Luxury holidays to Istanbul – perhaps twinned with Turkey’s spectacular coastline resorts or enjoyed as a city break – come highly recommended by the Exsus team. Witness the extraordinary skyline of the Old Quarter which dazzles with silhouetted minarets, mosques, domes and palaces; wander labyrinthine cobbled alleys which thrive with frenzied bazaars and buzzing restaurants; and be enchanted by the daily call to prayer, which resonates through the city walls.
The mystical metropolis at the transcontinental axis of Asia and Europe, Istanbul is a city of many cultural faces. With its origins dating back to the 7th century BC, Istanbul has taken its turn as capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, and what remains today is a hybrid metropolis brimming with ancient relics of the past. The breathtaking Sultanahmet Camii, dubbed ‘The Blue Mosque’ for the thousands of sapphire Iznik tiles embellishing its interior, is the unmistakeable Islamic icon of Istanbul. Or could that be Hagia Sophia - its older neighbour steeped in religious history; mesmerizing and utterly beautiful.
What’s more, Istanbul possesses a truly cosmopolitan culture as manifested in the many shops, restaurants and cafés that punctuate this gloriously ancient city. Dine at the fantastic eateries strewn along the banks down by the Bosphorus, the glittering river that divides the East from the West. Walk in the footsteps of the Sultans at the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel by the river; or head to Pera Palace Hotel in the lively Beyoglu district, rich in history and absolutely charming to meander through. Otherwise, there’s fashionable Nisantasi or trendy Galata. Wherever you choose for your Istanbul city break, this beguiling jewel will leave you wide-eyed and wanting more.