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IstanbulTurkey

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.

Top Hotels in Istanbul

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
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 CA $275 per night

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 ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (996 reviews)

"View is good but you should close the curtains for neighbors. 😞"…"

Reviewed on Mar. 17, 2020

Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul
Crowne Plaza Istanbul Florya
Crowne Plaza Istanbul Florya
5 out of 5
Yesilkoy Halkali Caddesi No: 95, Senlikkoy Mahellesi Florya, Istanbul
The price is CA $125 per night

This family-friendly Istanbul hotel is located on the Strip, within a 15-minute walk of Istanbul Aquarium and Florya Beach. Florya Ataturk Marine Mansion and ...

4.2/5Excellent! (683 reviews)
business stay

"Another great stay Everything good on this hotel is based on the amazing staff"…"

Reviewed on Feb. 29, 2020

Crowne Plaza Istanbul Florya
Dedeman Istanbul
Dedeman Istanbul
5 out of 5
Yildiz Posta Caddest 50, Gayrettepe, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is CA $67 per night

Located in Besiktas, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Astoria Istanbul Shopping Center and Zorlu Performing Arts Center. Yildiz Technical University ...

3.2/5 (821 reviews)

"TV did not work properly. very few channels. Very poor image"…"

Reviewed on Jan. 2, 2020

Dedeman Istanbul

Popular places to visit in Istanbul

Blue Mosque
Image for Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

The nickname of this 17th-century structure refers to the brilliant color of its tiled interior.

Grand Bazaar
Image for Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Enter the maze of shop-lined streets in one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world to browse hundreds of thousands of hand-crafted objects.

Hagia Sophia
Image for Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Once a church, then a Byzantine cathedral, later a mosque and now a monument, this iconic building is a national treasure.

Topkapi Palace
Image for Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

The official residence of the Ottoman sultans for about four centuries is now accessible to the public and home to sacred relics.

Galata Tower
Image for Galata Tower

Galata Tower

Istanbul’s medieval lookout point offers panoramic views across city’s historic district and the water of the Golden Horn.

Bosphorus Bridge
Image for Bosphorus Bridge

Bosphorus Bridge

Travel from Europe to Asia on the first bridge to connect the two continents, admire the bridge from below during a cruise and visit centuries-old buildings.

Top things to do in Istanbul

Istanbul in One Day Small-Group Tour
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Istanbul in One Day Small-Group Tour

CA $91
Per adult
86% of travellers recommend
Istanbul Tourist Pass: Top 30+ Attractions & Services
Image for Istanbul Tourist Pass: Top 30+ Attractions & Services

Istanbul Tourist Pass: Top 30+ Attractions & Services

CA $176
Per adult
Rhythm of the Dance Show
Image for Rhythm of the Dance Show

Rhythm of the Dance Show

CA $68
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend
Bosphorus Cruise & Spice Market Tour
Image for Bosphorus Cruise & Spice Market Tour

Bosphorus Cruise & Spice Market Tour

CA $46
Per adult
Ephesus & House of The Virgin Mary Day Trip by Air
Image for Ephesus & House of The Virgin Mary Day Trip by Air

Ephesus & House of The Virgin Mary Day Trip by Air

CA $390
Per adult
82% of travellers recommend
Private airport transfer service
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Private airport transfer service

CA $13
Per adult
90% of travellers recommend

Reviews of Istanbul

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
288
5 - Excellent 59.75103734439834%
4 - Good
161
4 - Good 33.40248962655602%
3 - Okay
22
3 - Okay 4.564315352697095%
2 - Disappointing
4
2 - Disappointing 0.8298755186721992%
1 - Terrible
7
1 - Terrible 1.4522821576763485%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Mar 4, 2020

Pros :Good public transport. Cons:The city is crowded and not clean. Touristic signs to attractions are sometimes missing.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 27, 2020

Don’t buy anything at home Just wait and buy everything you can in Istanbul The prices were amazing Shopping in the off season is important

4/5 - Good

Jeevis

Feb 22, 2020

Vendors are crafty. They try all kinds of methods to manipulate, sweet-talk, push, etc. Be firm! Otherwise a charming, lively, friendly city.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 19, 2020

Junction of two continents separated by Bosporus water Chanel, amazing to watch, and lot of historical sites. A must see city.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 19, 2020

Istanbul is a beautiful city with so much history! We felt very safe, and must highlight how nice everyone is!

5/5 - Excellent

Muhammad

Feb 16, 2020

Very safe, clean and friendly. Language barrier has problem. Most of the people couldn't understand English.

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Istanbul

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How to Eat Your Way Around Istanbul

How to Eat Your Way Around Istanbul
How to Eat Your Way Around Istanbul
Image for 48 Hours in Istanbul

48 Hours in Istanbul

48 Hours in Istanbul
48 Hours in Istanbul
Image for Sugar and Spice with a Side of Rice: Foods You Simply Have to Try in Istanbul

Sugar and Spice with a Side of Rice: Foods You Simply Have to Try in Istanbul

Sugar and Spice with a Side of Rice: Foods You Simply Have to Try in Istanbul
Sugar and Spice with a Side of Rice: Foods You Simply Have to Try in Istanbul

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