Travelers who visit Istanbul often regard the human population as one of the major attractions: local folk are friendly and welcoming, always happy to introduce visitors staying at Istanbul hotels to local tea gardens, coffee houses, taverns, and restaurants. Because of hectic traffic conditions, driving is not recommended in the city itself, but rental cars in Istanbul are ideal for exploring the nearby countryside. Architectural treasures abound in Istanbul, and booking an all-inclusive vacation to Istanbul lets you visit spots such as Hagia Sophia, which began as a church, then became a mosque, and is now a museum. Topkapi Palace, with roots that date back to 1453, is an enormous, ornate structure where sultans, their harems, and servants lived. Go even further back to 203 A.D. when you visit the Spiral Column and the Obelisk of Theodosius at the Hippodrome, or Sultan Ahmet Square. Shoppers regard the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar as must-visit sites; go early or late to avoid the tourist crowds and remember they are closed on religious holidays. Take a cruise down the Bosphorus, which divides city in two, to view the city from the water.
Istanbul International Biennial occurs every second year from September through November, and is a platform for contemporary art. Music lovers will be enthralled by the Istanbul International Music Festival (June and July) and the Istanbul International Jazz Festival (July), when top-notch performers entertain the public. If you're a movie fan you'll enjoy the Istanbul Film Festival in April, where you can view Turkish and other films.
Whether you're planning on visiting ancient churches and mosques in Istanbul, or just enjoying the scene, browse Travelocity for Istanbul vacation packages or get special deals on the mobile app.
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^Savings based on all package bookings made with Flight + Hotel on Travelocity.com from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018, as compared to the price of the same components booked separately. Savings will vary based on origin/destination, length of trip, stay dates and selected travel supplier(s). Savings not available on all packages.