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Vacation ideas: Destination Istanbul


05-July-2021

Staycay in the Conrad Istanbul Bosporus, the address of experiences. 

The world is slowly yet surely opening up once again to surrender those long-awaited and fascinating destinations.

Now is the time when dreaming of yourself strolling among cultural sights that reveal centuries old stories and treasures or, perhaps, absorbing scenic beauty as it unfolds around you have the possibility to turning into reality.

Imagine once again the feeling of pristine white sand under your feet as the waves from the clear blue sea crash along the shore on a far-flung exotic island or discovering ancient cities filled with history, culture and amazing things to do.

Welcome to Istanbul, the perfect city to explore with the family.

 

When in Istanbul, do what the locals do… shop of course! 

 

 

Your first port of call must be the Grand Bazaar, where you’ll be able to brush up on those bargaining skills, not to mention stock up on souvenirs for your friends and family back home. With over 60 streets and alleys and 4,000 shops, the world’s largest and oldest covered bazaar sells absolutely everything.

Your next stop should be Mısır Çarşısı or the Egyptian Bazaar, the centre for the spice trade in Istanbul where you can lay your hands on fresh supply of spices, nuts, honeycomb, Turkish delight, dried figs, caviar and mature hard Turkish cheese. Browse at your leisure, as people have been doing since the Spice Bazaar was built in 1664.

Shop to your hearts content among the boutiques, bookstores and music stores along the bustling İstiklal Avenue, an elegant pedestrianised street located in the historical Beyoğlu district. For a spot of culture, there are numerous art galleries, cinemas and theatres too. End your trip in one of the fine Turkish or international restaurants housed in the Ottoman-era buildings that line the street.

Fashionistas head to Nişantaşı, an upscale residential area filled with fashion boutiques. selling international and prominent local labels. There is plenty of opportunity here to relax a while in many of the fashionable restaurants housed in fabulous Art nouveau buildings.

 

Cultural sites

 

 

Istanbul is a cultural melting pot with so many brilliant places to visit. Your itinerary must simply include Topaki Palace, the court of the Ottoman Empire sultans, ambitious courtiers, beautiful concubines and scheming eunuchs lived and worked between the 15th and 19th centuries. Visit the palace’s opulent pavilions, jewel-filled Treasury and sprawling Harem gives a fascinating glimpse into their lives.

Two mosques on your must-list visit are the Sultan Ahmed Mosque or Blue Mosque, an Ottoman-era Friday Mosque and the Agios Sophia, an important monument both for Byzantine and for Ottoman Empires, which was once a church and later a mosque.

 

Hidden Gem

 

 

Balat is a work-a-day neighbourhood of winding cobbled streets oozing history in vibrant bursts of colour. The listed UNESCO heritage site is surprisingly rarely visited by tourists. You’ll find hip cafés and avant garde art galleries side-by-side old-school grocers. The areas historical importance as a place of Jewish, Greek and Armenian communities is attested to in the number of Synagogues, and churches found here and there along the narrow streets.  

 

Where to stay

 

 

To fully experience the very beating heart of this historical metropolis, you will need to stay in its very epicentre and the Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus surrenders the perfect setting. As its name suggests, this fabulously designed luxury hotel affords stunning vistas of the Bosphorus, along with the unmistakable skyline of minarets, palaces, ancients towers and modern skyscrapers.  

The suites are spectacular, each with its own spacious terrace where guests can dine as they gaze out across this centuries-old metropolis where once ruling empires collided. It is the perfect location from which to unroll your yoga mat, breathe deeply and relax to the hilt.

As wonderous as the terrace is, you will want to leave your suite from time to time to discover the city itself, but to also explore this stunning hotel and its offering. Continue those stunning vistas at the Summit Bar & Terrace, where, the most delicious Turkish and international dishes are served to perfection.

Monday to Saturdays are for those wishing to indulge in Far Eastern cuisine from the hotel’s famous incredible sushi menu. Or if you prefer, head to the Summit with friends for a daily snack and a little imbibing.

Perhaps sports is your thing. The Conrad Health Club takes it a step further with its state-of-the-art equipment, which – wait for it – houses internet-connected cardio and fitness equipment covered with special Ferrari leather, no less!

There are two outdoor tennis courts too and once your energy is spent, rejuvenate at Conrad Spa Soul, where single and double massage rooms await, along with a Turkish bath, sauna and steam rooms, shock shower and relaxation room.

 

To book your stay in this dynamic city, visit explore.hilton.com/luxury

 

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Disclaimer: The Green List and quarantine rules of individual countries can often change with little warning. Every effort has been made to ensure that all information contained within this section was correct at the time of going to press. We urge you to check with the relevant authorities and airlines before travelling and Yalla – Abu Dhabi Life takes no responsibility for any unforeseen changes to travel plans.

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