The only city in the world to straddle two continents, recent archaeological excavations has shown Istanbul's history to date back around 8000 years. Visitors are spoilt for incredible sites to visit. There are the many mosques designed by Ottoman master architect Sinan including his masterpiece the Suleymaniye Mosque. Also worth visiting are the classic Blue Mosque with its signature blue ceramic tiles, the monumental Hagia Sophia and the world-famous and bustling Grand Bazaar, thrust into the spotlight in the new James Bond film Skyfall.
Istanbul is arguably best seen from the water and a ferry trip taking you the whole length of the Bosphorus will reward you with views of the Black Sea and a fresh fish lunch.
The best "experience"
Play the part of an Ottoman bather shrouded in a cloud of steam by visiting a Turkish bath or "hammam". There are over 57 still operating in Istanbul alone, including the traditional Cemberlitas and Cagaloglu Baths in Sultanahmet, where you can enjoy the ancient rituals of steam-bathing and massage; or for a more luxurious experience, most high-end hotels have their own Turkish baths within their spa centres. Besides its ancient mystical appeal, hammam-goers cite countless health benefits, including improved circulation and respiration, intense relaxation, weight loss, clear skin, expulsion of toxins and relief of muscle pain and hangovers.SOURCE Thomas Cook