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Istanbul

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A mix of Europe and Asia

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and is located in the west of the country. It’s a global city that brings together Europe and Asia and this makes it the perfect holiday destination for anyone who loves variety. Istanbul has a wealth of historic attractions, such as mosques and palaces, but you’ll also find beautiful coastlines and amazing covered markets. You can spend the morning strolling around a splendid palace and flop down on a wonderful beach in the afternoon.

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A visit to the Grand Bazaar

To fully immerse yourself into life in Turkey, you naturally have to pay a visit to the Grand Bazaar, Kapalıçarşı. This covered market dates back to the 15th century and you have to see it to believe it! It has a labyrinth of narrow streets with thousands of shops and it’s where tourists and locals do their shopping. Of course, you can buy everything here, from fresh spices, fruit and leather goods to silver jewellery, rugs, pottery and beautiful silk clothing. For the bazaar traders, haggling is a sport. The bazaar is also jam packed with restaurants where you can refuel as you shop and enjoy a delicious Turkish lunch. If you want to get souvenirs, you can easily spend a day here, as there are so many shops and such a vibrant atmosphere that you will not run out of things to see.

Admire the impressive architecture

Something you really can’t miss on your visit to Istanbul is the famous mosque, the Hagia Sophia. This wonderful building was constructed in the 6th century as a cathedral, but later became a mosque. The huge dome is a real architectural masterpiece, and the windows around it make it appear to be floating. The Arabic writings combined with Christian icons make the unique Hagia Sophia a feast for the eyes. The marvellous Topkapi Palace is also worth a visit. It has gold-painted ceilings, brightly-coloured mosaics and stained glass windows: you won’t know where to look first! The palace gardens, armouries and even the treasure-chamber are open to visitors.

Recharge by the water

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, take a boat trip along the Bosphorus Strait. It connects the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea and flows past Istanbul. You can see the city’s many mosques and palaces from the water and enjoy the feeling of the wind your hair. If you’d rather be on a beach, Istanbul has some amazing sandy beaches. Rent a parasol and a lounger while you watch people doing water sports. Alternatively, order a cocktail from one of the friendly beach tents and just enjoy the sun.