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Trip Planner Europe  /  Turkey  /  Istanbul
(4.3/5 based on 190,000+ reviews for top 30 attractions)
Things to do: sightseeing, museums, religious sites

Queen of Cities

A physical and cultural bridge between Europe and Asia, the transcontinental city of Istanbul serves as a living reminder of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires. A sprawling metropolis of nearly 15 million people, the city covers an area of over 5,300 sq km (2,000 sq mi), straddling both sides of the Bosporus Strait. Turkey's cultural, economic, and spiritual center, Istanbul lures nearly 12 million visitors each year. Its biggest attraction remains its historical town center, a World Heritage Site filled with minarets and church domes. The city's entertainment hub, on the northern side of the natural harbor, offers lively nightlife and a network of pedestrian-friendly streets flanked by Neoclassical architecture. Customize your holiday with our Turkey vacation route planner to create an adventure that suits you.
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Where to stay

The bustling downtown core of old Istanbul is the popular choice among tourists wanting a short walking distance to the city's biggest attractions. Here you'll find hostel-style accommodations and reasonably priced and traditionally decorated hotels, as well as bed and breakfasts and inns with views overlooking the sea. Though often the most affordable, accommodations in the old city can be very overrun with tourists and street solicitors. If you seek a more relaxed stay, consider lodging near Taksim Square. This new, trendy neighborhood is a short 15-20 minute ride from the old city, but puts you closer to restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. Though the newer area of the city is a bit more upscale, you'll also find moderately priced hotels and some hostels. Look for luxury hotels in the western suburbs close to the airport, overlooking the banks of Bosphorus.
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