Situated across the Bosporus Strait between the continents of Asia and Europe, Turkey’s intriguing city of Istanbul offers the best of both contemporary and ancient worlds. Here are a few ways to experience the old and the new.
EAT as the locals do and sample native meze in the country that does it best at Meze by Lemon Tree. Meze is a large part of the dining experience in Turkey and means “taste” or “snack.” Here the popular dish we know as appetizer takes on a traditional yet modern twist at the popular meyhane (Turkish tavern). Chefs Gencay and Gülabi mix classic Turkish ingredients for their experimental dishes that do not deviate from authentic Turkish cuisine. Smoked trout pate with mustard and almonds, wrapped in grilled leaves of oyster mushroom, sea bass fillet enveloped in paper with apricots and almonds and hot humous with pastrami are just a few of the items you will want to pair with Turkish wines from the Tekirdag region.
EXPERIENCE a Turkish bath. A classic symbol of Turkish culture and one of the country’s oldest traditions since the fourteenth century, do as the locals do and take a hot steam at one of the local hammans. Usually housed in ornate arched and domed marble and tile filled buildings, Cagaloglu Hamami, Cemberlitas Hamami and the Four Seasons on the Bosporus offer the best in traditional Turkish bath experience.
ENJOY a Turkish dinner and a show. Dine on a fabulous four-course Turkish cuisine and take in the ultimate floor show with colorful belly dancers and be entertained by traditional Anatolian folk group plays music that dates to hundreds of years. The tradition of music, known as halk muzigi means “the people’s music” and offers a unique look at the culture.
EXPLORE the archipelago in the Sea of Marmara known as the Prince’s Islands. Take an hour-long boat ride to the idyllic Büyükada and enjoy a swim in the coves or hike to the highest point and take in the views from the Greek Orthodox Monastery Aya Yorgi (Saint George).
Historians will enjoy a stroll through Cankaya Street where the famed Russian politician Leon Trotsky once lived.
SEE the light show at Sultanahmet. Situated between the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet Park, the night sky is illuminated with a colorful sound and light spectacle in the summer evenings. And while you are there, be sure to see the majestic Blue Mosque which incorporates the best of the Ottoman and Byzantine Empire.
Ready to explore Istanbul? Embark on an all-inclusive voyage sailing to the Aegean Sea and to the fabled coast of Turkey on one of four new voyages.