Istanbul is Turkey's largest city, boasting spectacular natural beauty, a rich history and a seemingly never ending array of sights and attractions. It is the only city in the world to be spread over two continents, encompassing some of the best that Europe and Asia have to offer.
The city's cuisine is world famous, and the restaurants in Istanbul are some of the best around. From street food to small 'lokantas', to top-class establishments, there are many choices available. Regional specialities from around Turkey can be found as well as many international options.
Due to the large size and high number of visitors to the city, the accommodation options are vast. Apartments, hostels and hotels in Istanbul cater to many different budgets and tastes. Most are scattered around the historic peninsula in Sultanahmet, or in the vibrant Taksim-Beyoglu area.
Istanbul nightlife is as varied as its inhabitants. The large selection of nightlife options help to make Istanbul one of the hottest after-dark destinations in Europe and while pubs, nightclubs and bars in Istanbul are very popular, the traditional 'meyhane' (Turkish tavern) remains a top choice for many.
Aside from eating and drinking, there are many things to do in Istanbul. The city's long history has left in its wake many archeological treasures and architectural masterpieces and many of these are concentrated around the Eminonu Peninsula. As Istanbul has developed so too has the number of modern and natural attractions such as museums, parks and beaches. The combination of ancient bazaars, local open air markets and modern shopping malls has made shopping in Istanbul one of the city's biggest drawcards for both locals and visitors.
Turkey has gained a worldwide reputation for its unique baths. Locally known as a 'hamam', the Turkish bath has been an accepted form of cleansing and relaxation for centuries. Many of the Turkish baths and Spas in Istanbul date back centuries and offer a range of services such as steam bathing, message, exfoliation, face and body masks and therapies.
There are number of different options available to visitors to Istanbul. While many tourist choose to organize their trip independently, there are many high quality Turkey tour packages offering pre-designed or tailor-made options for travel.
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"If God had really intended men to fly, he'd make it easier to get to the airport" - George Winters