Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul

Friendly, welcoming and packed full of epic historical sites, Istanbul provides all that you could wish for from a grand city, with the atmosphere and warmth of a small, local town.

Turkey’s most recognisable city, Istanbul, lies in the western corner of the country, and is where East meets West and the traditional and modern live side by side.

With the Western half of Istanbul in Europe and the Eastern in Asia – with the Bosphorus Strait flowing between them – it is the only metropolis in the world situated on two continents.

Sunset over Istanbul from river
Sunset over Istanbul

Corner-to-corner beauty

Visit some of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, barter your way through the labyrinthine grand bazaar, wander the cobbled streets of the ancient Jewish, Greek and Armenian neighbourhoods, take a ferry trip on the Bosphorus or just relax and enjoy the skyline from one of the rooftop bars.

Bursa, Turkey
Bursa, Turkey

Away from the bustle

On the Gallipoli peninsula, visit now peaceful cemeteries, resting place for the fallen of WWI. South of the Sea of Marmara, beneath the slopes of Uludag (Great Mountain), lies the energetic and modern city of Bursa, often referred to as ‘Green Bursa’ due to its numerous parks, gardens and the lush forests. Bursa is also rich in Ottoman architecture as well as being known for its famous Turkish dishes, in particular, candied chestnuts and Ishkender kebab.

Experiences

It’s all here. Things to see and do, places to explore and moments to discover.

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Blue Mosque

Visit the famous Blue Mosque, staggeringly beautiful inside and out.

Gallipoli, Turkey

Gallipoli Peninsula

Visit the resting place for the fallen of WWI on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Topkapi Palace

Feel like Ottoman Royalty whilst wandering through the opulence of Topkapi Palace.

Bosphorus River, Istanbul, Turkey

Cruise the Bosphorus

Take a boat out on the Bosphorus for a different view of the bustling city.

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Six Senses Kocatas Mansion £££££

  • Turkey
  • City

Located in the prestigious Sariyer district of Istanbul, the new Six Senses is a converted historic mansion that offers remarkable views over the Bosphorus. Look further beyond the mansion and discover a spa and wellness experience set within lush landscaping that provides the perfect antidote to city life.

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Four Seasons Sultanahmet £££££

  • Turkey
  • City

The Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet is a luxury hotel in the old quarter of Istanbul, a short walk from the Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque. Once a Turkish prison, this striking mustard-coloured building is now a three-story neoclassical hotel with 65 rooms and suites set around a landscaped courtyard garden. Comfortable and well equipped, the rooms all overlook either the central courtyard or outwards to the Blue Mosque.

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Raffles Istanbul £££££

  • Turkey
  • City

Raffles Istanbul is a cutting edge hotel that has 181 rooms in total, including 49 suites, all with views of the Bosphorus, private balconies and a contemporary style with Turkish influences.

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Sultanhan Hotel £££££

  • Turkey
  • City

Sultanhan is a comfortable hotel that oozes charm and history and has friendly and accommodating staff. Its excellent location on a quiet, leafy street is approximately 5 minutes’ walk from all the historical sites of old Istanbul. The large spacious lobby area has been decorated with original artefacts and furniture from the Ottoman period with tables made from old doors, opulent chandeliers and other traditional furniture. The 40 rooms are comfortable and elegant but it’s the rooftop terrace and restaurant with its 360-degree views where you will want to spend most of your time! Also available on the ground floor is a sauna and traditional Turkish bath.

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Ciragan Palace Kempinski £££££

  • Turkey
  • City

The Çiragan Palace Kempinski is a 5* luxury hotel on the shores of the Bosphorus in Istanbul. Between the districts of Besiktas and Ortakoy, it offers a great base from which to explore Istanbul.

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Sumanhan on the water £££££

  • Turkey
  • City

Sumahan sits on the very edge of the Bosphorus Straits which separate Europe from Asia and link the cold waters of the Black Sea to the warm waters of the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean beyond. Built in the mid-nineteenth century to produce ‘suma’, the unadulterated spirit used to make raki, the Ottomans’ favourite tipple, this is a modern, contemporary design hotel situated in a great location with wonderful views and only a short distance from the heart of the modern side of the city.

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Need Inspiration?
Browse our Turkey holiday ideas.

Our Turkey experts have created and curated these holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something to spark ideas for a unique adventure.

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Kate Hitchen

My travels were first inspired by my love of the UK, which I take as much pleasure in exploring as countries far and wide. For me, travel is all about the adventure, the people I meet and the food I sample along the way.

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  • 01285 880 980

Paul Craven

Paul is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Central Asia and the Silk Route.

Being from a family with Army connections I can from an early age remember travelling. From camping in Europe and then later being sent to boarding school when we lived in Germany at the age of eight, complete with shorts, long socks, a cap and my suitcase. In appearance not too dissimilar to the children evacuated to the countryside during the blitz.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

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