Istanbul Tourist Information and Tourism

(Istanbul, Marmara, Turkey)

Elevated waterfront viewThe tourism offerings found within Istanbul are amongst the best that Turkey has, ranging from traditional architecture to the bustling market activities of the Grand Bazaar, which is nothing short of a shopping Mecca and encompasses some 58 different streets and sees up to 400,000 shoppers each day. Istanbul is home to many impressive remnants from the Turkish Ottoman Empire, such as historical mosques and grand palaces, as well as Turkish bathhouses (Hamams) and museums packed with information.

Boat trips along the Bosphorus (Istanbul Strait) are recommended, as are the wining and dining opportunities along both the Istiklal Caddesi and the Nevizade Sokak. Tourists will always find themselves drawn to the enormous Byzantine dome at the ancient Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia) basilica, which is the city's most famous monument and the biggest cathedral on the planet for almost 1,000 years.

Skyline pictureThe accommodation scene in Istanbul is buoyant, ranging from world-class luxury to cheap youth hostel dormitories. Do bear in mind that a discount is often given for a cash payment and for extended stays, and for those lodging for more than three days, a complimentary pickup at Ataturk International Airport may also be included in the price. Many hotels and Istanbul apartments reside within the Old City's Sultanahmet district and around the adjacent neighbourhoods of Binbirdirek, Cankurtaran and Kucuk Aya Sofya. The best hotels come with terraces as standard, overlooking the mosques, the Sea of Marmara and the Aya Sofya.

Photo of crowds outside the Blue Mosque

Istanbul Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

Brimming with places of interest and an endless array of Turkish culture, Istanbul's main tourist attractions combine the best of history with simple local life. Turkish baths have been an integral part of life in Istanbul for quite literally centuries and the Suleymaniye Bath is one of the oldest, dating as far back as the 16th century and as popular today as it ever was. For exciting smells and a great atmosphere, spend a morning getting lost amongst the fragrances within the Spice Market (Misir Carsisi), or enjoy a short boat ride to the neighbouring Princess Islands, where a selection of resorts and coastal attractions await. More information about Istanbul Tourist Attractions.

Photo of the waterfront skylineMany of the biggest and most impressive sights of Istanbul dominate the skyline and allow you to start to understand the layout of the city, with the 17th-century Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Cami) serving as a very important and central point of reference. Also competing for your attention is the Topkapi Palace within Gülhane Park, and the Roman Hippodrome on Sultanahmet Square, the latter of which was once the setting for Roman chariot racing and today tends to be where most guided tours of Istanbul tend to start. More information about Istanbul Landmarks and Monuments.

Photograph of the famous Hagia Sofia (Aya Sofya)The museums of Istanbul provide an array of information about the city, covering topics such as history, archaeology and noteworthy individuals, such as Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881 to 1938), who founded the modern day Republic of Turkey and was the very first president. Both the Archaeology Museum and the Museum of Turkish Carpets stand out, while for some serious art appreciation, galleries such as the museums of Fine Arts and Modern Art are on hand. More information about Istanbul Museums and Istanbul Art Galleries.

Further city view, showing the Hagia Sofia basilicaTourists considering a day trip or two will find much to choose from close to Istanbul. The waterfront town of Eceabat is a popular destination, as is the very scenic Gallipoli Peninsula, home of some important WWI battlefields. Also close to Istanbul are the ancient remains of Troy, which are now a World Heritage Site and more than 5,000 years old, being perhaps best known for its Trojan War and 'Wooden Horse' legend. Interestingly, the harbour town of Canakkale actually proudly displays the actual giant wooden horse that recently starred in the Hollywood movie entitled simply 'Troy'. More information about Istanbul Attractions Nearby.

More Istanbul Information / Fast Facts and Orientation