Istanbul is a heaving metropolis that literally bridges the gap between east and west. It straddles the Bosphorus, thus occupying a spot in both Europe and Asia. As a city of extremes, with everything from frenetic nightlife and panoramic belly-dancing clubs to tranquil, fountain-filled parks and a sleek Modern Art museum, there is something for everyone.
Istanbul’s landscape is dotted with minarets as the city is home to over 2,500 mosques. During the course of a day, the melodic echoes of the muezzins’ calls to prayer permeate the city, but Istanbul’s atmosphere is not only defined by religion. An undeniable aura of fun and spice pervades the entire city, imbuing everything from haggling over shoes in the Grand Bazaar to munching on corn on the cob in the streets with a fresh exuberance.
Taking in the modern aspects of Istanbul, such as the pumping nightclubs and designer boutiques can be complimented by indulging in authentic Turkish experiences, including a visit to a hammam (Turkish bath) or an evening spent smoking fragrant tobacco from a nargile and drinking thick, sweet coffee. Perhaps the most beautiful moment in Istanbul is dusk at Eminönü harbour, where you can pause for a second to take in the scent of grilled mackerel mingled with the sea air, as the world passes you by.