For thousands of years, people have traveled to and through the site of Turkey’s capital city of Istanbul, which today connects Europe and Asia through the Bosphorus Bridge. In the past, travelers came to the former capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires for trade and transport. Today, your clients will find a wealth of cultural sites and bites, including mosques, menemen (Turkish-style omelet), bazaars and street food, great towers, and world-famous Turkish coffee, and that’s just for starters.
The City of Monuments
Monuments abound in Istanbul, so suggest your clients put aside a good amount of time to explore the city’s centuries-old splendors, including the sky-high Galata Tower, which was first built as a lighthouse before being turned into an observatory by the Ottomans. It is now home to authentic Turkish restaurants, wine bars and clubs. In the middle of Istanbul sits the majestic Blue Mosque with its blue tile mosaics, symmetric design and excellent acoustics. Of course, a trip to Istanbul would not be complete without visiting the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. Here, your clients will find more than 3,000 shops, selling everything from colorful costumes and Turkish ceramics to handmade jewelry and embroidered carpets in a 588-sq.-ft. arena that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Navigating this bustling marketplace and the city itself is sure to be a great adventure for your clients, but, of course, there are guided tours for the more trepidatious traveler. For more information, visit goturkey.com.
Turkey With Abercrombie & Kent
For clients who prefer to tour the sites with the help of a guide, Abercrombie & Kent offers an 11-day Signature Turkey itinerary, starting at $9,995 pp dbl. The tour allows guests to travel with a specially certified national guide, who tailors sightseeing activities to guests’ interests. Highlights of the tour include visits to Istanbul’s Byzantine Wonders—the sixth century Basilica Cistern and Hagia Sophia, a basilica turned museum—cruising of the Bosphorus Strait and a hot-air balloon excursion over the region of Cappadocia, plus tea time with a local family in their home. Departure dates are available from May through October 2016. For more information, visit abercrombiekent.com.
L.A. Meets Istanbul
The Los Angeles-based Viceroy Hotel Group is opening a new property, Viceroy Princes’ Islands Istanbul, this summer on the island of Buyukada in Turkey’s Marmara Sea. This modern resort, Viceroy’s first property in Turkey, will feature 77 luxury guestrooms, suite and residences, as well as a traditional restored Ottoman grand mansion and Yali seafront mansion, extensive gardens and a private cove. With emerald hillsides and a captivating coastline as its backdrop, Istanbul’s Buyukada Island provides a relaxing atmosphere where many of Istanbul’s elite have summer homes. When your clients aren’t rubbing shoulders with the creme de la creme, they can take advantage of the hotel’s award-winning ESPA spa and wellness center, complete with an indoor pool and a modern take on the Turkish bath house, plus the property’s rooftop terraces and gardens, various indoor and outdoor swimming areas, including two pools and private sea lagoon, as well as food and beverage offerings, including two restaurants, an Ice Bar, and a Resort Club Bar. Viceroy Princes’ Islands Istanbul is accessible via a short boat ride from the city through the resort’s private pier. For more information, visit viceroyhotelsandresorts.com.