This magical meeting place of East and West has more top-drawer attractions than it has minarets (and that's a lot). Istanbul's strategic location between Europe and Asia on the ancient Silk Road has made it one of history's most important cities.
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    Top sights in Istanbul

    Bosphorus Strait

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    Hagia Sophia

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    Topkapi Palace

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    Bosphorus Bridge

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    Sultanahmet District

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    Sultan Ahmed Mosque

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    Basilica Cistern

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    Top things to do in Istanbul

    Istanbul’s strategic location between Europe and Asia on the ancient Silk Road has made it one of history’s most important cities. A list of its points of interest would be long enough to bridge the Bosphorus, so here’s a top 6 to make your itinerary more manageable!

    Hagia Sophia
    In Hagia Sophia, the immense dome crowning this church turned mosque turned museum was an architectural miracle in its time, although it took a lot of trial and error to get to that point: it collapsed twice!

    Sultan Ahmed Mosque
    Also commonly known as the Blue Mosque, the fine İznik tiles adorning this magnificent structure may make it appear bluer than it actually is!

    Dolmabahçe Palace
    The glorious Dolmabahçe Palace dominates the European shoreline of the Bosphorus where it served as the key administrative center in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire.

    Topkapi Palace
    Topkapi Palace, the one-time home of many Sultans, not only offers spectacular views of the city but also houses treasures that make the Crown Jewels look like Claire’s Accessories!

    Galata Tower
    As early as the 1600s, Ahmet Çelebi is said to have flown across the Bosphorus from the top of the Galata Tower. Most visitors will probably be content with incredible views!

    Grand Bazaar
    The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest markets on the planet. A constant source of wonder, it’s also one of the world’s most visited places. Expect crowds at any time!

    Planning Your Istanbul Visit

    How many days?

    Istanbul is a cartographical labyrinth with sights and experiences awaiting you round every corner. How long to stay depends on how immersed you want to get, but a week should be enough to cover the most famous attractions.

    How to get from the airport to the city?

    Havataş Shuttle Buses are available from outside the terminal and leave every half an hour for Taksim between 4:00AM and 1:00AM. Taking a taxi is, however, the most convenient way, and shouldn’t be more expensive than the shuttle service between a group of four. Be sure to ignore the hustlers inside the airport and take an official vehicle from the taxi rank at the terminal exit.

    Where to stay?

    The key touristic areas are Fatih and Taksim, and which to stay in depends on the nature of your stay. Fatih is the old town and home to many of Istanbul’s historic landmarks. Taksim, on the other hand, is modern and appeals more to those visiting the city to shop, dine, and party. Traveling between the two is simple, so don’t worry if you fancy hitting the dancefloors after the Hagia Sophia!

    Good to know




    Turkish Lira (₺)

    Country Code


    Time Zone

    UTC (+02:00)

    Best time to visit

    The weather is good at all times of the year, but it may be a good idea to avoid the summer if you do not like extreme heat.

    What people are saying about Istanbul

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Hagia Sofia is like a mother of Istanbul
    Surprisingly that the tours start sharp and no delay is foreseen- big respect to the organization in one of the chaotic and super haptic cities!!! Our guide Adim (Adam for international tourists) was a very young, but knowledgeable and very enthusiastic young man. Deep knowledge with interesting, sometimes funny inputs made our tours unforgettable. We also had a chance to meet the local star – a cat named Gli Definitely recommend to all who want to learn facts in a 1h life tour and not only appreciate the beauty of the museum on several centuries and religions.

    Hagia Sophia: Skip-the-Line Ticket with Guided Tour reviewed by Alina

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Good value for your money and a must in Istanbul.
    Cards delivered to our hotel as promised. The tour guides were excellent with the Museum Pass and very knowledgeable and friendly. The Istanbul card easy to use on public transport all over the city. I recommend to everybody to get these cards, they make your life a lot easier. 10/10 Thank you!

    İstanbul Welcome Card reviewed by Timo

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ From the water, to better understand Istanbul
    As with every city or destination with an “ocean” front, the view from the water shows you a totally different physiognomy of Istanbul. Embark form Europe and being able to disembark in Asia is a very unique experience. If you have the time, it is a must.

    Istanbul: Hop-On-Hop-Off Bosphorus Boat Tour reviewed by Alejandro

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Interesting tour by a knowledgeable guide.
    It’s only a brief tour, with not a lot to see. However the guide knew all about the history of the basilica, and it was very interesting. Shame that so much of it is under renovation and no water is in it. But still worthwhile seeing.

    Istanbul: Basilica Cistern Skip-the-Line Guided Tour reviewed by Michael

    The City Maps

    ⭐⭐⭐ 10 Best Hotels in Istanbul

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    At the right time, the driver will be waiting for you on-site. They will walk you to the car and take you to the hotel.

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