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The place where East meets West, cultures collide in incredible Istanbul. This city has been the centre of many a war, having been colonised by different empires throughout its history. With ancient Greek roots, Istanbul is the central spot of many mythological stories. Go underground to discover the ancient caravans of Bascilica Cistern, which were once guarded by the fearsome Medusa. Next, get a taste of what life was like for the Byzantines of Constantinople, the former name of this great city. Check out the life of Jesus in the golden artworks of the Chora Church, before learning about the city’s conversion to Islam at Hagia Sophia. With so much to see, you’ll never be stuck for what to do in Istanbul.

The architectural tour through the ages continues at the city’s amazing mosques. Be blown away by the beauty of the Blue Mosque, with its grand mosaic boasting 20,000 blue hand-made tiles. Climb the Third Hill to get to Süleymaniye Mosque, the imperial mosque of the Ottomans, where you’ll snap some of the best vistas of the city.

Get a taste of that royal life at one of Istanbul’s many palaces. Considered one of the top Istanbul attractions, go down to the harems at Topkapi Palace and learn about what life was like for the women of the Ottoman court. Sail past the western-style Dolmabahçe Palace on a cruise on the Bosphrous and discover the mysterious of ancient peoples in Turkey at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

And let’s not skip out on the most important parts: eating. No doubt you’ll want to stuff your face with as many Turkish delicacies as possible. You’ll find a whole array of street food at the Grand Bazaar, including pide, baklava and Turkish delight. Wash them down with a Turkish coffee or sweet tea. Walking along the shores of the Bosphrous, make sure you grab a balik ekmek, one of the staples of Istanbul.

With its beautiful architecture, great food and even better ambience, it’s hard not to fall in love with Istanbul, Turkey.

Fast Facts
Language: Turkish
Currency: Turkish Lira
Electricity: 230v
Visas: Click here to see if you need a visa to enter Turkey.
Dialing Code: +90
Time Zone: (GMT+02:00)

From quick breaks to epic journeys, Contiki exists to connect young travellers with the time of their lives.

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More Choice
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18-35 Only
Better Experiences
Unbeatable Value