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Travel to Istanbul, where East meets West

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Our Editorial team's advice

The gateway to Turkey and a mythical town that bridges Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a fascinating city. The thousand and one neighbourhoods each reserve different surprises but always with a local feel. Go shopping at the Grand Bazaar and spice market, visit the Blue Mosque whose six minarets once rivalled Mecca's, see the sumptuous Saint Sophia, the Byzantine basilica turned into a mosque and the impressive Topkapi palace-museum of sultans. Also push the door of Saint Saviour in Chora, the Romanesque basilica decorated with impressive Byzantine mosaics, plan a boat ride on the Bosporus, see the history of ancient Byzantium and alternatively the 'yalés' (partly-timbered houses), bordering the banks of the river.

To see

The Blue Mosque, Saint Sophia, the Bosphorus, the Galata Bridge, the Galata Tower and the Topkapi Palace are all essential places to go and see.

To do

Shopping at the Grand Bazaar and the spices market is a must do before you leave Istanbul and is sure to be a unique retaill experience. The Prince Islands that float in the Marmara Sea just off Istanbul will ensure undisturbed peace and quiet if you want to get away from it all.

pros

  • +  Only a 4 hour flight from the UK
  • +  A large and varied choice of hotels
  • +  A significant architectural and cultural heritage

cons

  • -  A tendency for noise and pollution in some neighborhoods

To think about

Enjoy a body scrub and massage in a Turkish bath, commonly known as hammams. There are no shortage of hammams in Istanbul but should you want a more authentic treatment, choose a hammam around Taksim, where you will find only real Turks who do them.

To avoid

Make sure that any taxis you take have a meter and that it is turned on so that you pay a fair amount for your journey. Taxis are cheap but during the day, use public transport as much as possible to reduce congestion on the already jam packed streets.

To try

From the famous Turkish kebab, to berek, Baklava or the mezze, there are several local specialties that will be sure to please; the cuisine in Istanbul is rich and varied .

To bring back

Spices, silver jewellery, leather items, local food products, carpets, textiles are all good choices for keepsakes and presents for loved ones.

Weather Istanbul

These indicators are used as a set of criteria to predict overall weather conditions in Istanbul . The different indicators are there to help you prepare for your trip to Istanbul so you can make plans based on the weather forecast, whether it be a trip to the beach, walking, visiting attractions and museums or winter sports... Here you'll find a precise, overall weather score for each week in Istanbul , which takes into account temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds.

Weather July
Overall rating 91/100
  • Temperature indicators 98% Hot / Optimal

    The maximum temperature is <24°, temperature felt between 30°C and 33°C.

  • Bad weather indicators 86% Dry / Optimal

    Little or no rain (less than 1.5mm per day).

  • Sunbathing indicators 88% Sunny / Optimal

    Sunny (over 80% sunshine).

  • Swimming indicators 86% Very pleasant / Optimal

    High air temperature (>24°C), high sea temperature (>24°C), light to moderate winds (between 7 mph and 12 mph).

  • Wind indicators 90% Light breeze / Optimal

    Optimal comfort: optimal wind speed (between 7 mph and 12 mph) in a warm environment (>24°C).

  • Humidity indicators 70% Normal

    Slight feeling of discomfort due air humidity registering higher than 65%.

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