Destination guide

Istanbul hits the spot for history buffs

Whoever's in charge of your traveling party's Istanbul itinerary has their work cut out for them. Turkey's geographical location—East literally meets West here—made it a favorite target of marauders, and while that definitely wasn't good for the locals, we have empire upon empire to thank for the smorgasbord of religious, artistic, and architectural wonders the Turkish capital offers today—perfect for all you culture vultures out here! Istanbul vacation rentals are a great base for navigating this incredible city and its Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman marvels.

Things to do

Sultanahmet Square: Istanbul's historical heart

You'll find the creme de la creme of Istanbul's historical attractions around Sultanahmet Square. The ostentatious Topkapi Palace was where Ottoman emperors held court, while the magnificent Blue Mosque and its six minarets are an icon of the city. But the one place you absolutely mustn't miss is the Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya Muzesi), a church-turned-mosque-turned-museum that dates from 537 and oozes with historic, religious, and architectural significance. Just imagine the stories it would tell! Head north of the old city for a trip up the Galata Tower, a Romanesque stone tower offering unparalleled views from its 170-foot-high observation deck.

Activities

Istanbul will be the apple of your (evil) eye

A day in Istanbul might start out with a walking tour or two—whether you're interested in ancient churches or culinary delights, there's bound to be a themed tour that fits the bill—followed by haggling for colorful lanterns, carpets, and "evil eye" lucky charms at the Grand Bazaar. Touted as one of the world's oldest shopping destinations, this massive, labyrinthine market is a feast for the senses, though probably not for your wallet. At night, enjoy a scrumptious seafood dinner along the Bosphorus before having a drink in one of the taverns.

Weather

Istanbul—sightseeing under the Turkish sun

Thanks to high humidity, especially in the fall and winter, mornings in Istanbul can be very foggy, particularly in the city's northernmost parts. Summer highs in Istanbul climb up the low 80s in July and August, with lows in the mid-60s. At the height of winter, in January and February, it can get as cold as 37 degrees, and temperatures usually peak at 48 degrees. Istanbul vacations rentals are most affordable in the winter, but remember to pack your umbrellas if you're visiting from November to January, and expect some snowy days as well.

Natural features

Belgrade Forest—a tranquil spot nature-lovers can't tree-sist

When Istanbul starts sending you into sensory overload, take refuge in the Ataturk Arboretum, some 12 miles outside the city. In this part of Belgrade Forest, you can go on quiet waterside strolls while thousands of tree species from around the globe keep watch—expect to run into students and researchers studying the arboretum's botanical selection. The Turkish capital is awash with tulips from late March to early May. From your Istanbul vacation rental, you can easily go to Sultanahmet Park and Emirgan Park to look at exotic tulip varieties.

How to get there

Transportation to and around Istanbul

Fly into Istanbul (IST-Ataturk Intl.), the closest airport, located 7.9 mi (12.7 km) from the city center. If you're unable to find a flight that fits your schedule, you might consider flying into Istanbul (SAW-Sabiha Gokcen Intl.), which is 19.7 mi (31.8 km) away.

If you're traveling by train, Istanbul Kumkapi Station, Istanbul Yenikapi Station and YeniKapi Station are the main stations in the city. It's easy to get around Istanbul by jumping on the metro at Laleli-University Station, Beyazit Station or Cemberlitas Station.

Where to stay around İstanbul?

Our 2019 property listings offer a large selection of 603 vacation rentals near İstanbul. From 345 Condos/Apartments to 15 Villas, find a unique house rental for you to enjoy a memorable stay with your family and friends. The best places to stay near İstanbul for a holiday or a weekend are on HomeAway.

What is the best area to stay when traveling to İstanbul?

Whether you're traveling with family or friends, here are the areas with the largest selection of vacation rentals for a holiday trip or just for a weekend in İstanbul:

  • Taksim Square: 190 vacation rentals
  • Fatih: 141 vacation rentals
  • Şişli: 204 vacation rentals
  • Beyoğlu: 311 vacation rentals
  • Beşiktaş: 25 vacation rentals

For other neighborhoods, please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available.

What are the popular points of interest near where I can stay when traveling to İstanbul?

HomeAway offers a large selection of vacation rentals near lovely places in İstanbul. From HomeAway travelers, the most popular points of interest to stay for a holiday trip or just for a weekend are:

  • Muhsine Hatun Mahallesi: 589 vacation rentals
  • Panoroma 1453: 584 vacation rentals
  • Sultanahmet Square: 589 vacation rentals
  • Bogazici University: 557 vacation rentals
  • Galata Tower: 1,050 vacation rentals

But there are many other points of interest around İstanbul listed on HomeAway where you can find your place to stay. Please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available near the point of interest of your choice.

Can I rent Condos/Apartments in İstanbul?

Yes, of course. HomeAway has 345 Condos/Apartments in İstanbul. Our other popular types of vacation rentals in İstanbul include:

  • Villas: 15 rentals available
  • Houses: 167 rentals available
  • Studios: 364 rentals available

But you can also enjoy a great stay in one of our other vacation rentals including Bed & breakfasts and more.

Can I find a vacation rental with pool in İstanbul?

Yes, you can select your preferred vacation rental with pool among our 53 vacation rentals with pool available in İstanbul. Please use our search bar to access the selection of vacation rentals available.