Originally named Byzantium and later Constantinople, Istanbul is the only city in the world to span two continents. It sits on the Bosphorus, the strait of water that divides the continents of Europe and Asia and encompasses the natural harbour of the Golden Horn. Its illustrious past leaves a rich legacy of churches, mosques, palaces and museums, complemented by the behemoth Grand Bazaar with over 6,000 shops, the aromatic Egyptian Spice Market and colourful street life.Read More
Sultanahmet, the compact old city of Istanbul, is full of parks, gardens and stunning sights. The Blue Mosque is famed for its blue Iznik tiles and unique six minarets. The Hagia Sofia, constructed in the 6th century, reigned as the grandest and biggest church in Christendom until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, when it became a mosque. Just around the corner is Topkapi Palace, a fascinating insight into the sultans that once ruled Turkey, from the opulent pavilions to the incredible jewels housed in the Treasury.
Istanbul was a capital city for many empires from the Romans to the Byzantines and and Ottomans. It may not be a capital today but it is still a thriving, eclectic city with a fascinating mix of architectural styles including Islamic, Baroque, Rococo and Art Nouveau, as well as famed nightlife and excellent cuisine options. Art galleries and museums are doted throughout the city and it hosts film festivals, as well as many major art, music and cultural events. Istanbul also hosts the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Air Race World Series, making it a world-class destination with plenty of attractions throughout the year.
Here are some popular itineraries that include a visit to Istanbul
If you are planning a Istanbul holiday, have a look at some of the accommodation that we recommend. 'Our Rating' indicates how we feel each property rates according to normal Western hotel standards. 'Local Rating' indicates how the property is categorised/rated locally:
Barcelo Eresin Topkapi Istanbul
The Barcelo Eresin Topkapi is a superb deluxe hotel with an excellent location in the historic Topkapi district. The spacious, light-filled rooms are elegant in design with a great selection of amenities and there are a number of rooms specially suited for guests with mobility issues. The magnificent U Spa features an indoor swimming pool and choice of beauty therapies. The Picasso restaurant runs special gourmet days whilst offering delicious Turkish and international cuisine throughout the week with a garden setting from where to enjoy meals.
Eresin Crown Hotel Istanbul
The Eresin Crown is a luxurious boutique-style hotel with spacious and elegantly furnished rooms that feature Turkish rugs and artifacts. The rooms offer a pillow menu from which you can select your ideal pillow for a perfect night's sleep. Guests can dine on delicious Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine at the Mosaic Restaurant and enjoy panoramic city views from the rooftop terrace. Refreshing alcoholic beverages can be enjoyed at the Column Bar.
Ibis Hotel Istanbul Istanbul
The recently renovated Ibis in Istanbul is modern with excellent facilities. Rooms are comfortable with good sized beds and contemporary design. The outdoor pool is great for a refreshing dip (though it is only available in the summer) The massive all you can eat buffet breakfast come well recommended and is a great way to start the day. Located on the shores of the Sea of Marmara, midway between the airport & the old city.
Kent Hotel Istanbul
The charming Kent Hotel offers is a great example of contemporary design and a friendly atmosphere. Guest rooms are superbly equipped with modern facilities including Wi-Fi connectivity, state of the art technology and bright marbled bathrooms. Enjoying a delicious Turkish meal at the in house Calcedoine Restaurant after a hard days sightseeing is highly recommended. Fantastically located within 10 minutes walk of the Grand Bazaar and Old Town in the Bayazit area in the European side of Istanbul.
Pera Palace Hotel Istanbul
Pera Palace Hotel welcomes its guests back to the glamour of nostalgic Istanbul with a visit to its classic and uniquely furnished rooms and suites. Original 19th Century features, including precious “White Carrara” marbles and exquisite “Murano-glass” chandeliers make Pera Palace Hotel suites the ideal place to experience century - old heritage.
Tria Hotel Istanbul
The Tria is a quaint and comfortable boutique property with totally renovated rooms. With just 22 rooms guests can enjoy a friendly, intimate ambiance with great service. The facade of the building was crafted from a traditional Ottoman building and perfectly complements the hotel's location in Sultanahmet. The grand rooms feature dark wood panelling and comfortable furniture with rugs and mod-cons including tea/coffee facilities. There is a roof-top terrace with breathtaking views of the city
Istanbul Tailor made suggestions
Here are some of the recent tailor made itineraries we have created for our clients which include a visit to Istanbul.