Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey with a population of 13.120.596. Contrary to popular belief Istanbul it is not the capitol city of Turkey. Istanbul is the third most visited city in Europe behind London and Paris.
The European side of Istanbul is where the main attractions of the city are located.
The district of Eminonu is very popular amounst visitors to Istanbul, the area contains important historical and touristic monuments within its boundaries such as the blue mosque, grand bazaar and Haghia Sophia.
The attractions are connected through a pedestrian only zone which makes strolling around very safe and comfortable.
A popular tourist district is Beyoglu, which is home to the Tünel, Galata Tower, Istiklal Street and Taksim Square. Through the Tünel runs the oldest and shortest tram of the world ending at the Istiklal Street.
Taksim Square is the heart of Istanbul, it is the most known modern city centre of Istanbul. Around the Taksim Square and the Istiklal Street the nightlife establishes itself in the side streets. Music shows, bars, restaurants and discos are brimming along the streets. During the day Istiklal is a long shopping mile with bookstores, boutiques, music stores, fashion and the famous Markiz-Passage.
The Istiklal Street is a car free zone, only the historic tram runs frequently up and down the hill.
In the district of Besiktas is where Istanbul’s elite is enjoying the amenities of life, upmarket cafes, nightclubs cafes and fashion shops are attracting not only the people from Istanbul, more and more tourists are mingling in this classy part of the town.
The district of Sisli is one of the most sublime parts of Istanbul. Once in the outskirts of Istanbul was the open plain used for hunting, agriculture and cemeteries. Today there is nothing left of agriculture and hunting takes place only in the chic boutiques on the splendid avenues. The cemeteries remained, until today Sisli is the district with the most churchyards. At the beginning of the 19th century Levantine families were building their mansions here – quite a few of them survived making Sisli today an attraction point for Istanbul’s Boehme. Artist, painters, writers, trendy cafes and bars featuring European lifestyle
The district of Kadiköy is a very cosmopolitan part of the city. Many Muslims and Christians are living here side by side. Very popular with locals and tourists is the Bagdad Chaussee, a long stretched shopping mile with lots of European brands being sold. Many restaurants, bars, cafes and nightclubs and good shopping facilities are attracting young people, students and tourists alike. Kadiköy can be easily reached by ferry.
One of the most relaxing experiences you can have in Istanbul is the tour with the ferries from Eminönü to the Black Sea. The journey will bring you from the European to the Asian side of Istanbul. You will pass under the two enormous bridges that are straining over the Bosphorus and you will have an excellent outlook on the ancient yalis, old majestic summer residences of the rich Istanbul inhabitants and modern houses or offices, nowhere is the mix of old and new better visible then here.