Istanbul is the only city in the world that was built on two continents. For this reason alone it is worth a trip. The city possesses countless sights from days gone by, but at the same time is extremely modern and is known for its attractive nightlife. The district of Beyoglu has turned itself into the city’s nightlife hub, which attracts young people from around the world who come here to revel with one another. Therefore, a longer stay in Istanbul doesn’t mean boredom will settle in.
Istanbul’s countless options allow you to pick and choose as you desire, resulting in a trip that suits you perfectly. Book your flight to Istanbul right away with SunExpress!
One of the most well-known pieces of architecture is, of course, the Hagia Sophia, which was constructed in the 6th century as a Christian church, but had four minarets added nearly a millennium later as part of its conversion to a mosque. The giant dome with its 31-metre diameter and numerous mosaics leaves visitors from around the world in awe. Just nearby lies the equally impressive Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, receiving its latter name due to the magnificent blue tiles adorning the interior walls. A further must-see structure is the Dolmabahçe Palace situated directly on the Bosphorus, built in the 19th century as the new household of the sultan.
If seeking some lovely souvenirs to take home, one of Istanbul’s bazaars is just the right place to find some. Particularly large is the Grand Bazaar, housed within a 32,000 square metre, roofed market hall in the old part of the city. From carpets to jewellery, traders sell all kinds of products. A break can be taken in one of the delightful teahouses, where traditional Turkish tea is served. The Egyptian Bazaar, known also as the Spice Bazaar, is of equal interest, filling its halls with a cornucopia of smells. Not only spices are sold here, however, as delicacies and souvenirs fill the stands. This marketplace was built in the 17th century and is located by the New Mosque in the district of Eminömü.
The bridge over the Bosphorus connects the European part of the city to the Asian part, offering the chance to briefly set foot on another continent. The river also has plenty of boat tours, giving tourists a unique perspective of the city and its imposing palaces on the waterfront. A boat ride at sunset is another great experience. The Bosphorus connects the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea – tourists wishing to go for a swim there can take a ferry to the Prince Islands, where the locals like to spend their free time. Another delightful beach with friendly cafés and bars is at Kilyos on the Black Sea, located around 35 kilometres from Istanbul.
A non-stop flight to Istanbul takes about two-and-a-half to three hours from Germany. Because of the short journey, the city is an attractive weekend destination. As for destinations, holidaymakers have a choice of two airports: Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST) sits in the European part of the city, while Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) is on the other side of the Bosphorus, in Asia. Shuttle busses provide access to the city centre almost around the clock, from both airports. One of the stops where travellers can get off at is Taksim Square. Public buses also stop at the airports, however. If wanting to go straight to the historic old town, taking the Istanbul Metro on the M1 line is an option. Public transportation is a viable choice getting around Istanbul; the practical Istanbulkart, an electronic ticket, allows holidaymakers to take the metros, trams and busses.
The ideal time for a flight to Istanbul is from May to October. It is pleasantly warm during spring and autumn, perfect for sightseeing. If some heat is preferred, flying in July or August is recommended, when the temperatures rise to 30 °C or higher. The water is delightfully warm during the summer months, but at a 20 °C water temperature, spring also offers the chance for a swim.