Historically known by several other names, Istanbultoday is the largest city in Turkey and the 7th largest city in the world. Considered a capital of culture in Europe, this city of wonders offers visitors a vast array of historical, cultural and architectural sights sure to please any traveller. Previously known as Byzantium and Constantinople and with origins in the ancient Greek empire, this city has had a long and bloody history. Thanks to its strategic location it was constantly fought over, falling to the Roman republic in 196 AD before finding itself under continuous attack for centuries. A major tourist hub in Europe, visitors spend their days marvelling at the incredible Ottoman Empire architecture, traditional art, busy bazaars and relaxing at Turkish baths.
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In a city filled with architecture and historic buildings, the sheer number of possibilities can be overwhelming for visitors. Topkapi Palace is a great place to start. This Ottoman Empire era palace complex offers visitors a glimpse into the life of the Ottoman Sultans. The residence of the Ruling Elite for centuries, this palace now holds a museum and many mysterious secrets. Over the years the palace housed up to 4,000 people and was constantly being changed to suit the tastes of the city's rulers. This token of the Imperial era is widely regarded as one of the best and most complete collections of Ottoman Era swords, armour, porcelain, weapons and manuscripts.
The Bosphorus is known as one of the world's most beautiful stretches of water and is top of many visitors' lists. Topkapi palace, the Grand Bazaar and Galata Tower draw in crowds of amazed visitors, history buffs and classical scholars alike. It is a great solo travel or family destination, offering things to do and see for everyone who finds themselves in this Metropolitan capital. Modern Mosques and beautiful waterways add to the overall allure of Istanbul. In April, the city hosts the International Istanbul Film Festival, featuring some of the best Turkish and international films. While you're there, the Tulip Festival held in Spring sees the entire city covered in beautiful tulips.
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This city has a little bit of everything and is sure to please any visitor with its incredible architecture, history, music and culture. A wide range of events and sights to see will keep a traveler busy for years.
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Flights can be cheaper to Istanbul last minute, but this isn’t always the case. We recommend that you try to book to Istanbul 4-5 months in advance for great deals.
The best time to visit Istanbul is Spring or Autumn. It can be very hot in the summer months in Istanbul, and fairly cold in winter.
A good tip is to search for flights to Istanbul on Tuesday, and to book flights that fly on Wednesday, as these are usually the cheapest deals.
Istanbul is generally safe for the solo female traveler. Traveling alone in Istanbul is no more dangerous than visiting any other city by yourself.
The best ways to get around Istanbul are the buses and trams.