Istanbul. A city where the frenzied pace of nearly 15 million residents is interrupted by the idyllic Bosphorus Strait. The call to prayer, the rose-gold sunsets, the smell of warm simit (a popular circular bread), the twinkling lights. Istanbul enchants even the most hardened tourists. It’s hard not to fall under her spell.
Hagia Sophia was once a church before it became a mosque. Now it’s one of the most splendid sights in Istanbul. It’s an architectural feat for both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. It’s my favorite stop in Istanbul; I visit each time I’m in the city, completely awe-struck.
Istiklal Street is something to experience. The crowds, the cafes, the shops. It’s the heart of Istanbul, and you feel it when you’re there. I especially love the red trolley that makes its way to Taksim.
This view. No matter the time of day, it’s magical.
The Turkish do breakfast right with spreads of cheese, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and tea.
Considered the world’s first shopping mall, The Grand Bazaar is part of the Istanbul experience. The never-ending covered streets with over 4,000 shops attract between 250,000 to 400,000 visitors each day. Go and get lost. It’s the only way to fully experience the bazaar.