The Turkish city of Istanbul is one of the most complex, attractive, historic, and significant cities on earth. Despite being caught in the crossfire of a global conflict, Istanbul has charmed us all with its world-class hotels and diverse cultures.
One thing T+L editors love most about Istanbul (and Turkey, in general) is the city’s incredible views. Get a 360-degree panorama from the top of Galata Tower. This medieval stone building was built in 1848 and boasts an uninterrupted vantage point of the Istanbul skyline.
Visiting Istanbul can be very much like stepping back in time. Take Topkapi Palace, for example. For almost 400 years, Ottoman sultans called this enormous palace, one of the oldest and grandest in all of Turkey, their home. Another Istanbul attraction plucked from the pages of a history book is the Kiliç Ali Pasa, an ancient Turkish bathhouse created during the classical Ottoman period.
As much antiquity as there is in Istanbul, visitors will appreciate the burgeoning contemporary art scene as well. What to do in Istanbul to see street art is to head to the Beyoglu district, where building walls and side streets are filled with colorful murals. Elites from the art world, on the other hand, head to the neighborhood’s cutting edge galleries like Collectorspace and Rodeo.
Related: Secrets of the Hagia Sophia
Shopping at the Grand Bazaar—the largest covered market in the world—is one of the most fun things to do in Istanbul. Come here to see the works from generations of craftspeople.
Before you complete an Istanbul trip, stroll down Istanbul’s main pedestrian thoroughfare, Istiklal Avenue. Almost 3 million people pass through here, and after sundown locals linger longer to sip Turkish coffee (and read the fortunes in their coffee grinds), smoke hookah, and nosh traditional meze platters.