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Istanbul City Breaks

Straddling two continents, Istanbul offers an intoxicating blend of east and west. Civilisations have left their mark and can be seen today in the city's fascinating pot-pourri of architectural styles.

Insider Tip

Sunrise at the Blue Mosque is a mystical experience. If you can make it, it's definitely the place to be to feel the true atmosphere of Istanbul's old town.

istanbul city map
 

Must See

 

must see in istanbul

Topkapi Palace and Harem The principle home and pleasure palace of the Ottoman sultans. 

Blue Mosque Taking its name from the blue Iznik tiles inside, it can prove more soul-stirring from the exterior, especially at night.

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The Hippodrome Built to contain 100,000 people this enormous amphitheatre was an important part of Byzantine life. Especially interesting is the Egyptian Obelisk on a plinth in the centre of the Hippodrome said to depict a Pharoah's sacrifices to the god Amen-Ra.

Point Zero This large stone standing opposite the Hagia Sophia was claimed by the Eastern Roman Empire to be the absolute centre of the known universe.

Taksim Square Enjoy the many sights and sounds of the thriving heart of modern Istanbul, celebrated as the symbol of contemporary life, the central monument is an icon of the secular republic.

Dolmabahçe Palace A stunning palace on the banks of the Bosphorus, the largest of its kind in Istanbul, offering stunning gardens and opulent interiors.

Old Town Istanbul A protected world heritage site the bustling streets have been preserved to give a true representation of life many centuries past.

 


Must Do

must do in istanbul

Enjoying a cultural and architectural revival, the Beyoglu district (or Pera) on the north bank of the Golden Horn is home to Istiklal Caddesi, the main shopping promenade that runs from Taksim Square to the Galata Bridge.

A boat trip in the Bosphorus is a must. Ancient trade routes pass through the Bosphorus Straight, which flows between Istanbul's western, European half, and its Eastern, Asian half.

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Food & Drink

food and drink in istanbul

Dine out along the shores of the Marmara or the Bosphorus and enjoy seafood, kebabs and sweet delicacies, or visit a 'gazino' for a dinner and cabaret show. The network of side streets around Istiklal Caddesi are home to hundreds of great value and authentic Turkish restaurants and bars.

 

 


Shopping

shopping in istanbul

For shopaholics the Grand Bazaar, the largest and most attractive covered bazaar in the world, houses a maze of streets containing 4,000 shops and stalls. Leather goods, rugs, carpets and silver jewellery are all good buys and you must join the locals as haggling is expected. For a more European feel, try the Taksim district of the city, a long pedestrian shopping street leading to Taksim Square where you will be surrounded by restaurants and bars. Alternatively you can enjoy the colour and aromas of the Egyptian Spice Bazaar.

 

 


Excursions

excursions in istanbulFull Day City Tour

Visit the famous sights of this vibrant city. Includes the Aya Sofya, Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome followed by the Topkapi Palace, Suleyman Mosque, and an afternoon stroll in the Grand Bazaar. Lunch Included.

Departs: daily. Duration: 8 hours.
Adults from £57.

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