Flights to Istanbul (IST)

Book a flight to Istanbul to experience a culturally rich destination where age-old sites sit amid bustling bazaars and high-end restaurants.
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Istanbul, Turkey

What to do in Istanbul

Shop in the Grand Bazaar

One of the largest covered markets in the world, this shoppers' dream sells everything from bags with modern logos to scents and spices that will transport you to a place time has forgotten. This labyrinth of more than 5,000 stalls and shops is a perfect destination to pick up a souvenir.

34200 Beyazit
Taya Hatun Mh.
+90 212 519 1248
(Turkish-language website)

Watch soccer at Türk Telekom Arena

To say the Turkish are passionate about soccer is an understatement. The three main teams in Istanbul are Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, and Besiktaş. Game days are lively and the electric atmosphere is well worth the ticket price.

Türk Telekom Arena

Head underground to the Basilica Cistern

This incredible underground cistern, which was commissioned by Emperor Justinian and built in the 6th century, brought water from Bulgaria to Istanbul. The 336-pillared space was opened to the public in 1987 and is a particularly good idea on a hot day.

Alemdar Mah.
Yerebatan Caddesi 1/3
+90 212 522 1259

Explore Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Overlooking the Bosphorus, this museum offers an insight into national and international modern art movements. Exhibitions tackle a wide range of styles, forms, and topics, and no matter when you visit, there will be something of interest to see.

Meclis-i Mebusan Cad
Liman İşletmeler Sahasi Antrepo 4
+90 212 334 7300

Marvel at the Hagia Sophia

This stunning Unesco World Heritage Site has been a center of Orthodox Christianity, a prized possession of the Muslim world, and a grand mosque for the sultans. The Turkish Republic eventually converted it into a museum in 1935. Hire a guide to get the most out of your visit.

Hagia Sophia Square
+90 212 522 1750

Cruise the Bosphorus

The Bosphorus is an essential part of the Istanbul experience. While you can view it from many vantage points, the best thing to do is hire a boat and marvel at Istanbul’s iconic skyline from the water. Make it a special event by choosing a company that organizes food and drinks, such as Bosphorus Tours.

Bosphorus Tours
34 Divanyolu Caddesi
+90 554 797 2646

Where to eat in Istanbul

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Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir (Turkish delight)

The original home of Turkish delight still serves up the best sweet treats in town. The original drawers, housing every type of this famous sweet imaginable, are a delight in themselves. Try the cream-filled versions for a hit of sugar as you explore the city.

Katip Çelebi Mh
+90 212 244 2804

Pandeli (Turkish)

Blink and you'll miss the entrance to this wonderful restaurant that overlooks the interior of the Spice Bazaar. The food is authentic and the menu is adventurous. Grab the table near the window above the main spice market walkway to watch the action as you have lunch. Pandeli has branches throughout the city.

Entrance Spice Bazaar
+90 212 527 3909
(Turkish-language website)

Rumelihisari Iskele (Turkish)

Locals and visitors love this restaurant, which has become an institution thanks to its incredible setting, perched on the banks of the Bosphorus. And while the location wows, the food grabs your attention too. The fish is excellent, as is the mezze.

Yahya Kemal Caddesi 1
Rumeli Hisari Sariyer
+90 212 263 2997

Khorasani (Anatolian)

Specializing in southeastern Anatolian cuisine, Khorasani serves great kebabs. Big portions, succulent meats, and fresh side dishes raise this restaurant above the standard tourist offering. This is a great place to eat after a visit to Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque.

Ticarethane Sok, 39/41
Divanyolu Cad
+90 212 519 5959

Karaköy Güllüoğlu (Bakery)

Baklava, the sweet layered pastry, is an Istanbul specialty and you'll find it everywhere in the city. But this shop and cafe is always packed with locals looking to get their sweet fix. Aside from baklava, there are plenty of types of Turkish delight and flans to choose from.

Rıhtım Cad
Katlı Otopark Altı No 3-4
+90 212 293 0910

Meze by Lemon Tree (International)

Monkfish ceviche, braised octopus in soy sauce, and other delights await you in this bustling establishment, where the chefs personally present their creations. The hazelnut pudding is worth saving space for. Make a reservation well in advance, and try to get a downstairs table if possible.

Asmalımescit Mahallesi
Meşrutiyet Caddesi 83/B
+90 212 252 8302

Places to stay in Istanbul

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Four Seasons Istanbul

This luxury hotel has everything you would expect, with the added bonus of being a former Ottoman Palace sited on the Bosphorus. Pull up a sun lounger by the outdoor pool and watch the yachts drift by, relax in the spa, or enjoy the terrace.

Yıldız Mh
Çırağan Caddesi 28
+90 212 381 4000

Hotel Empress Zoe

This charming hotel is covered in flowers, making it a pretty sight as you arrive. It’s also close to the Sultanahmet tram stop, so it's a great base for exploring the city. The rooms are tastefully decorated and the staff will make you feel welcome. There is a lounge in the garden in the summer and one by the fire for the colder months.

10 Akbiyik Caddesi
+90 212 249 0040

Jumba Hostel

Free towels, coffee and tea, Wi-Fi, and breakfast—once you've paid for your stylish room in Jumba, you're all set. This hostel is run by three sisters, who pride themselves on high levels of service. Check out their famous cooking parties while you're there.

Hayriye Caddesi 22
+90 212 249 0040

Grand Hotel de Londres

Quirky, kitschy, quaint: there are many ways to describe this hotel, where lush colors and interesting paintings and sculptures are found in every corner. It boasts a lounge on the roof, so grab your friends and enjoy the spectacular view over the city as the sun sets.

Meşrutiyet Caddesi 53
+90 212 245 0670

Georges Hotel Galata

Located in a trendy area of town, this boutique hotel offers great service and makes a stylish base from which to explore the city. Breakfast is good and is included in the price of the room. There’s also a rooftop lounge where you can take in the skyline while mingling with the locals.

Müeyyedzade Mh.
24 Serdar-I Ekrem Sokak
+90 212 244 2423

Cirağan Palace Hotel

Located on the shores of the Bosphorus is Kempinski’s impressive Cirağan Palace Hotel. If you’d like to get a taste of what it felt like to be a sultan, this venue is a good choice, thanks to its impeccable service and exotic design. You might not want to leave but when you do venture out, the city is easily accessible.

32 Çırağan Caddesi
+90 212 326 4646

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