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Where to stay in Istanbul

Where to stay in Istanbul

There are two sides of Istanbul — 25 districts on the European side and 14 on the Asian side. The sides are connected by three major suspension bridges across the Bosphorus Strait, a waterway that connects the Back Sea to the Sea of Marmara. Each side, district and neighbourhood has its own distinct style and a wide selection of B&Bs, luxury hotels, guesthouses, boutique hotels and hotel chains.  

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  • Trendy vibes

    The “port-side” Karaköy neighbourhood in the Beyoğlu district is all about trendy bars, eclectic restaurants and exciting nightlife. If this is your scene, SuB Karaköy stands out from typical luxury hotels. It’s industrial yet chic, offering well-appointed rooms with décor inspired by the harbour and sea. Here you can enjoy all the amenities of a luxury hotel (and the famous Turkish breakfast) with the bonus of being in the middle of the action.  

  • Historic & upmarket

    The historic Sultanahmet neighbourhood is the area to stay in if you’re visiting for a short time and want to see as many tourist attractions as possible. Offering an unusual stay, Hotel Poem memorialises famous artists, writers and composers connected to the city, from Pyotr Tchaikovsky to Ernest Hemmingway. The rooms are spacious with views over the Bosphorus Strait, and the hotel is ideally situated near the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace attractions.When it comes to exceptional service and jaw-dropping views, it’s hard to beat Hotel Amira in the Fatih district and the Georges Hotel Galata. Hotel Amira has a wide range of room options for couples and families, as well as the standout Amiralto Rooftop Restaurant and Bar where you can indulge in award-winning dining and admire the city lights reflected in the Sea of Marmara.Georges Hotel Galata in the Galata quarter of the Beyoğlu district takes things up a notch by offering personalised butler services, modern sophistication with a touch of French class and several awards to its name.

  • Budget-friendly

    Taksim Square is a tourist hotspot and this part of Istanbul offers many entertainment, retail and dining options, as well as accommodation to suit every pocket. The cheery, cosy Cheers Midtown Hostel offers nine rooms and is close to the tram line. It's the perfect place to lay your head after an all-nighter!  Also, consider staying on the Asian side, which is generally more affordable than the European side. For example, the residential neighbourhood of Kadiköy (not to be confused with Karaköy on the European side) is popular with the young and trendy. Here, you can find low-key, comfy accommodation such as the Juliet Rooms and Kitchen, which has both deluxe rooms and hostel dormitory rooms.

Frequently asked questions

Many tourists gravitate to the Old City, as it is home to many of the city's top attractions such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Grand Bazaar.

Istanbul is the only city in the world that straddles two continents – Europe and Asia. Beyond geographical oddities, Istanbul is famous for its rich and fascinating history and cultural heritage, beautiful architecture and landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, and the Grand Bazaar and utterly delicious cuisine.

There’s no bad time to visit Istanbul! Weather-wise, Istanbul’s peak season is generally from mid-April to June and September to October. It can get pretty hot and humid from mid-July to mid-August and can even snow in January-February.

We may have already mentioned, but Istanbul holidays are jam-packed with adventure and incredible sights! Meander the Grand Bazaar, sample the local cuisine, take a tour, visit a traditional Turkish bathhouse, check out the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, take a boat tour of the beautiful Bosphorus Strait, and, if time permits, head to the beaches of Istanbul's Princes' Islands.

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The most popular things to do in Istanbul with kids are visiting the Grand Bazaar, exploring the Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia, and enjoying a boat ride on the Bosphorus.

Be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, and a camera to capture all the breathtaking sights and cultural experiences. Oh and don’t forget your sense of adventure and a sizable appetite. Women will also need a scarf or shawl to cover their hair when visiting religious sites.

We could write an entire book on this one but thankfully many excellent sources already exist that go into great detail on where to go and what to do in Istanbul. Sultanahmet is a popular choice for first-timers as this is where you will find many of the city’s iconic sights like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

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*Travel restrictions & conditions apply. Review any specific conditions stated and our general terms at Terms and Conditions. Prices & taxes are in NZD and are correct as at the date of publication & are subject to availability and change without notice. Prices quoted are on sale until the dates specified unless otherwise stated or sold out prior. Prices are per package.