Istanbul (population: 14.03 million) may be known as the city of minarets, but it is not just about minarets. The city actually lies in two continents and is considered to be one of the greatest cities in the world. Its architecture is sure to delight your eyes while its cuisines and traditional ways of life offer blissful treats to your senses.
The best thing about Istanbul is that most of its best attractions are located in the Sultanahmet district, which means that you can literally walk from one wonder to the other. The famous Church of Holy Wisdom (also known as Aya Sofya or Hagia Sophia) gives way to the sprawling Topkapi Palace and the minarets of the equally majestic Blue Mosque are located mere steps away. That famous Grand Bazaar and its 4000-odd shops is also located here. Once you’ve had your share of ancient wonders, hop over to the entertainment districts of Galata and Karakoy to see modern living at its beautiful best. And for something even better, the Bosphorus waterfront is the place to be, or even take cruise on it on a rented yacht.
Istanbul may be a year-round destination, but the summer months are the best time to enjoy coffee in one of those pavement cafes or outdoor meals in riverside restaurants. The period between December to March is full of fog, and this makes the city feel even more mystical and enigmatic.
Getting Around Istanbul
Istanbul’s yellow cabs are the best ways of getting around the city, but be careful they drive fast in Istanbul so make sure your seatbelt works and is properly tightened. There is an extensive bus network, but navigating that bus route is like solving a puzzle with some of the most important pieces missing.