Istanbul blends the bustling bazaars of Asia with influences from Europe. This melting pot of cultures is a must-visit….
DO

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 bathhouse 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.

EAT

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 the 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.

STAY

If you want to kick back 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
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