Spend A long Weekend Trip in Istanbul


A very populated and very extensive city, Istanbul nonetheless offers a charm full of energy and optimism. Its magnificent monuments bear witness to a rich past, and its modern districts also exude a lively and endearing atmosphere. It is also impossible not to realize in front of the Bosporus of its location on the border of two continents, nor to be seduced by its city geography built on 7 hills and made up of a knit of alleys. The mixture of East and West, of modernity and traditions, Istanbul will catch you in its nets to never let go.


There are many places that deserve your time. Let us first mention the Topkapi Palace, sumptuous and teeming with stories each more romantic than the next, various treasures, jewels and costumes, splendid spaces such as the harem with its magnificent decor.


Another marvel, the Hagia Sophia, whose interior will transport you, with its main dome as if suspended in the sky, its stained-glass windows letting an unreal light filter in, and its golden mosaics that glow in the half-light. The Blue Mosque and the earthenware that gives it its name is another of these buildings that you can admire without restraint.

In addition to these fabulous monuments, the Grand Bazaar is a place you cannot fail to visit, letting yourself be carried away by the crowd, between powerful smells and fruit or condiment stalls, clothing, and pastry stalls. But you will not be able to avoid the museums, which are legion, and often fascinating either: the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Ceramics, the archaeological museums housed by the Topkapi Palace.

For lovers of natural parks, we recommend a trip to Emirgan Park, on the shores of the Bosphorus on the European side. Designed in the 17th century, it will dazzle you with its spring tulip plantations, ponds, and lush forest.


You won’t be bored for a second in Istanbul, but here are some ideas for activities to discover the city:

  • A walk on Galata hill with a visit to the Tower from where you will contemplate a beautiful panorama and stroll through the narrow streets of the district
  • Spend a moment in the hammam for relaxation and the magical decor of the place
  • Go to a belly dance show
  • Take a short cruise on the Bosporus – Take a carriage ride on Princes’ Island
  • Get lost in the Grand Bazaar and buy souvenirs while chatting with the artisans and merchants, with tea tasting as a bonus
  • Buy and savor Turkish pastries (Turkish delight and baklava)
  • Have a drink on a terrace while watching the sun go down over the sea
  • Visit a museum (you will be spoiled for choice)
  • Join the night owls that haunt the Beyoglu district
  • Try a narghile cafe in the old town or in Beyoglu



Go to Istanbul: An international airport located 20 kilometers from the city center serves Istanbul, which you can reach from Paris, but also from Lyon, Nice, or Strasbourg. This is obviously the most suitable solution for a long weekend.

Getting around Istanbul: the city is very large, and public transport will be a great help for your travels. You can take the boat to go from one bank to the other on the Bosporus, and in the city, there are many bus lines, very economical collective taxis but also two tram lines and three metro lines.


Accommodation in Istanbul is expensive. But you can find more economical solutions, such as pensions where you can find double rooms for 35 €, as long as you are not too picky about the quality of services. You will probably prefer charming hotels located most of the time in old renovated houses, around € 80 per night in a double room. Prices can vary from single to double depending on the season.


To eat

Food is very important in Istanbul, it is the result of its conviviality, and you will have no trouble finding something to eat according to your tastes and your budget, the choice is vast. There are different kinds of establishments, depending on what you want to eat or drink like: a glass of alcohol with mezze, meat or fish dishes, kebabs, and grills, tripe soup, coffee or tea, in restaurants serving Turkish or international specialties, or establishments that serve meals with orchestra and belly dancers… The choice is yours!

Where to go out?

Istanbul has the reputation of never sleeping: many places are at your disposal to party until the end of the night! Here are a few examples: Babylon, a concert hall welcoming on its stage artists of all kinds and from all origins; the Araf bar, in Beyoglu, offers concerts of traditional music as well as salsa, pop, hip-hop, and even French song; the small restaurants near the Karaköy fish market, where you will eat the catch of the day in front of a sumptuous panorama and for a very affordable price; the Nardis Jazz Club, near the Galata Tower, a must for jazz lovers; the Reina, a nightclub on the edge of the Bosphorus, with its huge dance floor; Bes Kat, a trendy restaurant in the Cihangir district.


You can’t help but shop in Istanbul: you will find everything and at all prices. Bazaars and shopping arcades will offer you various objects, carpets, antiques, textiles, spices, soaps, jewelry, leather goods, ceramics, food products. Depending on the neighborhood, you will be doing more or less interesting business, but you will not come home empty-handed anyway.


There is less difference between prices in Turkey, especially in Istanbul, and those in European capitals. You will have to count around 80 € for a double room of average category, and 20 € per meal excluding drinks in decent restaurants. Also, plan around thirty euros per day for various visits. A return flight costs 150 € per person depending on the season. If you add to that the various purchases that you will not fail to make and one or two outings in the evening, you arrive at a total of 1000 €. Which represents a very fair cost for a long weekend in this special city.


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