Istanbul Holidays

Your Istanbul holiday

Istanbul’s history as a city began with its colonization by the Greeks in 7th century BCE. Desired for its strategic location, Greek King Byzas named the city Byzantium and settlers who populated it mostly worked as fisherman. In 196 ACE, Roman Emperor Septimus Severus took over the war-torn city and restored and beautified it.

However, after a civil war in 314 ACE between Roman emperors Constantine and Licinius ended in the latter’s death, the city was renamed Constantinople and declared the capital of the Roman Empire.

Constantine commissioned the construction of numerous churches, fortified city walls, and other structures to put the city on par with Rome. Many wealthy Romans moved to Constantinople and it began to grow and prosper.

After the breakup of the Roman Empire, despite the various invasions and attacks from Middle Eastern forces, Constantinople remained prominent. In 1204, however, crusaders of the Fourth Crusade laid waste to the city and ruled it until 1261 ACE under a Catholic Latin Empire.

The Ottomans, led by Sultan Mehmed II, eventually conquered the city in 1453 and changed its name to Istanbul. The Sultan embarked on a makeover of the city, building public facilities and encouraging people from various religious faiths to make it their home, though Istanbul ultimately became a centre for Islamic culture.

Istanbul joined the Republic of Turkey in 1923 after the allies’ occupation of the city during WWI and the Turkish War of Independence. From the 1940s to the 1970s, Istanbul expanded in size and population, and has recently become known a bastion of cutting-edge art and culture.

Spend a holiday in Istanbul and visit the ancient city that is always reinventing itself. Once the centre of the Byzantine, Roman, and Ottoman empires, the city is now recognized as a hub of modern art, fashion, film, and music, playing host to numerous cultural festivals each year.

Bursting with trendy bars and clubs, Istanbul is also famed for its unmatchable nightlife. This alongside the city’s incredible historic sites and buzzing Turkish bazaars makes it a city that straddles the past and present with grace and style.

Book a flight to Istanbul today to experience it all!

Holidays Deals

Istanbul Holidays

Agan Hotel Istanbul

3 stars
3.9 / 5 95 reviews
Service-oriented hotel in the heart of the Old CityHotel Agan is a warm and friendly small hotel in the Old City. The hotel's focus on guest comfort is apparent inside and out. Agan has large cushions set up outside the building for guests who want to enjoy a drink from the pub next door. The hotel is in easy walking distance of Old City attractions. Agan provides complimentary wireless Internet access and a buffet breakfast. Guests who do not have their own computers may use the guest-dedicated lobby computer. HighlightsKnown for friendly and welcoming staffCushions that line seating area outside the hotel offers one of the best people-watching spots in the Old CityNeighboring Salute Pub serves drinks and food Complimentary wireless Internet access and buffet breakfast Rooms The décor in Hotel Agan's 31 rooms drew inspiration from traditional Turkish design. The rooms feature brilliant reds and gold tones as well as bold classic Turkish patterns. Many of the rooms feature tufted upholstered headboards and wood and upholstered furniture. Rooms are air conditioned. The hotel offers 24-hour room service. Features The hotel is close to several forms of public transportation. The location is a good starting point for those who want to tour the city or to take a cruise on the Bosphorus.   Agan is also near beautiful Gulhane Park. The park was once the outer gardens of Topkapi Palace. The park has wonderful open spaces with paths perfect for guests who enjoy exercise walking, or, of course, leisurely strolling.   The hotel can arrange airport transfers and on-site babysitting services. TransportationGulhane tram stop (0.1 mi/0.2 km)Sirkeci Railway Station (0.4 mi/0.7 km)Eminonu Ferry Terminal (0.9 mi/1.4 km) Istanbul International Ataturk Airport (11.7 mi/18.9 km) Sabiha Gokcen Airport (27.6 mi/44.5 km)  Nearby attractionsHagia Sophia (0.2 mi/0.4 km) Istanbul Archaeology Museum (0.3 mi/0.5 km) Blue Mosque (0.6 mi/1 km) Spice Bazaar (1 mi/1.6 km) Topkapi Palace (1.1 mi/1.8 km)  Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (1.5 mi/2.5 km)Galata Tower (1.9 mi/3 km) Balat Ahrida Synagogue (2.4 mi/3.9 km)  Dolmabahce Palace (2.7 mi/4.3 km) BusinessComplimentary wireless Internet accessPhotocopier available for guest use
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Nightly rates from €38.70

Agora Life Hotel

4 stars
4.4 / 5 38 reviews
Just a 5-minute walk from Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, this boutique hotel offers modern accommodation with free wireless internet access. It has a rooftop terrace and offers a buffet breakfast. In the heart of Sultanahmet, Agora Life Hotel offers an ideal location for guests who want easy access to Istanbul's most historic sites. Agora Life Hotel is 17 kilometers far from Ataturk Airport which can be reached by metro and tram line passes the area
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Nightly rates from €99.17

Ottoman Hotel Park

4 stars
4.5 / 5 15 reviews
The late Ottoman age combined with the modern philosophy of todays life is reflected at the Ottoman Hotel Park, the newly renovated exclusive hotel located in the core of the historical peninsula in Istanbul. Offering you brand new luxurious rooms overlooking the magnificent Marmara Sea, Kadirga Park and the traditional district of Sultanahmet; Ottoman Hotel Park aims to redefine the approach to comfort and boutique services. With 4 deluxe, 11 superior and 23 standard rooms decorated in a postmodern Ottoman and Turkish theme.
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Nightly rates from €59.54

Recital Hotel

4 stars
4.4 / 5 18 reviews
With its panoramic rooftop terrace overlooking Istanbul, this hotel offers bright rooms with classic-style furniture and luxurious fabrics. Room service and free Wi-Fi are also available. All rooms feature pinewood floors, wood furnishings and custom-made curtains. Each has a wall-mounted LCD TV with satellite channels and a bathroom with walk-in shower. In-room hot and cold drinks are available as well. A buffet breakfast is served daily in the breakfast salon. The a la carte restaurant offers a varied choice of local and international dishes. Guests can admire sunsets on the terrace with Turkish tea and appetizers. Hotel Recital provides a car rental service. The Sabiha Gokcen Airport is 32 km away. The hotel is situated a 3-minute walk away from the cemberlitas Tram Stop. The Covered Bazaar and Blue Mosque are only 500 meters away. Recital Hotel, which is in a very central part of the historical peninsula Sultanahmet, offers its luxury and hospitality to the guests. Most of the historical attractions of Istanbul are either within a five-minute walk or can be easily reached by different means of transportation. Some of the most famous ones in the environs of Recital Hotel are St.Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Underground Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Ancient Hippodrome and Obelisk. The hotel also provides Ballroom, Dry cleaning, Lobby, Reception services. Taxes also includes net rates. Breakfast time is from 7 am to 10 am. Deluxe ,Corner Room and Superior Sea view room have free espresso machine facility.
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Nightly rates from €92.59

Gulhane Park Hotel Istanbul

4 stars
3.8 / 5 169 reviews
Enjoy Gulhane Park; walk to Istanbul's famous attractionsThe Gulhane Park Hotel Istanbul is sited next to the former garden of Topkapi Palace. This historic location is ideal for easy reach to some of the city's most popular tourist attractions. The hotel has views of the park, the Palace, and the Bosphorus Strait. Amenities include complimentary breakfast buffet, a fitness center, a wood sauna, and a Turkish bath. The Gulhane Park Hotel Istanbul is just half a mile from Sirkeci Railway Station, one mile from Eminonu ferry dock, and a short drive from Istanbul International Ataturk Airport. Reasons to stay Enjoy jogging or walking in Gulhane ParkThe Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and other attractions are just a short walk awayThe restaurant serves international and Turkish cuisine for lunch and dinner Gulhane Park Hotel Istanbul roomsThe superior double and twin rooms at the Gulhane Park Hotel Istanbul feature a king bed or two single beds, and garden or city views from their balconies. Superior triple rooms have a king bed plus one single bed, or alternatively, three single beds. Quadruple rooms have one king bed, and two single beds, or one king bed and one single bed, plus a sofa. Rooms include cable and satellite TV, telephones, high-speed wireless internet, tea and coffee, and laundry service. Things to do nearby Blue Mosque  (1.1 mi/1.8 km)Topkapi Palace  (1.3 mi/2.1 km)Galata Bridge  (1.3 mi/2.1 km)Hagia Sophia  (1.3 mi/2.1 km)
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Nightly rates from €64.34

Sultanhan Hotel Istanbul

5 stars
4.3 / 5 28 reviews
Istanbul hotel with Seljuk and Ottoman details and riverside restaurantDramatic Seljuk and Ottoman architectural details abound at the centrally located Sultanhan Hotel Istanbul, which is near the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar. A columned lobby -- replete with silk curtains -- gives way to property highlights that include a riverside restaurant, a lounge serving aperitifs, a concierge desk, a sauna and a Turkish hammam. Meanwhile, single, double and triple rooms are available with amenities such as parquet wood flooring, oversize cable TVs, laptop-size safes and complimentary wireless Internet access. Highlights Complimentary wireless Internet access in guest roomsCentral location, within walking distance of the Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar and Yerebatan Cistern Sauna and Turkish hammam for 12 RoomsAll air-conditioned guest rooms at the Sultanhan Hotel Istanbul have one queen or two twin beds or one queen and one twin bed. Features include sofa beds in separate sitting areas, satellite TVs, laptop-size safes, direct-dial telephones and complimentary wireless Internet access as well as bathroom telephones, showers with handheld showerheads, bathrobes, slippers and hair-dryers. Room service is available 24 hours a day, and housekeeping is provided daily at the Sultanhan Hotel Istanbul. FeaturesEye-catching Seljuk and Ottoman architectural details grace the Sultanhan Hotel Istanbul, where the lobby is adorned with historic relics more than 150 years old. The property houses a terrace restaurant, a lounge, a sauna and a Turkish hammam, all within walking distance of some of the most revered sightseeing. Guest-friendly services include a doctor on call, dry cleaning and laundry services, plus parking, 24-hour room service and babysitting. Sultanhan Hotel Istanbul also has a tour desk to assist guests. Transportation Ataturk International Airport (8.2 mi/13.2 km) Attractions Grand Bazaar (0.3 mi/0.5 km)Basilica Cistern (0.3 mi/0.5 km)Archaeological Museum (0.6 mi/1 km)Suleymaniye Mosque (0.7 mi/1.1 km)Galata Bridge (0.9 mi/1.4 km)Istanbul University (1.2 mi/1.9 km)Dolmabahce Palace (2.6 mi/4.2 km)Istanbul Congress Center (2.9 mi/4.6 km) Business Complimentary wireless Internet access
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Nightly rates from €222.23

Ottoman Hotel Imperial

4 stars
4.5 / 5 47 reviews
19th-century school building gets top grades as a small hotel The Ottoman Hotel Imperial, originally built as an Ottoman school and hospital in the mid-19th century, today is an elegant and welcoming vision for travelers. The building was converted to a hotel in 2005. From the hotel's elevated location above the Old City guests can take in views of some of the world's most beautiful sights, including the Marmara Sea. The Ottoman Hotel Imperial sits amidst many of the Old City's most popular attractions, including the Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace, and the Blue Mosque. Highlights Historic building was an Ottoman school and hospitalElevated location in the Old City affords stunning viewsSteps from incredible historic sites, including Hagia Sophia and the Blue MosqueFine restaurant serves traditional Turkish cuisine Rooms Rooms feature traditional Ottoman décor and all the comforts a modern traveler requires. High-speed and wireless Internet access is available (fees may apply). The desks are small and better suited to a casual letter or a computer space than a place for business travelers to spread out. Guests receive a complimentary welcome drink. Features The Ottoman Hotel Imperial combines contemporary and traditional décor in an elegant interior with a focus on guest comfort.   The hotel has two restaurants. The menu at the fine Matbah Restaurant focuses on traditional Turkish cuisine. Sadrazam Restaurant's buffet features dishes from Turkey and other global influences. The hotel's Saltanat Bar offers wine, beer, and seasonal specialty cocktails.   Guests can relax in the hotel's garden or on the terrace.  Transportation Sultanahmet tram stop (0.4 mi/0.7 km)Cankurtaran Railway Station (0.5 mi/0.8 km)Yenikapi Ferry Terminal (2 mi/3.2 km) Istanbul International Ataturk Airport (12 mi/19.4 km) Sabiha Gokcen Airport (28 mi/45 km)  Nearby attractions Istanbul Archaeology Museum (109 yds/0.1 km) Hagia Sophia (0.1 mi/0.2 km) Blue Mosque (0.4 mi/0.7 km)Topkapi Palace (1.2 mi/1.9 km)   Spice Bazaar (1.3 mi/2.1 km) Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (1.9 mi/3 km)Galata Tower (2.5 mi/4 km) Balat Ahrida Synagogue (2.8 mi/4.5 km)   Business High-speed Internet access (fees may apply)Business services 
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The Millennium Suites

4 stars
4.7 / 5 15 reviews
If you are looking for a great value for money downtown Istanbul hotel then look no further than the elegant Millennium Suites. Ideal an overnight stop or for a long stay in a large 35 sq.m. room, this first-class Istanbul accommodation has all you need to make you feel at home. The other hotel amenities are Dry cleaning, Library, Lobby and Reception. The Millennium Suites has 3 floor but no lift available.
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Nightly rates from €152.47

Gardenhouse Hotel Istanbul

4 stars
4.3 / 5 30 reviews
Character Ottoman townhouse hotel with unique charmThe recently remodeled Garden House Hotel is a traditional Ottoman mansion house turned into a unique hotel, providing 24 individual guest accommodations. The hotel is in a tranquil setting yet is only moments from many major tourist attractions. While the hotel has a rich history, amenities and services are all modern and up to date. Wireless Internet and a business corner with access to a free computer are available. The Garden House Hotel serves delicious Turkish fare in an open-air restaurant and light refreshments and coffee in the hotel bar. 3 Reasons to Stay:Excellent buffet breakfast served in the leafy surroundings of the hotel's interior garden Elegant 19th century Ottoman mansion house restored to its former glory with traditional interiors and furnishings Historic sites such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Grand Bazaar all a short walk away Garden House Hotel RoomsNo two rooms are the same at the Garden House Hotel in Istanbul. Each guestroom or suite is individually styled, creating a real home-from-home atmosphere. Richly polished wooden floors strewn with jewel colored carpets and gilded furnishings strongly reflect the opulent Ottoman style. Guests feel comfortable and welcome with complimentary tea/coffee in the room, mini bar, pillow menu, bathrobes, herbal bath toiletries and a hairdryer. Also featured in all rooms are a TV, safe to accommodate a laptop, Internet access and two phone lines. Deluxe rooms come with balconies and some have a Turkish bath. On the fifth floor is a luxury suite decorated in a style that is more contemporary. This light and airy suite offers a sea view with balcony, a separate seating area and bathroom with Jacuzzi. There is no elevator in the Garden House Hotel. Things to Do:Theodosius Obelisk (0.2mi/0.3km) Blue Mosque (0.3mi/0.4km) Mosaic Museum (0.3mi/0.4km) Hagia Sophia (0.5mi/0.8km) Basilica Cistern (0.8mi/1.2km) Grand Bazaar (0.9mi/1.4km) Topkapi Palace (2.1mi/3.3km) Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (3.5mi/5.6km) Taksim Square (4.4mi/7km) Spice Market (5.2mi/8.3km)
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Raymond Hotel

4 stars
3.9 / 5 20 reviews
Situated less than 200 meters from Gulhane Tram Stop, Raymond Hotel offers non-smoking rooms with free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV. Its restaurant serves vegetarian and meat dishes. Each room features comfortable bedding and are fitted with large windows. Guests can grab a cold drink from the well-stocked minibar or make a warm beverage using the tea / coffee maker. At Raymond, guests can make use of the car rental services or request assistance with tickets. The front desk can also help arrange laundry services for guests. The hotel offers Lobby, Reception, Restaurant, Bar, 24-Hour Front Desk, Non-Smoking Rooms, Elevator, Express Check-In/Check-Out, Heating, Design Hotel, Luggage Storage, All Public and Private spaces non-smoking and Air conditioning. Additional Charges: 30 euros Ataturk Airport Transfer.
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Hotels

Istanbul Hotels

Nightly rates from €38.70

Agan Hotel Istanbul

3 stars
3.9 / 5 95 reviews
Service-oriented hotel in the heart of the Old CityHotel Agan is a warm and friendly small hotel in the Old City. The hotel's focus on guest comfort is apparent inside and out. Agan has large cushions set up outside the building for guests who want to enjoy a drink from the pub next door. The hotel is in easy walking distance of Old City attractions. Agan provides complimentary wireless Internet access and a buffet breakfast. Guests who do not have their own computers may use the guest-dedicated lobby computer. HighlightsKnown for friendly and welcoming staffCushions that line seating area outside the hotel offers one of the best people-watching spots in the Old CityNeighboring Salute Pub serves drinks and food Complimentary wireless Internet access and buffet breakfast Rooms The décor in Hotel Agan's 31 rooms drew inspiration from traditional Turkish design. The rooms feature brilliant reds and gold tones as well as bold classic Turkish patterns. Many of the rooms feature tufted upholstered headboards and wood and upholstered furniture. Rooms are air conditioned. The hotel offers 24-hour room service. Features The hotel is close to several forms of public transportation. The location is a good starting point for those who want to tour the city or to take a cruise on the Bosphorus.   Agan is also near beautiful Gulhane Park. The park was once the outer gardens of Topkapi Palace. The park has wonderful open spaces with paths perfect for guests who enjoy exercise walking, or, of course, leisurely strolling.   The hotel can arrange airport transfers and on-site babysitting services. TransportationGulhane tram stop (0.1 mi/0.2 km)Sirkeci Railway Station (0.4 mi/0.7 km)Eminonu Ferry Terminal (0.9 mi/1.4 km) Istanbul International Ataturk Airport (11.7 mi/18.9 km) Sabiha Gokcen Airport (27.6 mi/44.5 km)  Nearby attractionsHagia Sophia (0.2 mi/0.4 km) Istanbul Archaeology Museum (0.3 mi/0.5 km) Blue Mosque (0.6 mi/1 km) Spice Bazaar (1 mi/1.6 km) Topkapi Palace (1.1 mi/1.8 km)  Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (1.5 mi/2.5 km)Galata Tower (1.9 mi/3 km) Balat Ahrida Synagogue (2.4 mi/3.9 km)  Dolmabahce Palace (2.7 mi/4.3 km) BusinessComplimentary wireless Internet accessPhotocopier available for guest use
Nightly rates from €99.17

Agora Life Hotel

4 stars
4.4 / 5 38 reviews
Just a 5-minute walk from Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, this boutique hotel offers modern accommodation with free wireless internet access. It has a rooftop terrace and offers a buffet breakfast. In the heart of Sultanahmet, Agora Life Hotel offers an ideal location for guests who want easy access to Istanbul's most historic sites. Agora Life Hotel is 17 kilometers far from Ataturk Airport which can be reached by metro and tram line passes the area
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Nightly rates from €59.54

Ottoman Hotel Park

4 stars
4.5 / 5 15 reviews
The late Ottoman age combined with the modern philosophy of todays life is reflected at the Ottoman Hotel Park, the newly renovated exclusive hotel located in the core of the historical peninsula in Istanbul. Offering you brand new luxurious rooms overlooking the magnificent Marmara Sea, Kadirga Park and the traditional district of Sultanahmet; Ottoman Hotel Park aims to redefine the approach to comfort and boutique services. With 4 deluxe, 11 superior and 23 standard rooms decorated in a postmodern Ottoman and Turkish theme.
Value LastMinute Promotion - 10% Off
Nightly rates from €92.59

Recital Hotel

4 stars
4.4 / 5 18 reviews
With its panoramic rooftop terrace overlooking Istanbul, this hotel offers bright rooms with classic-style furniture and luxurious fabrics. Room service and free Wi-Fi are also available. All rooms feature pinewood floors, wood furnishings and custom-made curtains. Each has a wall-mounted LCD TV with satellite channels and a bathroom with walk-in shower. In-room hot and cold drinks are available as well. A buffet breakfast is served daily in the breakfast salon. The a la carte restaurant offers a varied choice of local and international dishes. Guests can admire sunsets on the terrace with Turkish tea and appetizers. Hotel Recital provides a car rental service. The Sabiha Gokcen Airport is 32 km away. The hotel is situated a 3-minute walk away from the cemberlitas Tram Stop. The Covered Bazaar and Blue Mosque are only 500 meters away. Recital Hotel, which is in a very central part of the historical peninsula Sultanahmet, offers its luxury and hospitality to the guests. Most of the historical attractions of Istanbul are either within a five-minute walk or can be easily reached by different means of transportation. Some of the most famous ones in the environs of Recital Hotel are St.Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Underground Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Ancient Hippodrome and Obelisk. The hotel also provides Ballroom, Dry cleaning, Lobby, Reception services. Taxes also includes net rates. Breakfast time is from 7 am to 10 am. Deluxe ,Corner Room and Superior Sea view room have free espresso machine facility.
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Nightly rates from €64.34

Gulhane Park Hotel Istanbul

4 stars
3.8 / 5 169 reviews
Enjoy Gulhane Park; walk to Istanbul's famous attractionsThe Gulhane Park Hotel Istanbul is sited next to the former garden of Topkapi Palace. This historic location is ideal for easy reach to some of the city's most popular tourist attractions. The hotel has views of the park, the Palace, and the Bosphorus Strait. Amenities include complimentary breakfast buffet, a fitness center, a wood sauna, and a Turkish bath. The Gulhane Park Hotel Istanbul is just half a mile from Sirkeci Railway Station, one mile from Eminonu ferry dock, and a short drive from Istanbul International Ataturk Airport. Reasons to stay Enjoy jogging or walking in Gulhane ParkThe Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and other attractions are just a short walk awayThe restaurant serves international and Turkish cuisine for lunch and dinner Gulhane Park Hotel Istanbul roomsThe superior double and twin rooms at the Gulhane Park Hotel Istanbul feature a king bed or two single beds, and garden or city views from their balconies. Superior triple rooms have a king bed plus one single bed, or alternatively, three single beds. Quadruple rooms have one king bed, and two single beds, or one king bed and one single bed, plus a sofa. Rooms include cable and satellite TV, telephones, high-speed wireless internet, tea and coffee, and laundry service. Things to do nearby Blue Mosque  (1.1 mi/1.8 km)Topkapi Palace  (1.3 mi/2.1 km)Galata Bridge  (1.3 mi/2.1 km)Hagia Sophia  (1.3 mi/2.1 km)
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Flights

Flights to Istanbul

Departure Arrival Travel dates Round-trip fares
Dublin Istanbul Tue 16 Sep - Tue 23 Sep €189
Ljubljana Istanbul Thu 7 Aug - Tue 12 Aug €255
Cork Istanbul Fri 1 Aug - Tue 5 Aug €555
Vienna Istanbul Tue 9 Sep - Tue 16 Sep €200
Rome Istanbul Thu 28 Aug - Thu 4 Sep €180
Bodrum Istanbul Tue 29 Jul - Tue 5 Aug Check rates
Bangkok Istanbul Wed 13 Aug - Fri 15 Aug €916
London Istanbul Sun 10 Aug - Wed 20 Aug €476
Casablanca Istanbul Thu 4 Sep - Wed 10 Sep €444
Al Manamah Istanbul Sat 13 Sep - Mon 22 Sep €358
Tbilisi Istanbul Tue 29 Jul - Tue 5 Aug Check rates
Luxembourg City Istanbul Tue 29 Jul - Tue 5 Aug Check rates
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Best time to take a holiday to Istanbul

  • The rainy season in Istanbul runs from November through March, when about half of the days each month see rainfall. Temperatures during late spring and early autumn are nice and warm, but July and August in Istanbul see average temperatures running higher than 28°C. High humidity during these hot months can make outdoor excursions uncomfortable. If you are visiting during the spring, check out the annual tulip festival held at Emirgan Park.

Istanbul holiday travel tips

  • Because of the stifling summer heat, the best time to visit Istanbul is either in the spring or fall. The main languages spoken are Turkish and Kurdish.

    Dialling code: 00 90 (212 and 216)

    To and from Istanbul

    Ataruk International and Sabiha Gokcen are Istanbul’s two primary airports. The majority of international flights arrive at Ataruk, which offers easy access into the city via the metro to Zeytinburnu. From there, hop on the tram to reach Sultanahmet Square.

    Taxis to Sultanahmet cost around £15 and take between 30 minutes to an hour, while a cheaper private airport transfer service is available through Backpackers Travel.

    Around town

    Taxis are yellow and will have an illuminated light on top if they are available. Make sure the metre is running or settle the price to your destination before entering. A shared bus called the Dolmus is a great way to get around the outskirts of town. Stops have a blue sign with a large black D, and riders may request to get off at any point along the route.

    There are two metro lines in town, one that runs from Levent to Taksim and one from Aksaray to Kocatepe that terminates at the airport. Service runs about every five minutes and ends at 1 a.m. on the weekdays and 12 a.m. on weekends.

    A small tram also runs through old Istanbul, across the Galata Bridge, and ends in Dolmabache. The Istanbul Deniz Otobusleri ferry takes passengers across the Golden Horn. Main docks on the European bank are Eminonu, Sirkeci, and Karakoy.

    Tickets can be purchased at kiosks or transit stops. An Akbil token allows for easy travel on any bus, tram, or ferry, while blue tokens enable day, week, or month-long travel.

    To enjoy greater flexibility on your trip, opt for Istanbul car hire. Though the roads are well maintained, drivers are aggressive, so exercise caution.

Insider tips for Istanbul travel

  • Yilmaz Ipekçilik

    Find great quality and low prices on hand-loomed textiles at this out-of-the-way shop that sits down the road from Topkapi Palace.

    Kocamustafapasha Hamami

    Instead of visiting businesses that cater to tourists, try this authentic Turkish bath house for a massage and sauna.

    AÅŸÅŸk Kahve

    This little garden café is adored by the upper class in Istanbul for its weekend brunches by the water.

    Erzincanli Ali Baba Fasulyeci

    Join the swarm of locals and try the signature kuru fasulye in this institution that has been feeding the masses since 1924.

    Mado

    Stop by this ice cream stand for a cold treat after shopping at the weekend flea market.

Where to stay in Istanbul

  • With places like the Grand Bazaar and the Galata Tower a short walk away, the Gulhane Park Istanbul Hotel is a smart choice for the traveller that wants to see it all. This charming hotel features neo-classical furnishings, wireless Internet access, a Turkish hammam, a fitness centre, and a restaurant that serves great Turkish cuisine. Each room has an LCD TV, air conditioning, a safe-box, and a beautiful French balcony.

    In the heart of the city’s historic district is the stylish Marmara Pera Hotel. Designed as a mix of European and Turkish style, the hotel features 200 spacious rooms with modern amenities such as air-conditioning, satellite TV, and Internet. Enjoy a snack at the hotel’s Marmara Café or dine at the rooftop Mikla restaurant with breathtaking city views.

    Renovated in 2008, the 4-star Prince Hotel guarantees great service and comfort in each of its 123 rooms. Located in the centre of town, guests are within moments from sites like the Topkapi Palace and the Museum of Saint Sophie. Rooms feature air-conditioning, satellite TV, safe box, and wireless Internet access.

    The Best Western Saint Sophia Istanbul Hotel is situated next door to the St. Sophia Museum and just 30 metres from the Blue Mosque. This boutique hotel offers top-quality service, and each room features air-conditioning, Internet connection, a bathtub, and a balcony with an incredible cityscape view.

    So book a hotel in Istanbul today!

Istanbul restaurants

  • Known for its delicious and original Ottoman recipes is Asitane. Set amongst the foothills of Istanbul and boasting a great view of the Golden Horn, Asitane serves delicacies such as smoked Cerkez cheese and geese from the town of Eskisehir Alpu. Dishes are prepared following the same recipes that once filled the bellies of sultans. The menu at Asitane changes seasonally, bringing diners Istanbul’s freshest and most historic food.

    Near to the top attractions of old Istanbul is Amedros Café and Restaurant, a relaxed and friendly spot serving classic Turkish kebabs and steaks. Though it can get crowded, the reasonable prices and large portions make Amedros a worthwhile experience. Try house specialties like the flame marmer steak, the sultan kebab, or the Sirmasir.

    Platefuls of spicy regional delights from southeastern Turkey have kept Develi Restaurant popular since its 1912 opening. Try the çig köfte meatballs or the gavurdagi salatasi salad, and don’t leave without sampling the incredible baklava. With two terraces and enough seating for 700, Develi is an ideal choice for large family gatherings or business lunches.

    Situated in the fish market of the Kadiköy district, Ciya Sofrasi serves up traditional Turkish home cooking. From fresh yogurt soups to spoonfuls of salad samplers, an assortment of veggie and meat kebabs, and main courses such as lamb with green almonds, Ciay Sofrasi is a culinary treat for any discerning diner.

Health & Safety

  • Health

    Travel insurance in case of emergencies is recommended during your visit to Istanbul. While there are no required vaccinations for a visit to Istanbul, those recommended included tetanus, polio, diphtheria, and pertussis. A rabies vaccination is also recommended as Istanbul has had a problem with rabid street dogs.

    Important numbers

    Emergencies: dial 112.
    Police rescue: 155.
    Fire department: 110.
    International Hospital: Istanbul Caddesi n° 82; (212) 448 44 44
    Pharmacies: Rebul Pharmacy: (212) 235 31 42
    General doctor: Dr Durmus Sevinc (American Hospital): (212) 311 25 06
    Pediatrician: Dr Sule Yazgan (Guzel Gunler Ltd): (212) 278 33 62.
    Cardiologist: Pr. Tugrul Okay (International Hospital): (212) 663 30 00.

    Safety

    While in Istanbul, remain on your guard. Do not walk alone at night or in poorly lit areas or walk around with jewellery or other objects that may attract attention. Make photocopies of all of your documents and keep them on your person at all times, while storing the originals in some place safe.

    As most of Turkey is an earthquake zone, contact your local embassy should an earthquake occur.

Your trip

Hotel options

Hotel stay must be within date range of Leave and Return.

Room 1
Age Categories
Ages of children at time of trip (for pricing, discounts)