Drive through illuminated Istanbul take to a first class restaurant to

Drive through illuminated Istanbul, take to a first class restaurant to enjoy dinner. Taste the Turkish cuisine which is a fabulous four course meal including a divine Turkish desert. Enjoy a spectacular floorshow of belly dancers and an Anatolian Cultural Folklore entertainment group, world-class night clubs, bars, cafes.


A veritable symphony of occident and orient, Beyoglu is the pulsating heartbeat of Istanbul's day and nightlife. Istiklal Street - a paved thoroughfare perpetually swarming with Istanbul's colourful hoi polloi - is at the hub of the metropolis while a maze of narrow winding lanes filled with funky cafes, soulful bars, continental restaurants, historic cinemas, prominent theatres and exclusive shops shoot off in all directions around it. Taksim Square, featuring the impressive Monument to the Republic, heads the parade into Beyoglu's bohemian open-air museum past the Greek Orthodox Aya Triade Church and the French Consulate. A quaint old tramway carries passengers past the Rumeli Han, Cicek Pasaji, Cite de Pera, Atlas Pasaji, Galatasaray Lise, and several elegant consulates to the last stop in Tünel Square. Every year the International Istanbul Film, International Istanbul Music, International Istanbul Theatre and International Istanbul Film Jazz Festivals are held here and in nearby districts. Other annual events include the Bosphorus Festival, Roxy Music Days, Aksanat Jazz Festival and the Blues Festival.


This is undoubtedly Istanbul's "Bohemian Quarter", which not so long ago was known as a bad area to hang out in, with its dark deserted streets and creepy abandoned buildings. However, the area has undergone tremendous development in recent years. Tiny cafes, live music venues, open-air restaurants and bars now quietly cohabit with art galleries, antique bookshops and music stores.


Around the first century BC, there was a tiny village situated on the mini peninsula of the Golden Horn where the modern suburb of Karaköy stands today. These days, Karaköy is a bustling port with a lively fish market, a hectic ferry terminal and a shady nightlife; an intriguing landscape at the mouth of the Golden Horn. Scores of locals fish from the Galata Bridge and an array of vendors peddle all kinds of goods along the sidewalks. A vast underground market filled with every electrical appliance you could ever imagine provides safe passage under the busy road to the entrance of Tünel. Up the hill is Bankalar Caddesi, an historical area filled with banks and art galleries and do-it-yourself stores. All visiting international cruise ships dock in Karaköy.


The Genoese-built Galata Tower is the most central point here. The renowned Turkish film Istanbul Beneath My Wings tells the story of Hazarfen Celebi who flew from this tower with his hand-made wings. The main street, Galip Dede Caddesi, is a hive of activity with shops selling all manner of musical instruments, antique bookshops and tiny local restaurants. The Whirling Dervishes have a home here at the Mevlana Evi, the Goethe Institute provides locals with a good dose of culture and art and there are countless mosques, churches and synagogues hidden away in obscure side streets.

Beþiktaþ and Ortaköy

Beþiktaþ – which is atcually dismally devoid of places to paint the town red in - is at the center of the three-way fork that leads up the hill to Levent. Ortaköy, on the other hand, is a bustling suburb on the waterfront. Bubbling over with cafes, bars, restaurants and tea houses, this area is a popular weekend hangout for locals. Ortaköy's back streets are buzzing with handicraft stalls filled with trinkets and souvenirs on summer weekends. This part of town is renowned for its mosque, church and synagogue within close quarters. The Bosphorus Bridge spans the waterway overhead.

Bosphorus: Arnavutköy to Sariyer

The Bosphorus shore on the European side is lined with Ottoman-style mansions, high society hangouts and fish restaurants. There is only one main road and it follows the shoreline all the way to Zekariyeköy, a popular weekend getaway for the citybound.

Sea of Marmara Coast: Kumkapi to Yediküle

Kumkapi is a distinctly touristy area filled with over-priced fish restaurants and not much else besides views of the sea. The coast road heads out toward the airport past the old city walls and Yediküle Fortress.

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