Istanbul Travel Guide

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Plan Your Istanbul Vacation

Straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul—once known as Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine and then the Ottoman Empire—has for centuries been a bustling and cosmopolitan crossroads. But what's more striking than the meeting of East and West is the juxtaposition of the old and the new, tradition and modernity. Brash concrete-and-glass hotels and office towers creep up behind historic old palaces, women in jeans or elegant designer outfits pass others wearing long skirts and head coverings, donkey-drawn carts vie with battered old Fiats and shiny BMWs for dominance of the noisy, narrow streets, and the Grand Bazaar competes with Western-style boutiques and shopping malls. At dawn, when the muezzin's call to prayer rebounds from ancient minarets, there are inevitably a few hearty revelers still making their way home from nightclubs and bars while other residents kneel on their prayer rugs facing Mecca. What a wonderful city of contrasts that manage to coexist.

Hotels

Istanbul Hotels

With the number of visitors to Turkey growing by about 10% every year, Istanbul's hoteliers have been busy keeping up with the increasing demand. New lodgings...read more

Restaurants

Istanbul Restaurants

Istanbul is a food lover's town and restaurants abound, from humble kebab joints to fancy fish restaurants, with lots of excellent options in between. Istanbullus...read more

Things To Do

Things To Do in Istanbul

Explore the best sights, entertainment, and shopping with our top choices and insider tips.

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Hotels

Istanbul Experiences

  • Top Reasons to Go to Istanbul

    Explore the exotic monuments: of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires.... Read more

  • Magnificent Mosques

    There are a lot of mosques in Istanbul. You won't have time to see them all, but you shouldn't leave the city without taking in the beauty and... Read more

  • See It Here

    Many of the antiquities on view in Istanbul have been removed from the archaeological sites of Turkey's ancient cities. Seeing them here first... Read more

  • Istanbul: History in Architecture

    Byzantium was already 1,000 years old when, in AD 326, Emperor Constantine the Great began to rebuild it as the new capital of the Roman Empire... Read more

  • Planning a Bosphorus Day Cruise

    One of the most pleasant experiences in Istanbul—and an easy way to escape the chaos of the city—is a trip up the Bosphorus by ferry from the... Read more

  • Hamams

    One of the great pleasures of a visit to Istanbul is spending a lazy afternoon in one of the city's Turkish baths, known as hamams, some of which... Read more

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  • Tipping in Turkey ...and Europe

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