Mini guide to historic Istanbul
BA, easyJet, Pegasus Airlines and Turkish Airlines all fly to Istanbul from London (from £100). Turkish Airlines also flies from Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester. The most enjoyable way to get around is via one of numerous ferry routes (fares from £2). Between them, the city’s handful of metro, train, tram and light rail lines serve a sizeable area. The basic fare across public transport is 50p, but the Istanbulkart smart card gives discounts. Taxis are another cheap way to get around, with a 90p flagfall then 60p per kilometre.
Where to stay
The Hotel Sari Konak is full of historic touches such as antiques, etchings and embroideries. Relax by the courtyard fountain, or take in city views from the rooftop terrace (Mimar Mehmet Aga Caddesi 42–46; from £80).
Next to historic Galata Tower, Anemon Galata features elegant rooms with painted ceilings and an opulent foyer. The glass-walled rooftop restaurant offers splendid views (cnr Galata Meydani & Büyükhendek Caddesi; from £120).
The 120-year-old and recently renovated Pera Palace Hotel has long been the choice of famous travellers, most notably Agatha Christie. The hotel retains a sense of luxury in its grand public spaces (Mesrutiyet Caddesi 52; from £180).