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Hot spots and cool cafes on the Bosphorus
An evening stroll along the banks of the Bosphorus is enough to make you to fall in love with Istanbul. The water reflects the golden domes of the city's mosques and palaces, the windows of Ottoman houses sparkle and light pours through the lattice of the Galata bridge.
The terrace of the legendary Reina overlooks the Bosphorus
Istanbul's Blue Mosque
The Grand Bazaar
A thousand scents and fragrances entice the traveler
and a thousand more await you as you pause for a drink or a thick Turkish coffee on one of the numerous terraces overlooking the Canal. Here,
exotic oriental luxury meets and mingles with the most sophisticated of modern Europe
The Bosphorus Strait – the silver band of water that links the Black Sea to the Marmara and separates Europe from Asia – is also
a perfect starting point to discover the Turkish city's most exclusive venues
. This stylish face of Istanbul leaves behind the city's traditional tourist attractions and is reflected in new emerging neighborhoods.
From the vibrant bustle of Taksim Square, to the bohemian charm of Ortakoy
, through the neighbourhoods of Nisantasi and Bebek Yenikoy overlooking the sea, the signs of up-to-the-minute Istanbul are all around.
On Ortakoy pier, under the Bosphorus Bridge and
between multicoloured wooden houses and unique craft shops
, are hidden some of the capital's best terraces. Don't miss The House Cafe, an ideal spot for relaxing over a drink, reading the newspaper or just to be seen among the beautiful people of the city. And
if you want to rub shoulders with the aristocracy of Europe, drop by the legendary
a restaurant lounge where the creme de la creme are often to be found at the weekend.
Situated in the lush gardens of the Sakip Sabanci Museum,
the award-winning 'glass-box' building of
restaurant overlooks the Bosphorus
. Another location offering a fine view over the strait is
, an ultra-modern space with a stylish chill-out area looking out over the water.
Other unmissable terraces include the classy
, a perfect example of Istanbul's young, dynamic culture.
This multi-space food-art project, where breakfast is to be enjoyed, lunch to be lingered over and dinner the tastiest pre-cursor to a night on the town
not only caters for the comfort of your stomach, but offers culture and art for the mind and spirit. The three-storey mansion on the shores of the Bosphorus is a splendid setting to abandon any preconceptions you might have had about the city.
Where to stay
Kempinsk Ciragan Palace
, on the shore of the Bosphorus, was
once a sultan's palace and today is a luxury hotel frequented by the world's rich and famous
when they visit Istanbul. For lovers of design,
uxury and modern style in a restored Ottoman mansion
. Dating from the nineteenth century, when it was built to suit the sophisticated tastes of travellers on the Orient Express, the
Pera Palace Hotel
, has recently been completely renovated, and
you can even stay in room 411 where Agatha Christie is said to have written her classic murder story
. If money is no object, one of the ten suites of
, could be just what you're looking for; an overnight stay can cost a thousand euros, but the spa has more moderate prices and there's another splendid terrace, too, overlooking the Bosphorus. The tasteful restoration of the
makes this centennial building an interesting option, with its
unbeatable central location, eclectic decor and personalised service
Arm yourself with patience
: the traffic can be trying and not all taxi drivers are honest, although taxis are still affordable.
Where to eat
Hande Bozdogan, chef at
studied cuisine in France and returned to Istanbul ready to present the best of both worlds; the results don't disappoint: in an elegant ambience
the dishes are brimful of freshness with subtle and delicate flavours
released with every bite.
, a reinvented classic, offers
high quality traditional Turkish cuisine
in the Topkapi Palace; if possible, choose to eat out on the magnificent terrace.
The Sultanahmet district, full of architectural treasures
such as the
, and the Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cistern and Topkapi Palace. No trip to Istanbul would be complete without a foray into
the labyrinthine Grand Bazaar, a real pleasure for those who enjoy haggling for bargains
and the perfect setting to get an understanding of the commercial spirit of
this crossroads between cultures and continents
. Perhaps the best way to step back and appreciate Istanbul is by taking a cruise on the calm waters of the Bosphorus when the setting sun illuminates this city and its blend of exoticism and modernity.
Turkish Tourist Board
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