How to Have a Perfect Weekend Getaway in Instanbul, Turkey

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Continents meet, cultures converge, and a rich tapestry of experiences can delight weekend travelers in Istanbul. Turkey has something for everyone, from historic landmarks and bustling bazaars to scenic promenades and delicious food. Let’s explore the must-see attractions and things to do to help you make the most of your weekend in this vibrant city.

Discovering Historic Landmarks

A trip to Istanbul wouldn’t be complete without visiting its iconic historic landmarks. Start your journey in Sultanahmet, the old town, where you’ll find the magnificent Hagia Sophia and the stunning Blue Mosque. These architectural marvels are steeped in history and offer a glimpse into Istanbul’s rich past.

Don’t miss the Topkapı Palace, once home to Ottoman sultans, with its sprawling courtyards and impressive collections. To experience a subterranean adventure, visit the Basilica Cistern, a 1,500-year-old marvel supported by 336 columns and featured in the film Inferno.

Strolling Along the Bosphorus

Istanbul’s Bosphorus Strait is not just a natural wonder but a bustling hub of activity. Take a leisurely walk along the European side’s promenade in Bebek, passing the medieval Rumeli Fortress. This area offers stunning views and a glimpse into the city’s strategic past.

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Hop on a ferry to experience the unique vibe of commuting between Europe and Asia, and enjoy the sight of seagulls and diverse vessels navigating the waters. The bustling Galata Bridge is another must-visit, where you can watch anglers in action and explore the vibrant fish restaurants and bars on the lower deck.

Explore Turkey’s Food Scene

The culinary scene in Istanbul is a feast for the senses. There’s something to suit every palate, from street food to fine dining. Start your day with a hearty breakfast at Rumeli Kale Cafe & Restaurant, known for its honey and clotted cream combo. For lunch, try the smoked seabream at Mürver Restaurant in Karaköy, which also offers stunning city views.

In the evening, indulge in home-style Turkish cuisine at Ciya, a Michelin-recommended restaurant founded by renowned chef Musa. Don’t forget to sample street foods like Simit (sesame-crusted bread), Midye Dolma (stuffed mussels), and roasted chestnuts as you explore the city’s bustling neighborhoods.