Istanbul is no longer the capital of Turkey, but remains the country’s cultural and business center. It is set in a stunning location, surrounded by water – the narrow strait of the Bosphorus and the serene Sea of Marmara separating Europe from Asia. As Byzantium, Constantinople and finally, Istanbul, it has been the capital of three Empires, each leaving their mark in the form of stunning palaces, castles, mosques, churches and monuments.
Highlights of Istanbul - Best Sites of Istanbul to Visit
Topkapi Palace - So much to see here that you need at least half a day. Don’t miss the intriguing Harem, the stunning emeralds and the ‘Spoonmakers’ diamond.
Yerebatan Cistern – Explore the world under the pavements, and experience the atmosphere of the cisterns of the Byzantine city, with their hundreds of columns, artfully lit, to a soundtrack of classical music.
Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) – Marvel at its stunning mosaics and the incredible freestanding dome.
The Blue Mosque – If you only have time to visit one mosque make it this one, if you are in Istanbul for longer, take in the Suleymaniye too.
The Grand Bazaar – You will find yourself buying things you never knew you needed in this maze of literally hundreds of shops.
Take a boat trip on the Bosporus for the best views of the city.
Eating out and Entertainment
Nightlife in Istanbul is a unique mix – you can find the latest chic clubs or a traditional café with cushions on the floor, where you can smoke a hookah pipe or nargile. Wherever you choose to eat, you are likely to find delicious food made from fresh ingredients, and can expect good value for money. The variety and standard of restaurants is excellent, with stunning views as standard.
Istanbul’s Black Sea Coast
The Black Sea Coast of Istanbul – You will be amazed to find such beautiful beaches and green environment so near the big city. Fresh fish and warm village people are the extra bonus.
The Princes Islands – If you have time, a visit to these charming islands in the Sea of Marmara, just off the coast of Istanbul, is a must.
Almost centrally located in the Sea of Marmara are the pretty islands, Marmara and Avsa. Famed for their wine and fish, these sites offer wonderful shorelines. Marmara island is full of historical treasures which increase its attractiveness. Here is the "Mermer Plaj" (Marble Beach) which takes its name from the marbles for which the town is famous.
Tag: istanbul, visit istanbul, secret city istanbul, daily istanbul tours, guided istanbul tours, private istanbul tours