Situated on the mighty Bosphorus Strait and straddling Europe and Asia lies one of the most magnifcent cities in the world: Istanbul. Once known as Byzantium (named after the alleged founder of the city, King Byzas of the ancient Greek city-state Megara), then called Constantinople until the end of the famed Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century, Istanbul nowadays is a bustling metropolis of approximately 12 million people and is regarded by many as the gateway to the Orient.
During the day, the interested visitor may admire one of the numerous magificent mosques and churches, or enjoy the most unique shopping experience in the Grand Bazar, or the smaller (but by no means less fascinating) Egyptian or Spice Market. Tired of walking? Why not visit a genuine Turkish Bath (“Hamam”), many of which are located right in the Old Town (known as Sultanahmed on the city map)!
Istanbul is a paradise for foodies like myself, offering a wide range of possibilities from Simit (Turkish bagels) purveyed oven-fresh from carts in the street, to the ubiquitous Döner stands and an amazing selection of fine and top-class restaurants at the other end of the spectrum. My personal favorites include the Pudding Shop, a great lunch place right in the heart of Sultanahmed (Divanyolu Caddesi No:6), and, for a truly memorable fine dining experience, Beyti Restaurant, near Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport (Şenlikköy Mh. Orman Sk No:8, Bakırköy). Still not sure where to go? Venture out into the narrow streets flanking Istiklal Caddesi, the main pedestrian street, and sample a plethora of small and often amazing local haunts. After a great meal as well as during the day, energize with a Turkish tea (“Çay”) served in a typical tea glass with a cube of sugar on the side.
As far as Turkish hospitality is concerned, Four Seasons operates two phenomenal hotels in the city; further deluxe accommodation options include the Kempinski at Ciragan Palace, as well as the Ritz-Carlton overlooking the Bosphorus.
Macair will gladly arrange your private jet to and from Istanbul and beyond in the event you got a taste for the Orient and want to explore the Middle East with its amazing history, monuments and people in further depth; we also take care of all your local arrangements including accommodation, ground transportation, and private sightseeing. Please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +1-949-250-1359 to speak with one of our destination experts!