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Istanbul tours and excursions

Istanbul tours

Boat tours

The best way to get those famed Istanbul skyline views is by boat and Bosphorus Strait Cruises are popular among tourists. Şehir Hatları ( is a ferry company offering Bosphorus tours.

Walking tours

There are many walking tours available.

Istanbul excursions

Princes' Islands

A cluster of nine islands southeast of Istanbul is serviced by a number of ferries from Istanbul. No cars are allowed on these islands so rely on bicycles or horse-drawn phaeton carriages to get around. Büyükada is the largest island and worthy diversions include the former summer house of Leon Trotsky and Aya Yorgi Church.

Gallipoli Peninsula

The drive from Istanbul to Gallipoli Peninsula is about five hours but for many, the long journey is worth it to pay their respects at the WWI battlefield sites (now one of Turkey's major historical national parks) which were the scene of one of WWI's most famous campaigns.

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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.