Fodor's To Europe!

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Magical Istanbul is divided by the Bosphorus and straddles two continents, Asia and Europe. This ancient city is packed with Ottoman and Byzantine treasures, as well as modern delights. No trip would be complete without a visit to Istanbul's greatest monuments, Aya Sofya and the Blue Mosque, as well as a visit to the surrounding countryside.
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  • History
  • Shopping
  • Architecture


  • Aya Sofya is perhaps the greatest work of Byzantine architecture and was once the cathedral of Constantinople.
  • The Blue Mosque is arguably the iconic image of the city, with its plethora of domes, semi domes, and 20,000 shimmering blue tiles.
  • More than just a palace, Topkapi holds a trove of Islamic art, jewels, and decor.


  • The Istanbul International Film Festival is held each April.
  • Mid-June is the month-long Istanbul Arts Festival, Turkey's premier cultural event.

Side Trips

  • The Prince's Islands, 12 mi/19 km off the coast, are green, car-less, and quiet.
  • Edirne, 146 mi/235 km south of Istanbul, is a well-preserved Ottoman city.

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