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Get your culture fix by visiting the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Dolmabahce Palace. Then enjoy the national pastime of bartering at the Grand Bazaar. You could also take to the skies and tour the city by helicopter, before kicking back in a historical hammam. A visit to a traditional Turkish bath house is a must-do – if not for the muscle-pummeling massage, for the architecture.
In the evening, splurge a little and book a private cruise along the Bosphorus cruise. You will be able to admire the old houses and palaces, which you may not see on foot. You should also visit the Whirling Dervishes, is a Sufi order whose aim is to seek God and understand him all the while practising their famed whirling dance. There are performances every Thursday in their Dergah, which offer a truly unique experience.
For a taste of local cuisines, try these succulent street food dishes: simit (bagel with sesame), ayran (traditional yoghurt drink), fried or stuffed mussels, Kumpir (baked potato with salad and meze), beyoglu chocolate, and gozleme (bread stuffed with cheese, potato or spinach). Or if you want a seat the aircon, visit 360, located in the middle of Istiklal Street (the heart of Istanbul), the trendy locale serves as a restaurant, bar and club with amazing views of the city. Or there’s Feriye that serves traditional Turkish and Ottoman cuisine. The menu varies according to season to make the most of fresh seasonal ingredients. And another foodie find that’s worth seeking out is Topaz, which is walking distance from Taksim Square and offers traditional Turkish kebabs and Ottoman cuisine.
If you want to kickback in the Old Quarter take your luggage to the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet that overlooks the famed Blue Mosque. Or if you want to investigate the “modern” side of the Straits, book a suite at the Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah, which blends Neo-classical, Art Nouveau and Oriental style and counts Alfred Hitchcock and Agatha Christie are among its former guests.
Four Seasons Istanbul at Sultanahmet
From $12,080 pp
- Hiking in Taroko National Park
- Taking a dip in Taiwan’s famed hot springs
- Experiencing a handful of Taiwan’s iconic night markets – you will not go hungry on this trip!
- Spending a few days in the capital Taipei getting a sense of the island’s unique history
When to go:
From $4,490 pp
Journey Through History in Berlin
- Learn about the stories of Berlin during different periods
- Admire one of the most beautiful palaces is the world – Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam
- Walk the footsteps of Hitler and examine the rise of the Third Reich
- Visit the Memorial & Museum Sachsenhausen – a former concentration camp
- Travel back to the Cold War era and experience living behind the Iron Curtain
When to go:
From $8,510 pp
Ireland Highlight Tour
- Visit the highlights and pubs in Dublin
- Admire Powerscourt – one of the finest gardens in Europe
- Learn about the crystal producing in Waterford
- Driving through Ireland’s best scenery – Dingle Peninsula, Ring of Kerry, Cliff of Moher
When to go: