Divided by the Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul is a completely unique destination. The skyline’s domes and minarets are cheek by jowl with skyscrapers and modern offices – not to mention boutique hotels. And there are remnants of the Roman and Byzantine empires everywhere you look.
Where east meets west in a dazzling mixture of exquisite architecture and lively nightlife.
Things to do
ART & CULTURE
From breathtaking Byzantine mosaics to the beautiful tiles of the Blue Mosque, there are plenty of architectural marvels to visit. There’s a thriving contemporary arts scene too – don’t miss the Istanbul Modern museum.
Istanbul is famous for its bazaars and for haggling. Look out for jewellery or carpets in the Old City. Or stroll the modern shopping malls of the New City and districts like Etiler.
One essential on your itinerary should be a visit to a hammam, a traditional Turkish bath. You’ll find at least one in each neighbourhood, and you can choose between a scrubbing or a massage, or both if you’re feeling adventurous.
It’s important to be respectful when visiting Istanbul. Never criticise Turkey or Ataturk, its founder, and dress conservatively when visiting mosques.
Top tip from SLH