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Destination Guide: Istanbul

Byzantine churches, medieval markets and chic nightlife
Gaze at Haghia Sofia's Byzantine frescos or contemporary art at Istanbul Modern. Window-shop at Nisantasi's boutiques and sip cocktails in rooftop bars. To escape the crowded streets, take a peaceful sail up the Bosphorus.

Food and Drink

Discover waterfront fish restaurants or traditional taverns. In waterfront Ortaköy you'll find tiny wooden-floored cafés serving classic Ottoman cuisine like cheesy Gözleme pancakes. Stop in buzzing Beyoğlu for tasty mezzes and freshly grilled fish. Find romantic hideaways in Tünel or splash out on sushi in Ulus Park's exclusive restaurants.

Sightseeing and relaxation

Discover Ottoman opulence and arty gems. Visit the home of the sultans' concubines at Topkapi Palace in Sultanahmet. Gold icons adorn tranquil Greek and Bulgarian churches in traditional Fener. Take the teleferik cable car to soak up city views at the hilltop Pierre Loti café. Istanbul Modern's gallery walls show off today's best Turkish art.

Shopping

Choose fresh olives or Ottoman antiques. Boutique-hop in Nisantasi for Istanbul's best designers. Foodies can buy olives and fresh spices around the aromatic Misir Çarşisi spice market. Hectic Istiklal Caddesi in Beyoğlu has everything from designer glassware to traditional Turkish instruments while Cukurcuma's steep streets are chock-full of antique furniture.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Enjoy rooftop cocktails or live Balkan jazz. Lazy whorls of sheesha-pipe smoke and the clack of backgammon pieces fill the tiny teahouses around Istiklal Caddesi. Gaze down on the boat-dotted Bosphorus from Beyoğlu's chic rooftop bars or go celeb-spotting in Ortakoy's open-air nightclubs.