Istanbul Holidays 2019 / 2020
Treat yourself to multi-cultural delights with our exciting Istanbul holidays! This wonderfully varied city is the historic heart of the popular Eurasian destination of Turkey, and has a long heritage on both sides of the Bosphorus. Spanning two continents and endowed with so many diverse and contrasting philosophies, it’s only fitting that Istanbul earned its prestigious title as one of the ‘Cultural Capitals of Europe’ in 2010.
Istanbul is a great choice if you're looking for cheap holidays, with a wealth of sights and souks to explore. We offer an excellent choice of affordable Istanbul city-breaks, as well as all-inclusive hotels and nearby beach resorts.
This is a great destination for any time of the year due to its generally good climate, although you can experience high temperatures between June and September.
There are so many things to do in Istanbul it's hard to limit your choice! But you should certainly visit some of the intricately designed churches and mosques in this amazing city, taking in culture at every turn with the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia Museum and the Grand Bazaar.
The fascinating diversity of Istanbul extends well past its cultural background, with a culinary heritage that takes its influences from nearby Mediterranean and Middle Eastern nations, to create an incredible trans-Eurasian fusion cuisine. Locals take food and drink seriously here, and the restaurants in Istanbul promise to be the best in the country. Fill up on the city’s signature dishes of marvellous mezes, juicy kebabs and succulent seafood while you’re there – you won’t be disappointed!
Be sure to take some time in a pavement café, speaking to the locals and admiring their contagious zest for life while you sip traditional Turkish tea (or coffee). The famous warmth of Turkish hospitality will make sure all trips to Istanbul are nothing short of wonderful!
If you decide to visit in the summer months, some of the best things to do in August include travelling around outside the city. Take an adventure on the historic Silk Road railways, make a splash in the Bosphorus strait (between the Black and Marmara Seas), or take a cruise to the Princes' Islands, with their beautiful old houses and tempting country walks. You can also take a cable car up to the top of Pierre Loti hill, where you can enjoy some splendid views of The Golden Horn whilst sipping a refreshing drink or nibbling a traditional Turkish sweet.
Eating out in Istanbul is a varied and colourful experience, and every budget and dietary preference is catered for. Fresh seafood, wonderful vegetarian dishes and traditional Turkish grills and kebabs can all be found in the city's urban streets and spectacular rooftop terraces. You may also need to check that alcohol will be served, although most restaurants catering to the tourist trade will do so.
- If seafood is what you fancy, try the many choices around Sultanahmet. Some of the best restaurants in Istanbul include the El Pescador for its fresh seafood, while both the Ottoman Terrace and Sultanahmet Fish House combine excellent fish and seafood platters with a great view.
- The most breathtaking view in the city is backed up with excellent fresh food at Roof Mezze in the Sirkeci district, which also covers a wide variety of special diets and is a recommended choice for a special occasion.
- Owing to the mix of cultural cuisines, vegetarian and vegan food is widely available, especially if you cross the water to the Asian side. There you'll also find an eclectic mix of fast food and traditional Turkish restaurants, pubs, wine bars and many more mainstream food choices. For a great mix of excellent food and reasonable prices, plus a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, try the Cunda Balik Restaurant in the Kadikoy district.
Family holidays to Istanbul can be both fun and educational. Visiting the relics is a great way to learn about the past, and there are loads of things you can do with kids that are both fun, and good for developing their imagination. Theme parks in Istanbul include:
- Rollercoasters and rides at Isfanbul in Eyup
- Sealife and Legoland at Bayrampasa
- Madame Tussauds at Taksim
- Miniaturk open air museum at Sutluce
...plus a dolphinarium and many other attractions for kids. You can also take them underground to visit the amazing and spooky Basilia Cisterns, ride round the city in the open top double decker bus, or go for boat rides up the Bosphorus to see the fabulous old villas.
Istanbul cultural life is rich and varied. The city has a fascinating history spanning thousands of years, with many amazing remains to explore in the city's museums, including:
- The Archaeological Museum
- The Turkish and Islamic Art Museum
- Byzantine Mosaics in the Haghia Sophia Museum
...plus museums of Calligraphy, Carpets, Science and Technology and much more.
- After many centuries, the city finally fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, and was renamed Islambol by Sultan Mehmet II. During this period many of the most stunning sites were built, which you can visit today:
- Topkapi Palace
- The Blue Mosque and Mosaics Museum
- Rumeli Fortress and open air museum
- The Grand Bazaar.
- The Ottomans ruled Turkey until the Republic of Turkey was established in 1923. Istanbul is now a hub for cultural and artistic events, which include:
- International Film Festival (March/April)
- International Music Festival (June/July)
- Festivals of Jazz, Rock and Blues (various)
...and many other shows and artworks to take in - whenever you visit!
Summers are usually very hot in Istanbul, which lures people out to the cool waters and sandy beaches around the coast.
- Kilyos beaches are the cleanest and most popular in Istanbul, and perfect for youngsters and families. Surrounded by verdant greenery and mountains, this quiet beach creates a perfect atmosphere to relax, but also has plenty of active options, such as sea surfing and other aquatic sports.
- Suma beach offers a lively atmosphere and an artistic community environment, where you can relax in the daytime and and rev up for a vigorous nightlife!
- Burc Beach is one of the most lively of the beaches near Istanbul, and one of the city's top attractions. At weekends, large crowds come to enjoy the water sports on its kilometre of warm sands and huge waves, and it's famed for its kitesurfing.
- If you decide to visit in the summer months, some of the best things to do in August include travelling around outside the city.
- Take an adventure on the historic Silk Road railways – a new section of line just opened runs along the Sea of Marmara.
- Enjoy the sights from shipboard in the Bosphorus strait (between the Black and Marmara Seas).
- Take a cruise to the Princes' Islands, with their beautiful old houses and tempting country walks.
You can also take a cable car up to the top of Pierre Loti hill, where you can enjoy some great views of The Golden Horn while sipping a refreshing drink or nibbling a traditional Turkish sweet.
Nightlife is vibrant in Istanbul, from the more relaxed dinner cruises on the Bosphorus to the hopping jazz clubs and all night dancing.
- The best areas for nightlife in istanbul (apart from the beaches) are those around Beyoglu and the Ortakoy district, often frequented by the stars and those who like to party until dawn!
- You'll find some of the best bars in Istanbul here, from hip rooftop bars to basement jazz cafés and raucous indie clubs to grungy rock bars, not to mention the ultra-cool dance clubs and more laid-back traditional Turkish folk venues.
- For the more adventurous, take the tube or ferry across to the Asian suburbs of Kadikoy and Moda, where you'll find everything from Irish pubs to wine bars.
Istanbul is a great haven for romance, with lots of couples choosing it as a honeymoon or wedding destination. Visit the Princes Islands for gentle carriage rides and beach picnics, dine in style in the Maiden's Tower, or just enjoy a cruise around the Bosphorus. For more intimate pastimes, why not try a couples' Hammam or spa day?
Experience a unique holiday to Istanbul, and enjoy this amazing Middle Eastern metropolis.
Visit intricately designed churches and mosques in this divine religious mecca, taking in culture at every turn with the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia Museum and the Grand Bazaar.
Be sure to take some time in a sidewalk café, speaking to the locals and admiring their contagious zest for life while you sip traditional Turkish teas (or coffee) – the famous warmth of Turkish hospitality will make sure all trips to Istanbul are nothing short of wonderful.
Worried about expense? Don’t be! At loveholidays.com, we offer many cheap holidays to Istanbul and more, with low deposits starting from £49pp and monthly payment options available to all! With any budget, we can help you find your perfect getaway to experience Istanbul and its place in Turkey's historic heart. Book today with loveholidays.com and save!