© Culture Trip / Mike Driver

Insider Travel Guide to Istanbul

The aroma of Turkish coffee prepared in a cezve, the hubbub of a bustling craft market, mosques adorned with mosaics, neighbourhoods lined with cafés and boutique shops, walls covered in street art: This is Istanbul, where it’s impossible to stop discovering something new. Turkey’s largest metropolis touches two continents across the Bosporus Strait. Remnants of past empires including the Byzantine and the Ottoman give the city, home to almost 15 million people, a historic charm. Stir in ambitious modern projects such as the country’s largest mosque and you have quite a stew.

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The best of Istanbul tourism

Blessed with a rich culinary heritage, the city offers top-notch restaurants and delectable street food. Indulge in juicy doner meat wrapped in lavash, search shops for the best Turkish delight, and bite into borek, a savory baked snack. Delve into history on the European side. Must-dos include visits to the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar. The annual Tulip Festival is a highlight of spring. Take a ferry across the Golden Horn (stunning at sunset) to reach the Asian side, beloved for its murals and farmer’s market.


Neighborhoods in Istanbul