Destination Guide

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey has been at the centre of world history for thousands of years. Architecture, culture, and most importantly, empire have converged at this expansive and culturally rich city.

Because of Istanbul's considerable historic significance, there is much to see and do in Istanbul. From the remnants of its stint as the eastern capitol of the Roman Empire to the Crusades to the Ottoman Empire's mosques and palaces, Istanbul has seen the world take shape and become what it is today. Not to mention, Istanbul is an important city for almost every major religion.

A trip to Istanbul means diving into the past and immersing oneself in the history, culture and architecture that have permeated almost every corner of the globe.

Getting in and around Istanbul

Istanbul Airport

If you are flying into Istanbul, you will land at Istanbul Ataturk Airport. When you arrive at the airport, you may need to purchase a tourist visa. You must pay with your own currency.

Istanbul Ataturk Airport is located about 20 kilometres from the centre of the city. Luckily, you have many options to take you to the city centre. Taxis are reliable but more costly. There is also an express bus called 'Havas' that runs every half hour.

Istanbul Transport

The public transportation system in Istanbul can be a little confusing, but you can use it to get around town with a bit of diligence. To get where you want to go, your trip will probably have two legs. The bus system, tram, and metro are all paid for with tokens. If your visit to Istanbul is going to last a few days, you'd do well with an AKBIL which is an electronic device that holds value for Istanbul's public transportation.

Istanbul Car Hire

Local car hire companies in Istanbul are plentiful, you shouldn't have a problem finding one to suit your needs.

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Istanbul accommodation

Istanbul has a diverse studio of hotels to fit every price point. Luxurious hotels are truly luxurious and budget hotels are truly plain. All in all, you get what you pay for. Nevertheless, you can stay very comfortably in Istanbul without breaking the bank.

Luxury
  • The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul This branch of the Ritz-Carlton brand offers luxurious furnishings and outstanding views of this beautiful city.
  • The Bosphorus This fantastic luxury hotel is among the best in the city and offers a beautiful and luxurious spa to its guests.
Mid-range
  • Sirkeci Konak Hotel This beautiful and comfortable hotel is perfectly situated among Istanbul's most popular attractions.
  • Dersaadet Hotel Istanbul has earned its reputation as one of the best hotels in the city and offers a wonderful stay within one of Istanbul's historic districts.
Budget
  • Oceans 7 Hotel is an absolutely beautiful hotel and great value in Istanbul.
  • Nena Hotel is quaint and charming and offers beautiful views of the city and a great location.
Backpackers
  • The Sultan Hostel is a very comfortable spot that's just steps away from all of Istanbul's greatest attractions.
  • Sinbad Hostel wins travellers' hearts with free breakfast and free internet service in the heart of Istanbul.
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Things to do in Istanbul

There are a number of sights and destinations in Istanbul that are some of the most important destinations in the world. Events that would eventually shape the world took place at many of these sites. But Istanbul isn't all museums and churches. There are plenty of fun things to do.

  • Bosphorus Bridge is a breathtaking sight, especially at night when the bridge is lit. Bosphorus Bridge is one of the longest bridges in the world.
  • Taksim Square is a hip and modern centre in Istanbul that's known for shopping, restaurants, and hotels.
  • Topkapi Palace is a beautiful and expansive palace that was home to the sultans of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th to the 19th century.
  • The Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, was given the name for the blue tiles that decorate the ornate interior of the mosque. The mosque is a perfect example of Islamic architectural style and is still a functioning place of worship.
  • The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is a shopper's paradise. It is one of the largest covered markets in the entire world and shoppers can find rugs, pottery, jewellery, and other goods at the Grand Bazaar.
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    Day trips in and around Istanbul

  • The Hagia Sophia is one of the most important architectural and religious landmarks in the world. It was once a basilica, then a mosque, and is now a museum and was built in the sixth century.
  • The baths in Istanbul are a great way to relax and soak up the local culture. The Suleymaniye Bath is among the best baths in Istanbul and is an artefact in itself.
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