STAYING IN ISTANBUL
Straddling two continents and over 3,000 years of continuous habitation, Istanbul is a unique place in the world. While there's plenty of reminders of the city's role in some of the most important and defining events of the last three millennia, it is modern Istanbul that genuinely impresses, especially in the way it manages to embrace modernity without sacrificing its soul. Travel around the Golden Horn and down to the hyperactive harbourside borough of Karaköy; you'll see how the area's 16th-century mosques and thermal baths rub shoulders with avant-garde art galleries and the houses of boutique fashion labels. Far from being awkward or garish, the effect is seamless.
When it comes to culture and the arts, Istanbul has plenty to offer. The city's fifteen million residents fuel a lively art and culture scene admired the world over. World-class venues like the Istanbul Modern, Arter, and the integrated arts and entertainment precinct of Bomontiada should be on any Istanbul bucket list, while historical sites the Blue Mosque, the Aya Sofya and the Topkapi Palace will leave you breathless with their grandeur.
Matching Istanbul's flair for culture is its flair for food. While traditional flavours and ingredients still play a big role on the plate, increasingly Istanbul is calling to a new generation of exciting culinary talent.