Istanbul offers a magnificent fusion of age-old glories and a cool, contemporary 21st-century culture. Built on seven hills, Istanbul has survived two millennia of extraordinary history. Formerly known as Byzantium, and then as Constantinople, it straddles the 35-kilometer (22-mile) Bosphorus Strait and is frequently described as the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Its historic heart – Sultanahmet and the bazaar quarter, with its great mosques, opulent palaces and Byzantine ruins – offers a fascinating glimpse into those tumultuous times. The city’s wonderfully vibrant contrasts offer something for all interests: architecture, art, culture, nightlife, cuisine and more.
Activities while in Istanbul
> Half Day Istanbul Classic Tour
Your half day tour includes four of Istanbul's most famous attractions with a private guide and driver.
Begin at the magnificent Hagia Sophia. This marvelous Byzantine basilica was built in the sixth century and today is sometimes called the Eighth Wonder of the World. Continue to the Blue Mosque, one of the best examples of classical Turkish architecture, this 17th-century Ottoman mosque is famed for being the only in the world with six minarets. You will visit the Hippodrome, the former centre of sporting and political activities in Constantinople. During the visit you will be able to see the Obelisk from Egypt, the Serpentine Column from Delphi and the fountain of Willhelm II. Your tour will end at the Grand Bazaar, which in addition to its historical importance, is a bazaar that will tempt you with its rich collection of precious handmade carpets, jewelry, leather and souvenirs.
> Half Day Ottoman Relics Tour
Enjoy Istanbul's Ottoman past with a private guide and driver.
Your tour will begin at the spectacular Topkapi Palace. The Palace was the imperial residence of the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th to the 19th century. It holds a breathtaking position above the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. Your tour will include an insight into the spectacular architecture, an unparalleled collection of Chinese porcelain, Imperial costumes, holy relics, and the Imperial Treasury. Your tour continues with a visit to the Suleymaniye Mosque. This 16th century mosque is an example of one of the most magnificent of the imperial mosques in the city. Your tour will end at the famous Spice Market, one of the oldest bazaars in the city.
> Bosphorus Cruise
Your tour starts with a visit to the 17th-century Egyptian Spice Bazaar which is full of the mystical aromas of various spices and colorful shops selling fruit, vegetables, flowers, and other delights.
Next you will board your Bosphorus Cruise boat. The Bosphorus is the waterway separating the two continents of Europe and Asia. As you travel, you will enjoy extravagant baroque palaces of the Ottoman sultans: Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi, the Besiktas commercial district, Rumeli Fortress, the Ortakoy area known for handicrafts and night life, and the famous Kizkulesi light house.
Weather in Instabul
Top things to see and do in Instanbul
> Bosphorus Cruise
> Grand Bazaar
> Spice (Egyptian) Bazaar
> Çiçek Pasajı (Flower Passage)
> Istiklal Caddesi (Istiklal Avenue)
> Princes’ Islands
> Cemberlitas Baths
> Archaeological Museum
> Taksim Square
Main Airport in Istanbul
>TAV Istanbul Ataturk Airport Airport code IST
Current Date/Time in Istanbul