Meet and tour istanbul

Monday april 22 - Friday april 26

Our time together will begin by meeting in Istanbul. We want to show as much of Turkey as we can prior to flying out to Mersin, which is Ilhan’s hometown and where our wedding weekend will take place. We will be flying out of Boston on Monday, April 22, and arriving in Istanbul on Tuesday, April 23 in the afternoon, and recommend that your travel plans have you arriving at Istanbul City Airport (IST) that same Tuesday. This way we can arrange for transportation with everyone.

For those wanting to fly with us, our travel plans will be Boston to Istanbul direct via Turkish Airlines Flight TK82 (departing Boston at 11:45 PM on Monday April 22, and arriving in Istanbul at 4:10pm local time on Tuesday April 23). There are a variety of other flights with one stop over that are at a slightly lower in price, and the connection arrives around the same time (British Airways and Lufthansa).

We will spend the first day settling into our hotels in Beşiktaş, and then begin 3 days of touring around Istanbul.

We recommend booking at the following hotels for your stay in Istanbul:

W Hotel Istanbul - Current rate between $118-$144 USD
AC Hotel Istanbul Macka - Current rate between $100-$120 USD

Both of these hotels are Marriott owned, and members of the Starwoods Rewards Program. Staying at these two hotels guarantees a central location in Istanbul, the sites we intend to visit, and proximity to others coming for the wedding.

Below is a selection of sights that we look forward to taking you to see!


Dolmabahçe Palace

From Beşiktaş, we are a short 10 minute walk from one of the last palaces of the Ottoman Empire, and where Mustafa Kemal Ataturk made his residence: Dolmabahçe Palace. This is a definite must see, and features fusions of Turkish and European architecture.


The Old City

The area in Istanbul known as “The Old City” is composed of many of the historical sites prominent in Turkey’s history, and even world history. Here we will lead you to visit the following sites:

The Blue Mosque
Hagia Sofia
Topkapi Palace
Basilica Cistern
The Grand Bazaar

We can likely complete a tour of all of these sites within a long day, and have plenty of local food along the way! For those interested in returning, there is plenty of souvenir shopping to be done here, and a chance to take advantage of the oldest Turkish baths in Istanbul (an experience we highly recommend!).


bosphorus boat tour - Ortaköy

The nearby neighborhood of Ortaköy is a main hub for tourists due to its great location on the Bosphorus (and bustling restaurant and nightlife scene). From here, we will take an hour long boat tour along the Bosphorus to see more of the architecture, historical buildings, and various neighborhoods of Istanbul on both the European and Asian side of the city.

Hodjapasha - Whirling Dervishes and cultural dances


Near the Hagia Sophia Basilica and Topkapi Palace, Hodjapasha  is a delightful piece of the city’s striking cultural mosaic. Transformed from a large 15th-century hamam (Turkish bath), the space is now used to showcase some of the best of this vast country’s traditions, and to promote and teach Rumi philosophy and practices through inviting people into a true whirling dervish ceremony.