With its turbulent Christian and Islamic past and location straddling both Europe and Asia, this is a city with a serious amount of history to take in. Ancient mosques, beautiful churches and breathtaking palaces abound. Buy a five-day museum pass for around £17 from muzekart.com, under-12s go free.
For a weekend stay, focus on the area around Sultanahmet, where you can visit the stunning Blue Mosque and Byzantine gem Hagia Sophia.
Topkapi Palace was the seat of the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years and it’s possible to visit the Harem where the Sultan’s mother would rule over his wives and concubines.
You must take a cruise on the Bosphorus, but avoid private tours and instead book over to the districts on the city’s Asian side for taverns, tea gardens and seaside promenade walks or, on weekends in the summer months, take a tour at sunset further out towards the Black Sea.
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