When to fly?
Istanbul’s tourist season runs from April to the end of October. July and August are the busiest months. If you plan on flying during these months, it's recommended to search for flights to Istanbul far in advance, especially around the festival dates, such as the International Music Festival, which is held in the city every June and July. This highly prestigious event, which showcases classical music, ballet, opera and traditional music performances from a variety of well-known international artists.
The chill and wetness of winter fends off most visitors, but you will find fewer crowds and cheap flights to Istanbul and hotel deals.
The shoulder seasons of April through June and September through October have mild weather, fewer tourists, available deals for hotels packaged with cheap flights to Istanbul. It is also when the Tulip Festival takes place. Although tulips are widely associated with Holland, they are also an important symbol in Turkish and Ottoman history and can be seen on tiles in mosques, literature and on royal clothing. The Tulip Era also signifies an Ottoman Empire period in history. To celebrate it, Istanbul parks are filled with different coloured tulips, for about 10-15 days during either March or April. This coincides with art exhibitions, photo contests and other events in Sultanahmet and Taksim Square. The International Istanbul Film Festival offers movie buffs the chance to view Turkish movies with English subtitles. Starting late March and lasting two weeks, this festival is definitely for those travellers who are looking for something slightly different.
Why visit Istanbul?
Find a cheap flight to Istanbul and visit the city perched on the Bosphorus Strait with one half in Europe and the other half in Asia, Istanbul is a fascinating city with rich history. Its glorious imperial history includes stints as the capital city of four empires - Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman.
Istanbul's rich cultural heritage is apparent in the cobbled stones of the vast Grand Bazaar that hubbubs with the sounds of traders and tourists, in the Aya Sofya (Church of the Holy Wisdom, also known by Haghia Sophia, its Greek name), and in the Topkapi Palace (Topkapi Sarayi), the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans for more than 400 years.
As dusk descends, the city turns into a vibrant metropolis of eateries, bars and thriving nightspots. Turkish food is magnificent and delicacies include kebab, mercimek corbasi (red lentil soup), kofte (meatballs), imam bayildi (an eggplant and tomato dish, the name of which translates as "the priest wept" to represent its sheer deliciousness), borek (a pastry of which there are hundreds of varieties) and baklava. Whilst traditional attractions, such as the tranquil çay bahçesi tea garden and raki-soaked meyhane (tavern) haven’t been forgotten, there’s an exuberance of new and glamorous evening entertainment. These range from stylish bars and booming nightclubs, to live music spots such as the Jazz Café. And, for anyone wanting a holiday that fuses tradition with modern entertainment, Istanbul is perfect.