Heathrow and Stansted: The incredibly beautiful city 4 hours from London where 5 star hotels can cost just £18 a night

Holidaymakers are flocking to travel sites looking for their next summer adventure and one city in particular has proven both immensely popular and extremely wallet-friendly.

New research by Kayak reveals Istanbul, Turkey has the lowest average hotel price at £90 a night. The travel site also found that seven of the top 10 summer 2022 destinations searched by Brits are long haul holidays, with Istanbul being the third most popular search. It would seem Brits are hoping to make the most of restrictions lifting, keen to get abroad again, with international flight searches up around 30 per cent on pre-pandemic levels.

Ski lists five star hotels in Istanbul for as little as £18 a night in June, although the cheapest property with good reviews by travelers is more like £35 a night. But it’s not just the great prices drawing Brits to the massive Turkish city. The history, the food, the flair…there’s plenty to see and do.

READ MORE: The beautiful island 3 hours from London that’s the only place the Queen has lived outside of the UK



The Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque is a late antique place of worship in Istanbul

Lying at a crossroads between the East and West, the streets of Istanbul have been walked by the Greeks, Romans, Venetians, and the Ottomans. Each conquering empire added its own flair to the city and today the neighborhoods buzz with remnants of the past which meld into their modern identities: whether that pertains to the area’s nightlife, religious landmarks, or even its love of football.

Every path in the city is steeped in history but to get to the heart of it all head to Sultanahmet in Old City on the European side. The neighborhood is heavily concentrated with grand architecture such as palaces, mosques, and cisterns leftover from when it was the center of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Many of these buildings, including the famous Hagia Sophia, contribute to what has been described as one of the world’s great skylines.

Meanwhile, in New City (still on the European side) you’ll find the district Beyoğlu known for its nightlife and entertainment. Taksim Square is bursting with rooftop bars, live music, and wine bars where you can try the national drink raki (aniseed brandy). Or you can bar hop in Beşiktaş. Just avoid match days if football is not your thing: on these days the streets are packed with marching bands and jubilant fans of the local football club. For a bustling evening out away from the tourist tracks try Arnavutköy in Besiktas.



Beyoglu is known for its nightlife

Street food is usually roasted chestnuts, corn on the cob, bagel (warm bread) and ice-cream called ice cream. The recipe for this ice cream typically includes orchid root extract which makes it chewy and stretchy – something vendors take advantage of when doing tricks and creating shapes with the treat to entertain passers-by. It doesn’t just look good, though, it’s sweet and moreish: a perfect snack on a hot summer day when temperatures average 27 degrees Celsius.

alternative, the city is home to some of the top restaurants in Turkey. A visit to a kebab shop is a must-do while in the country and the options for doner, a dish that has been around since the Ottoman empire, are endless. Istiklal street is packed with them but many locals will recommend Dönerci Şahin Usta in the Grand Bazaar for a quick, simple but glorious version of the dish.

While you’re in the Grand Bazaar, you might as well take the opportunity to see the overwhelmingly vast market, often considered the first shopping mall in the world. You won’t be alone – it’s one of the top tourist destinations in the world – but it will be worth it for the experience of ducking colorful lanterns, admiring gorgeous ceramics and eyeing up glittering jewelery. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s worth it for the sights, sounds, and smells of local spices.



There are two nostalgic tram lines in Istanbul – one on the Asian side and one on the European side

For a more relaxed day trip, you could always head to Burc beach about an hour away from the city. Long stretches of sand invite you to stay for a while and the impressive waves draw in kite surfers. If you just want an hour or so of relaxation without the extra travel, on the other hand, join the locals for an afternoon in a hammam and come out feeling refreshed and ready for a night out at the club or an evening in a laid- back tavern.

On the Asian side of the city, a lazy trip on the nostalgic tram to Moda is always a good idea. Explore the smaller streets and pop into cafe’s or wander down the seaside promenade. Moda itself is a cultural hub beloved by students and artists. If you’re a big fan of art, Kadıköy is awash with colorful murals and installations.

For easy access to both the European and Asian sides of the city you can always stay in Bosphorus on the water. Here you can even sleep in the residence of the final sultan at the Çırağan Palace Kempinski. This one’s a little more expensive , with Trivago listing a night in June for £560.

How to get there

Istanbul is about a four hour flight from London. Directs flights go from both Stansted and London Heathrow.

.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.