Traveling to Turkey

If Istanbul, Turkey, isn’t on your bucket list yet, it’s time to add it to the lineup. Istanbul has everything from its stunning coastlines, ancient history and culture, friendly people, delicious food, and more! Follow along for an in-depth travel guide on how to travel to Istanbul like a pro:

Where to Stay:

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, so when it comes to finding an area to visit, there are many to choose from! 

Are you looking for the ultimate historical stay that doesn’t skimp on luxury? Look no further than the Ciragan Palace Kempinski. This five-star hotel is located in a former Ottoman palace right on the breathtaking shores of the Bosphorus Strait. The hotel has 310 rooms, with 11 suites in the historical palace building and 20 in the newer modern hotel building that was added. You can even book a stay at the Sultan Suite, widely considered one of the world’s most extensive and most expensive suites, and contains a regal hall, a central dining area, two fireplaces, a kitchenette, and bathrooms complete with two Turkish marble baths! 

Outside the stunning buildings, you will find an infinity pool that goes straight into the Bosphorus Strait. Regarding food, you can choose between various indoor and outdoor dining areas and many indulgences in your sweet tooth. Pop by the Chocolate room to try as many chocolates as your heart desires or the Baklava Room to taste all the varieties of the famous Turkish sweet. 

What to do:

Located in the heart of Istanbul, you’ll find the best place to get all your souvenir shopping done, The Grand Bazaar! The Grand Bazaar is one of the world’s largest and oldest covered markets, spanning 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops selling everything from scents, 24 Karat gold, and local wood carvings and art. 

When you have shopped till you’ve dropped, it’s time to learn more about the culture and history of Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia. The Hagia Sophia was one of the first buildings built during the rule of Emperor Constantin in Constantinople. Eventually, Constantinople was conquered by Sultan Fatih Mehmet II, and with that historic moment came the change of the Hagia Sophia into an imperial mosque named Ayasofya. The iconic gold and blue mosaics were covered or plastered over, leading to the near-perfect preservation that allows us to see them still. 

The Sultan himself  also erected a mosque commonly referred to as the Blue Mosque. The mosque was built between 1609 and 1616. The “Blue Mosque” was given due to the 20,000 handmade ceramic Iznik tiles covering the interior with images of tulips, roses, carnations, and lily designs. 

What to eat and drink:

What is the best way to start every day in Istanbul, Turkey? With a classic Turkish coffee! 

The history of Turkish coffee dates back to the Ottoman Empire in the late 15th century. The coffee is made with finely ground beans in a long-handled metal pot called a cezve. Turkish coffee is known for its strong taste, which first-timers are constantly shocked by. The cultural significance of the drink ranges from its use in fortune-telling to consolidating marriage arrangements. 

A top coffee shop for locals and visitors alike is Fazil Bey’in; since 1923, the cozy shop has served a wide selection of coffee flavors and will even experiment with new flavors. 

If you’re looking for the perfect dessert, you’ll love baklava; this Turkish pastry dessert is made with syrup and pistachios and is a must for any visit! One of the most popular places to try baklava is Karakoy Gulluoglu, which was opened in the 19th century and has been run by the same family the whole time. The shop is a short distance from Taksim Square and the Galata tower! 

Thomas Hogan Travel

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