Spend a romantic weekend in Istanbul

As Valentines Day approaches this is the first in a series of ideas for romantice weekend breaks. This extract from the Sunday Times travel recommendations highlights some of the delights Istanbul offers couples looking for a romantic weekend break.

Friday-night frolics

After 10pm, Istanbullis turn into party animals. Catch them at 360 in a penthouse with views to Asia and the Bosphorus.

Saucy Saturday Sightseeing

Gilt so prolific it warrants sunglasses meets visitors to the Harem at Topkapi Palace Sultanahmet. This warren of Iznik-tiled corridors is where the Sultan lived with his wives and concubines.

Sexy Saturday evening

It may have an unsexy name, but the Istanbul Congress Centre is the place to catch the coolest shows – such as Teatro alla Scala performing a ballet to Pink Floyd. Its alfresco rooftop Loft bar is perfect for knocking back glasses of raki.

Sunday brunch

Look for the ‘Cicek Pasaj’ (‘flower market’) sign on the main drag, Istaklal Caddesi, and you’ll find a glass-domed refuge from the hubbub. Among the blooms, you can eat in a handful of restaurants – borek (a cheese-stuffed pastry) is worth the guilt.

Starry-eyed Sunday afternoon

Jump on a public ferry across the Bosphorus (departs Eminonu; £3), then hop off for a fish lunch in the stylish Bebek neighbourhood.