Good day to all of my friends. I hope that your days are mild and sunny, wherever you are!
Did you know that it is possible to be in Europe and Asia at the same time? All you must do is visit the magical city of Istanbul that straddles the Bosporus water linkage between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. This fabulous modern metropolis offers the best of both continents in one convenient place!
Behold the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque)
There are layers upon layers of history and culture in this exciting and mysterious city. Trade has always been at its heart so be prepared to haggle for deals and take home the treasures of the world, which are all for sale in Istanbul’s shops and bazaars.
There are so many fantastic sites to see, it is impossible to list them all. In fact, I recommend that you plan your trip very carefully to make sure that you make the most of your particular interests. Still, there are some ‘must sees’ that I recommend that you visit. The most historic part of Istanbul is the ‘Sultanahmet’ neighbourhood on the European side. This is the centre of old Constantinople and it is fantastic for walking and exploring.
Have you seen a more beautiful Museum then the Hagia Sophia?
The Topkapi Palace Museum is a beautiful introduction to the early Ottoman period with its sumptuous architecture. Take a peek in the Harem for a once-clandestine thrill! An interesting stop is the Basilica Cisterns which stored water for the city. It is an awesome feat of engineering and truly beautiful. There are many other historical sites for you to explore depending on your own interests and beliefs.
The most spiciest Bazaar ever!
While in Istanbul, it is important to try a Turkish Bath or ‘Hammam’. This tradition will take you back thousands of years and is truly relaxing. Your skin will feel luxurious as you relax afterwards drinking a tea and chatting with friends! Also, no trip to Istanbul would be complete without a boat trip up the Bosporus from the Sea of Marmara to the Golden Horn with its views of both the European and Asian sides of the City.
The magical sunset over the Bosporus
Reaching Istanbul is easier than ever since the new Istanbul Airport opened on April 2019. This convenient facility is currently the largest airport in the world, but it is strikingly easy to navigate. Beware, however, you’ll be enticed to shop while you move between gates so give yourself plenty of time at the airport – it is one large shopping mall!
Travel within the city is convenient via the Istanbul Metro. Taxis are also convenient, and most taxi drivers speak English well. Istanbul has more than fourteen million citizens so be prepared for traffic jams of biblical proportions!
There are hotels in Istanbul to meet any budget. Nearly every large chain has multiple hotels throughout the metropolis. For something ultra-special, I recommend the Four Seasons Sultanahmet. It is not only in an incredibly convenient location, it is a former Ottoman prison! I suspect the accommodations have changed since it was a prison, but the management is still maniacal about your treatment! For a special hotel that won’t break the budget, check out the Sura Hagia Sophia. It is elegant and most of the rooms have a view of Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque!
Here’s a pro-tip: If you are flying Turkish Airlines, you can now drop your luggage at convenient ‘miniports’ within the city on the day of travel so you don’t have to drag it around with you on your last day in Istanbul. Simply pick your bags up at the airport before departure. This is super-convenient!
This is one time you MUST have a Turkish Kebab!
There is something for everyone in Istanbul!