Cheap Istanbul city breaks from Ireland
Napoléon said that if the Earth were a single state, Istanbul would be its capital. Due to its location Istanbul has always been an important city and it’s an amazing city break destination. The western half of the city of Istanbul lies in Europe while the eastern half is situated in Asia. The two halves are separated by the beautiful Bosphorus strait. Over the centuries Istanbul has proven to be both a literal and metaphorical bridge between Eastern and Western culture. Visitors will feel like they are visiting two continents all at once due to the diverse cultural offering to be found here. Istanbul is an exotic experience for those travellers weary of city breaks which all look and feel the same. Istanbul is home to the world famous Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia which are at the pinnacle of Islamic Architecture. Turkish cuisine is renowned for its rich flavours and delicate use of spices. Turkey has one of the youngest populations in Europe, so it is no surprise that Istanbul is one of the most lively, energetic cities in the world with great nightlife and entertainment waiting to be enjoyed. In fact the energetic nightlife makes it a popular city break destination from Ireland. The weather in Istanbul is hot and dry in the summer with an average daily temperature of 27c. Istanbul is nestled in between the Black sea and the Sea of Mamara, which means you are never too far from a beach if it gets too hot, and beautiful beaches are just another great reason to book cheap city breaks to Istanbul from Ireland. In winter the weather in Istanbul gets colder and wetter with temperatures cooling to around 7c. Istanbul is a great value for money destination and is one of the best cheap city breaks from Ireland. Book flights with Club Travel (Budget Travel) for great savings and you will find cheap flights and city breaks to this exciting destination. Istanbul is in high demand as a destination for long or short breaks in the sun. The flight time to Istanbul is less than four hours, making it perfect for weekend getaways and spontaneous romantic breaks. Club Travel is the easy way to book hotels in Istanbul as we provide cheap accommodation which does not compromise on style, comfort or location. Last minute flights and amazing deals on unforgettable city breaks to Istanbul from Ireland are available now!
Where to stay:
Club Travel offers an array of hotel options ranging from budget accommodation to luxury hotel accommodation in Istanbul. We have decades of experience booking hotels for our clients and we can perform an intricate hotel search to find the best hotels deals for you. The hotels below are just a sample of our reasonably priced hotels in Istanbul.
Grand Liza Hotel: This 3 star hotel is one of the best value hotels in Istanbul, featuring an amazing rooftop restaurant. It is situated in a convenient central Istanbul location. Three Apples Residence: Situated in a prime location near to Taksim Square, this brand new 3 star property offers its guests stylish rooms featuring a living space with comfortable seating and a television as well as a kitchenette allowing you the chance to cook for yourself.
Things to do in Istanbul:
Hagia Sophia: This magnificent Museum was a Christian Cathedral for almost a thousand years before being converted to a Mosque; in 1934 it began its life as a museum. An architectural triumph with a huge dome to rival any in the world, it trumps its rivals in that it was built nearly thousand years before The Duomo in Milan or St Peters in Rome. The Hagia Sophia is culturally and spiritually important to both Christians and Muslims.
Topkapi Palace: The home of many Sultans over the centuries, this beautiful palace is sumptuously decorated and overlooks the sea of Mamara and the Bosphorus River. A must see while in Istanbul. It has been featured in many films including the James Bond movie “From Russia with Love”.
Selimye barracks: This is where Florence Nightingale nursed soldiers during the Crimean War (1853-56) it is in this barracks that she introduced many innovative new techniques in the field of nursing and saved the lives of many soldiers. It is open for tours to the public.
Shopping: In Istanbul you can experience the thrill of shopping in the Grand Bazaar where you can buy beautiful carpets, ceramics, leather goods, jewellery and almost anything else you can think of. If you are not already skilled in the art of haggling, it is a skill you will quickly acquire while shopping in the Grand Bazaar. As well as the old world experience of wandering around the Bazaar, Istanbul also has trendy modern shopping malls and designer outlets such as Kanyon and the Istinye shopping mall; however these upmarket malls are comparable with western prices. In February the Istanbul Shopping Festival is held offering great discounts on goods.
Visit a Hammam: Istanbul is great for those looking for spa breaks and if you are looking to have an experience that will not easily be forgotten, visit one of the many Turkish bathhouses in Istanbul, known locally as Hammams. Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hammam has a stunning marble interior where you can relax and have a massage. This magnificent building was built for the wife of an emperor to bath and relax in. This has only been open to tourists since 2011.As well as tourist friendly options like massage the traditional Hammam experience is available which will leave your skin deeply exfoliated.
Istanbul Dolphinarium: A treat for all the family, both adults and kids can see and swim with Dolphins or attend the spectacular show which features Dolphins, Walruses, Seals and even a white whale.
Bosphorus river cruise: There are many private operators offering cruises on the river. Şehir Hatları is Istanbul’s official ferry company and their cruises are both cheaper and longer than those offered by the private companies.
Dances of Colours: A vibrant live show featuring Turkish folk dance.
Day trip to Princes Islands: If you are looking to escape the city for a day for some peace and quiet, take a ferry to one of the Princes Islands in the sea of Mamara. A visit here is like travelling back in time as all motorised vehicles are banned and horse drawn carts are a common sight. It takes 90minutes to get to the Islands so leave on the early ferry.
Events: Istanbul tourism is booming at the moment and with the number of major events happening in the city every year, it is easy to see why. Istanbul will host a number of sporting and cultural events in 2014. August sees the Istanbul Grand Prix roar into action. Soccer fans will be spoilt for choice as Istanbul is the home of both Galatasaray and Besiktas, two of the top football teams in Turkey and who both regularly compete in the Champions League. There will be an influx of world famous musical talent into Istanbul in 2014 with Andrea Bocelli, Aerosmith and Justin Timberlake all performing in the city. The city also hosts International Jazz, Music, Theatre and Film Festivals throughout the year. We can organise your whole package for you with cheap flights and the best deals on hotels as well as tickets.
Food & Drink:
Alcohol is both legal and readily available in supermarkets, tobacco shops markets as well as in the many bars and nightclubs in Istanbul. Pub crawls are popular with tourists and for those feeling homesick there are a number of Irish bars in Istanbul. For those looking to stay local, Efes beer is a popular local brand. Turkish cuisine is a synthesis and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines. National specialities include Shish Kebab, Karniyarik (aubergine stuffed with mincemeat) and of course Turkish delight which was traditionally eaten after drinking coffee to sweeten the breath. Ayran (a salty yoghurt drink) is popular throughout Turkey as are strong black (Turkish) tea and coffee. Rumelihisari Iskele is a restaurant which serves traditional Turkish seafood and is situated right on the Bosphorus with stunning views of the river. Another culinary delight can be enjoyed at Mikli restaurant which is to be found on the rooftop of the twenty storey high Mamara Pera Hotel. These restaurants and most others in Istanbul are open until midnight or even later.
Istanbul Airport information
Istanbul has two international airports. Ataturk Airport is the main international airport in Istanbul one and is 23km west of central Istanbul. It is well serviced by Taxis, Express buses, public buses and the metro (40mins to city centre) all of which can bring you into the centre of Istanbul. Sabiha Gokcen Airport is 50km east of Central Istanbul and is also served by Taxis, Public/Private bus and Train. Expect the journey from Gokcen to Istanbul city centre to take at least an hour or more depending on traffic.
Money: The currency is Turkey is the Turkish Lira; currently (Jan 2014) one euro is three Turkish Lira. ATMs are easily found throughout Istanbul. If you are making an expensive purchase remember to ask the shopkeeper if they participate in the Global refund tax free shopping scheme, if they do you can claim back the tax paid on your purchase at the airport when you are leaving Turkey. There are 24-hour exchange bureaus (döviz bürosu) in the arrivals hall at Atatürk International Airport that offer rates comparable to those offered by bureau in the city.
Transport in the city: Public transport in Istanbul includes buses, trains, and the metro and these are both efficient and very cheap. Taxis are also available and are reasonably priced.
Istanbul time: Istanbul is two hours ahead of Irish time. (+2GMT)
Electricity: Turkey uses 200v two-pin plugs with round prongs.
Health: All travellers are recommended to have up to date vaccinations for Polio, Typhoid, Tetanus and Hepatitis A. For those going trekking off the beaten track Rabies and Hepatitis B are recommended. In some rural areas TB and Meningitis are a risk. There is a low risk of malaria in some areas bordering Syria.
Visa: Irish nationals currently do not need to get a visa in advance. The visa is paid for on arrival and a sticker is put into the passenger’s passport. **From 10th April onwards Irish passengers will have to apply online for an electronic visa in advance of travelling to Turkey.
Local Customs: Smoking is prohibited in all cafes, restaurants and bars and any other enclosed public space. Before entering a Mosque make sure you are dressed modestly and remove your shoes. Women should wear a head scarf. Visitors should be quiet and respectful. In restaurants tipping at a rate of 10% is customary.
Apply for Electronic Visa online:
World Health Organisation
Tropical Medical Bureau:
Dept. of Foreign affairs:
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