Experience Istanbul's amazing mix of cosmopolitan chic and old-world charm. Not only is it full of architectural reminders, the Hagia Sophia among its finest, of the city's rich Ottoman history, but it also has the cultural capital to match.
Istanbul is an exotic paradise. If you’re looking to delve into market stalls, marvel at ancient architecture, or simply enjoy a Turkish tea in the sun, you’re sure to enjoy a city break to Istanbul.
Escape to the sun and enjoy Istanbul’s balmy climes. Whether you’re walking along the Walls of Constantinople, taking a cruise down the gorgeous bosphorus strait, or just lounging by the pool of your hotel, Istanbulis blessed with warm weather all year round. Just don’t forget the sun lotion.
Istanbul is home to beautiful and ancient architecture. Marvel at the Hagia Sophia, with its lavish domes and intricate mosaics, this early Byzantine beauty simply must be seen. Or escape the heat and go underground to explore the Basilica Cistern, the largest of the ancient water cisterns in the city, and admire the majestic marble pillars.
A visit to the public baths is a first-hand experience of Turkish culture, scattered about the city. It’s an ideal way to unwind – as long as you don’t mind being in the nude. If that sounds a bit full on, there are plenty of museums and galleries to put you in touch with history. The Istanbul Archaeological museums in particular boast a collection of over a million objects.
With its wide range of markets, Istanbul really is a shopper’s paradise. Foodies will love the IneboluMarket, a favourite of local shoppers where you’re sure to find some delicious treats. If you prefer the buzz of a larger crowd, the Grand Bazaar has been running for over five hundred years and is one of the world’s largest covered markets. And to keep things cheap on your weekend break to Istanbul, remember that haggling is essential.
Istanbul’s café culture is alive and ever-changing. If you duck into a café to cool off, make sure to try a Turkish black tea, a local favourite traditionally served in a tulip shaped glass. We like the Setüstü Tea garden for its sweeping view of the city. If you prefer a stronger drink, there are plenty of taverns and bars to quench your thirst; try the Litera Bar for one of the best views over the Bosphorus.
The Turkish have a lot to offer for those with a sweet tooth, so indulge in some Turkish delight or some Baklava from local vendors.