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Istanbul Holidays – Best Things to do in Istanbul

Istanbul, the biggest and capital city of Turkey, is home to over 14 million people, making it one of the most-populated cities in the world. It is among the most ancient cities, that is divided between the East and West, Asia and Europe, in terms of culture and history. This makes it quite a fascinating city that has many destinations to visit and things to do. Below are some of the places you should visit and best things to do in Istanbul to make the most out of your vacation or holiday trip.

1. Make a one-day sightseeing tour at the Istanbul Shores.

Among the best things to do in Istanbul, is making an excursion on the shores of Istanbul and see the best with the help of a local expert guide. Spend some time at the Istanbul Port exploring the world class city’s many. Such a sightseeing tour will ideally serve as an introduction to this diverse city that spans two continents. You can visit the Superb Blue Mosque, The Hagia Sophia and that has Byzantine mosaics Ottoman architecture and the museums of Topkapi Palace. After the sightseeing tour, you can go back to your ship for departure. You can as well enjoy Turkish bath services at any time of the day during the excursion.

2. Visit the Basilica Cistern.

The Basilica Cistern was constructed to store and provide a water filtration system for the Great Palace in the sixth century. However, due to changes and developments, the Basilica lay unused and disregarded – at one time it was used as a dumping ground for waste and even dead bodies. It was reconstructed, underwent cleaning and restored three times. Mud was removed from the cisterns. and the touring boats replaced with platforms. The Medusa is also found in the NorthWest part of the cistern. Today, it is among the most prominent attractions.

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3. Shop in The Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar has over four thousand stalls including shops, dealers, and restaurants; it also has its mosque. Anything you need can be found here, from cars, gold and silver, carpets, cosmetics, utensils, books, clothing, purses, foods, electronics and much more. Goods in the Bazaar are both cheap and expensive; therefore, everyone can enjoy shopping. At Dhoku, you will find hand-woven Turkish kilims with cool designs by the international design group, Superpool. Their prices are fixed implying there is no hard sell. Quality and authentic Turkish furniture can be found in Asmalimescit district where the best Turkey’s design group, Autoban, are based. Some of the hotels near The Grand Bazaar are The Tan Hotel, Ottoman Hotel Park, and Rast Hotel.

http://www.grandbazaaristanbul.org/Grand_Bazaar_Istanbul.html

4. Enjoy Turkish dinner and shows during the night:

Make sure you enjoy an evening of traditional music and dancing during a night dinner and show in Istanbul. Istanbul City at night gives a typical view brightly lit and colored mosques that are fun to watch, do this while enjoying a Turkish rhythmic belly dance and more. Local guides will drive you to different dinner and show locations; you will enjoy Anatolian cultural group and pickup and drop off services from most central Istanbul hotels

5. Explore History at the Istanbul Archeology Museums

Istanbul is a great city for history lovers. It has various Museums that you can visit. They include the Archeology Museum; the Tiled Kiosk and the Ancient Orient Museum. You can also visit the Palace First Court and storehouses after Topkapi Palace that is just nearby. The sarcophagus of Alexander the Great is a major attraction found in the Archeology Museum. You can also adventure around the ancient walls of Istanbul.

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/turkey/istanbul/attractions/istanbul-archaeology-museums/a/poi-sig/402120/360887

6. Attend a Whirling Dervish show.

Attending a whirling Dervish show is among the best things to do in Istanbul. You can marvel at the whirling dervishes mystique as they dance their ceremonial ‘sema’ Mevlevi gracefully at the Hodjapasha Dance Theater. You will enjoy a culture-rich evening during a performance of choreographed old age and spiritual dancing that is accompanied by Persian chanting and traditional music. Before the show starts, you can enjoy a Turkish delight or a cold drink at the bar. It will be fun admiring the dervishes as they twist and elegantly turn their white flowing gowns. While in the show, feel the classical Turkish music. dance passion as the Dervish spins in choreographed motion. You will also enjoy poetic songs and ancient Persian prayers.

7. Uncover the rich Jewish culture History during a private-guided tour in Istanbul.

This tour allows you to explore old Jewish synagogues like the Ashkenazi Synagogue and the Etz Ahayim Synagogue where you will learn about Istanbul’s Jewish heritage. You can enjoy visits to famous sites like the Jewish Museum of Turkey (Zülfaris Synagogue) and the Galata Tower to have an in-depth understanding of the Jewish history and Muslim coexistence from the ancient times through Roman Empires, Byzantine Empires, Ottoman empires to present day Turkey.

http://www.ayasofyahotel.com/zulfaris-synagogue/

8. Plan for a Dolmabahce Palace Tour in Istanbul

To have the most out of your Istanbul tour, consider making a 3-hour guided tour in the Dolmabahçe Palace tour. After that, head to the Bosphorus Bridge where you will experience the Asian side of the city. This is the home to former Sultans and nobility. Enjoy seeing its elegant rooms that include the Medhal Hall and the Crystal Staircase. Later climb the Çamlıca or Yeditepe Hill and snap some photos from the best paranoic viewpoints of the city. You will also admire the palace’s European architecture and Ottoman. Learn about the first president of Turkey, Mustafa Atatürk who lived and also died in the palace. Finally cruise back to your hotel once the tour ends.

http://www.dolmabahcepalace.com/

9. Sample local cuisine in Istanbul.

After a long trip, enjoy a fantastic local cuisine at a Turkish Kebab House. Fresh fish and seafood are also in abundance in Istanbul. You can enjoy a diverse selection of Turkish delicacies, Turkish coffee, and liquor such as Raki.

10. Visit the Hippodrome

The Hippodrome is located on the square near Sultan Ahmet Mosque. It is 480 meters long and 117 meters wide. It is a large amphitheater that can hold up to 100,000 people. In Roman times and Ottoman times, the Hippodrome hosted chariot races, polo games and other social events such as circumcision of the crown prince.

Top 10 Best Hotels in Istanbul 2017

Istanbul is indisputably one of the greatest tourist destinations in the world. The influx of the tourists into this epic and heritage city has positively impacted on the growth of the hospitality industry. You get impressed by the hotels’ and resorts’ quality in this city. But which are the best hotel in Istanbul? In this article, we’ll discuss the best hotels in Istanbul based on travellers’ choice.

Be inspired to travel this magnificent city with our choices for the 10 Istanbul hotels.

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1. Senatus suites

Also known as the Millennium Hotel Istanbul, Senatus is indeed a gem worth experiencing. It’s located in Sultanahmet, which a popular tourist destination. What makes the hotel stand out from the rest is the quality of their services and amenities. Their family rooms can accommodate a large family. The rooms are air conditioned, and visitors are provided with free WiFi. You will also be offered free parking, laundry services, shuttle bus services and babysitting. The hotel’s architecture represents the best in Turkish traditional. Senatus suites’ price ranges from $100-$400, which makes it extremely affordable for most.

http://senatussuites.com/galleries/

2. White House Hotel Istanbul

White House Hotel Istanbul has awed the hearts of many travelers to take the second position in our list. The hotel’s quality of service is outstanding.

The hotel has been reviewed with five stars by more than three thousand customers. The hotel is located within walking distance to main attraction sites such as Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, and many others. It is a 4-star hotel and its friendly price range of $51-$187 for an average room makes it budget-friendly as well. The quality and variety of their cuisines are incredible.

https://www.istanbulwhitehouse.com/

3. Walton Hotel Galata

Located in Bohemian Galata, this 4-star hotel came in at #3 this year. Walton hotel has invested heavily in the quality of the hospitality services and amenities over the recent years, being in a century-old building also gives it an authentic look that attracts many travelers. It has an impressive capacity of 27 rooms which are readily affordable to many. At an average price range of $45-$161 for a standard room, it is indeed among the most affordable hotels. You will enjoy a broad spectrum of amenities including air conditioned rooms, free internet among others.

http://www.waltonhotels.com/

4. Hotel Amira Istanbul

This boutique hotel is located at the center of the Istanbul city giving it a strategic positioning. Neighboring some of the remarkable attraction sites such as the great Hagia Sophia, the Imperial Topkapi Palace, and many others. It is indeed one of the best places to stay while in Istanbul. The offer 32 spaciously designed rooms at a price range of $49-$101 for a standard room. It makes the hotel one of the most affordable place to stay in this historic city. It is a 4* hotel, and the quality of their amenities including free WiFi, fitness center with gym, Spa among others is top notch.
http://www.hotelamira.com/

5. Osmanhan Hotel

Though it is a 3* hotel, Osmanhan Hotel has remained viciously competitive to book a top slot on this list. Its affordability and quality of their services have been noted as the one reason many travelers would book it again. With a price range of $36-$79 for a standard room, Osmanhan is indeed one of the most affordable hotels at the heart of the city. It is not crowded with only 7 rooms available. You will enjoy air-conditioned rooms, free high-speed internet, bus shuttle services as some of their services among many others.

http://www.osmanhanhotel.com/

6. Sirkeci Mansion

Located just next to Topkapi Palace, it is one place that you will love spending time. The hotel is at the center of Istanbul and provides a magnificent view of this beautiful city. A majority of the tourists’ attractions are just a walking distance. You will be amazed by the revolutionary approach to their décor and design- it is an incredible fusion of the ancient and the 21st century. Their hospitality service and a variety of cuisines will never get you disappointed. It is a 4.5* with a huge capacity of 52 rooms. You can easily afford a standard room at a range $75-$308 at this hotel. The quality of their amenities is indisputably one of the best in Istanbul.

http://sirkecimansion.com/

7. Nerion Hotel

If you want to experience the best part of Istanbul, then Nerion Hotel should be your choice place to stay. It is strategically located to provide the travelers with the best that Istanbul can offer. The 4* hotel is indeed one of the largest hotels in the city based on capacity. With 53 readily available and affordable modern guest rooms, it is the perfect place for a group of travelers. With a price range of $64-$140, you can afford a standard room at this hotel. You will enjoy top-notch amenities including swimming pool, massage spa, cultural library among others at friendly cost.

8. Tomtom Suites

Situated in The Old Franciscan House, Tomtom provides an incredible combination of authentic ancient and 21st-century designs. The building is a great piece of historic structure that dates more than 150 years of existence. The terraces remain as they were back then giving a panoramic view and nostalgic outlook of the old town. It has a 20 room capacity. At a price range of $87-$185 for a standard room, it is one of the most affordable hotels in this place. Apart from affordability and amazing features of the hotel, quality and variety of their amenities are another reason many travelers like Tomtom Suites.

http://www.tomtomsuites.com/

9. Raffles Istanbul

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Raffles is one of the largest 5-star hotels in the heart of Istanbul. With an 185 room capacity, the hotel can hold a huge number of visitors at once. Located in Besiktas, Raffles prides itself as one of the luxurious and affordable places for your stay in this magnificent city. With a price range of $259-$449 as an average rate for a standard room, you can afford a nice room in this hotel. The quality of their hospitality services and amenities is worth every dollar you spend at Raffles.

http://www.raffles.com/istanbul/

10. Witts Istanbul Suites

The hotel location is just a walking distance from Istanbul’s, buzzing bars, entertainment joints, business district, and modern museums. This makes it easy and cheap for visitors to enjoy the beauty of this city. The 4.5* hotel has a 17 suite capacity making it perfect for privacy and tranquility, especially for young couples. The suites are spacious and affordable with a cost range of $94-$151 for a standard room. It is the bathrooms of these suites that make them special. You will also enjoy a wide variety of hotel’s amenities.

http://www.wittistanbul.com/

6 Ways To Travel Around Europe On The Cheap

From newbies to returnees, traveling across Europe has become a hobby to many world travelers. This fascinating continent, characterized by a blend of cultures, rich history made emblematic by skillful and consummate gothic architecture, quaint courtyards and squares, and colorful cobble-street cities, continues to host millions of world travelers. And even with the stunningly falling euro, Europe is not necessarily the cheapest continent to travel around. However, there are several easy ways to criss-cross Europe without overstretching your budget. Here are 6 of them:

Fly budget airlines

Europe has several budget airline carriers with EasyJet and Ryanair being the most popular ones. These aren’t the most classy and fancy planes by any means, but they will probably get you to your destination for cheap. These planes also have spectacular on-time performances to let you depart and arrive at your destination as you have scheduled.

Travel by bus

When you are traveling between two or more countries, using road transport, specifically buses might not be the most appealing option, because the journey can be both long and tedious. However, if your destination is in the neighboring country, then traveling by bus can be worth your while. Saving up  $50 and traveling for 9 hours isn’t that bad.  Here are some other ways to travel around Europe cheaply.

Stay in hostels

Hostels usually have a bad rap, but many of them don’t deserve this type of reputation. When you are planning your journey across Europe, you can use websites like HostelWorld to search the best hostels available by location and read reviews and overall rating to get an option that best suits you. With as low as $15 per night, you are sure of spending your night comfortably and save a few dollars for your trip.

Stay away from major city centers

Venturing into Europe’s less-frequented city corners does not only win you the best room rates, it’s also an excellent way to get to learn the local cultures. Alternatively, you can keep your budget in check by renting alternative lodging options like vacation rentals overseas.

Use trains

If you are planning to travel across vast distances, getting a rail pass is the best option to take. Europe has an excellent rail system that is also very cheap, especially over short distances. Though using trains for longer distances can be slightly expensive, rail passes are a great way to cut down on your travel budget when in Europe.

Hitchhiking

The best and cheapest way to travel is to not incur any single coin for bus fare, train or air ticket. Hitchhiking is a common practice in Europe. However, it’s salient that you use your head when you decide to hitchhike. Just because a person stops doesn’t mean you have to get into the car. At least enquire.

Bottom line

Of course, these aren’t the only known ways to travel in Europe for cheap; there are many more. However, when going to a foreign country, it’s wise to do your homework and know the currency exchange rates. Always plan your trip, making weather a top consideration. And finally, remember to equip yourself with extra cash just in case of an emergency.

Best Places In Canada Just Waiting To Be Discovered By You

Best Places In Canada Just Waiting To Be Discovered By You

Awe-inspiring environment, welcoming atmosphere, and vibrant cities make Canada a desired tourist destination. Canada is an extensive land encompassing of spectacular coastlines, majestic mountains, spacious prairies, Arctic tundra, and virgin forests. As the largest country in North America, Canada hosts a mosaic of multicultural communities and is home to the world’s largest coastline.

Here is an overview of some of the best places to visit in Canada:

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a series of three waterfalls located on the border of United State’s New York and Canada’s Ontario. The Ontario side is called Horseshoe falls and offers the best attractions and views. One of the best places to view the Niagara Falls is from the Queen Victoria Park where fireworks are displayed during the summer and the falls are normally illuminated.

Banff National Park

Banff National Park is Canada’s first national park and the most visited.  Located in the province of Alberta, the park’s wildlife and breathtaking scenery draw many tourists along the Trans-Canada Highway. Lake Louise is just one of the spectacular spot within the park. Lake Louise offers a glacier lake of uncommon and beautiful colors. There are many activities to do in the park. Try horseback riding, skiing, or white water rafting. In the lake, there is a famous festival called MEC Ice climbing Festival.

Vancouver

Located in a serene area between the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountains, Vancouver is favorable for its landscapes that present playground for tourists. Tourists can swim in the ocean, snow ski in the mountains, and rollerblade through scenic parks all day. Stanley Park, a star attraction in Canada and covers a huge area of green spaces, woodlands, and gardens.

Saskatchewan

When the desert landscape tickles your fancy, head to the Big Muddy Badlands just to the north of Montana for the beautiful architecture of caves. Deep in the Big Muddy, you will find Castle Butte, a relic rising almost 70 meters high. It served as a landmark for early settlers. Evidence of civilization can be found in form of ceremonial circles, ancient buffalo jumps, and stone effigies.

Whistler

Whistler resort is the largest alpine ski destination in North America thanks to the Blackcomb and Whistler mountains. Situated in the Coast Mountains, Whistler is a two-hour drive along the Sea-to-Sky highway. At the bottom of the two mountains are Creekside, Upper village, three quaint villages and the Whistler Village.

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Located on the western side of Mahone Bay, the town is located along the ocean. Its unique wilderness and maritime hospitality make a well-balanced experience. The historic town offers colorful shops and galleries and an avid fisherman can visit the Fisheries Museum. Indian falls is home to hiking and walking trails, rock beaches, on site privies and lookout points.

Pack a lunch, and make a day out of exploring the other nearby parks and cities for some of the best places to visit in Canada.