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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 (sehirhatlari.com.tr) 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

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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.

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet

Understated luxury is the keynote here, and it's hard to believe that this century-old building was once an infamous prison. Each of the 65 rooms is classically designed with Turkish textiles and art adding eye catching details. The rooftop terrace and large, leafy courtyard are relaxing city retreats.

Grand Hotel de Londres (Buyuk Londra Hotel)

With a history dating back to the heydays of the Orient Express, this establishment has seen many writers (Hemingway being one of them), artists and actors step through its doors. Though the hotel has had many rounds of renovations over the years, the 1900s atmosphere is still very much palpable and underlined by the dark wooden interior and velvet drapes. It's also within walking distance to Taksim square, and near to many theatres and restaurants.

Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul

Right on the Bosphorus Strait's shoreline and partly housed in a former Ottoman palace, the Kempinski boasts some of the most opulent rooms in Istanbul. The waterfront pool terrace offers unparalleled Bosphorus views while the bar, restaurants and spa offer plenty of opportunity to swaddle yourself in luxury.