Welcome to Istanbul: the Bosphorus, döner kebabs and the Hagia Sophia
Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, is a hive of history, culture and activity. Straddling the busy Bosphorus Strait between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, Istanbul is a fascinating east-meets-west city where a one third of locals live in Asia and the commercial and historical centre stand firmly in Europe. Founded in 660 BC as Byzantium, Istanbul combines Ottoman, Byzantine and modern influences. Visit the Hagia Sophia (church-turned-mosque-turned museum), gaze in wonder at the Blue Mosque and take a cruise along the Bosphorus. The old and the new mix & mingle: a beautiful Old Town vies for attention with a happening contemporary cultural scene - we highly recommend visiting the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. Make sure to stop by the bustling Grand Bazaar, one of the world oldest and largest covered markets, to test out your bargaining skills.
Istanbul is perfect for
- Population 13.5 million
- Language Turkish
- Currency Turkish Lira (TL)
- Airport Atatürk (IST)
Top 6 reasons to go to Istanbul
We love the Nisantasi district (full of luxurious cafes & brasseries where locals like to be seen) - the Boutique Riva Hotel is a perfect home from home for an Istanbul weekend.
This church-turned-mosque-turned-museum is considered by many to be the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. Exhibitions showcase beautiful mosaics and Middle Eastern artifacts.
One of the world’s most beautiful Byzantine churches, the Chora was converted into a mosque by the Ottoman rulers in the 16th century and became museum in 1948.
The Bosphorus (or Istanbul Strait) divides Europe and Asia. Explore its meandering turns from Eminönü along the pensinsula to Anadolu Kavagi and the Black Sea.
Escape the hustle and bustle with a day trip to Garipçe, Rumelifeneri and Rumeli Kavagi. Mingle with the locals, take in the stunning views and swim in the Black Sea.
- The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art 8,000m² of former warehouse along the Bosphorous.
- The Princes' Islands (Adalar) A refreshing day trip 20km out in the Marmara Sea.
- Yildiz Park Situated between two palaces, this beautiful park was once part of the imperial garden.
- Turkish and Islamic Art Museum A treasure trove of Ottoman, Seljuk and earlier artworks.
Discover all things Istanbul from Basilica Cistern to the Bosphorous
Explore the ins and out of Istanbul with City Discovery