A city that’s rich in history from ancient times and throughout the centuries, Istanbul is certainly an atmospheric destination with lots of stories to tell.
The city is the economic, cultural and historic heart of Turkey, with the beautiful Marmara Sea on one side, and spectacular hills surrounding it. This dramatic backdrop gives Istanbul a magical feel, whatever time of year you choose to visit. And from its beautiful Byzantine and Ottoman buildings, to the great food served at a whole range of restaurants, inspired by a great mix of cultures, it’s an intriguing and exciting place in every way.
A city break in Istanbul wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Grand Bazaar. Not only is it the world’s oldest covered market, it’s also the largest. So get ready to haggle away to get the best deal for your holiday souvenir.
If the idea of shopping takes your fancy, you might also want to visit some of the city’s world-class malls like Galleria Ataköy and Akmerkez, or stroll down upmarket shopping streets like Abdi İpekçi Street in Nişantaşı and Bağdat Avenue.
To explore the city’s history, head to some of the most famous sights like the Hagia Sophia Church which dates right back to 6th century, the 17th-century Blue Mosque, famous for its grand blue dome. Or the breathtaking Topkapi Palace, first built in the mid-15th century and a perfect example of Ottoman architecture.
A cultural city
There are so many museums and galleries to see in this vibrant destination, so it’s worth having a little explore of as many as you can during your trip.
Some picks include modern art museums like İstanbul Modern, the Pera Museum, Sakıp Sabancı Museum. And for history hotspots try Istanbul Archaeology Museums and the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum.
Events run throughout the year too, from the Istanbul International Music Festival and the Istanbul Biennial every two years, so check out what’s on during your stay.
Restaurants and bars
With a cosmopolitan restaurant and nightlife scene, finding somewhere great to grab a bite to eat or a drink is easy in Istanbul.
For the best trip, discover what’s near you, you’ll be sure to find some lovely authentic Turkish eateries. But to give you a little inspiration, perhaps you’d like to seek out popular places like Gulhane Sark Sofrasi, Sultan Kebab House and Nicole.
For that after dinner drink, soak up the views from one of the many rooftop bars across the city like Litera Bar and 360, or head to one of the trendy hangouts like Münferit.