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Istanbul (formerly known as Constantinople or Ankara) is the main port and capital of Turkey founded in the 7th century BC. It is the largest city in the country, located in a hilly area on both sides of the Bosphorus strait, near the Sea of Marmara. Hopping across the Bosphorus Strait gives you the ultimate opportunity to enjoy lunch in Asia and drinks in Europe.
Istanbul is a megacity with many historical sites reflecting elements of European and Islamic culture. From Byzantine architecture, Hagia Sophia, to the Ottoman Empire’s masterpiece, Topkapi Palace, everyone will have something to admire in Istanbul. It is worth visiting the Sultan Ahmet Camii Mosque (“Sultan Ahmet Camii”), the Hagia Sophia museum, the Topkapi Palace Museum, the Dolmabahce Palace, the Hippodrome of Constantinople and the Basilica Cistern (6th century). Also must see attractions include the Galata Tower, the Cagaloglu Hamamı, the Grand Bazaar, the Valens Aqueduct and the Ortakoy district. In addition, if you like history and art you should definitely visit the Istanbul Archeology Museum, the Museum of Painting and Sculpture and the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts.
Istanbul is a vibrant and sleepless city with many activities and places to visit. Here you can go boating in the Bosphorus, take a stroll around the city and visit a bunch of historic sites, or just sit in an outdoor cafe for a Turkish tea “cay”. You can feel the spirit of Istanbul on the main streets of the city – “İstiklal Caddesi”, “Bağdat Caddesi”, “Abdi İpekçi Caddesi”, “Çukur Cuma Caddesi”, where you can also buy modern or antique souvenirs. In addition, food is another tourist attraction – it is delicious and fresh almost everywhere. You should definitely try Turkish dishes such as “Kebap” (grilled lamb, beef or chicken dish), “Menemen” (Turkish style omelet), “Kunefe” (traditional arabic cheese pastry), “Baklava” (sweet dessert pastry) or “Balik Ekmek” (grilled fish sandwich). By the way, you should try raki (anise vodka) which is a traditional Turkish drink. An important advantage of Istanbul is its well-developed transport network including metro, buses, trams, funiculars, subways, boats, ferries, water and taxis making the city easy to navigate.
Best time to visit
Weather in Istanbul is influenced by the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, therefore summers are hot and winters are mild. Average temperature vary from 3° C in winter up to 29° C in summer. The best time to visit Istanbul is from April to October.
When choosing travel dates to visit Istanbul you should take into account tourist peak season which is between June and August, therefore, you could save money and avoid crowds in the shoulder months of April, May or September to October.
Accommodation and Car rental
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