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Top things to do in Istanbul

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Istanbul: the city's best neighborhoods

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About Istanbul

Including tips for the best time to visit Istanbul

Istanbul is a timeless crossroads of cultures, religions, and civilizations, the meeting point of Europe and Western Asia.

Greek, Persian, Byzantine, and Ottoman influences are all over the city to this day. The breathtaking Hagia Sophia stood as an ornate church for over 1,000 years before being converted into an Imperial Mosque, which it remained for another 500 years. There's also Topkapi Palace, an extravagant complex of courtyards, halls, and terraces with beautiful views over the Bosphorus Strait. Today, both structures are religious museums that draw in millions of visitors every year.

The Blue Mosque is another striking example of Byzantine-Ottoman blended architecture, with its domes, towering minarets, and blue İznik tiles covering the interior. For a full view of the mosque’s design, enter through the crumbling remains of a Roman-era hippodrome in Sultanahmet Square.

However, Istanbul’s oldest landmarks can easily be overlooked. Several hundred ancient cisterns lie deep beneath the ground where water was delivered from a local reservoir through 12 miles of aqueducts. The largest of these is the Basilica Cistern, which you can explore along raised wooden platforms.

Back on ground level, the Grand Bazaar will blow you away with its maze-like network of artisanal shops and cozy teahouses. Work up an appetitie while exploring, before grabbing a Dürüm wrap on a street corner, or some delicious meze in a bistro-style restaurant in Sultanahmet.

Tonight

From $17 per night

This weekend

From $43 per night

Next weekend

From $40 per night

Most popular time to visit July-September
Cheapest time to visit December-February
Local currency € 1 = $1.14
Language Turkish
Average weekend price $84 per night
Average weekday price $87 per night
Average stay 2 nights

Points of interest in Istanbul

Stay near the top sightseeing spots in Istanbul

Istanbul reviews

What other travelers say about Istanbul

10

It exceeded my expectation.

November 18, 2018

It exceeded my expectation. The food ...the people. There are many wonderful places to see..ie. not only in the big city Istanbul but also Cappadocia, Pamukkale and nearby towns. A visit to Ephesus is a MUST when visiting Turkey. .And get a private local tour. (If you like Pompeii, this place will blow your mind!) -Leo, Sydney Australia

Anonymous Australia
6.0

Overrated and chaotic, I expected more but it disappinted me...

November 14, 2018

Overrated and chaotic, I expected more but it disappinted me , Iv been to places which is smalled and nicer with a greater places to visit . We ate everywhere and food wasn’t that good but ( The han restaurant) was good , it’s a very big city with expensive transportations fees .

Hamzeh
Hamzeh Jordan
8.0

The buses and metro are very convenient, and reasonable...

November 11, 2018

The buses and metro are very convenient, and reasonable price. But after 12:00 u should take a taxi which is always available. taxi drivers tend to charge you more than the actual cost so just take care. The food is always good where ever u go, whether its traditional , or classic restaurant, or fast food. Its a great place for shopping with all the brands available, and also Turkish brands which you may not of heard of before. The sad thing is that people there don't seem to speak English. Taksim would be a good place for money exchange, but its too much crowded. There are a lot of places to visit, either you're looking for nature or historical places or fun places for adventure. Make sure you get to see Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque in Saltan Ahmed, Bosphorus cruise , and Vialand.

Faris shuaib
Faris shuaib Libya
10

Istanbul is one the most beautiful cities that I have...

October 29, 2018

Istanbul is one the most beautiful cities that I have visited, even in Turkey. You can find everything there. If you are into shopping, you can find modern malls or domestic shops. If you want to enjoy history, there are a lot of historical sights for seeing. In the summertime, you can swim in the beaches of Prince Islands. You can visit museums, mosques, bazaars and never get tired of the city... Even if you want to hang out with friends there are a lot of bars, pubs and clubs in Istiklal street and Kadikoy... I enjoy roaming around the city watching people and buildings and strongly recommend to visit Istanbul if you have not yet!

Sheila
Sheila Iran
10

There are some cities in the world that feel as though the...

October 29, 2018

There are some cities in the world that feel as though the heavens have blessed them or as though they are sprinkled in magical fairy dust. Istanbul is one such city. I’m never disappointed when I go there and I’m always sad to leave. I’ve been into the Aya Sofya several times and am continuously in awe of her as well as feel my soul is soothed the moment I’ve entered the Basilica Cistern. The rest of the time I’m happy to soak in the magic.

Angela
Angela Turkey
6.0

There are so many places to visit.

October 27, 2018

There are so many places to visit. If you use public transportation and you get used to it, I recommand this city as must visit. But if you have your own vehicle.. Be aware this city's havvy traffic.

Kim Tae Yeun
Kim Tae Yeun South Korea

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