A metropolitan city on two continents...
Istanbul is one of the most fascinating cosmopolitan cities in the world, forming a bridge between Europe and Asia due to its spectacular location. As a world-class city with a dynamic pace and more than 12 million people, it is a very exciting place and difficult to describe in words alone. Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul.... A history spanning several thousands of years is reflected in the names that have been given to the city.
Traditional and modern lifestyles go hand-in-hand. The latest architectural designs stand next to Ottoman houses, vibrant nightlife contrasts with old, ancient mosques, stylish restaurants sit side-by-side small tea shops and lokantas. The old and new parts of the city, Europe and Asia, Bosporus and the Black Sea – Istanbul has many faces and immediately captivates its visitors. A short visit to the place will hardly do it justice, since there are so many things to do and see. Impressions can be overwhelming and one keeps discovering new things time and time again.
For a start, however, we would recommend a visit to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, perhaps followed by a trip to the covered bazaar, which is spread across a network of numerous alleys, filled with exotic fragrances and an atmosphere that will remind you of 1001 nights. Within such a small space, it is difficult not to become enchanted by the city's ancient history.
Then there is the beautiful old part of town surrounding the area of Sultanahmet, with the Topkapi Palace, as well as all its delightfully restored Ottoman houses, many of which have been transformed into magnificent small hotels. This is the perfect place for exploring the most important tourist attractions on foot. As a result, most of our hotels are situated in this part of the city.
From the old part of town, it is easy to walk to the 'spices bazaar', another must when you first visit Istanbul. Then you can continue by walking across the Galata Bridge to the Galata Tower, the terrace of which provides you with a magnificent view of the Golden Horn. Here you can also find some wonderful traditional bathhouses, hamams, where you can relax after a busy day. Your hotel will be more than happy to provide you with more information.
Pera and the large antiques area of Cukurcuma are also worth a visit. There you can browse at leisure through all the small shops offering silver, jewellery, and antiques.
Another impressive feature of this area is the elegance of several neo-classical buildings, as well as some unforgettable views of the Asian part of town and the Bosporus.
Yes, the Bosporus. Taking a boat trip is one of the things you have to do while you are in Istanbul. You can visit and take in some of the beautiful small villages on your return, such as Kuzguncuk, Sariyer, or perhaps Ortaköy, and enjoy eating some fish on the riverbank, or just relax while having a glass of tea.