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Founded more than 25 centuries ago at the point where Europe meets Asia, Istanbul's incredible mix of old and new, East and West, is bound to blow you away.

Turkey's largest city has far more to offer than just breathtaking scenery and a great climate. Situated on the Bosphorus Strait, it is where East meets West in terms of both geography and culture. It's also where modern and traditional Turkey collide. Shop in malls or bazaars, visit galleries or mosques, and spend your evenings in traditional taverns or fashionable nightclubs.

This ancient city, one of the oldest in the world, has officially been called Istanbul since 1923, when Atatürk founded the Turkish Republic. First known as Byzantium, and later Constantinople, it served as the capital of Islam for centuries and was at the centre of some of the greatest realms in history: the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman empires. It owes its prosperity in part to its strategic location at the point where the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea meet.

To get a sense of Istanbul's diverse history head to the Old City on the Sultanahmet Peninsula. Here you'll find a wealth of architectural gems. If you need to orient yourself, the 14th-century Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi) is a great place to start. Plot the historical changes in the city's political and religious landscape as you visit Topkapi Palace (Topkapı Sarayı), the Hippodrome (Hipodrom) and the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque). Don't miss the magnificent Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) either, formerly a cathedral and mosque and now an impressive museum.

If you've still got plenty of energy, get ready to haggle at the Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı). Or, if it's peace and quiet you're after, chill out in the underground Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarayi). Alternatively, cross the Golden Horn via the Galata Bridge to the New City for some retail therapy at one of the many modern shopping centres. Take in the atmosphere of Taksim Square while you're there; as the professionals leave the skyscrapers the trendy young things arrive to hit the clubs.

It's worth buying an Istanbulkart if you're going to use public transport, especially since it includes the ferry across the Bosphorus to see the Beylerbeyi Palace.

A bridge between cultures, Europe's most populous city is also one of its most ancient and most beautiful. As soon as you arrive in Istanbul you'll understand why this fascinating city has prospered for so long.

Top hotels in Istanbul

Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul
Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul
5 out of 5
Visnezade Mah. Acisu Sok. NO. 19, Macka Besiktas, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is NZ$339 per night from 1 Nov. to 2 Nov.

This family-friendly Istanbul hotel is located in the historical district, within 1 mi (2 km) of City's Nişantaşı Shopping Center, Dolmabahce Palace and Taksim ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (975 reviews)

"This is a very nice high end property. The location is superb - the views of Bosphorus are amazing and the hotel is within walking distance of high end shopping and good restaurants. We had a small check-in problem with upgrade being offered and then reversed, but Guest Relations Manager Zeynep addressed ..."…"

Reviewed on 16 Oct. 2020

Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul
YOTEL Istanbul Airport LANDSIDE
YOTEL Istanbul Airport LANDSIDE
Tayakadin Mah. Terminal Cad. No.: 1, Arnavutkoy, Istanbul
The price is NZ$214 per night from 1 Nov. to 2 Nov.

Situated in Arnavutkoy, this hotel is within 20 miles (32 km) of Belgrad Forest, Mall of Istanbul and Kilyos Beach. Venezia Mega Outlet and Eyup Sultan Mosque ...

4.2/5Excellent! (322 reviews)

"It's perfect for what it is and it's location. I stayed a night in October 2020 in order to take the Covid test inside the IST airport (just 10 minutes or less walking from the Yotel) and be able to get the results and fly the following day. The Covid test is now 250 TL and results are given withing ..."…"

Reviewed on 25 Oct. 2020

YOTEL Istanbul Airport LANDSIDE
Tayakadin Mah. Terminal Cad. No.1, Arnavutkoy, Arnavutkoy, Istanbul
The price is NZ$267 per night from 21 Nov. to 22 Nov.

Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 20 miles (32 km) of Belgrad Forest, Mall of Istanbul and Kilyos Beach. Venezia Mega Outlet and Eyup Sultan Mosque ...

4.2/5Very Good! (221 reviews)

"Very nice and convenient location right inside terminal - perfect for transit passengers"…"

Reviewed on 16 Oct. 2020

Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Holiday Rentals in Istanbul

Ada Home Istanbul
Ada Home Istanbul
3.5 out of 5
Kocatepe Mahallesi Feridiye Caddesi 75, Beyoglu, Istanbul, Istanbul
The price is NZ$50 per night from 1 Nov. to 2 Nov.

Located in Taksim, this apartment building is within a 5-minute walk of Acibadem Taksim Hospital and Taksim Square. Dolmabahce Palace and Istiklal Avenue are ...

4.2/5Excellent! (66 reviews)

"Near the busy Taksim Square, I would recommend for someone willing to be in a busy place, full of night attractions, and restaurants, but not for someone looking for a quiet place."…"

Reviewed on 29 Sep. 2020

Ada Home Istanbul
Gen Suites
Gen Suites
Eskisehir Mah. Akaglar Cad. No 22, Istanbul
The price is NZ$35 per night from 28 Oct. to 29 Oct.

Located in Taksim, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Acibadem Taksim Hospital, Taksim Square and Istiklal Avenue. Dolmabahce Palace and Vodafone ...

3.9/5Good! (56 reviews)
Nice place, comfortable, good services,

"Comfort, quiet place Nice place"…"

Reviewed on 23 Dec. 2019

Gen Suites
Radisson Residences Vadistanbul
Radisson Residences Vadistanbul
Ayazaga Mah, Kemerburgaz St 6A No.7V/101, Sariyer, Istanbul
The price is NZ$239 per night from 29 Oct. to 30 Oct.

Situated in the mountains, this aparthotel is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from Vadistanbul AVM and 2.8 mi (4.5 km) from Istinye Park. Istanbul Cevahir Shopping and Entertainment ...

4/5Very Good! (36 reviews)

"The location is very nice and next to a huge mall with many nice restaurants and cafe. It’s a very good choice for families and shopping."…"

Reviewed on 9 Sep. 2020

Radisson Residences Vadistanbul
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Istanbul

Top activities in Istanbul

Reviews of Istanbul


Top Destination

5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent 67.94425087108014%
4 - Good
4 - Good 28.222996515679444%
3 - Okay
3 - Okay 3.484320557491289%
2 - Disappointing
2 - Disappointing 0.34843205574912894%
1 - Terrible
1 - Terrible 0%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

6 Feb. 2020

It’s a excellent city to visit

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

29 Jan. 2020

Very nice city l will be coming back

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

19 Jan. 2020

Love Istanbul... been to over 40 countries and this is a favourite!

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

2 Jan. 2020

Good food, friendly locals,

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

28 Dec. 2019

This is excellent place to visit with so much variety and diversity in people and the best of all, the food. It is an ideal place for foodies.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

24 Dec. 2019

Beautiful city but traffic

Cities near Istanbul

Photo by Tyrone Duffy


Miniaturk showing outdoor art and a garden


Photo by Ismail Gürbüz


Photo by Meltem Evkuran