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Travel to Istanbul, where East meets West

Travel Guide
  • Main gateway to the country and a mythical town that bridges Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a fascinating city of contrasts and like no other. 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 ...
    © Cyril Bana / age fotostock
  • The Byzantine church of Hagia Sophia is a great architectural beauty and one of the most recognised symbols of Istanbul
    © Cyril Bana / age fotostock
  • The Deesis mosaic is a wonderful example of Byzantine art, seen at the Hagia Sophia museum
    © Cyril Bana / age fotostock
  • The Bosphorus, also known as the Istanbul Strait, runs through Istanbul, but also separates two continents: Europe from Asia
    © Cyril Bana / age fotostock
  • Typical Turkish décor often features beautiful, ornate mosaics
    © Cyril Bana / age fotostock
  • The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, dating from the 17th century, is nicknamed the Blue Mosque, for its blue tile interior
    © Cyril Bana / age fotostock
  • The monuments found throughout Istanbul are splendid examples of Byzantine architecture
    © Cyril Bana / age fotostock
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Turkey

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.

Istanbul: what 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.

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.

 Turkey  Turkey
Istanbul: the key figures

Surface area : 302535.0 km2

Population : In 2011, Turkey had an estimated 74 724 270 inhabitants inhabitants

Time difference : GMT+2

  • Only a 4 hour flight from the UK
  • A large and varied choice of hotels
  • A significant architectural and cultural heritage
  • A tendency for noise and pollution in some neighborhoods

Istanbul: what to visit?

Reminders

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.

Istanbul: what to eat?

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 .

Istanbul: what to buy?

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

Istanbul Reviewedhotels
  • 9.2 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Sumahan On The Water
    Istanbul - Turkey
    Hotel Hotel 3 Etoile(s)

    As its name indicates, the Sumahan on the Water is a little world ...

  • 9.15 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Ciragan Palace Kempinski
    Istanbul - Turkey
    Hotel Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    This is a prestigious hotel offering the services of large European ...

  • 9.05 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Four Seasons Istanbul
    Istanbul - Turkey
    Hotel Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    The Four Seasons is indisputably the most charming place in Istanbul. ...

  • 9.05 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Çiragan Palace
    Istanbul - Turkey
    Hotel Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    Like the phoenix, the Çiragan Palade has risen from the ashes ...

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