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Turkey is a very strange country located in the East of Mediterranean Sea connecting Asia and Europe. Compared to other countries in Europe, Turkey is not attracted by its richness and modern, but the country will bring back to you many interesting features of natural landscape and is a crossroad of the East and West’s civilization. There are many beautiful destinations which you cannot miss when traveling to this country including, Eskisehir, Canakkale, Antalya and especially, Istanbul – the interference of Asian and European cultures. At the end of the fall, Istanbul which is the most populous in Turkey (even more than the capital of Ankara) with over 14 million people is very beautiful. The city at night is very peaceful and sparkling.
Asia and Europe seem to be very far, but when you are in Istanbul, you can reach both land in second. Istanbul is the only city lying on both continents of Asia and Europe. If traveling to Istanbul, you will visit both continents.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT ISTANBUL?
From April to May and September to October (in Fall and Spring) are the best time to travel to this place. Because, during these periods, the weather is so mild and cool that is suitable for traveling.
According to experience of people who have visited Istanbul, if travel to Istanbul in October, you should be aware of Kurban Bayrami festival (from November 27th to December 01st), during this time almost banks and ATM machines do not open.
Besides, from July to August, it is quite hot and humid so a lot of people will travel to the West or enjoy on beach. Accordingly, it is not suitable to visit Istanbul during this period.
HOW TO TRAVEL IN ISTANBUL?
It is easy to take taxis or buses from the airport to the central city. According to the report from other tourists, you will take some buses to the center. In Istanbul, there is no free map so you need to prepare it in advance.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time on buses, you should take taxis which are not really cheap and should be considered.
There is another option for your convenience is that you should buy an Istanbulkart which you can top up and then use for trains, underground trains and buses. You can buy it at every ticket office.
WHAT TO VISIT IN ISTANBUL?
The “Sunken palace” of Yerebatan Cistern
There are numerous sunken palaces in Istanbul, but Yerebatan Cistern is the biggest one which is 140 meters long, 70 meters wide with 336 stone columns in the Corinthian architecture supporting giant brick-made roof.
In the past, the locals in Istanbul used to hear the sound of water flowing underground, but nobody had recognized what it was until 1960s when archeologist found the giant sunken palace near the Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Almost tourists to Istanbul will visit Sultanahmet first. This peninsula (locally known as Sarayburnu) is located outside of Bosphorus, Golden Horn and Marmara Sea. With a very long history, this place is very attractive to million tourists every year.
Located next to Golden Horn marina, Eminonu is the ending spot of electrical railway. This place is very bustling and hustling with many interesting activities all day.
Topkapi Royal Palace on Sultanahmet peninsula
This palace was recognized by UNESCO as the world heritage thanks to its unique beauty and history. Topkapi palace was built in 15th century and was the place Sultans lived at during the most prosperous period of Ottoman empire (1465 – 1856).
When visiting this palace, you will have a great chance to admire the precious pearl, diamonds and the most wonderful thing is a diamond in 86 cara (similar to an egg). This place opens from 9am and closes every Tuesday.
Furthermore, you can visit long-standing and large Mosques including, Blue Mosque. Also, do not forget to visit the busy streets at Eminonu, Beyoglu, Tunnel or central city with a maze of winding small alleys presenting coffee shops, cinemas, famous theatre… Moreover, you can visit European fortress to get more understanding about Turkish history. Finally, take boat trip on Bosphore river to enjoy the beautiful landscape.
Grand Bazzar market
For those who love shopping, Grand Bazzar is a “cannot-miss” place when visiting Istanbul because this is one of the most famous and oldest markets in the world. Founded in 1461, this market has seen the rise and fall of Istanbul for over six centuries and is the place you can find any products with cheap prices.
Grand Bazzar opens at 9am and closes at 7pm except for Sunday. This market is attractive up to 250.000 people everyday.
This tower was the highest one in Istanbul built in 1348. This is “cannot-miss” place for any tourists who want to enjoy the old beauty.
Galata tower is built of stone and has the height of 67 meters which will give the tourists a panoramic view of the city when they reach the top of this tower.
Are an archipelago off the coast of Istanbul which includes 9 islands in the Sea of Marmara. This area is the most favorite destination for tourists in the summer. Unlike the busy streets with vehicles in Istanbul, all vehicles on these islands are bicycles or horse cart which bring a peaceful and simple scenery.
After visiting islands (mostly 4 islands including Buyukada, Kinaliada, Burgazada or Heybeliada) by speed boats or ferries, it is time for your relaxing on the beaches or bike around the islands to enjoy stunning beauty.
WHAT TO SEE OUTSIDE OF ISTANBUL?
Located on the seashore of Mediterranean Sea to the Southern Turkey, Antalya is the most famous destination for tourist and is known as “the tourism capital of Turkey”. This place is attractive to 30% of foreign tourists to Turkey.
This place is surrounded by grandiose mountain ranges and has been invested since 1970 on tourism to make it one of the best tourist place in the world.
During the trip to this place, do not forget to visit: Saint Nicholas church in Demre, caves of Beldibi, Damlaas and Karain, ancient citadel of Lycia Xanthos, Manavgat waterfall, Koprulu national park, Koprulu valley or Oymapinar dam…
Ancient palace of Bodrum
Built in 15th century by Crusaders, the palace faces the marine and harbor. The palace is significant with its green color. Bodrum is 30,000-meter squared. This ancient palace was built partly from the mausoleum of Mausolus which was collapsed after an earthquake. The outside giant walls were designed in the early 15th century by a German architect, Heinrich Schlegelholt and supplemented with five famous towers of England, Italia, Germany, France and snake.
It can be sure that you cannot miss Ankara when traveling to Turkey. This capital was named as Angora and is the second biggest city behind Istanbul. In Ankara, you should visit tourist places including Mustafa Kemal mausoleum, Anitkabir museum, Ethnology museum and Art and Sculpture museum…
WHAT TO EAT WHEN VISITING ISTANBUL?
Besides many beautiful places you need to visit, Istanbul is very well-known for its food.
Tea and raki: these national drinks are loved by many people. When visiting a restaurant or family, you will be welcomed with a cup of tea in which the hosts want to show their hospitability.
Honeybee: is an ingredient used popularly in many dishes in Istanbul such as, making cakes, tea, yoghurt…and many other tasty dishes.
Kidney bean soup: is a popular dish used everyday by the locals. The main ingredients of this dish is kidney bean, tomato sauce, onion, chili and cream…
Moreover, you can also enjoy many other cakes and breads such as, Lahmacun, Simit, Durum…
WHERE TO STAY IN ISTANBUL?
There are many hotels/hostels in Istanbul for your stay which are from standard (1-star) to luxury (5-star). Below are some wonderful hotels which are highly recommended by travelers.
This hotel is a 4-star one with good location which is just some minutes by walking to historic and shopping places such as, Aya Sofya Mosque, Blue Mosque, Roman Cistern, Spice Bazzar, the Millennium Stone or Grand Bazar…
The hotel’s design is the perfect combination of the East and West architecture. In particular, its front is mainly designed based on the Roman architectural concept.
Located on Taya Hatun Sokak No5, Istanbul, this hotel is located in the center of the old town which close to Topkapi palace. This hotel has been run by three generations of Boyaci family.
In the radius of 1 km, you can visit many beautifully famous sites such as, Aya Sofya, Topkapi Palace, the Archaeological museum, Blue Mosque or Basilica Cistern…
This is a 5-star hotel which is loved by many travelers because of its great location and wonderful service. The charming hotel is situated in Teyfikkhan Sok No 1 Sultananhmet, Istanbul.
It is just a 5-minute walk from this hotel to the 6th-century St.Sophia, 15th-centur Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque.
This is a charming 3-star hotel located in the Old town which is close to many major sites such as, Aya Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, the Hippodrome and the Grand Bazzar. It only takes about 10 to 15 minute to walk.
This hotel offers many rooms with private balconies which give guests wonderful views of the Old city and fresh air
This is a charming and budget hotel (2-star) but its guests still enjoy the excellent services and convenience. It is just some steps to visit the Grand Bazaar, Beyazil tramstation from the hotel.
This beautifully small hotel will give you best ways to explore the charming city where Asia and Europe meet.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN VISITNG ISTANBUL?
Do not visit mosque during their praying time. Furthermore, you should wear coats over your head when visiting mosques
Do not take photo directly prayers
Do not order pork at restaurants because, the Muslim does not eat.
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