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Istanbul: the city's best neighborhoods

Find a great area to stay in Istanbul

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 $7 per night

Next weekend

From $17 per night

Most popular time to visit July-September
Cheapest time to visit February-April
Local currency € 1 = $1.11
Language Turkish
Average weekend price $84 per night
Average weekday price $89 per night
Average stay 2 nights

Points of interest in Istanbul

Stay near the top sightseeing spots in Istanbul

Latest articles featuring Istanbul

Inspiration and insider tips for things to do in Istanbul

19 dishes to give you an appetite for Istanbul

Want to try a Turkish take on pizza, or sample an authentic Döner kebab?

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Top 10 hotels with the best WiFi in Istanbul

How to combine stunning views and lightning-fast WiFi in Turkey’s capital city.

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Where to stay near Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar

The best self-catered accommodations for an Istanbul home away from home.

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How to eat like a local in Istanbul

A guide for uncovering Istanbul's culinary gems.

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Where to stay near Istanbul’s Blue Mosque

5 of the best self-catering apartments nearby the Blue Mosque.

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Istanbul reviews

What other travelers say about Istanbul

10

My first trip was an extended 38 hour layover courtesy of...

April 13, 2020

My first trip was an extended 38 hour layover courtesy of Turkish Airlines. But this, my second trip, was a week for business (so I was in meetings for 5 solid days). Istanbul is a fascinating, exotic, incredible city. I hope to stay for 10 days or more when I come back, just to make a dent in all I want to see in the city. I recommend doing a hammam with a friend; I recommend planning to spend at least 4 hours at the Topkapi palace (I could have spent more!); I recommend...everything. To my American (but well-traveled) mind, it is jaw dropping on every block. The people are warm, friendly and cosmopolitan. I'm a woman who travels alone most of the time, and I felt as safe as I would in an major US city. I did not wear a headscarf (except in religious buildings) and it was fine. There's a LOT of shopping and a LOT of great food, but even more, such an incredible cultural experience! Highly recommended.

Wendy
Wendy United States of America
10

This city never sleeps and there is a lot to see and do and...

March 25, 2020

This city never sleeps and there is a lot to see and do and food is amazing. Make sure you have at least four, five days or a week in your hands to see more than just main tourist attractions. Stay at The Local and ask for room with balcony

Emre
Emre Turkey
10

Enjoy Istanbul: Eat Turkish Delight, enjoy the walking...

March 24, 2020

Enjoy Istanbul: Eat Turkish Delight, enjoy the walking closeness of Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. If a small shop owner invites you into his shop, don't go in even at the risk of being mildly rude. Watch out for anyone who offers you anything for "free" even a guide to "practice his English." Experience a Turkish bath and respectfully watch a swirling dervish demonstration. Learn how to use the downtown tram for transportation from Grand Bazaar to port Spice Bazaar. They have both gone commercial since the 70's, but the architecture is still there. Soak in the exoticness of being on the Bosphorus and hop between continents. Expect even the new airport to be a chore and don't buy any liquor from duty free in a previous destination because it will be confiscated, most likely just before you get on your flight so you can complain only by missing your flight.

Anonymous United States of America
10

Amazing city.

March 18, 2020

Amazing city. Incredible food, incredibly friendly people, great, lively vibes and good bars. Love the architectural and cultural mix between Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Incredibly amount of culture and history to explore. Great location and geography right by the Bosphorus between the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Highly recommend.

Marius
Marius India
10

Easy access to major sites.

March 14, 2020

Easy access to major sites. Food is wonderful people very friendly. Very clean city . I felt safe everywhere. It was a little bit tedious with men trying to sell or have you visit their store but were good natured at being rejected. I just said not shopping today with a smile I found the market behind the grand bazaar to be incredibly inexpensive. Products seem to be grouped by catagory. A bit overwhelming for me personally there is really a lot to look at. I especially liked that my lodging was so close to everything that I was able to return to hotel for a little rest in between

hannah
hannah United States of America
10

Istanbul is a beautiful city for all seasons but Spring and...

March 14, 2020

Istanbul is a beautiful city for all seasons but Spring and Fall it's becoming unique. Except taxi drivers, everything is amazing in Istanbul (The best way for transportation is subway or to use electronic taxi apps like uber, bitaksi or iTaksi apps in Istanbul).

MK_Traveler
MK_Traveler United States of America

Popular places to stay in Istanbul

Stay in some of the best accommodations Istanbul has to offer