Cities don’t impress me much. For me to say a city is magnificent, you can be sure it’s a special place and to added to your list of must see places. Istanbul is truly magnificent. The bonus being it’s easy to get cheap flights to Istanbul from both Europe and Asia. Istanbul is home to over 14 million people and covers an impressive area of 5,343 km2.
This city is unique in that it lies over two continents.
You can stand on one side of Istanbul and be in Europe and then stand on the other side and be in Asia!
There are two bridges joining the continents. The most impressive one being the Bosphorus Bridge shown below. Pedestrians and cyclists must use boats as the bridge walkways are closed due to high numbers of people committing suicide. A sad past to such a beautiful architectural build.
Istanbul is filled with world famous historical marvels. From museums to places of worship, you will never run out of breathtaking sights. A city where ancient wonder meets modern style.
I like to be outdoors hence my love of nature. But I was equally happy being indoors in Istanbul due to the interiors being every bit, if not more spectacular than the exteriors. It’s one of the few places I would actually pay admission fees out of my cycling around the world budget!
Istanbul’s markets are terrific and a visit to the Grand Bazaar is an absolute must even if you are like me and do not like shopping. The spice market is an invigoration of colours and smells which gratify your senses as you wander through.
Do take care though as only one side street away from the tourist attractions can have you standing in questionable locations. Just as ancient exists side by side with contemporary, here in Istanbul derelict exists alongside magnificence.
People live in these buildings. I could hear the babies crying when taking the photo below.
Istanbul is a city of food. Stopping off between sights to drink Turkish coffee or tea and sample Turkish Delights is a good way to make your way from one place to the next.
And no, there is not an ongoing McDonald’s recruitment campaign as I had originally assumed, on my arrival to Istanbul.
In Turkey your Big Mac is delivered to your door at no extra cost.
Istanbul is a beautiful city to see at night.
This is by far the most magical city I’ve ever visited. I hope you are inspired to see Istanbul for yourself.
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Ishbel, creator of World Bike Girl, has spent her life on bicycles, from road racing, to velodrome sprinting to cycling the world. She has pedalled across 20 countries solo and promotes commuting by bicycle. Much to the dismay of her friends, she is an avid wearer of socks and sandals.