Last update12:12:22 PM

Back You are here: Home Travel Over the Border Weekend Break in Istanbul

Weekend Break in Istanbul

The grand city of Istanbul is steeped in history with a unique georgraphical positioning that places it half in Asia and half in Europe. It is one of the world's largest cities and is at the centre of Turkey's finance and rich culture.

It’s one of the easiest cities to access from Bulgaria, but relations between the two countries haven’t always been as easy. For almost 500 years Bulgaria was held under Ottoman rule, in which Turkish forces attempted to force the religion of Islam onto the stoically Christian Orthodox nationals. Bulgaria eventually freed itself from the rule and reclaimed much of the land seized by the Ottomans.

Getting there - The city has been a popular tourist and business destination for many years. There are two airports in the city; Atatürk International Airport, which is based around 24 km west from the city centre, and Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, which is around 45 km east from the city centre, but 20 km from the popular Asian district of the city.

Reaching Istanbul from Bulgaria is easy, as there are networks of coaches and buses that will take you to the city.

Most routes will go through Bourgas, so if you live in the North or the West of the country, firstly take a train or bus to Bourgas where a coach will take you further south down the coast, stopping at Malko Tarnovo, then driving on to the centre of Istanbul. Return tickets with Eurolines are from 130 leva, it takes about six hours and refreshments are included.

Architectural delights - From Otogar station, take the very inexpensive Metro to to Zeytinburnu and then board the Zeytinburnu-Kabatas (-Besiktas) tram if you wish to go to the centre. This take you to the very heart of historic Old Istanbul - Sultanahmet Square - where there are numerous sights to be seen.


The Blue Mosque, so called because of the blue tiles on the upper level, was built in 1603 and finished in1617. The Blue Mosque is open to the public at most times of the day and entry is free of charge. Just a stones throw away is the majestic older sibling of the Blue Mosque.