Bad press can often badly affect tourism. A lot of the time, symptoms this is unfair, see and one perfect example of this is Istanbul. You might have seen on the news this summer about the political demonstrations andthumb Taksim Square” href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/15/turkey-taksim-square-stormed_n_3447482.html” target=”_blank”> riots that took place in Taksim Square , one of the main parts of Istanbul. As a result of this, many of my friends who regularly travel to Turkey began to question whether they should go, however this quickly died down and travel all returned to normal; however whilst this was going on, travel to Istanbul was frowned up, quite unnecessarily in my opinion.
It would be a crying shame if press such as this stopped anyone visiting this stunningly beautiful and cultural city, which is one of my favourite places in the world. Thankfully this has all relaxed a bit, and its business as usual, so there’s no reason not to experience everything this two-continent city has to offer – which is plenty!
I first visited Istanbul for the weekend. It might sound like a long way to go for a short break, but it’s only four hours away, and it often takes longer than that to get to London on the bus! I found a cheap flight, booked airport parking, and my break was much cheaper than I ever imagined. I found driving my car to the airport really cut down on getting from A to B cost and stress, and I used Birmingham Airport parking, which I can’t rave about enough. Most large UK airports offer a service, so I’d recommend checking out what’s available near you.
As you’re probably aware, Istanbul is the only city in the world to span over two continents, joined by the Bosphorus Bridge. Cultural, beautiful and busy, Istanbul is full of fantastic sights, and is certainly one for the camera. The Sultanahmet district is where I stayed, and here you’ll find the Blue Mosque and the stunning Hagia Sofia. Both stand opposite each other, vying for attention, but my personal favourite was the Hagia Sofia. It might not look as pretty as the Blue Mosque from the outside, but prepare to have your breath taken away once you walk inside.
If you fancy getting a little lost for an hour or so, head to the bustling Grand Bazaar and haggle away a few hours. Taksim is the place to head for more mainstream shopping, as well the larger malls just outside the city. Getting around is relatively easy, thanks to a good Metro system and lots of taxis, but be sure to set your price before getting in a taxi, otherwise you may find you end up on the scenic route!
Football fans will love Istanbul’s choice of stadia, with Galatasaray, Fenerbache and Besiktas all calling the city their home. Matches are certainly a lively experience!
Night-life is all about Taksim, with plentiful bars, clubs and restaurants – Taksim never seems to sleep! A meal in a traditional Turkish restaurant is a must do, yet if you’re a little more picky with your food, you’ll find the usual western fare, with a Pizza Hut and other well-known chains.
Extremely busy, lively, yet beautiful no matter what time of year you choose to visit, Istanbul is one of my favourite cities in the world.
Culture, shopping, night-life, good food – Istanbul has it all.
This was a guest post by Susan Buckley from London