The best sights to see and wine to drink when visiting Istanbul

The best sights to see and wine to drink when visiting Istanbul

Turkey is the only country that occupies two continents; Europe and Asia. This makes the country very varied, with both Eastern and Western influences conveyed in their culture and history.

 This contrast also applies to its food and drink, with this mix becoming more popular with visitors to the country than ever before.

 If you do plan to visit Istanbul, it is recommended that you try and sample the local food, as well as the locally produced beers, spirits and wines.

 One recommendation is to try:

 Solera Winery

This place is great if you want to enjoy a little conversation with your glass of wine. Unlike most other places in Istanbul, the Solera Winery provides the perfect setting for you to try an abundance of different varieties of locally produced wines, and discuss each of them at length with your friends and family. Solera Winery provides over 1,100 varieties of wine that you can sample at your leisure.

 There are plenty of places to go and try the local cuisine, with each restaurant or bar offering their very own variety of locally produced wine. Try visiting the below sights, as each has a great selection of bars and restaurants nearby.

 Basilica Cistern

This sixth century system that bought drinking water into Istanbul from Thrace, is now one of the city’s most romantic destinations. It was largely forgotten about up until recently and has been modernised with light fittings and a music system. Around the 336 bases of the columns, which supports the ceiling, you will find fish swimming in harmony to their new surroundings. There is also an upside down head of Medusa on one of the column bases, which provides proof that the Byzantine builders saw Roman relics as reusable items that could be used in their very own constructions.

(Image courtesy of Esther Lee, via Flickr)

Aya Sofya

Emperor Justinian’s sixth century Byzantine structure, this famous building has had many uses over its time. First a church, then a mosque and now a museum, is simply beautiful. There has been plenty of restoration work though, and for good reason. The building offers visitors a chance to visit the tombs of early Ottoman sultans, as well as their slaughtered sons. You will also find a stunning collection of glittering mosaics that are present in the galleries.

 Topkapi Palace

This has to be one of the ‘must sees’ in the city. The Topkapi Palace has been home to plenty of the countries sultans, wives and families. Here you will find courtyards fit for sultans (a little obvious, but they are comparable to those found on some English estates) and stunning views over the Sea of Marmara. Topkapi Palace also has a wonderful Turkish bath, which you can visit. However, the palace does get busy, so it is best to take in all the wonders of Topkapi Palace in Mid-Season, or when the cruise ships are not visiting.

 Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam

If you are looking to visit a traditional Ottoman bathhouse, then Istanbul is the place to be. The city offers several bathhouses, which you can visit, and these include: Çemberlitaş, Cağaloğlu, Galatasaray and Sülemaniye baths. You will already have an image in your mind of what these bathhouses look like, and you will be right in assuming that they are furnished in marble, big domes that are supported by lavishly decorated internal walls, with the sound of running water all around. See out the day with a massage, with experts on hand to ensure that you have the most relaxed evening of your life.

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