Istanbul’s biggest pull might not be its beaches. But this place has got both beach-lovers and city sightseers covered. Sand and pebble shorelines can be found on either side of the city, and many of them are fitted with flashy beach clubs.
Three stretches of sand make up Caddebostan Beach. It’s the closest beach to Istanbul’s centre and it’s a big hit with families thanks to its waist-deep waters.
A trip to the Princes’ Islands is your best bet of finding a lesser-trodden stretch of sand. Heybeliada is a great choice for avoiding the crowds. The crystal-clear sea rises and falls around a pebbly stretch of beach on this island.
Make sure you’ve got a visit to The Grand Bazaar in your plan, where a list of lantern-lit streets play host to 4,000 shops. They offer a pick ‘n’ mix of items, including ceramic souvenirs and handmade jewellery. You can get geared up for a trip to a Hammam bath here, too. Stalls selling scrubbing mitts, woven shawls and towels are dotted right across the market.
Shoppers have eight miles of shops to browse on Bagdat Avenue. And, to relax in between purchases, there are a ton of thirst-quenching Turkish tea shops.
If you fancy splashing some cash head to the Nisantasi district. The likes of Cartier and Alexander McQueen both have a spot in this part of town.
Turkey’s wine scene is racing up the ranks. Put it to the test with a visit to a wine bar. Pair up reds and whites with cheese platters for a proper authentic experience.
Beyoglu headlines big nights out in Istanbul. Whether you want to rock out like you’re in Queen, or get glammed up for a night on a rooftop bar.
Baklava is a firm follow-up favourite after dinner. Chopped nuts and sweet honey are stuffed into filo pastry parcels in this dish.
Start your day with this, and you’ll be kicking things off with a real taste of Turkey. It’s an omelette made with roasted onions, peppers and tomatoes. Pepper and parsley ramp up the flavour.
Meze is a bit like tapas with a twist. It’s a selection of cold starters served up with a flurry of Middle-Eastern flavours. Firm favourites include grilled aubergines, pinto beans and yoghurt dip.
A trip to turkey isn’t complete without a taste of Turkish tea. It’s served in tulip-shaped glasses, and looks similar to black coffee. Dollop in a cube of sugar if you fancy a lighter drink.
Turkey’s national drink is Raki, it’s made with distilled grapes and aniseed. It can be sipped straight, or for something a bit less blow-your-socks-off, mix it up with water and ice.
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