Visit Istanbul: Capital of the World – The old walled city of Istanbul stands on a triangular peninsula between Europe and Asia. Sometimes as a bridge, sometimes as a barrier, Istanbul for more than 2,500 years has stood between conflicting surges of religion, culture, and imperial power. For most of those years it was one of the most coveted cities in the world.
Bridging East and West – Europe and Asia – Istanbul possesses a richly complicated heritage. Once the capital of the Ottoman and Byzantine empires, this city’s prestigious history has left us with many monuments to cherish. Plus, it integrates its past and present to create a unique mix of architecture; a glass skyscraper next to a Byzantine church or a colorful bazaar in the shadow of a shopping mall. The natural landscape is also impressive. The Bosphorus, a narrow strait, cuts the city in two and connects the Sea of Marmara in the south to the Black Sea in the north. From the blue waters, visitors will see a skyline of domes, steeples and modern towers.
Although Istanbul looks serene from afar, the internal atmosphere is wonderfully chaotic. Discover the bustling streets and busy bazaar stalls that have characterized the city for hundreds of years. Drivers will jockey for position; shopkeepers will barter in an avalanche of chatter; and you’ll be struggling to digest all of the sights, sounds and smells. Speaking of smells … during your exploration, taste the distinctly Turkish treats off the streets, including döner, Istanbul’s version of fast food. And when the sun goes down, you’ll see that Istanbul sheds some of its conservative façade to reveal a thriving nightlife. At the intersection of civilizations and continents for centuries, Istanbul surprises visitors with its fast pace, its ancient history and its present culture. Visit us on Pinterest here.
Istanbul Weather – Best Time to Visit Istanbul
The best times to visit Istanbul are from March to May and between September and November. That’s when crowds at the city’s attractions are manageable, room rates are average and daytime temperatures generally sit in the 60s and 70s. Peak season – from June to August – sees temps soar into the low 60s to low 80s, and accommodation prices increase to match the demand from incoming tourists. December through February, meanwhile, are the cheapest months to visit, but Istanbul’s rainy, snowy and chilly conditions (temps are in the high 30s to high 50s) mean you’ll have to don cold weather attire and lug an umbrella during your stay.
Best Istanbul Beaches
Babylon Kilyos Beach
Babylon Kilyos is a perfect spot for families and youngsters to have a funny, sunny day at the beach. The mountains and the verdant greenery of the beach create a perfect beach atmosphere. The leisure activities on this beach are endless. Sport a game of volleyball or badminton with the teens. Or get a summer tan lazing on the soft sand of the beach. There are number of food carts on the beach where you can taste the grilled fish hamburgers, and cheese sandwiches. The evenings at Babylon Beach are all about live DJ music.
Get one on one with nature at this hidden bay in Istanbul with the exciting caravan camping and trekking opportunities at your disposal. Do not miss the motor bikers racing on the beach. The small cove beach provides you with familial and quiet atmosphere. Enjoy the delectable cuisine at the Uzunya Beach Restaurant which is famous for its fresh seafood.
True Blue Beach
The nice sandy beach is the oldest place in Istanbul where people come to have a crazy fun-filled weekend. The alluring sunset and the lively atmosphere make True Blue one of the free beaches in Istanbul. You can see the distant sailing boats of Kalami Marina floating into the sunset as you sit back and relax on the beach chair.
The warm sands and the huge waves draw thousands on the weekend. The 1-km sandy beach is dotted with colorful beach umbrellas. Water sports activities are plentiful from kiteboarding, catamaran sailing, beach volleyball, football, windsurfing, and surfing. They even host a kitesurfing tournament every year, an event you should not miss.
Dalia Beach Club
Dalia Beach Club is the most intimate of all the Istanbul beaches because of its relaxing and tranquil atmosphere. There are plenty of watersports and trekking ventures in the vicinity. The are paddle boats and canoes are available for as well. Do not forget to check out the beach side stands which sell regional natural village products.
Best Istanbul Restaurants
Ulus 29 $30 & Over
Ulus 29 centers on gastronomic concepts with traditional cooking methods to offer regional cuisine with seasonal freshness. The restaurant makes its own dry-aged meats as well as ice cream and pasta for an authentic experience when searching for where to eat in Istanbul. Opt for gastronomy-focused dishes, classic Turkish fare or sushi. A wine list of roughly 4,500 bottles includes labels Enjoy cocktails at the Teras Bar, or choose a lively evening at the Ulus Club 29 to dance along to international DJs on the weekends. Telephone: 90 212 358 29 29 Web: Ulus 29
Râna by Topaz $30 & Over
At Râna the best of Mediterranean and Ottoman cuisine come together. Overlooking the Bosphorus, the serene atmosphere of Râna recalls the stone it is named after in its geometric design that is complemented by modern décor. The restaurant offers two tasting menus: modern and traditional. Râna’s wine list has acquired national recognition with an award from local magazine Gusto. Telephone: 90 212 249 10 01 Web: Râna by Topaz
Banyan $4 – 27
Banyan’s motto of “food for the soul” describes the Asian fusion fare it serves. Healthy cuisine with Asian roots is savored on the top floor of a historical building, offering striking views of the city below. Dishes like Sichuan pepper steak, duck satay and dim sum are just a few of the options on order to be enjoyed with tea, fresh juice or a cocktail. Telephone: 90 212 259 90 60 Web: Banyan
St. Regis Brasserie $30 & Over
The fare is seasonal, including contemporary, French-inspired dishes with a Turkish touch. An expansive menu includes a variety of salads, handcrafted pasta and sandwiches among appetizers and main courses. Try the St. Regis Brasserie meatballs or pan-fried black bream with a signature Bloody Mary from the cocktail menu. Be sure to leave room for dessert – the restaurant offers raspberry cake, rice pudding, tiramisu and mascarpone cheesecake. Telephone: 90 212 368 0836 Web: St. Regis Brasserie
Asitane $30 & Over
Asitane: Ottoman Palace Cuisine. In order to keep the forgotten tastes of Ottomans alive, Asitane organizes special periodical dinner weeks such as “Meals from Period of Mehmet the Conqueror”, “Aphrodisiac Meals of Ottoman Palaces”, “Fish and See Food in Ottoman Palaces”. Telephone: 90 212 635 7997 Web: Asitane
Best Istanbul Nightlife
World famous stars like Bon Jovi, Kylie Minogue, U2, Uma Thurman, Daniel Craig, and Naomi Watts have visited this glitziest nightclub in Istanbul. Known for its lavish parties and exquisitely posh crowd, this place is worth your time! Telephone: 90 212 259 5919 Web: Reina
This nightclub is known for its elite ambiance, picturesque views of the city and a combination of 6 unique restaurants and 3 bars. Telephone: 90 212 327 85 85 Web: Sortie
A night at this grand site – the Supper Club will delight the party lover in you because the place offers a charming ambiance and a wide array of cocktails topped with the all-white décor, oversized beach beds, lighting, live shows, and DJs. Telephone: 90 212 2611988 Web: Supper Club
A romantic ambiance welcomes you to this chimeric club in the city which later turns into a hub for parties amongst the top-notch socialites, businessmen, Hollywood stars and Istanbul’s elites. Telephone: 90 212 3582929 Web: Club 29
Are you a nightcrawler? Then this nightclub is just for you! With parties starting from 2 am until morning 5 am (on Friday and Saturday late nights), and a dramatic trance ambiance, the place is sure to startle the party animal in you! Telephone: +90 536 687 1104 Web: X-Large