Cheap flights to Istanbul - Sabiha Gökçen
As the capital of two successive, powerful empires; the first Christian and Greek Byzantine, the second Islamic and Ottoman, Istanbul really is a city of cultural contrasts. Istanbul is a place unlike any other you will ever visit, where ancient cathedrals and blue-domed mosques and their minarets battle for control of the skyline. ]
Formally known to the world as Constantinople, there is so much to see in this city of culture and history that as a tourist you will never possibly see it all – well certainly not until you’ve worn out a good few pairs of shoes in the process.
Curiously sited away from the main tourist drag, the Tourism Ministry gift shop sells handmade carpets, rugs, textiles, ceramics, jewellery and other crafts from all over Turkey (TC Kultur ve Turizm Bakanligi, 2 Seysulislam Hayri Efendi Caddesi, Eminonu, tel: 0212 526 6813, ges.gov.tr).
From November 2013 till April 2014, Istanbul Modern hosts Observatory, a retrospective of UK-based photographic artists Barbara and Zafer Baran, whose work has been exhibited all over Europe (Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi, +212 334 7300, istanbulmodern.org).
Sultan Ahmet Square was the centre of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Today its unmissable sights include portions of the Byzantine Royal Palace, the Byzantine cathedral of St Sophia and the Ottoman Topkapi Palace. Not to mention the famous Sultan Ahmet Blue Mosque, from which the square takes its name.
Mid-winter is the best time to visit Termal, Istanbul's own hot-spring resort, which dates back to Roman times. Four hotels and five outdoor hot pools offer a variety of spa and leisure facilities. Sea buses leave Yenikapi every two hours, from where Termal can be reached by a short minibus or taxi ride. ido.com.tr