Hotels & Accommodation – Istanbul, Turkey
Travel to Turkey for a sunny break away!
Istanbul described by many as “love at first sight” is a city that tells thousands of years’ worth of stories! Everywhere you look there is extraordinary architecture, culture and buildings from the many civilizations that once ruled this mystical and sought-after city! Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and the Ottomans have all had their turn at ruling this wonderland.
The Byzantines loved their churches, palaces and extravagant mosaics and the Ottomans built impressive and exquisite mosques that now create one of the most beautiful skylines in the world.
It is a wonderland for historians, architects and anyone who loves to take a step back in time to see how our ancestors once lived. Even if you’re not interested in history, the sights in this city are ones not to be missed, even the more modern ones.
The history is not the only attraction here, there are hundreds of different quirky things going on and activities, you can fish off the bridge and cruise between Europe and Asian continents on a Bosphorus River boat tour or for adrenaline junkies a speedboat.
The streets are lined with people selling delicious fresh food and exotic fruits and let’s not forget the famous Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world! Stretching over more than 60 streets with over 4000 shops the grand bazaar in Istanbul is a great place to grab a bargain and shop for spices, carpets and other treasures.
Istanbul is a metropolis with a famous nightlife scene, there are literally hundreds of options from happy hour to after hours! Head to the area for Kadikoy and watch the beautiful sunset along the waterfront along with enjoying activities and dancing in the park. If you want something livelier you can head inland and experience the world-famous Reina club or Sortie.
Or how about a few drinks from one of the rooftop bars in the Taksim area overlooking the stunning views of the city with budgets to suit all options you are guaranteed to find something you love here.
To really appreciate and experience the city the best way is to travel by foot. If you are unable to travel by foot or need to go further afield then there are many other options such as metro links, sea buses, trams, cable cars and taxis although traffic can be quite slow moving so travelling by car isn’t always the best option. To be able to use the public transport you can obtain an Istanbulkart at the automated ticket dispensers placed around the city such as the airport or metro stations. The card costs a non-refundable 10TL and has 4TL fare preloaded on to it, you can then load the card with the additional fare.
Purchasing an Istanbulkart will save you up to 40% of the standard fares plus you can make up to 5 journeys in 1 hour and pay less for each one so you will save a huge amount. One card can be used for up to 5 passengers so there is no need to purchase multi cards.
The Istanbulkart can be used on the following services bus, tram, Metrobus, cable car, ferry, Bosphorus Cruise, Train and HAVABUS.
Istanbul is a busy city and transport can get crowded, try to avoid using transport between rush hours 8am-10am and 4pm-6pm and if possible do sightseeing during the week as the weekends are extremely busy.
Top 3 places to see Istanbul
The Hagia Sophia was built in 537AD and used as a Greek Orthodox Church in the days when Istanbul was named Constantinople, it was later used as a mosque during the rule of the Ottoman empire until 1931 and in 1935 opened as a museum. It remained the worlds largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years!
Commissioned by Sultan Ahmet when he was 19 years old the Blue Mosque was built opposite the Hagia Sophia to rival it. Construction started on the blue mosque in 1609 and was completed 7 years later, sadly, he passed away just after the completion of the mosque. He is now buried outside along with his wife and 2 sons. The inside of the mosques is lined with 20,000 blue tiles which give the mosque its famous name.
Topkapi palace, now a museum served as the main residence for the Ottoman sultans, built between 1466 and 1478 and during the years of reign each sultan added a different section of hall depending on his taste. In 1924 Ataturk opened it as a museum where many areas of the palace can still be viewed to this day along with exhibition halls.