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Cityscape with Galata Tower over the Golden Horn in Istanbul

Compare the best Istanbul city breaks

Famous as the city where east meets west, Istanbul is so much more than a fantastic fact. Book city breaks to Istanbul to really get under the skin of this fascinating destination.

Why go?

Step back in time on short breaks to Istanbul for Ottoman riches, lively street markets and romantic boat rides...

The Bosphorus waterway divides Istanbul into Europe and Asia. On the European side, Sultanahmet is the historic jewel in the old city, where patterned tiles dazzle inside the Blue Mosque. Trams whiz across Galata Bridge to the new city, where Beyoglu buzzes with lively meyhane taverns and sleek rooftop bars.

Istanbul is a city that really impresses - whether you're delving into its captivating past or ordering a cocktail under the stars. Book an Istanbul city break and be prepared to have your senses stimulated in every way.

Make the most of your time in Istanbul. The main tourism highlights are busy but must be seen: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, commonly known as the Blue Mosque... these top spots are within minutes of each other, though don't expect to get around them all in one day.

If all that sightseeing tires you out, have your batteries recharged at one of the Turkish Baths, which are also known as hammam. There are plenty around the main tourist areas.

Most flights to the city arrive at Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST), which is a 30-minute drive from the central sightseeing area, though some land at Sabiha Gocken (SAW), which is an hour away and located in Asia. There are handy transport options available from either airport so you won't waste any time getting your short break under way.

You can find many deals on Istanbul city breaks when you use the search tool on TravelSupermarket.

When to go?

Istanbul short breaks are snapped up for travel in spring, summer and autumn, though winter is also a good time to visit...

It can feel very hot in the heart of the city in July and August and the streets and sights can be very busy. For a cooler and quieter break in Istanbul, travel in spring or autumn, when daytime temperatures range between 12C and 20C. Winter is even quieter in terms of tourism, though days are cool and often wet.

What's on?

The annual calendar of events is as diverse and exciting as Istanbul itself...

Tulip Festival; April/May: This city constantly astonishes visitors. One surprise is the annual celebrations of tulips, a flower more commonly associated with Holland. Tulips are originally from Turkey and are an important symbol of the nation's history. Check out the blooms during spring at a variety of places and enjoy the events that make up the festival. 

International Istanbul Music Festival; May-June: Performances of classical music, opera and ballet headline this annual celebration of culture.

Efes Pilsen One Love Festival; June/July: A two-day musical extravaganza that attracts big names to the stages, with the likes of Blur, the Happy Mondays and the Manic Street Preachers pitching in to create an electric atmosphere.

What to do?

An infinite number of holiday experiences are waiting to be had in Istanbul...

Shopping: Practise haggling inside the medieval Grand Bazaar. Edge past hand-painted ceramics and windows glowing with gold jewellery, as smooth-talking carpet sellers entice you in with a glass of tea.

Romance: Take a sunset sail on the Bosphorus, criss-crossed with boats. On deck, sip tea while spotting Istanbul's palaces and traditional wooden houses hugging the waterfront.

Families: Kids will gasp at the glittering treasures inside Topkapi Palace, where sultans once lived. Thousand-year-old jewel-encrusted swords anyone?