TripAdvisor recently released its ‘Traveler’s Choice Destinations List’ for 2014 with a few changes from last year’s list, most notably a new entry that takes the top position. Istanbul sprung to the top of the list bumping last year’s top destination Paris to number 7.
The list, with Rome in second position and London, Beijing and Prague rounding out the top five destinations, is compiled from information gathered from TripAdvisor reviews and opinions over a 12-month period.
It should come as no surprise that Istanbul has been voted the top ‘Traveler’s Choice Destination’ on TripAdvisor as it offers tourists beautiful architecture, interesting cuisine, good weather and great shopping.
Visits to the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Basilica Cistern are all musts for first time visitors. Other must-see locations include the Topkapi Palace (dating back to the Ottoman Empire) and the Kariye Museum (previously a Byzantine church). The Topkapi Palace, now home to some of the Muslim world’s most important relics, is also a great spot for coffee and amazing views of the Bosphorus Straight.
Visit the Grand Bazaar for amazing people watching, but if it is bargain shopping you’re after then you should rather try the Egyptian bazaar (a.k.a. The Spice market). Also try Istiklal Avenue for 1,4 km of boutiques, art galleries, theatres, cafes, night clubs, restaurants and historical patisseries and chocolatiers.
Turkish cuisine is a fusion of Central Asian, Caucasion, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Balkan cuisines. Specialities include Turkish Delight and Baklava. There is also a great variety of restaurants to choose from to suit your budget.
The best way to explore the city however is to simply wander around the narrow streets of Sultanamet and take in the beauty of your surroundings.