Discover Ancient History and Sites
Explore splendid palaces, opulent buildings and a fascinating religious and political history.
Spend four days losing yourself amidst the minarets, winding streets and fascinating culture of Istanbul, staying in a hotel of your choice.
Explore splendid palaces, opulent buildings and a fascinating religious and political history.
Board your motorboat to cruise gently down the mighty Bosphorous.
Hone your bartering skills in the Grand Bazaar.
Take a Turkish bath in the oldest Hamman in the city.
Istanbul is a magical destination. We are confident a long weekend away here is enough time to enjoy this city of many colours. We have included a guide for half a day to help orientate yourself within the city. We will provide you with a steer on the best sites, restaurants, rooftop bars and bustling bazaars but then your time is your own and you are free to explore. The hotel we have chosen is centrally located and thus ideal as a base, however, should palace accommodation appeal, then we can include this for you instead.
Discover the very heart of the Ottoman and Byzantine empires. Istanbul is a wonderfully eclectic mix of Europe and Asia, all within a short flight from the UK.
Istanbul is an eclectic mix of Europe and Asia. Separated only by the mighty Bosphorus, it is the only metropolis in the world that straddles two continents. And, with its heritage at the heart of two great empires, the Ottoman and Byzantine, the city is a dream for lovers of splendid palaces, opulent buildings and the religious and political history behind them. Explore the city at your own pace, and if you get lost or need something, talk to the locals, their friendly, polite nature means their helpful attitude will go beyond your expectations. Moreover, the cuisine with its Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic influences is a delight and a further highlight to your stay. It is truly one of the world’s great cities.
During your visit you will be shown the highlights of the city, the staggeringly beautiful Blue Mosque, the lavishly decorated Topkapi Palace, the past glories of the breath-taking Haghia Sophia, and the Grand Bazaar, as well as gain special insights and access to lesser-known places such as the ancient Jewish, Greek and Armenian neighbourhoods. Other suggested options include taking a Turkish Bath to learn about the historical art of bathing, or visiting Kadikoy, the Asian side of Istanbul.
Board your boat to take you on a gentle cruise down the Bosphorus River. This is a spectacular way to view the Turkish capital, away from the hustle and bustle of the main city. You will stop for lunch on the Asian side of the city, giving you insight into a totally different aspect of Istanbul. Huge mansions line the banks alongside small, intimate fish restaurants, where you can stop for a delightful lunch and a walk in the Asian quarter.
Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.
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.
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. Once the residence of the last Ottoman Sultans, the Ciragan Palace was bought and restored by the Kempinski group and opened its doors as a luxurious hotel in 1991. Today it has 351 rooms and 11 suites, all with balconies and most with partial or full views of the Bosphorus. Additional facilities include a heated outdoor infinity pool, spa, fitness centre and indoor pool, as well as four excellent restaurants, each one with a balcony or terrace overlooking the Bosphorus.
Arena Hotel is located in the old city part of Istanbul – Sultanahmet tucked away on a quiet street yet within easy reach of all the main sites. This hotel is an excellent example of a 19th Century Ottoman stone house. The owner was born here and has restored and decorated it to give guests a glimpse into the Istanbul of yesteryear. As well as a Turkish bath and spa the hotel also has a restaurant and offers various activities including cookery courses. A well-priced boutique hotel in charming part of the city.
Raffles Istanbul is a cutting edge hotel has 181 rooms in total including 49 suites, all with views of the Bosphorus, private balconies and a contemporary style with Turkish influences. High tech additions include tablet check-in and an in-room tablet for lighting, air conditioning control, newspapers and in-room dining menu plus a 24 hour Butler Service. Located at the heart of the Zorlu Centre, an area of Istanbul with a thriving fashion, food and arts scene, the hotel houses an impressive collection of local artwork. There is also direct access to the Zorlu performing arts centre with world-class dramas and musicals available. Additional facilities include two restaurants and two bars, an indoor pool and outdoor pool with fantastic views over the cities skyline and the Bosphorus, a spa and children’s play area.
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.
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.
Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.
Temperatures can be as low as -9.C in some regions of Turkey, with snowfall likely. During the months of January and February, the country can be less crowded, although visiting the cities is a more popular option than coastal regions.
February will be marginally warmer than January, with the climate varying according to the region, due to the country’s sheer size. Some regions of Turkey will experience temperatures as low as 3.C, whereas other areas can see temperatures averaging 14.C.
Certain regions of Turkey will experience many days of rainfall, particularly on the south west coast. During springtime in Turkey, temperatures will be ideal for sightseeing in the big cities and with less crowds than in the months to come.
Springtime is an excellent month to travel to Turkey with temperatures in their low 20s on the south coast and longer days of sunshine, however it should be noted that in northern regions during April, they may experience more rainfall and cooler temperatures.
As spring draws to a close and the signs of summer begin, temperatures will continue to rise and yet be quieter than July and August, when many choose to visit on their summer holidays both to coastal destinations and the country’s top cities, including Istanbul.
On the Mediterranean coast, June will experience higher levels of humidity with warmer, temperatures and long days of sunshine. It will start to get busier at coastal resorts as the temperatures start to rise.
During the summer months, temperatures are high and most of Turkey’s regions will experience long, dry days of very little rain. The cities, including Istanbul, will be quieter as the summer is a popular time to visit coastal resorts.
Like any Mediterranean destination during the summer, Turkey will experience high temperatures, ideal for a summer holiday by the coast. If sightseeing in Turkey’s cities however, it may be less comfortable for some.
The Autumn months in Turkey will experience marginally cooler temperatures than those of July and August, however, will still be in the mid to high 20s, with minimal rainfall.
Whilst during the day, temperatures will be in the mid-20s, the evenings will be much cooler. Humidity levels will be much lower than the peak summer months but as Autumn continues, rainfall will be more frequent.
With the cooler climate throughout Turkey, it means that there will be fewer tourists travelling to the country. Winter will have begun in Eastern regions, even experiencing the first signs of snow, yet some coastal destinations will still see highs of 25°C.
In certain regions of Turkey during the winter months, particularly in mountainous areas and Eastern Turkey, temperatures can fall below zero and snowfall is likely.
Our experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.
These may be uncertain times but they are, without a doubt, still full of opportunity to discover the extraordinary safely. Through knowledge and expertise, we can connect you to those destinations embracing travellers with the added confidence of flexible booking and decades of insight.
Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?