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Award-winning travel writer
Annabelle Thorpe

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Istanbul

Our verdict:

Even with only a few days in Istanbul, you can gaze in wonder at the Topkapi Palace and harem, the Blue Mosque, St Sophia, The Grand Bazaar and the spice market. The big decision is whether to stay on the banks of the Bosphorous for a tranquil retreat, or pick a cool pad in the thick of it.

Recommended travel company: i-escape

The inciredible Istanbul skyline

i-escape says

Straddling the border between Europe and Asia, separated by the Bosphorus Strait, the majestic metropolis of Istanbul marries the ancient with the unexpectedly modern.

Historic minarets and Ottoman palaces sit aside hip boutiques and contemporary galleries, and the city is a former European Capital of Culture.

Planning a visit? We’ve personally visited and honestly reviewed the best boutique hotels and rentals in the city, which you can book at preferential rates through us.

For a great location within easy reach of Sultanahmet’s sights, this classy conversion of a pair of Ottoman townhouses comes up trumps. The hotel is topped with a fabulous roof terrace offering spectacular views of the Blue Mosque and the Sea of Marmara.

A stone’s throw from the Bosphorus, in one of Istanbul’s coolest neighbourhoods, these retro-chic rooms and studios are lofty and light-filled. Karaköy’s galleries, cafés and boutiques are on your doorstep.

To experience the city like a local, these stylish self-catering apartments in hip Galata are a great value option. Interiors are cool and contemporary, and you’re well placed for sightseeing, shopping and partying.

Or opt for a chic suite in an artists’ haven close to Taksim Square, complete with roof terrace and personal concierge.

Explore our full range of places to stay in Istanbul.

Note: All the travel companies featured on this site are personally recommended by our editors. Companies pay us a flat annual fee; we don’t get any additional payments if you click on their sites or make a booking. Those fees pay for the upkeep of our site, so we can keep it current and reliable. See more about how we work.