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It’s easy to lose yourself In Istanbul’s grandiose history, but modern Istanbul is a simmering metropolis, well worth a visit in its own right. The shopping is world class and the nightlife pulsates around Taksim Square. Even though Istanbul is no longer the capital, it’s still the country’s business and cultural centre, still the city where new trends are created.

Constantinople, the centre of the Byzantine Empire which lasted over a thousand years, later became Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire for almost 500 years.
The Istanbul city is a mixture of Europe and Asia, a unique urban composition. A stroll around Sultanahmet, inside the city walls, among mosques, museums and the Great Bazaar is a trip through both history and daily life.

Modern Istanbul is on the other side of the Galata Bridge in Beyoglu, around Taksim and the northern suburbs with lots of good restaurants and shopping. Istanbul’s Asiatic quarters have avoided much of the tourism and have retained a more humdrum character. Waterways play a central role in the life of the city and boat traffic on the Bosporus, the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara is extremely intensive. Along the banks you can find small cafés where you can enjoy a glass of tea and magnificent views over the town.

Population: Approximately 13 million in Greater Istanbul

Istanbul is a vibrant city whose grandiose history is utterly fascinating. Take a stroll around the city and admire the amazing mosques, museums and the Great Bazaar, or even visit an authentic Turkish bath.

A meal often begins with meze—a number of small dishes such as aubergine purée, börek, various salads and cheese. Filling vegetables such as tomatoes, paprika, aubergines and zucchini with rice and minced meat is typically Turkish (dolmasi). There are special restaurants that only serve kebab or köfte, meatballs, look for Kebabci or Köfteci. Simpler restaurants are called Lokanta.

Coffee has played an important role in Turkish lifestyle and culture so there is no wonder that Istanbul offers many old and new cafés. Why not try a cup of traditional Turkish coffee or tea which is served in a tiny gracious cup?

The really trendy places are outside the city centre, in Etiler, Levent and Ortaköy, but there’s also plenty to do around Taksim.

Formerly, the various guilds had their own special areas in the Great Bazaar, Kapali Çarsi, now it’s mostly leather, carpets and gold. The Bazaar has over 5.000 shops and haggling is essential.


Located only 150 metres from Karakoy Ferry Port, Ada Karakoy Hotel offers a terrace, 24-hour front desk service and soundproofed rooms with WiFi. It is 450 metres from Galata Tower. Amenities:
Alilass Hotel Unrated
Renovated in 2014, Alilass Hotel is 200 metres from Blue Mosque and 450 metres from Hagia Sophia. The hotel has a terrace and modern rooms with free WiFi. Amenities:
Located only 100 metres from Istiklal Avenue, this budget-friendly hotel offers 24-hour front desk service and modern room with complimentary WiFi access. It is just 200 metres from Taksim Square, 230 metres from Hagia Triada Greek Orthodox Church and..
Alzer Unrated
This charming city hotel is centrally located just a few minutes walk from Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar. Shopping venues, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and links to the public transport network can all be found just outside the hotel,..
Amber Hotel Unrated
This 4 star hotel is located in the city centre of Istanbul. It is a short drive away from the Blue Mosque and the nearest station is Beyazit. The Hotel has a restaurant, a bar and a coffee shop. All 24 rooms are equipped with minibar, hairdryer, safe,..
Anadolu Hotel Unrated
Featuring a charming outdoor terrace with views of Sultanahmet, Anadolu Hotel offers budget accommodation, a 5-minute walk from the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. There is WiFi and parking. Amenities:
Amenities: 220 Volt, 24 Hour Check-In, 24 Hour Front Desk, 24 Hour Housekeeping, 24 Hour Room Service, Air Conditioned, Airline Desk, Airport Transfer, Breakfast Room, Bus Station, Business Facilities, Car Parking, Dry Cleaning, Elevator / Lift, Fax,..
Antique hostel Unrated
Amenities: Safe Deposit Box, Front Desk 24 Hours, Room Service, Chess/Board Games
This charming city hotel enjoys a great location in the heart of Istanbul's historical city centre in the district of Sultanahmet. Guests will find a number of restaurants, bars and shops in close proximity of the hotel. Popular nightlife spots in Taksim..
Ararat Hotel Unrated
Ararat Hotel is an intimate boutique hotel directly across the street from Istanbul\'s Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet Square. Amenities:
Discovery Sphere Planetarium
If ever the weather sets back your plans to stroll around palatial gardens, a visit to this kid friendly space museum is a great alternative for a half day activity. In a true space odyssey, kids can marvel at the wonders of the universe projected onto..
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