Istanbul is one of the most culturally rich and naturally beautiful cities in Europe and has become an increasingly popular tourist destination over the last two decades. There are unspoilt beaches to enjoy, rich history to absorb and an array of incredible villas to unwind in.

Whether you’re looking to explore the must see sites relating to the Byzantine empire or just want to enjoy the unrivalled luxuries of boutique villas in Turkey , visiting Istanbul is a must for any Turkish traveller. A visit to Turkey will also enable you to experience the unusual opportunity to experience a mix of Western and Eastern life, all under the ever glowing Mediterranean sunshine. So for those considering booking a break to Turkey, here are some of the must see attractions.

1: Haggling At The Grand Bazaar Market

We don’t get too much opportunity to haggle in stubborn Britain anymore, so why not sharpen those bargaining skills with a trip to the Grand Bazaar market? Here you’ll get to bid for best prices on everything from coats and jewellery to carpets and handbags. So there’ll be no excuse for not taking presents back to family and friends back home! An unusual fact is that some market vendors still pay their stall rental in gold, so make sure you’re prepared to fight for the best price possible. A true labyrinth of opportunity for the bargain hunting elite.

2: Marvelling At The Ottoman Empire

Located behind the Hagia Sophia is the Topkapi Palace, one of the best places in the whole of Turkey to get an insight into Ottoman life. This complex was the hub of the Ottoman empire for around three centuries before it was later replaced by Dolmabahçe Palace in the mid 19th century. The complex is huge and will take a whole day to explore fully and is well worth the relatively high entry fee. You’ll be able to journey your way around the luxurious gardens and domes of former sultans and even get a glimpse into the world renowned Chamber of Sacred Relics. The Topkapi Palace truly has to be seen to be believed, and is an encapsulating and thought provoking day trip.

3: Visiting The Haghia Sophia Museum/Church

There’s no better way to get a feel for Byzantine history than a visit to the Haghia Sophia. Haghia Sofia was originally a Byzantine church over 1400 years ago before later becoming a Mosque during the Ottoman period. It now serves as a Turkish museum with its sheer size and impressiveness attracting visitors from around the world. It remains the home of the largest unsupported Byzantine dome in the world and there are also beautiful mosaics and stone work on display. Soak up the atmosphere in one of the oldest, most architecturally important locations in Europe.

4: Eating… A Lot!

Authentic Turkish cuisine is arguably some of the tastiest food in the world and there are endless amounts of restaurants within the city of Istanbul for you to enjoy. If you want to experience cuisine from the Ottoman culture book a table at Asitane. The contrast of sweet and sour tastes are prominent throughout Ottoman dishes, none of which is more symbolic than in Kuvan dolmasi, a dish offering melon stuffed with minced meat! Corsica holidays, French holidays and Italian holidays are all notorious for their cuisine but nothing can match this truly unique Ottoman flavour.

5: Experiencing The Nightlife

As much as Istanbul is absorbing due to its history, it’s even more attractive because of its future. Istanbul is becoming increasingly popular with celebrities and the party loving tourists who wish to enjoy the luxurious surroundings of clubs such as Anjelique and Blackk. At night, Istanbul turns into a vibrant, pulsating hub of clubbing activity with clubs such as Reina and Sortie attracting people from miles around. A great way to begin or close any holiday to Istanbul is by hitting the streets, letting loose and waiting to see the beautiful sunrise in the morning.

Scott Cole is a writer who only wishes he was as confident in his haggling skills as he is with writing about them!