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An Istanbul Vacation with a Twist

If you are looking for a different Istanbul holiday, do your research and you will be well rewarded. When you think of the Istanbul holiday, there are pictures of magnificent buildings, old mosques, spicy shops and donor kebabs; but while all this is given, there is more and you can get.

Except for the Beat Song

Taksim is a place you may want to avoid if you do not want to stay awake all night are busy bars and parties all night, but it is definitely part of the city you should go to if you are having some fun. The sidewalks are lined with delightful local taverns, and Turkish families and tourists line the table outside the streets or up the many rooftop walls overlooking the city.

People flock to the city to see the Topkapi Palace, but unless history is your passion, why not avoid crowds and monuments and head for the Dolmabahce Palace? This magnificent building is as splendid and vibrant as the beautiful Topkapi but with a few crowds and free tours for women! This scene symbolizes Turkey’s transition from empire to republic, and is a beautiful display of cultural and architectural integration. There is also a bird sanctuary here with beautiful peacocks, as well as the second largest chandelier in the world (after one in Dubai).

One of the best ways to explore Turkish culture is to invite yourself for a cup of tea. Offering Turkish people tea is their way of welcoming you to their home or shop and telling you they want to spend time talking to you. The Turks are very friendly and, despite any language barrier, love to entertain and share with visitors.

While basic Turkish cuisine, such as donor kebab and baklava, is very tasty, be sure to enjoy some of the Turkish delicacies. Lentil soups or saucy iskender kebap are two unusual delicacies you can try, followed by a sutlac such as rice pudding or sticky ice cream known as dondurma.

If you are on vacation in Istanbul it is best to explore the city on foot. Taxis can be expensive and late, as traffic jams, especially during the race, are chaotic. Buses can also be time consuming, so do as the locals do and walk, take a tram or jump off the train. Street life is one of the attractions of this great city; the narrow streets are waiting to be explored and you will find yourself on top of many cool cafes, art hangouts and eclectic music shops.

Instead of the famous Bosphorus ships, why not try a day trip to the Prince’s Islands? This boat trip is very cheap but still offers great views of the city. The islands have no cars and you can swim, hike and rent bikes.

Make your Istanbul holiday memorable and stay away from tourists to discover the most authentic side of this beautiful city.

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