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Istanbul Events

International Istanbul Film Festival

Organised by the prestigious Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, this annual film festival shows a great selection of Turkish and foreign language films. Screenings take place at various venues throughout Istanbul and there are a number of prizes awarded to the best films in different categories. The International Istanbul Film Festival was first held in 1982 and has grown to become one of the biggest film festivals in the country, attracting thousands of visitors each year.

Date: 10 April 2020 - 21 April 2020
Venue: Various cinemas and theatres in Istanbul.


International Istanbul Music Festival

Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, this annual event is one of the biggest festivals of its kind in Turkey. Since it was first held in 1973, the popular International Istanbul Music Festival has presented an exciting program of opera and classical musical performances by artists and groups of regional, national and international repute. Performances take place in a number of stunning venues around the city and have ranged from international orchestras to traditional Turkish music groups.

Date: 01 June 2020 - 31 July 2020
(Date to be confirmed)
Venue: Various venues in Istanbul.


Istanbul Biennial

Istanbul's main arts festival takes place every two years in a variety of historic buildings and venues across the city. The aim since its foundation in 1987 has been to bring together artists from home and abroad to encourage a free exchange of ideas and inspiration. A showcase for contemporary art, the Istanbul Biennial has attracted leading exhibitors such as the British Turner prize winners Gillian Wearing and Gavin Turk.

Date: 26 September 2020 - 08 November 2020
Venue: Various venues in Istanbul.


Akbank Jazz Festival

A jazz festival with a number of big international names performing.

Date: 01 October 2020 - 30 November 2020
(Date to be confirmed)
Venue: Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall, Babylon and the Akbank Cultural and Arts Centre.

International Theatre Festival

Performances of a wide variety of theatrical works from Turkey and Europe.

Date: 01 November 2020 - 31 December 2020
(Date to be confirmed)
Venue: Various theatres and performance spaces in and around Istanbul

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Featured Hotels


Side Hotel and Pension

In prime position, slap in the middle of Sultanahmet's historical quarter, this family-run hotel has long been a budget traveller institution. The simple rooms are spick-and-span and decently sized and the roof top terrace (where breakfast is served) has excellent views over the old city’s domes and minaret punctured skyline.

Sarı Konak

This family-run boutique hotel offers an old-world atmosphere trussed up with modern conveniences in an Ottoman-era mansion. The smallish rooms have polished wood floors and are classically styled while the rooftop cafe has views of both the Blue Mosque and the Sea of Marmara.

Ibrahim Pasha Hotel

Sleek design and ultra-friendly service make the Ibrahim Pasha stand out in the crowded Istanbul accommodation market. Little extras such as complimentary fruit in rooms and Molton Brown toiletries in bathrooms add a luxurious feel while staff go out of their way to help guests, creating a home-from-home vibe.

Hotel Empress Zoe

Quirky folk art touches, Central Asian textiles as bedspreads and the odd antique give the Empress Zoe’s rooms plenty of quirky appeal. Set within a row of Ottoman era mansions, with a lush garden and a rooftop terrace with views over Sultanahmet’s Byzantine period walls, this hotel brims with character.

Ottoman Hotel Imperial

A stone's throw from the Aya Sofya, this rather grand 19th century building once served as a hospital and school before being transformed into a hotel. The common areas here are full of elegant Ottoman character and the gardens and terraces provide tranquil respites from the city.

Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah

Everyone from Agatha Christie to Ernest Hemingway once stayed at this iconic Istanbul hotel, open since 1892. Rooms are a slice of old-world elegance, afternoon tea under the chandeliers in the lounge will transport you back in time, while the pool and spa provide ample 21st century updates.