Straddling two continents, Istanbul is without doubt one of the most culturally fascinating cities anywhere in the world. Down the centuries it has been an important trading hub in the Roman, the Byzantine, the Latin and the Ottoman Empires. The peoples, cultures and religions of these magnificent civilizations have left an indelible mark on the city that rises up like a mirage from on both sides of Bosporus. Today, Istanbul is a modern city that buzzes with nightlife and open-air food markets with a long history of multiculturalism. If this was not enough to make you want to visit, here are five more!

  1. Delicious Turkish Food

Istanbul’s cultural bounty is tied in large part to its culinary traditions. On wandering through the narrow winding streets of the old town, your senses will be assaulted by the fragrant aromas of dishes such as Turkish Döner kebabs, Lahmacun and Balık Ekmek. If you walk along the river and across the bridges, you will find some amazing restaurants grilling freshly caught fish that will have you salivating.

  1. Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque

The Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque are Istanbul’s two most iconic landmarks. No trip to Turkey’s largest city would be complete without visiting the majestic Hagia Sofia. Its cavernous interior holds a fascinating history and is sacred to worshipers of both the Christian and Muslim faiths. The domes of the Blue Mosque dominate the skyline of the European side of the city and mosque is no less imposing from the inside.

  1. It Is Cheap to Get There

It is not expensive to get to Istanbul. If you book via Air Arabia online booking, you can find some excellent deals year-round on return tickets from many destinations. Using this airline for Istanbul tickets represents great value for money. You can also find excellent packages for hotels, flights and car rental if you look here.

  1. Amazing Nightlife

The nightlife in Istanbul is up there with the nightlife any other city in the world. It regularly hosts concerts of some of the best classical composers as well as electronic DJs. The city is full of trendy nightclubs and rooftop bars in which you can let loose after a productive day in the markets and seeing the sights.

  1. Fantastic Shopping

Whether you want more traditional Turkish products or the latest designer gear, Istanbul has shopping opportunities galore. The city is crammed with bustling markets at which you can find leather and precious jewels. On the main street, there are all the trendiest brands in high fashion, many of them at a fraction of the cost that they are found in other places.

If it is culture, beauty and history you are after, there is no other better destination in Europe for a weekend getaway. While the Turkish Airlines flight price remains low, you would be wise to consider sampling in the delights of the cultural capital of Turkey the next time you are planning a city break.