Cliché or not, Istanbul really is the city where
east meets west. An exceptional mix of the ancient and contemporary
– an experience not to be missed.
This is the junction where Asia meets Europe and
it was no accident that three successive great empires chose Constantinople,
as it was then named, as their capital. The Romans, Byzantines and
Ottomans have left an indelible stamp on modern-day Istanbul with
wonderful examples of the city’s vivid and colourful past to be
found around virtually every corner.
WHAT TO DO IN ISTANBUL
The Old City
You are already in the SultanAhmet region of the Old City, with
its labyrinthine streets and plethora of cultural and historic sites.
These include the Blue Mosque, with its 21,000 hand-painted Iznik
tiles, the huge dome of Haghia Sophia, the Imperial Treasury and
the Topkapi Palace – the list is endless, and the exploration a
The Istanbul skyline is a most remarkable sight. It is punctuated
by thousands of minarets, both ancient and modern, that rise up
the hillsides from the banks of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn.
The Bosphorus is, of course, a predominant feature throughout Istanbul
and it is an absolute must to see the city from the water. One option
is to take the 45-minute ferry across to the beautiful and traffic-free
Princes Islands where exploration is by horse-drawn carriage or
on foot. The numerous beaches are a wonderful surprise.
Although seemingly vast, as with many cities, the ideal way to Exploring
Istanbul is on foot. Paths follow the banks of the Sea of Marmara
along old city walls towards Galata Bridge where ferries depart
to all points.
Crossing the bridge you climb through the winding
streets to the ancient Galata Tower. This tower dominates the skyline
and provides the most wonderful views across the city. The surrounding
region is currently being regenerated at a pace and provides a fascinating
insight into Istanbul life.
Culture & Nightlife
The city, though rich in ancient culture, is also extremely contemporary.
It boasts restaurants to rank amongst the best in the world, streets
full of shops of all varieties, a vibrant café music scene, frequent
concerts, exhibitions of the highest quality and some of the most
dramatically located nightclubs you will find, set on the banks
of the Bosphorus.
Please click for more sightseeing options
Breakfast at the Armada Terrace