool off in the underground Basilica Cistern.

Cross the Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn over to visit Taksim Square. Here in the new city you can enjoy the modern skyscrapers, nightclubs and shopping and mingle with the young and hip, and the businessmen who populate the streets.

Istanbul houses than 13 million people and it is the most populous city in Europe. It's not hard to see why the city has such great appeal. The fusion of East and West makes it rich in the culture, architecture, art and cuisine. It is a truly unique city.


Guide to Exploring Istanbul


Top Hotel Deals

See all 2,080 Hotels in Istanbul
€42
Courtyard by Marriott Istanbul International Airport

Courtyard by Marriott Istanbul International Airport

Basin Ekspress Yolu, Fatih Cad., Istanbul
4.0
of 5, from 296 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Halkali, this hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Mall of Istanbul, Ataturk Olympic Stadium, and Florya Beach. Istanbul Aydın University and Marmara Forum are also within 9 mi (15 km).

€48
ISG Airport Hotel - Special Class

ISG Airport Hotel - Special Class

Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Int'l Airport, Istanbul
4.3
of 5, from 139 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Pendik, this hotel is 3 mi (4.9 km) from Viaport Outlet Shopping and within 9 mi (15 km) of Istanbul Park and Neomarin Shopping Mall. Aydos Hill and Pendorya Shopping Mall are also within 9 mi (15 km).

€93
Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel

Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel

Divanyolu Cd. Alemdar Mah., Istanbul
4.2
of 5, from 434 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in Old City, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of German Fountain, Basilica Cistern, and Hagia Sophia. Cagaloglu Hamami and Cemberlitas Bath are also within 5 minutes.

€51
WOW Airport Hotel

WOW Airport Hotel

Istanbul World Trade Center, Istanbul
3.8
of 5, from 310 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Bakırköy, this hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Istanbul Aydın University, Istanbul Aquarium, and Marmara Forum. Florya Beach and Atakoy Marina are also within 6 mi (10 km).

€58
Hilton Istanbul Kozyatagi

Hilton Istanbul Kozyatagi

Sahrayicedit Mah. Batman Sok 4, Istanbul
4.2
of 5, from 51 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in Kadikoy, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Optimum Shopping Mall and Palladium Shopping Mall. Istanbul Toy Museum and Ulker Sports Arena are also within 3 mi (5 km).

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