Istanbul is the biggest city in Turkey and the most important tourist destination. It is bridge between Europe and Asia as it is spread across these two continents. One of the three European Capitals of Culture in 2010, it is a splendid city and a must visit one.
There is quite a lot on offer for tourists looking for historical as well as modern places in Istanbul. There are numerous historical monuments worth visiting here that belong to Ottoman, Roman, and Byzantine periods. The major monuments in Istanbul include Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque and Basilica Cistern. All these monuments are situated in the Sultanahmet Square.
Church of St Savior in Chora is an architectural marvel and its inside is just marvelous. The mosaics and frescoes are indeed mindblowing. The Bosphorus Bridge connects Europe with Asia and is a treat to watch. The experience of watching it at night from Çamlıca Hills, with the dazzling lights of Levent financial district forming an excellent backdrop, is an exhilarating one.
Major places of attraction in the northern part of the old city include Galata Tower, Istanbul Modern, Galata Whirling Dervish Hall and Istikal Avenue. Istikal Avenue is a popular pedestrian street which runs from Galata Tower to Taksim Square. All these places are pretty interesting to visit and ought not to be missed.
New Istanbul or the modern part of city is the financial center. Tourists may find a number of amusing places that must be visited. Ottoman music concerts are held daily at Military Museum and are a treat for the ears. There are a number of waterside museums as well that offer a beautiful sight.
Any discussion about Turkey is incomplete without a talk about the world renowned tulips. These immensely beautiful flowers can be seen in full bloom during mid-April and happen to color the city in dozens of shades. If you visit the city during this time, do not forget to visit Sultanahmet Square’s Gülhane Park and Sultanahmet Park, Çamlıca Hill, and Emirgan in northern Bosphorus neighborhood.
Tourists can enjoy a number of interesting activities in Istanbul. These include visit to historic hamams, smoke a nargile and Bosphorus Cruise. The hamams are essentially Turkish baths and quite popular among tourists. The historic baths at Sultanahmet cater principally to tourists.
Smoking a nargile or a water pipe is another must enjoy activity. The places where tourists can enjoy it are Rıhtım Caddesi, Yeniçeriler Caddesi, Yeni Marmara etc. Walks across the numerous interesting museums and Theodosian era walls can also be enjoyed as well.
A number of places around the city offer great tours. These include Prince’s Islands, Marmara Islands, Silivri, Edirine etc. These places are famous for numerous reasons including splendid beaches, monasteries, historical cities and ferry rides etc.
Istanbul enjoys tremendous connectivity with cities in both these continents. Regular train service is available from Greece, Serbia, Bucharest and numerous cities in Asia. Tourists can get around using the excellent public transport and with the help of ferries as well.