Istanbul Travel Guide

Set in a lavish 19th-century mansion overlooking the Golden Horn, the privately funded museum stages exhibitions such as a show of Kutahya pottery and Orientalist portraits from the late Ottoman era.

A day trip to Heybeliada, the second-largest and arguably the prettiest of the Princes Islands, feels remarkably refreshing after a few days of Istanbul’s traffic.

All major flights to Istanbul touch down at Ataturk Airport, located approximately 14 miles west of the city center. On average, 82,000 passengers pass through it daily, and 700 planes arrive and depart, making it the 17th busiest airport in the world.

Hard to find—Edirnekapı is not used to tourists, and the signage is terrible—but worth the effort, this pumpkin-domed church-turned-museum is one of the great surviving jewels of Byzantine art and architecture.

At this, one of Europe’s biggest duty-free shops, prices are lower than comparable shops in the airport’s Euro Zone.

Where: Istanbul, Turkey, spanning the Bosphorus Strait.


Stats: 4,954 feet long; 210 feet above sea level.


If you have a few hours to kill and feel adventurous, take a five-minute taxi ride to military-aviation paradise: the Istanbul Aviation Museum in the nearby district of Yesilköy.

Responding to complaints from villagers throughout Turkey about large-scale textile production, Metin Tosun opened Abdulla in the center of the Grand Bazaar to both support a more traditional, handmade approach and sell 100% organic cotton, linen, and silk products like towels, blankets, robes, a

If Istanbul’s romantic rooftop views work their customary magic, you may suddenly find yourself needing one of costume designer Bilge Mestci’s opulent, Ottoman-inspired bridal gowns in silk and Indian lace.

At her combination museum-shop, owner Gönül Paksoy turns everyday objects into pieces of art and creates hand-dyed silk coats with vintage beads.

The greatest surviving example of Byzantine architecture and one of the eight wonders of the world, Hagia Sophia reigned as the greatest church in Christendom from the fourth century to the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

Set in a historic hammam that almost steals the show, the store sells affordable rugs based on antique designs.

Ottoman-style décor, elaborate antique portraiture, deep leather sofas, gilded chairs, crystal chandeliers, palatial marble washrooms, and darkened, private relaxation areas with fully reclining armchairs conspire to make this one of the world’s most opulent airport lounges.