Fodor's Expert Review Beylerbeyi Palace
Built as a summer residence for Sultan Abdülaziz in 1865, Beylerbeyi is a bit like a mini-Dolmabahçe that incorporates a similarly eclectic mix of European and Turkish styles but is smaller, less grandiose, and has more of a personal feel. Beylerbeyi boasts ornately painted ceilings, Baccarat crystal chandeliers, gold-topped marble columns, and intricately carved wooden furniture; the central hall has a white-marble fountain and a stairway wide enough for a regiment. The magnolia-shaded palace grounds on the Asian side of the Bosphorus underneath the first bridge are also pleasant, while two waterfront bathing pavilions (one was for men, the other for women) stand out for their bizarrely fanciful architecture. You must join a tour to see the palace.