Istanbul travel guide

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Introduction to Istanbul

Galata Tower, Mısır Çarşısı, and Grand Bazaar have one thing in common - they're all three very good reasons to visit Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul has plenty of experiences to offer curious travelers. This province of Turkey is a travel destination everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Boasting a variety of natural beauty and architecture, a unique historical background, and a culture as rich as its population of over 15.1 million people, the region of Istanbul is truly one of the main highlights of Turkey.

Easily accessible from Sabiha Gökçen International airport, Istanbul is the perfect base for a memorable and unique vacation in Turkey any time of the year.

You'll learn more fascinating facts about Istanbul as you explore this spectacular region.

Traveling to Istanbul is especially rewarding for anyone eager to connect with locals and learn more about their unique culture and traditions.

Get ready to explore and learn more about the region of Istanbul below!

Top services in Istanbul

Here on this page, you'll find all the top travel services in Istanbul, Turkey. Check out the cheapest and most popular flights offered by 383 airlines that fly to Turkey. Browse the 2068 top-rated tours available to you in Istanbul. Compare the rates and services of the 7 types of places to stay in Istanbul and the 10 car rental companies offering CDW insurance coverage. We make it easy for you to find and book the top services in Istanbul.

Enjoy the convenience of planning and booking every detail of your trip to Istanbul, including flights, accommodations, activities, and more, in one place. Book with Guide to Europe to get an expertly-curated and fully-customizable itinerary and experience the best of Istanbul on your vacation in Turkey.

Get answers to questions about the routes and services offered in Istanbul from our free 24/7 customer support. Continue reading to learn how you can enjoy a stress-free and memorable vacation in the region of Istanbul!

Learn more about Turkey

There are many reasons to visit the region of Istanbul, but a trip to Turkey needs no explanation.

Exploring Turkey, which spans 783,562 square kilometers, is an adventure of a lifetime. Turkey offers an abundance of truly magical places to discover, including cultural, historic, and scenic sites of significant value to both locals and travelers.

As the home country of many world-famous attractions like the spectacular Galata Tower, Mısır Çarşısı, and the Grand Bazaar, you’re all set for a unique and memorable travel experience in Turkey.

Click or tap the link below to discover more about Turkey.

What to see in Istanbul

Photo of beautiful view on Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.

Istanbul has something for everyone. Regardless of age and interest, travelers have the best time exploring every corner of the region.

Read on to discover the best places to visit and find out what to expect from the region of Istanbul.

Top attractions in Istanbul

Home to plenty of top attractions, Istanbul is more than just a wonderful region in Turkey. Istanbul is a travel hotspot and a great place to experience a mix of the traditional and modern culture of Turkey.

One fascinating sight in Istanbul is the unforgettable Galata Tower. Considered one of the most well-known attractions in the region, a visit to this spectacular travel destination is something you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Istanbul. This remarkable attraction is located at Bereketzade Mahallesi Büyük Hendek Caddesi, Numara: 2, Bereketzade, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey and is open for visitors Monday - Sunday, between 08:30-22:00.

For more information about what you can expect during a vacation in Turkey, check out our list of top attractions in Istanbul below. Discover the best places to visit in Istanbul, including the fascinating Galata Tower, Mısır Çarşısı, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia, and The Blue Mosque.

Map of attractions

Use this map to find the location of all top attractions in Istanbul.

Things to do in Istanbul

Photo of aerial drone view of the Suleymaniye Mosque, huge Ottoman imperial mosque in Istanbul.

Enrich your travel experience in Istanbul by joining tours and activities. Istanbul offers an exciting selection of top-rated tours and it's easy for every traveler to find something to their liking. Take the opportunity to catch the top attractions on a tour, stay active with an adventurous excursion, or learn something new about the local history or culture of the region.

Discover the most popular experiences in Istanbul below.

Most popular experiences in Istanbul

Traveling is all about gaining new experiences. You can have that and more in the region of Istanbul.

Istanbul offers numerous tours and activities for travelers to choose from. Historical Tours, Bus Tours, and Walking Tours are only a few of the many experiences you can book for your holiday in Turkey.

Explore the most popular experiences you can join in Istanbul by clicking on one of the top-rated tour categories below.

Top tours & tickets starting in Istanbul

Travelers in Istanbul can choose from 21 categories of top-rated tours and tickets. If you're curious about what the most frequently recommended experiences in the city are, Multi-day Tours is the answer.

The most popular tour in Istanbul is the fantastic 10 Days Private Tour of Turkey. By joining this highly recommended tour, travelers get to learn more about what makes Istanbul one of the best travel destinations in Turkey.

Istanbul also offers plenty of budget-friendly tours and activities that promise travelers a unique experience in the city. The affordable Kadikoy's history, theatres and sweet shops: a self-guided audio tour is the cheapest tour in the region, and is a popular Historical Tour. This experience costs around 5 EUR and allows travelers a great time in Istanbul. This Historical Tour is available in 1 language: English.

Secure an unforgettable experience for your upcoming trip to Istanbul and book a top-rated tour in the region. Discover the best tours, activities, and tickets in Istanbul below.


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Search for things to do in Istanbul

Discover the best things to do in Istanbul. Choose from 2068 fantastic tours and activities available in the region.

Select your dates and number of travelers in the search bar below to receive the best recommendations for your vacation in Istanbul. Click the green button to view your options.

Vacation packages in Istanbul

Photo of Bosphorus Bridge and the Ortakoy Mosque at sunset, Istanbul.

The best and easiest way to visit Istanbul is by booking a vacation package. A vacation package includes everything you need for a worry-free and perfectly planned holiday in Turkey.

Booking a vacation package to Istanbul means spending less time planning and more time enjoying your vacation. A vacation package includes everything from flight tickets, accomodation, and a rental car, to 24/7 personal travel support and a carefully planned travel itinerary. You can also take your vacation in Istanbul to the next level by adding tours, tickets, and activities to each day of your trip.

Apart from providing you with everything you need to travel comfortably, your vacation package to Istanbul is also fully customizable. In other words, you can add or remove services at your own convenience, to create the perfect vacation for you and your travel companions.

On our website, you will find 141 unique vacation packages to Istanbul, including flight tickets, hotel reservations, and recommendations for the best sightseeing spots, restaurants, bars, and activities.

Continue to the next section to learn more about what types of vacations you can book in the region of Istanbul.

Popular types of vacations in Istanbul

The most popular way to experience Istanbul is by visiting the region as part of a road trip across multiple destinations in Turkey. However, it is also common for travelers to go to Istanbul on both shorter and longer getaways, to get a break from everyday life, relax, and experience something new.

With Guide to Europe you can find road trips, city breaks, and weekend getaways in Turkey, ranging from budget to luxury. Whether you’re planning a multi-day road trip across Turkey, or you just want to enjoy a few days exploring Istanbul, there is a vacation package for you.

Discover the most popular vacation packages in Istanbul below.

Top vacation packages in Istanbul

Travelers have a great selection of vacation packages to choose from in Turkey. In fact, you can choose from as many as 141 different top-rated vacation packages to take you to Istanbul, and even more if you expand your search to include a bigger area of Turkey.

To help narrow your choices down, here are some of the best vacation packages for exploring the region of Istanbul.

For an epic vacation, discover Istanbul and other top destinations in Turkey on a top-rated holiday like the Cheap 10-Day Turkey Road Trip Vacation from Istanbul traveling east to Kocaeli Province, Ankara, and Bolu. This vacation package provides travelers with tons of opportunities to experience not only the most popular attractions in Istanbul, but also in other top places to visit in Turkey. If Maiden's Tower, Sultanahmet Square, The Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, and Suleymaniye Mosque are on your bucket list, this is the perfect vacation package for you.

If you would like to go on a budget vacation in Istanbul, book the popular Cheap 3-Day Turkey City Break in Istanbul and spend as little as 132 EUR. This vacation will take you on a journey to experience some of the most incredible attractions and sights in Istanbul, including the fantastic Galata Tower, The Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia, and Gülhane Park.

Get more Istanbul vacation ideas on this site and discover the greatest selection of vacation packages in Europe. Scroll down to find the best vacation packages in Turkey that match your needs and budget.


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Find vacation packages in Istanbul

Discover and compare 141 vacation packages that take you to the wonderful region of Istanbul.

The best flights, hotels, and activities in Istanbul get fully booked quickly. Use the search tool below to find the best vacation packages in Turkey. Your customized holiday package to Istanbul is only a few clicks away!

How to get to Istanbul

To get to the region of Istanbul the fastest way possible, travelers from outside Turkey can travel by plane. International travelers can fly to Istanbul by booking flights with any of the 159 airlines that offer direct flights to Sabiha Gökçen International airport. Some airlines that operate flights to Sabiha Gökçen International airport are Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Ryanair, Lufthansa, and Delta Air Lines. Go to this page to compare all flights to Istanbul.

To reach the region of Istanbul, travelers can choose from various airport transfer options available at Sabiha Gökçen International airport.

If you're looking for the best flight ticket deals to Istanbul, knowing the cheapest travel time and which airlines offer the most affordable flights is helpful. Luckily, we have this information for you. Discover more about the cheapest and most popular flights to Sabiha Gökçen International airport and Istanbul below.

Find cheap flights to Istanbul

Photo of Istanbul, Turkey by Alp Cem

Over the years, more airlines have started offering flexible and direct flights to Istanbul, making it one of the most accessible travel destinations in Turkey. However, it is usually cheaper to fly to Istanbul, Turkey, in May.

The cheapest one-way flight to Istanbul costs around 26 EUR and is offered by the airline Wizz Air Malta.

The cheapest round-trip flights to Istanbul cost approximately 32 EUR in total. The departure flight leaves on December 25 and the return flight is scheduled on December 4. The flight time is around 2 hours per way.

The return flight is operated by Esenboğa International.

Use the search tool below to find the cheapest flights to Turkey and the region of Istanbul from your city of departure.

Popular flights to Istanbul

Travelers visiting Istanbul in Turkey can fly to Sabiha Gökçen International airport directly from 2215 destinations worldwide.

The three most popular routes to Sabiha Gökçen International airport and the region of Istanbul in Turkey depart from Sabiha Gökçen International airport in Istanbul, Turkey, Albany airport in Albany, Australia, and Santa Rosa airport in Santa Rosa, Argentina.

Travelers can fly to Turkey by choosing from from 2 weekly flight(s) from Istanbul; from 1 weekly flight(s) from Albany; and from 1 weekly flight(s) from Santa Rosa.

The airline that operates most flights to Turkey is Cambodia Angkor Air. Cambodia Angkor Air offers 8 scheduled flight routes to Turkey.

Discover the most popular flights to Istanbul below. Click to view flights to Istanbul, Turkey from destinations all across the globe.

Where to stay in Istanbul

Photo of tourist and wonderful panoramic view of the city against the beautiful sky.

An essential factor to consider when traveling to a new place or country is accommodation. While visiting a region as fantastic as Istanbul is always exciting, any avid traveler knows that accommodations often make or break the vacation experience.

The best place to stay in Istanbul usually depends on travelers' needs and preferences. However, booking accommodation in downtown Istanbul offers a ton of benefits.

Staying at the heart of the region allows you to easily walk to many of the top sights and dining areas in Istanbul and cut down on your travel expenses. Centrally-located accommodations are also an excellent choice for travelers in Istanbul planning to go on a quick tour or drive to the neighboring regions.

In Istanbul, you'll find 7 different types of places to stay catering to every taste, budget, and reason for travel. For example, honeymooners or travelers on a romantic getaway in Turkey can experience the ultimate relaxation at one of the 5-star or 4-star hotels in Istanbul. Travelers whose purpose is sightseeing can also find plenty of mid-range hotels to budget-friendly accommodations in the region, allowing access to many of the top attractions in Istanbul.

Learn more about the most popular places to stay and the top-rated hotels in Istanbul in the next sections.

Popular types of accommodation in Istanbul

A trip to the fascinating Istanbul, Turkey, means opportunities to relax at any of the 7 different types of places to stay in the region. Overall, travelers can choose from the following: 480 hotels, 188 vacation rental apartments, 10 cottages, 3 guesthouses, 3 resorts, 2 bed & breakfasts and 1 hostel. While each type offers varying amenities and rates, there is no denying that Istanbul provides a great selection of lodging options ready to cater to every kind of guest.

Among all these choices available in the region, ISG Airport Hotel - Special Class is one of the top picks of travelers in Istanbul.

The hotel is located at İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen Uluslararası Havalimanı, Pendik and boasts many great utilities, including Air conditioning, Airport shuttle, and Gym.

Budget accommodations are also incredibly popular among travelers in Istanbul. Cheaper alternatives allow travelers to save on accommodation costs and have more to spend on other experiences.

In Istanbul, travelers looking for an economical yet top-rated place to stay usually choose AlaDeniz Hotel. For approximately 13 EUR, guests can book a comfortable Unknown at this popular hotel.

Below is a list of all 7 different types of places to stay in Istanbul. Select the type you prefer to compare options under each category and find the best accommodation.

Top hotels in Istanbul

Hotels are travelers' go-to accommodations in Istanbul for the unique experience they provide. So if you're the kind of traveler who prefers staying at hotels, you'll be glad to know that the region is home to around 687 hotels.

Besides offering basic amenities, many hotels in Istanbul provide meals and extras, such as shuttle services, spa facilities, tour desks, and other services. But because not all hotels in Istanbul are created equal, finding the best in the region often requires careful research. For your convenience, we've done all the research to make it easier for you to check out all the top hotels in Istanbul.

Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus offers the most luxurious rooms and is perfect for travelers looking for the ultimate 5-star hotel experience in Istanbul. If comfort, convenience, and affordability are your non-negotiables, check out ISG Airport Hotel - Special Class, the top 4-star hotel in the region. When all you need is a pleasant place to rest and sleep in between your activities in Istanbul, the highest-rated 3-star hotel, Vizon Hotel Osmanbey, is for you.

Below is our hand-picked list of the best hotels in the Istanbul. Travelers are encouraged to book early as these hotels quickly reach capacity.

Click the arrows or swipe the list to see each hotel's ratings, reviews, locations, rates, and more. You can read detailed descriptions of each hotel by clicking the cards.


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Search for accommodation in Istanbul

Use the Accommodation Search tool below to find available stays in the region of Istanbul on specific dates. This handy feature also allows you to compare prices and amenities.

Enter the preferred check-in and check-out dates. Then, select the number of guests and rooms. Click the Search button to find all the available hotels and places to stay in the region of Istanbul that match the information provided.

Car rental in Istanbul

Photo of The Maiden's Tower, Bosphorus, Marmara sea, Istanbul, Turkey.

Experience the freedom and convenience of a self-drive vacation by renting a car for your adventures in Istanbul. Istanbul has 10 car rental companies ready to provide you with the perfect vehicle for your travels.

Automatic cars for rent in Istanbul start from 20.94 EUR per day or 146.61 EUR per week. The cheapest automatic rental car is a Renault Clio 5 Doors Automatic.

If you prefer driving a manual car, you’ll find multiple options for rent in Istanbul, starting from 16.34 EUR per day or 114.35 EUR per week. The cheapest manual rental car is a Fiat Panda 5 Doors.

Learn more about the different types of cars you can rent in Istanbul, Turkey, below.

Popular types of car rental in Istanbul

Discover and choose from our broad range of popular car rental options in the region of Istanbul to find the best car for your travel plans. Travelers in Istanbul can choose from small cars, medium cars, large cars, estate cars, mini vans, SUVs, convertibles, premium cars, camper vans, mini campers, vans, cars. All car rentals come with CDW insurance for added protection throughout your trip.

Renting a car is a popular choice among travelers who want to explore Turkey at their own pace. The most popular type of car rental among small groups of travelers in Istanbul is a TopLevel.

Another very popular type of car to rent in Istanbul is a TopLevel. This car is particularly popular among couples and solo travelers touring the region of Istanbul.

Check out all options available in Istanbul and book the car rental for your upcoming adventures in Turkey below.

Search for car rental in Istanbul

Get ready to hit the road and explore the beautiful region of Istanbul. Find the best deals on a variety of popular car rentals in Istanbul, Turkey, or any other destination in Europe by using the search tool below.

Enter your pick-up and drop-off location, driver's age, and dates. Click the green button to view your options.

Popular destinations to visit after Istanbul

Photo of walls of the narrow turkish street by the Galata Tower, Istanbul.

The region of Istanbul is just one of the many unique and scenic destinations you can visit in Turkey. So if you're itching for another cultural adventure, a relaxing road trip, an action-filled city break, or a memorable weekend getaway, know that Turkey has it all.

Turkey is calling, and the country is asking you to experience its culture and diversity to the fullest! Take the opportunity to visit other captivating places in Turkey that are as magical as the region of Istanbul. The most popular travel destinations in Turkey are listed below. Click on the name of the place you want to explore next to learn more about it.

All the best destinations in Turkey

When unsure of where to go next, use the map below. This map shows the locations of all the best destinations in Turkey. Use the map to plan your trip and find the best routes.

Domestic flights from Istanbul

Photo of aerial view of Istanbul.

A taste of Turkey through a visit to Istanbul can often reignite a traveler's passion for adventure. When this happens, the best way to satisfy this wanderlust is to book a domestic flight from Istanbul to another remarkable destination in Turkey.

To begin your search for the best or cheapest flights from the region of Istanbul to other spectacular locations in Turkey, jump to the last section of this travel guide.

Popular domestic flights from Istanbul

Travelers in Turkey can catch flights to domestic airports in Konya, Bodrum, Hatay Province, Ankara, and Kayseri. Domestic flights in Turkey are operated by 2 airlines: Turkish Airlines, and Pegasus. There are around 66 scheduled flight routes operating to Istanbul on a weekly basis.

From Istanbul, travelers can book scheduled flights to 42 domestic destinations.

Search domestic flights from Istanbul

Traveling to another city or region in Turkey? Use the flight search tool below to quickly find the cheapest one-way or round-trip flights from Istanbul to different local destinations.

Enter all the necessary information and click or tap on the Search button to see a list of the available domestic flights in Turkey on the selected dates.

Most popular countries in Europe

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