Istanbul literally sits on two continents. Half the city is in Europe, and the other half is in Asia. Therefore it’s no understatement to claim that this Turkish city sits at the crossroads of several monumental cultures and heritages.
There is no shortage of things to see in Istanbul. Head directly to the Old City, which lies on the south banks of the Golden Horn, to visit some of Istanbul’s finest mosques and historical sites. The mosques are free, but museums like the Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia cost more than you might expect.
Turkey has been trying to get into the EU since the EU was originally formed, but is still on the waiting list. That gives a great sense of the life here: very European, but also not European at all. The Old City is totally walkable, but there’s very reliable public transportation as well.
Off The Beaten Path:
Of course you will want to spend time in the Old City, and you should. No trip to Istanbul is complete without it. But also visit Taksim Square, considered the heart of modern Istanbul. Get lost in the streets just south of the square for some fantastic antique shops and fun little restaurants.
The food in Istanbul is fan-fricking-tastic. You can find good kebabs pretty much everywhere, but I recommend you hit the meatballs. The district around the Hagia Sophia is particularly noted for its fantastic meatballs. There’s also really good seafood, and the Turkish Delight desserts are internationally celebrated. In fact, forget any recommendations, just go out and eat and rest assured it will taste very, very good.