Istanbul is a feast for all your senses, from the wonderful wealth of ancient temples and buildings to the aromas of delicious, exotic food simmering. There is history everywhere, yet there is also the promise of a bright future that permeates the Istanbul air. It is this unique juxtaposition between ancient and contemporary that keeps visitors enthralled. Read a more write-up on what to see and do in Istanbul here.
Gülhane Park, Old Istanbul
This amazing museum allows visitors to travel through Istanbul’s rich past. You will see artifacts from the Byzantine and Ottoman eras, and even pieces from pre-Christian cultures of Anatolia, Mesopotamia, and other Arab locales. Favorites are the Alexander Sarcophagus (while it doesn’t actually hold Alexander the Great, it is intricately carved scenes from his battles) and the Treaty of Kadesh (thought to be the world’s earliest peace treaty).
Sultanahmet Square, Old Istanbul
Amazing. The Blue Mosque has an incredible 20,000 blue Iznik tiles and 260 stained glass windows. The feeling of light is awe-inspiring, and the whole mosque speaks of opulence and splendor. The exterior architecture is grand, but the interior will give you chills with its glorious curves and soaring ceilings.
Kariye Müzesi (Kariye Museum of the Holy Savior)
1 block north of Fevzi Pasa Cad., Old Istanbul
Marvel at the 14th Century Byzantine mosaics and frescoes that make the Church of the Holy Savior a truly magnificent sight to behold. Most of the mosaics are made of 50 panels, which together tell stories from the New Testament. The panels were plastered over in the 16th Century and only revealed in the 1940s. An exquisite find and a treasure for visitors to this lovely area.
Aya Sofya Square
The abundance of Istanbul’s architectural offerings is an outstanding treat for visitors and residents alike. Aya Sofya (or Hagia Sophia) is a Byzantine masterpiece completed in 537; Emperor Justinian ordered that it be the grandest church in the world, and that mission was accomplished. Innovations such as the flying buttress helped the Aya Sofya achieve the highest, most dramatic dome of that time; the 18 storey tall, 30 meter (100) wide dome with its gold tiles lit by 40 windows is just as awe-inspiring now as it was then.
Topkapi Sarayi, Gulhane Park, Sultanahmet Square
This interesting and immense palace received additions and updates as sultan after sultan ruled. Courtyards, gardens, and rooms were added, until there were over 5000 rooms. Family, slaves, concubines, and eunuchs lived in this sprawling complex. Today, you can tour the city-within-a-city and each of the four courtyards. This is a great way to experience the past and get a glimpse inside everything from a concubine’s room to the sultan’s quarters.
Kapalicarsi (Grand Bazaar)
Kalpakçilar Cad. Sorguçlu Han. No:22, Kapaliçarsi Beyazit –
You can find just about anything at the Kapalicarsi or Grand Bazaar. Its 4000 shops and 58 streets make it an immense and bustling maze of shopping activity. Look at gorgeous Turkish carpets, pipes, alabaster bookends, leatherworks, pottery, jewelry, glazed tiles, knick-knacks, and oddities. For those who eschew mass produced, soulless items, this is the place to get unique gifts and souvenirs. It is massive, so take advantage of one of the tours that guide you through it. You could spend your entire vacation here and not visit the same shop twice!
Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art
Meydani No. 46, 34410 Sultanahmet
Boasting one of the most extensive collections of Islamic Art, this wonderful museum features ceramics, calligraphy, textiles, metalwork, and Turkey’s famous carpets. The museum is housed in an Ottoman Empire palace, which is a work of art in itself.
Yerebatan Caddesi, Sultanahmet
The only word to describe Cagaloglu Hamam: stunning. This 300 year old marvel features some of the most beautiful architecture in the entire city. Gorgeous marble, strong columns, soaring ceilings, and beautiful statuary make this a tranquil and lovely place to rid yourself of stress. The steam will clear the senses and refresh you, and the design will awe you.
Dolmabahçe Cad., Besiktas
Turkish leaders had a penchant for demanding their architects design buildings that were superior to anything ever built in the world: and they usually succeeded. Sultan Ahmet wanted to move Turkey into the future, and thus the Dolmabahçe Sarayi was built. Mixing European styles with Hindu and Turkish design elements, the eclectic palace features lavish décor, such as the solid silver bed, marble bathrooms, crystal chandelier courtesy of Queen Victoria, and polar-bear rugs from Czar Nicholas I. It is opulent, tacky, and deliciously decadent.
Istanbul is a city that needs to be explored: you need to get into the midst of it and discover for yourself the history that lies beyond the walls of the imposing mosques and cathedrals or on the shores of the Bosphorus Strait. A great way to experience Istanbul is on foot. Various tours are offered to visitors so you can have both the freedom to explore and the security of having a guide who knows the area. One such tour culminates in the stunning Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Museum. On your way to the Blue Mosque, you will walk along a road lined with beautifully restored houses. Visit the Museum of Islam Art, and then walk up to the Sokollu Mehmet, a mosque known for its stunning tiles. It’s a wonderful way to spend the day and see some of Istanbul’s most beautiful attractions.
Istanbul is advantageously located on the Bosphorus Strait, affording it lovely views of the water and from the water. Why not see this incomparable city from the deck of a boat? Take the ferry from Eminönü to Uskudar to enjoy the seaside atmosphere and superb architecture. Uskudar is a popular retreat for the people of Istanbul, so it is a prime place to do some people watching as well. Watch the sunset on the Golden Horn and feel the tranquility that has made this one of the most prized destinations on earth.
Maybe you do not want a vacation that is totally tranquil; maybe you want some excitement. Istanbul provides modern amenities that provide a nice balance to the historic aspects of the city. Istanbul honors the past but doesn’t live in it. The city is thoroughly contemporary – and yet thoroughly Turkish. Visit the Grand Bazaar and the surrounding area if you want to find the perfect gift, souvenir, or a little something for yourself. The Bazaar has an incredible 4000 shops, and that is only the tip of the iceberg. City block after city block offer the most amazing shopping visitors have ever experienced. You can even take a walking tour of the Grand Bazaar, the markets of Tahtakale, and the Egyptian Spice Market. Take a minute and stop to smell the spices. Fragrant Istanbul will cast its spell on you.
Turkish nightlife has also come alive due to the recent economic boon the city has experienced. Visit a Turkish meyhane, or tavern, and try some of Turkey’s favorite drink, raki, while you snack on mezes (appetizers). There are nightclubs where you can see an “Oriental show” featuring bellydancers, Russian and Romanian dancers, and cabaret singers. You can also listen to more modern music at one of the many rock bars and cafes. Istanbul is nothing if not eclectic.
You can have the experience of a lifetime – and experience something new and exciting each day of your visit to Istanbul. Every corner brings a new taste, a new smell, a new and marvelous sight.
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Asker Ocagi Caddesi No. 1, Taksim, 34435 Istanbul, Turkey
Description The InterContinental Ceylan Istanbul Hotel is located in the heart of the city and offers the very best in Istanbul hotel accommodation. From the hotel's convenient location, guests can access the best of Istanbul's cultural, tourism...
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Akbiyik Cad No: 25, Istanbul, TR 34400, Turkey
The Best Western Acropol Hotel is an attractive hotel in the middle of the historical triangle of Blue Mosque, Saint Sophia and Marmara Sea. Discover the secrets of the history in the heart of old and modern Istanbul. Within walking distance of the hotel enjoy shopping...
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Kucuk Ayasofya Mah Yusuf Askin No. 28, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, TR 24400, Turkey
The Best Western Hotel Amber is an Ottoman house built in the 19th century. The interior has been restored and offers a traditional Turkish bath, sauna and billiard room. We are situated in the central district of Istanbul within a five-minute walk to St. Sophia, Topkapi...
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Kennedy Caddesi Sahil Yolu No.32, Ahirkapi, Istanbul, TR 34400, Turkey
The Best Western Citadel Hotel is situated near the old city center and all historical sites. The hotel has a wonderful view of the Marmara Sea and overlooks the Prince Islands. You may freely fish just by crossing the street. The Best Western Citadel Hotel is located...
Millet Cad 186 Topkapi, Istanbul, Turkey
The Barcelo Eresin Topkapi is an elegant and disctinctive five star premium hotel, member of the Barcelo Hotels and Resors Chain. The hotel is located European side of Istanbul, is just 10 KM from the international airport and the Exhibition Center, The Grand Bazaar... more
Ciragan Caddesi 32 Besiktas, 34349 Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul's Ultimate Luxury Hotel—The Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul The Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, once the home of Ottoman sultans, is dramatically... more
Çiragan Caddesi No. 28, Besiktas, 34349 Istanbul, Turkey
Hotel Description: The Four Seasons Istanbul is constructed within the original facade of a 100 year old prison, and has been remarkably restored with just 65 guest rooms and Suites. The building's exterior of Turkish neo-classic architecture... more
Taskisla Caddesi, Taksim, 34437 Istanbul, Turkey
The Hyatt Regency Istanbul Hotel is a five-star luxury hotel situated minutes away from Istanbul's historic and business points of interests. Staying at this Hyatt Regency in Istanbul, guests... more
Bayildim Caddesi No. 2, Macka, Befliktafl, 34357 Istanbul, Turkey
The Swissotel Istanbul is adjacent to Dolmabahce Palace, the last residence of the Ottoman Sultans and surrounded by 65 acres of parkland. The hotel is unique with its variety of dining and catering options offering an extensive variety of cuisines. A vast majority of... more
Suzer Plaza, Askerocagi Caddesi No. 15, Sisli, 34367 Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is the only city in the world to sit astride two continents, and was the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Now a vibrant metropolis, it has centuries of history as a bridge between Europe and Asia and as a crossroads of civilizations.... more
Tesvikiye Caddesi 41-41A, Nisantasi, 34367 Istanbul, Turkey
Hotel Introduction A new generation of luxury accommodations, downtown Istanbul, in the fashionable area Nisantasi-Istanbul's shopping and gourmet district where you have most prestigious international labels and the city's best restaurants, bars and... more
CUMHURIYET STREET 80600 HARBIYE ISTANBUL TURKEY Istanbul Turkey
The Istanbul Hilton Is Centrally Located Near The Taksim Square. It Is Situated In Beautiful Gardens Overlooking The Bosphorus And Is Within Walking Distance Of Business / Shopping And Entertainment Areas - The Hilton Convention And Exhibition Centre Is Adjacent... more
Bayildim Caddesi 12, Istanbul, Turkey
We are pleased to announce the reopening of Hilton ParkSA after a full renovation period. The New Hilton ParkSA offers a full range of state-of-the-art amenities and facilities to suit the changing needs of our guests. Hilton ParkSA has a spectacular view of the Bosphorus... more
Kamerhatun Mah, Mesrutiyet Cad. No:34, 34435 Beyoglu / Istanbul
Close to Taksim Square and with great spa facilities, the Miapera is a boutique hotel that impresses with its mix of historical exterior and luxury, ultra-stylish interior design. more
Buyukdere Caddesi 4.Levent Istanbul 34330 Turkey
Hotel Introduction Recently opened stylish 5-star boutique business hotel with 249 spacious rooms, superb restaurants and meeting facilities for up to 600 guests. Located in the centre of uptown in 4 Levent, the prime business district, next... more
Ciftegelinler Caddesi No 3, Kumkapi, Istanbul, 34126, Turkey
The Best Western Amber Hotel is set near the sea side, in the oldest and most colorful district of Istanbul, which is still a functioning fishing village. It is in walking distance from the Sultanahmet Square with Istanbul's most famous Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Top... more
Hocapasa Mah. Hudavenigar Cad. 17/19, Sirkeci, Istanbul, TR 34110, Turkey
The Best Western Empire Palace opened in April 2004 and is located in the heart of the historic, old city part of Istanbul.It is established with the latest luxury decorations inside and offers high quality service. The guest can meet more than their expectations in... more
Topcu Caddesi No: 34, Taksim, Istanbul, TR 34437, Turkey
Experience traditional Turkish hospitality while in the center of Istanbul, at the Best Western Eresin Taxim Hotel. You will be within walking distance of all Istanbul has to offer, including the Lutfu Kirdar Congress and Exhibition Center, Concert Hall, Art Gallery and... more
Mimar Mehmetaga Cad. No. 17/19, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, 34400, Turkey
The Best Western Hotel Obelisk & Sumengen is a 19th century Ottoman house which has been converted into a luxury hotel. Situated on a quiet side within walking distance to St. Sophia, Grand Bazaar, Toptapi Palace, Blue Mosque and offering a breathtaking view of Marmara... more
Akbiyik Cad. No 38, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, 34122, Turkey
Welcome to Best Western Premier Regency Suites Hotel-Spa! A boutique hotel located 200 meters away from Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque. Overlooking the Bosphorus and St. Sophia (Hagia Sophia) from the Terrace Restaurant and most of the rooms. All rooms are one bedroom suit... more
Gencturk Caddesi - Sirvanizade Sokak 7, Sehzadebasi, Istanbul, TR 34470, Turkey
The Best Western Senator Hotel is situated in the heart of the old city within walking distance to major attractions like St. Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, the Islamic Arts Museum, Topkapi Palace, Archeological Museum and Grand Bazaar. The Best Western Senator Hotel... more
Tashan Cad. No-57, Bakirkoy, Istanbul, TR 34142, Turkey
The Best Western Tashan Business & Airport Hotel is ideally located 9 kilometers from Atat¸rk International Airport and 10 kilometers from the center of Old City (St. Sophia, Grand Bazaar and several museums) with easy access to main highway, train stations and sea bus.... more
Tiyatro Cad 25 Beyazit, Istanbul, TR 34126, Turkey
The Best Western The President Hotel is located in the center of old city Istanbul, a veritable shopper's paradise. We are within walking distance of the Grand Bazaar and many other historical sites such as, St. Sophia, Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome. Breakfast is served... more
Millet Cad. No:187 Topkapi Istanbul 34280 TURKEY
Introduction Istanbul is the city where Asia meets Europe, with cultural heritage and natural beauty. Holiday Inn Istanbul City located next to the impressing historical city walls of Istanbul reflects the spirit of this very special city.... more
Description Holiday Inn Istanbul Hotel is nestled on the magnificent oceanfront, amidst the tranquillity of the modern tourist... more
lamartin Cad. No. 45, Taksim
The Lion Hotel is located in Taksim, which offers business, fun and a cultural center.Taste the unique dishes of Turkish and international cuisine at our Galaxy Restaurant. Relax at the swimming pool and enjoy the sun on our terrace. At the end of an exciting... more
Yerebatan Caddesi, No. 47, Sultanahmet
Hotel Pamphylia is one of the oldest buildings in the area and architectually remarkabe. We are located right in the old city and within walking distance to all attractions. Rooms are decorated according to Ottoman style to meet guest's tastes and comfort. Our restaurant,... more
Akbiyik Cad. Terbiyik Sok. No. 12
The Hotel Poem...at the very center of the old Sultanahmet: modern comfort and convenience surrounded by vivid reminders of the Byzantine and Ottoman past. An Ottoman style boutique hotel, the Poem was designed in the style of traditional Ottoman urban residences and... more