Istanbul is one of the most famous cities in the world and has been ever since the Romans established it as a critical base after the fall of Rome. Although the Roman Empire would never again come to dominate the Mediterranean, Istanbul came to serve as a bastion of civilization throughout the dark ages – a time in which the majority of Europe fell into economic stagnation and violence.
Today, Istanbul is decidedly Turkish and spans the gap between Europe on one side of the river and Asia Minor on the other. As you might expect, Instanbul is a meeting of cultures, with substantial Christian and Muslim influence throughout the city. Check out these 10 reasons to visti Istanbul.
Experience Kumpir in Istanbul
To the Turkish, kumpir is just traditional street food. But to tourists, it’s a delight for the tastebuds, providing a deep insight into the local cuisine.
A kumpir is a loaded potato. Vendors can top the potato with all kinds of things, from beans to sausages to pickles, peas, and even bulgar. It’s an amazing snack to keep your energy levels high while you tour the sites, although you might end up in a food coma if you fully load your kumpir.
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Istanbul is Vegetarian-Friendly
Travelling as a vegetarian can be a challenge at times. In some cultures, the notion of not eating meat is profoundly alien, and very few people practice abstention. However, in Istanbul, the local diet is predominantly plant-based according to http://www.hip-hikers.com meaning that it’s relatively easy to grab a quick meal if you give meat a miss. Numerous restaurants offer classic pitta with hummus, but there are plenty of other options too, including many dishes that include beans and the fantastic lamachun – Turkish pizza.
Enjoy Boat Tours Of The Istanbul’s Bosphorus
The Bosphorous is the main river that runs through Istanbul, separating east from west. Views of the city from the river are stunning, especially at night, making it perfect for going on boat tours. From the river, you can see practically all of Istanbul’s major tourist attractions and architectural delights, including the Rumeli Ruins and the Maiden’s Tower. What’s more, boat tours are remarkably inexpensive for what you get. Just make sure that you agree on a price in advance: Turkish merchants are prone to jacking up prices without telling you.
Check out these Bosphorous boat tours that we recommend
- A glorious night cruise on the Bosphorous – check prices and book now!
- Hop on – Hop off and visit all that Istanbul has to offer on the river – great prices, book now!
- Push the boat out and get dinner and entertainment on this evening dinner cruise – book now!
Istanbul is A Great City For Tea-Lovers
If you love tea, then Istanbul is the perfect place to go. The Turkish locals have a tradition of drinking tea from tulip-shaped glasses. You first boil the water in a separate pot and then use another container to brew the tea once boiled. Finally, you transfer the tea into the tulip-glass once it’s strong enough for your taste.
You Can See Some Of The Finest Architecture In The World
The Little Hagia Sophia also called the Church of Saints Sergius, and Bacchus (to use its Eastern Orthodox name) is one of the most beautiful and impressive religious monuments in the world. The church is a miniature version of the full-scale Hagia Sophia in which the original architects experimented with their ideas. The cool thing about Little Hagia Sophia is how you can see the development of new ideas from the prototype to the real thing. The designers were human, and just like us, benefiting from practising their craft before putting it into action and going ahead with the build.
Why not book ahead and organize your tour of Hagia Sophia and skip the line!
Get All The Turkish Delight You Want
Turkey is a big sugar-eating nation, and that should come as no surprise. Not only are these dates aplenty in Istanbul, but plenty of Turkish Delight too.
One of the best places to go to sample Turkish Delight is at Hafiz Mustafa. This place sells practically every variety of Turkish delight imaginable, from traditional rose to mint and cinnamon. You can buy fruit flavours too, including strawberry and pomegranate. For the ultimate experience in Turkish food book yourself on an Istanbul food walking tour with a local
Get An Authentic Turkish Shopping Experience At The Grand Bazaar
If you’re used to genteel western shopping malls and polite customer service assistants behind every counter, then you’re in for a rude awakening at The Grand Bazaar. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest shopping destinations in Turkey and is home to more than 3,000 independent retailers spread over some sixty streets.
The Bazaar is full of traditional Turkish merchants, all desperate to strike a deal with you. If you visit the Bazaar, expect to be accosted by numerous sellers, all trying to flog their wares until you negotiate down the price. Remember, these merchants will do whatever they can to get you to part with more money than you should, so keep your game face on. You’ll need it.
You can buy all kinds of things from the Grand Bazaar, including food, silverware, and ceramics. It’s about as close to an authentic middle-eastern market as you’re likely to come.
You Can Visit Istanbul For Less Than You Think
Istanbul might be a premier tourist destination, but sites like NetVoucherCodes.co.uk make it cheaper to visit than you might think. Not only are there numerous opportunities to save money on flights, but also plenty of scope to get discounts on accommodation too. Istanbul might be prestigious, but it doesn’t have to be expensive.
You Can Eat A Doner Kebab Without Feeling Terrible About Your Life
Doner kebabs in Istanbul are not like doner kebabs in certain other parts of the world. Here they’re a celebrated cultural food, made from spit-roasted lamb and accompanies with quality ingredients. Doners are a part of the culture, and for that reason, you’ve got the green light to go ahead and indulge yourself.
Enjoy Istanbul’s Museums
Being a place full of history, Istanbul has many exciting and unusual museums. Among the most famous are the Istanbul Archaeological Museums. The Archaeological Museums comprise three separate buildings, each with a different focus. One focuses on archaeology, another on the ancient orient, and a third on Islamic art. The great thing about all the museums is that you’re able to get up close and personal with the exhibits and, in some cases, touch them with your hands. Save time and money with a 5 day Istanbul skip the museum pass here.
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Do you fancy making the trip to Istanbul? It’s a beautiful city with a rich culture and great food. Let us know your favourite places in the city that straddles east and west!
- We traveled to Istanbul from Bansko – here’s how to do that.
- Istanbul was the first stop of our overland trip from Turkey to Kathmandu – more here
- Another simply must do in Istanbul? Visit Istanbul’s Whirling Dervishes