• Istanbul City Breaks
  • Overview

    Formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, Istanbul is strategically located on both European and Asian continents on opposing shores of the Bosphorus Strait. This atmospheric city is splendid, magnificent and grand in equal measure boasting numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites.

    Successively known by numerous names including most famously Byzantium, Constantinople and Stamboul, Istanbul is a vibrant and historic city providing an enchantingly exotic blend of Eastern and Western cultures and is the only city in the world straddling two continents. With influences from both sides; the modernity of a city teamed with elegant ancient architecture makes a city break to Istanbul is truly captivating. Delightfully situated on a hilly terrain with the busy Bosphorus Strait cutting through Europe to the west and Asia to the east, this fascinating city leaves any visitor with truly unforgettable memories and a will to return.

    Old & modern Istanbul

    The old city of Istanbul is crammed with interesting sights including many UNESCO World Heritage sites. Set on a small peninsula, the historic Sultanahmet area houses the former Christian church, then mosque, now museum, of Hagia Sophia with its outstanding freestanding dome and the Blue Mosque, built in the 17th century by Sultan Ahmet I, famed for its splendid blue Iznik tiles and marvellous stained glass windows. Additional mosques, minarets, museums and sumptuous palaces are just waiting to be discovered, not least Topkapi Palace with its famous harem, and the extensive Ottoman residence of Dolmabahce Palace.

    The Golden Horn natural harbour in the Bosphorus Strait is best viewed from Galata Tower from which you can see Galata Bridge, Topkapi Palace at Seraglia Point, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet, and the Asian district of Kadikoy on the opposing shore. Boat excursions along the Bosphorus take in many of the grand palaces and mosques, churches, and waterfront wooden villas known as yalis. The modern part of the city including the Pera area with its imitation palazzo is popular with European residents, and the vibrantly cosmopolitan Taksim Square, in the heart of the modern city, boasts excellent restaurants, bars and cafés.

    Bazaars and shopping

    Designer labels abound in Nistantasi district’s exclusive boutiques, and there’s a myriad of wonderful shopping malls including the largest in Europe, Cevahir Mall, and haggling for traditional mementoes is frantic but fun in the bazaars and the atmospheric Sunday market in Ortakoy. The unique Grand Bazaar offers an energetic experience: it’s a selfcontained community with cafés, banks even its own mosque, and its warren of streets and alleyways with 4,000 shops sells everything, from souvenir trinkets and backgammon sets, to fantastic gold and silver jewellery and eclectic antiques. The Spice, or Egyptian, Bazaar is vibrant with stalls of dried fruit, nuts and spices: you can even commission custom-made perfume!

    Two centres

    Choose a city break in fast paced Istanbul experiencing mosques and palaces, the Grand Bazaar and authentic Turkish cuisine, or combine a whistle-stop tour of this city with some relaxation. Simply fly from Istanbul to Bodrum, Dalaman or Antalya to enjoy the beaches, indulgent spas, or plethora of land and water based sports.

  • What to do?
  • Hotels
 

Formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, Istanbul is strategically located on both European and Asian continents on opposing shores of the Bosphorus Strait. This atmospheric city is splendid, magnificent and grand in equal measure boasting numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Successively known by numerous names including most famously Byzantium, Constantinople and Stamboul, Istanbul is a vibrant and historic city providing an enchantingly exotic blend of Eastern and Western cultures and is the only city in the world straddling two continents. With influences from both sides; the modernity of a city teamed with elegant ancient architecture makes a city break to Istanbul is truly captivating. Delightfully situated on a hilly terrain with the busy Bosphorus Strait cutting through Europe to the west and Asia to the east, this fascinating city leaves any visitor with truly unforgettable memories and a will to return.

Old & modern Istanbul

The old city of Istanbul is crammed with interesting sights including many UNESCO World Heritage sites. Set on a small peninsula, the historic Sultanahmet area houses the former Christian church, then mosque, now museum, of Hagia Sophia with its outstanding freestanding dome and the Blue Mosque, built in the 17th century by Sultan Ahmet I, famed for its splendid blue Iznik tiles and marvellous stained glass windows. Additional mosques, minarets, museums and sumptuous palaces are just waiting to be discovered, not least Topkapi Palace with its famous harem, and the extensive Ottoman residence of Dolmabahce Palace.

The Golden Horn natural harbour in the Bosphorus Strait is best viewed from Galata Tower from which you can see Galata Bridge, Topkapi Palace at Seraglia Point, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet, and the Asian district of Kadikoy on the opposing shore. Boat excursions along the Bosphorus take in many of the grand palaces and mosques, churches, and waterfront wooden villas known as yalis. The modern part of the city including the Pera area with its imitation palazzo is popular with European residents, and the vibrantly cosmopolitan Taksim Square, in the heart of the modern city, boasts excellent restaurants, bars and cafés.

Bazaars and shopping

Designer labels abound in Nistantasi district’s exclusive boutiques, and there’s a myriad of wonderful shopping malls including the largest in Europe, Cevahir Mall, and haggling for traditional mementoes is frantic but fun in the bazaars and the atmospheric Sunday market in Ortakoy. The unique Grand Bazaar offers an energetic experience: it’s a selfcontained community with cafés, banks even its own mosque, and its warren of streets and alleyways with 4,000 shops sells everything, from souvenir trinkets and backgammon sets, to fantastic gold and silver jewellery and eclectic antiques. The Spice, or Egyptian, Bazaar is vibrant with stalls of dried fruit, nuts and spices: you can even commission custom-made perfume!

Two centres

Choose a city break in fast paced Istanbul experiencing mosques and palaces, the Grand Bazaar and authentic Turkish cuisine, or combine a whistle-stop tour of this city with some relaxation. Simply fly from Istanbul to Bodrum, Dalaman or Antalya to enjoy the beaches, indulgent spas, or plethora of land and water based sports.

Local Information

Language:
Turkish
Currency:
Turkish Lira
Local time:
GMT + 3 hours
Local airport:
Istanbul
Flight time:
3 hours 37 minutes

Weather

40

30

20

10

0

J F M A M J J A S O N D
5 7 7 9 9 10 10 10 9 7 5 5
Average daily hours of sun

Featured hotels

Six Senses Kocatas Mansions

5 star superior

Set amidst immaculately landscaped gardens and meandering pathways in the prosperous Sariyer district with the centre of Istanbul a short boat ride away, Six Senses Kocatas Mansions incorporates two wonderfully restored Ottoman mansions, recreating historic architectural features.

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Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel & Spa

5 Star

Within a five minute stroll of Sultanahmet Square, Hagia Sophia and the famous Blue Mosque, Ottoman-style Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel enjoys a central location ideal for exploring Istanbul.

Request a quote
See all hotels in Istanbul

Featured hotels

Six Senses Kocatas Mansions

5 star superior

Set amidst immaculately landscaped gardens and meandering pathways in the prosperous Sariyer district with the centre of Istanbul a short boat ride away, Six Senses Kocatas Mansions incorporates two wonderfully restored Ottoman mansions, recreating historic architectural features.

Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel & Spa

5 Star

Within a five minute stroll of Sultanahmet Square, Hagia Sophia and the famous Blue Mosque, Ottoman-style Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel enjoys a central location ideal for exploring Istanbul.

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Istanbul special offers

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Local Information

Language:
Turkish
Currency:
Turkish Lira
Local time:
GMT + 3 hours
Local airport:
Istanbul
Flight time:
3 hours 37 minutes

Weather

40

30

20

10

0

J F M A M J J A S O N D
5 7 7 9 9 10 10 10 9 7 5 5
Average daily hours of sun

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