Hagia Sophia, Istanbul – Image courtesy of teslasociety.com
Discover the compelling city of Istanbul for a honeymoon or romantic getaway. The world’s only city to straddle two continents offers an intoxicating mix of palaces, museums, churches and mosques, bustling bazaars and crowded, lively streets.
Founded by Emperor Constantine in 326 AD on an even older settlement, Istanbul remained the capital of the Ottoman Empire until 1923.
What to do and see in Istanbul
Explore the Topkapi Palace, overlooking the Bosporus and the Sea of Marmara, once the sumptuous home of the Ottoman sultans and filled with 600 hundred years of accumulated treasure.
Admire the vast interior domed ceiling of Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia), built in 536 AD as a Christian (Byzantine) cathedral then later converted into a mosque and now a museum.
Admire the hundreds of stained-glass windows of the intricately decorated Blue Mosque, the only mosque in the world to have six minarets. Descend into the cool temperatures of Yerebatan Sarayi, a huge underground cistern supported by more than 300 Corinthian columns, built under the Justinian basilica in the 6th century.
Climb to the top of the 14th century Galata Tower for panoramic views over the Golden Horn and Sea of Marmara. Cruise the overcrowded waters of the Bosporus, the narrow strait that divides Europe from Asia. Marvel at the sultan’s 19th century Dolmabahae Palace and visit the 15th century Rumeli Fortress, one of several Byzantine and Ottoman waterfront castles that line the shore.
On the Asian side of the Bosporus, discover Uskudar (Scutari), where Florence Nightingale nursed the sick during the Crimean War.
Browse the infamous Kapali Carsi (Grand Bazaar), a labyrinth of covered narrow lanes crammed with more than 3000 shops selling a huge variety of carpets, ceramics, silver and gold jewellery, leatherware and Islamic crafts.
Sip a cup of strong Turkish coffee at a traditional café beneath the Galata Bridge while watching the sun set, then head to a steamy hammam (Turkish bath) in Beyoglu or Sultanahmet for an invigorating scrub followed by a relaxing massage.
Istanbul offers a huge selection of hotel options for honeymoon couples.
Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about hotel accommodation in Istanbul at TripAdvisor.
Best time to honeymoon in Istanbul
The best time to visit Istanbul is between June and September. But if you wish to avoid the high season crowds of July and August come instead during spring and autumn when temperatures range from 15°C to 25°C.
For more climate info: Istanbul Weather Guide
By air, Istanbul receives daily flights to and from the world's major capital cities. Istanbul's Atatürk International Airport is located 20km west of the city centre, a short 20 minute drive away (depending on traffic). An express bus service as well as a light rail metro train connects the terminal with the city centre. Private shuttle buses, taxis and hire cars are also available.
More info on how to get to Istanbul. . .