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Hotels in Istanbul | Skyscanner

Split in two by the Bosphorus Strait, the colossal city of Istanbul is a breath-taking reminder of two once unrivalled empires, Byzantium and Ottoman, and the only city in the world that lies in both Asia and Europe.

Divided into districts, Sultanahmet is where most of the historical sights can be found.  If you’re looking for nightlife, Galata is the place to find it and just next door, the New City, where business district and modern shopping malls thrive. Bohemian Bosphorus is home to palaces, parks and water-front mansions close to Golden Horn district with its Ottoman architecture.

There are many cheap hotels in Istanbul. Istanbul Hostel and Big Orange Hotel are great budget choices in Sultanahment, while the exquisitely furnished Ottoman Imperial is a reasonable priced choice in the same area. The stunning Grand Hotel de Londres is one of the oldest in the city reflecting a bygone era. Be prepared to pay more if you want to stay on the banks of the Bosphorus. Commanding panoramic views across to Asia, the Swissôtel Bosphorus is one of the best. It’s easy to get around the city with its network of buses and trams, as well as boats that cross the strait.  The metro also makes it easy for visitors from flights to Istanbul airport to downtown Istanbul.

The Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque and the Theodosian Walls, dating back to 408AD, are the city’s most iconic sights, but many more gems hide in amongst Istanbul’s winding streets. Istanbul Modern shows off Turkey’s contemporary arts while the ancient painted frescoes inside the Church of St Savior are jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Istanbul’s outdoor bazaars are a riot of colour, noise and aroma mingling with crowds haggling for tea, Turkish delight and rugs. The Hamams steam away under their cathedral like domes, the scent of strong black coffee, mezze and apple scented sheesha wafts through the doors of traditional tea houses, hip cafes and meyhanes.

Twinkling city lights dance across the Bosphorus as live music fills the night air in this, justly named, ‘City of the World’s Desire’. Standing on the European half of Istanbul and gazing out to Asia has to be one of the most magical experiences of a lifetime.

Did you know..?

When Istanbul was part of the Ottoman Empire, there were over 1400 public toilets around the city. This was incredible considering at the time that even the palaces of Europe had any!

When the city’s name changed from Constantinople to Istanbul, to ensure the new name was used, any packages addressed under the old name were returned to sender by the Turkish postal authorities.

Fans of a murder mystery might like to know that Agatha Christie wrote her famous book, ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ in Istanbul’s Pera Palas Hotel. She was also a passenger on the famous Orient Express train that ran between Paris and Constantinople.