Istanbul holidays are your gateway to a legendary Turkish city filled with centuries of history. Here, ancient culture blends seamlessly with the modern world to provide truly special experiences.
Head to the 17th-century Sultan Ahmed Mosque – also known as the Blue Mosque – a stunning piece of architecture with deep spiritual significance.
Adventurous travellers can climb the seven hills within the city walls for panoramic views and breathtaking sunsets.
Venture out on a Bosphorus sightseeing tour, where you'll cruise along the famous waterway and gaze at both European and Asian land. Stop off at the Ortakay neighbourhood for guided tours around the ornate Kucuksu Palace and imposing Rumelian Castle.
Add a sense of mystery by heading underground to the sixth-century Basilica Cistern.
Explore Istanbul holiday ideas with Etihad today.
From luxurious coastal hideaways to sightseeing tours around Istanbul’s many famous and historic landmarks, this exciting holiday destination is a joy for every visitor.
The Hagia Sophia is one of the city’s biggest and most famous museums, attracting millions of visitors every year.
It began life as a Greek Orthodox cathedral in the sixth century, before converting into a mosque in 1453.
After closing for renovation in 1931, it reopened as a museum four years later. Step inside and discover a fusion of eastern and western architecture.
Christian iconography sits alongside stunning examples of Islamic art in a place that will linger long in the memory.
Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar has been doing business since the 15th century and is one of the oldest and biggest markets in the world.
Wander around more than 4,000 shops and 60 labyrinthine streets, admiring the interesting trinkets, spices, ornate pottery, fabrics and authentic souvenirs on sale here.
The Grand Bazaar is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the local culture. Test your haggling skills in some good-natured negotiations with the street merchants.
Tea and coffee have been an integral part of Turkish culture for hundreds of years. The tea gardens found across the city are hubs of social activity.
People come together here to chat, drink and play hotly-contested games of chess and backgammon.
Find a spot along the Bosphorus for stunning views out towards the Black Sea while you enjoy a fresh cup of fragrant tea or some traditional coffee. You could even challenge one of the locals to a chess contest.
Families, couples and solo travellers love Gulhane Park – a holiday to Istanbul isn’t complete without a trip to this scenic green space.
Visit during the spring to see red and purple tulips in full bloom as you stroll past beautiful flowerbeds, ornate fountains and lush lawns.
Bring a picnic when the weather is warm and dry for a truly relaxing day out in this peaceful oasis. The urban park provides a great place to unwind away from the bustling streets of the city centre.
Miniaturk is one of the best-loved miniature villages in the world. It displays 122 of Turkey’s famous landmarks in scaled-down form, including Topkapi Palace, Anadoluhisari and even the dream-like Pamukkale.
The park also includes a number of museums. The Crystal Museum is home to models of Istanbul’s important buildings, while the Victory Museum tells the story of the Turkish War of Independence.
Pick up an audio guide in your language of choice to get insights on each of the buildings as you wander from one to another.
Immerse yourself in Istanbul’s history and stay in Sultanahmet. Within easy walking distance of the city’s most famous attractions, this district is perfect for family holidays in Istanbul.
Get a museum pass to access loads of great sights on your doorstep. Highlights include the Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern and Hagia Sophia.
Finish your sightseeing days out with a picnic in the glorious Gulhane Park.
Istanbul has many top-quality hotels, with the Burgu Arjaan offering a perfect base. Located in the Maltepe neighbourhood, it has an indoor and outdoor pool, steam room and sauna facilities.
The Centro WestSide, in the up-and-coming Gunseli district, has a large indoor pool with impressive city views.
Other attractive accommodation options include the Tango Arjaan and WestSide Arjaan hotels.
For a romantic break in Istanbul, consider beautiful Buyukada. The largest of the Princes’ Islands is a stunning hideaway and just a short ferry ride from Istanbul.
Enjoy mornings packed with sightseeing in the big city then retreat to the island for an afternoon of sunbathing. There are also ample opportunities for memorable evening meals in restaurants overlooking the sea.
The local currency in Istanbul is the Turkish lira (TRY). Many major hotel chains and restaurants also accept euros. ATMs are widely available.
Metro services operate every five minutes from 6am to midnight. Istanbul also has a reliable bus system. You can catch a ferry across the Bosphorus.
Turkish is the main language spoken in Istanbul. Visitors will find that English is also widely used, particularly in the city’s tourist areas.
Key dates to look out for in the Turkish calendar include Labour and Solidarity Day (1 May), Victory Day (30 August) and Republic Day (29 October).
East meets west in this splendid city, formerly known as Constantinople. It was a key location on the lucrative Silk Road, making it a strategic point of interest for hundreds of years. Istanbul has also seen the rise and fall of some of the world’s most famous empires.
First colonised by the Greeks in the seventh century, it then became the capital of the Byzantium Empire. The Ottoman Empire was based here in the 15th century and the legacy of this period remains evident today in the stunning architecture that dominates the skyline.
Turkish cuisine is rich, diverse and varies across the country. Luckily, you can sample it all in Istanbul’s cafes and restaurants. Try pide, a filled flatbread originating from Samsun on the coast of the Black Sea that contains lightly spiced lamb, onions and black pepper.
Look out for kayseri mantisi, a dumpling-based dish from the Anatolian region which includes lamb or chicken and is topped with fresh garlic yoghurt. Enjoy fine fish dishes with the catch of the day from the Aegean coast, such as levrek – a grilled sea bass lightly drizzled with olive oil.
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