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Istanbul Holidays

At a glance

CurrencyTRY: New Turkish Lira LanguageTurkish Flight Duration3 hours 40 minutes (from the UK) Time ZoneGMT +2 hours

Turkey’s capital is the only city in the world to straddle two continents – a trip across the Bosphorous Bridge takes you from Europe to Asia. Whichever side you’re on, the influences of ancient and modern, and east and west can always be felt in this vibrant, beautiful city. Mosques dominate the landscape alongside shiny new tower blocks, and you’re never far from the mighty river Bosphorous.

Great Places to Visit

With endless opportunities to sightsee, shop, eat and party in style, boredom is never an option on your city break in Istanbul.

See the Sights

Istanbul’s old town has so many must-see sights that it’s a good idea to sign up for a private tour. Companies like First Hand Tours will pick you up from your hotel and make your visits to the Blue Mosque, Topaki Palace, Hagia Sofia, Roman Hippodrome, Grand Bazaar and other lesser-known gems, easy, interesting and hassle free.

Shop till You Drop

The Grand Bazaar is worth a visit, but these days it’s a tourist trap. The Egyptian Bazaar is a treasure trove of spices, oils and Turkish Delight but make sure you agree prices first. The city is famous for leather goods, carpets, lamps and designer look-a-likes. There are also great modern malls like the enormous Kanyon.

Sample a Taste of Turkey

Whether you’re in the mood for a posh restaurant or a street snack, delicious food is all around you in Istanbul. For the best restaurants and bars, head to the modern Beyoglu district, where you can enjoy your meze in the company of cool locals. Istanbul is a city that knows how to party and it has a buzzing rooftop bar scene.

Take a Bath

For the ultimate Turkish bath, book yours at Kilic Ali Pasa Hamami. Housed in a pared down, but still majestic 16th century domed building, this fabulous feel good experience involves an attendant guiding you through lying on warm marble slabs, before exfoliation and washing. You’re guaranteed to come out feeling shiny and new!

Getting Around

Most UK tourists land at Ataturk International Airport. You can grab a metered taxi or save money by taking the Metro or airport bus into town. As Istanbul is an enormous, warren-like city, it’s often a good idea to ask your hotel to send a car. Getting lost while exploring is part of the fun of Istanbul, but if you have a specific place in mind, get clear directions or ask your hotel to call you a taxi.

By Bus

Istanbul has a bus service, but tourists tend to prefer the clean, reliable Metro service that serves the city. The hop-on-hop-off tourist bus is a good option for travelling between the main attractions.

By Car

If you think you’ve seen crazy, chaotic driving, you’ll think again when you visit Istanbul. That combined with the frequent traffic jams means driving is a no no. If you must, stick to the right.

Weather

Temperature and rainfall

Passports and Visas

British citizens need a visa to enter Turkey. To avoid waiting at the airport, get one online from the official e-Visa website and print it out. Your passport should have 6 months validity from the day you arrive and a blank page for your visa stamp. For more information and advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey/entry-requirements or the Foreign Office at www.fco.gov.uk/en/

Health and Safety

Don’t forget to arrange travel and medical insurance before you travel to Turkey. For more info, see www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey/health

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Book with confidence

you're in safe hands

100% ATOL protected
Years of experience
Millions of happy customers
90% Rated good or excellent by our customers
Full protection with ATOL & Travel Trust
Happy Customers in the millions
20+ years experience in travel