Istanbul Port of Call
Hagia Sophia at night © Moyan Brenn
Featuring a natural harbour of the Golden Horn, the port of Istanbul is a popular stop for most Eastern Mediterranean cruises and an exciting city for travellers to visit. Steeped in history, this city that spans across two continents would take a matter of years to explore, but cruise passengers can still discover some exciting sides of this mystical city. Sights to see include the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Roman ruins at the Hippodrome, the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum, and the Prince's Islands with its many attractions.
Cruise ships dock at the Yolcu Salonu in Karakoy, which is centrally located and only a short journey from town.
Turkish Tourist Office, Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 573 4136
Taxis can be easily hailed form the pier, but the tram, which is located only a short walk from the cruise terminal is a much more affordable and convenient option. Some parts of the city can be explored on foot and the city of Istanbul is on the doorstep of the pier.
Visit the neighbourhood of Ortakoy, which boasts both a synagogue and a mosque while culture vultures will enjoy the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum. Other attractions include the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia, and the Basilica Cistern, which features in the James Bond film, From Russia with Love.
360 Istanbul - trendy rooftop restaurant with amazing views and fusion food.
Cezayir - traditional Turkish cuisine in a relaxed setting.
Feriye Lokantasi - Waterfront eatery serving Turkish fare cooked in Ottoman tradition
The Grand Bazaar is a must for shop-a-holics and many a bargain can be found here in plenty of the 4,000 shops, while Beyolgu is to Istanbul what Fifth and Madison Avenues are to New York. The Egyptian market and the flea market in Beyazit Square are also worth a visit and Nuruosmaniye Caddesi is the place to buy jewellery.
Take a day cruise on the Bosphorus to the Prince's Islands.
Visit the resort spa of Terma.
Marvel at the Roman ruins at the Hippodrome.
Wander around the old city.