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A Travel Guide to Istanbul’s Galleries, Shops and Sights

Istanbul, Travel

If you’re looking to spend a short romantic holiday with your sweetheart, try Istanbul in Turkey. With its rich history and exotic landscape, Turkey offers a beautifully quirky meld of Eastern and Western tradition.

So if you’ve spent the day admiring the Blue Mosque, catch some of your favourite western numbers at one of the city’s lively nightclubs.

And there’s lots to do in between.

Eat

Authentic Turkish food is a far cry from the greasy kebabs that are peddled abroad; prepare your palate for a heady mix of culinary influences. However, meat lovers will fare better here. Fresh fish and seafood can be found in abundance in Istanbul. An average dinner for two people in a restaurant will consist of a meat dish, side dish, salad/soup and a cup of tea. For a takeaway option, try a Doner Kebab which is roast lamb, sliced very thin, on flatbread with vegetables and a delicious yogurt and garlic sauce.

For those who like a drink with dinner, the traditional Raki, or lion’s milk goes particularly well with fish. However, Raki is distilled liquor, so unseasoned drinkers, beware! For those who don’t care for liquor, Turkish coffee is a fine choice. Sip it slowly and just remember not to drink the muddy ground coffee at the bottom unless you really need a serious boost of energy!

Buy

Anything you may want to buy in Istanbul, you’ll find in the world renowned Grand Bazaar. There are some 4,000 merchants selling their wares on this series of covered streets. You’ll find leather, gold and silver, carpets, footwear, books, toiletries, foods and more. Feel free to bargain – in Turkey, merchants are generally offended if you simply pay the asking price!

See

There are some absolute must-dos in Istanbul. Awaken early and take a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia for a unique view of valleys of rock formations, fairy chimneys and narrow canyons. Don’t forget your camera!

Enjoy a real Turkish experience and try a Turkish hamam. Cagaloglu Hamam is one of the more famous Turkish baths in the city. The whole experience ends with a rather vigorous massage though, so it’s best to chase this one with a long nap!

One of the nicest ways to spend the afternoon is to take a cruise along the Bosphorus Strait that divides Europe from Asia. Watch the rich and famous take their yachts out from tiny inlets next to their holiday homes that lead straight into the strait. Voyeuristic pleasure! For an evening of folk and belly dancing, visit one of Istanbul”s night clubs on Istiklal Street, usually open till the wee hours of the morning.

Take time out. Istanbul is dotted with cafes where you can order an extra strong, creamy Turkish coffee with a slice of Turkish pita bread. You’ll find that lazing with a book as you watch the cruise-liners glide by can be infinitely pleasurable.

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