Turkey is the perfect combination of Middle Eastern culture and Westernized modernity. It is a great choice as a vacation destination for those who would like to immerse themselves in a new culture without sacrificing some of those creature comforts travellers are used to at home. Many people who have never been to Turkey before choose to begin their travels in Istanbul, Turkey's capital city. The megacity of Istanbul is truly where East meets West and is rich in ancient culture. Istanbul has been known as Byzantium and Constantinople in the past and is today home to over 13 million people.
Istanbul is also home to some of the classiest, fanciest bars and clubs in the world. It may seem counterproductive to travel halfway around the world only to go out for drinks, but Istanbul's nightlife is worth experiencing firsthand. It is obviously very important to explore the historically and culturally important landmarks, but spending time with the real, contemporary citizens of Istanbul will give travelers a sense of the everyday casual culture of the city.
After a night of worldly glamour, travelers should explore ancient cities like Sanfranbolu and Ephesus. Turkey's beaches are among the world's most beautiful, and tourists can charter a boat tour or go rafting. The Grand Bazaar provides and exciting rush as tourists get a feel for what it's like to be amongst residents of Turkey during the day as they go about earning their livelihoods. Tourists who are looking to indulge themselves in a luxurious retreat need not go on the stereotypical group walking tours; they can relax on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea while eating delicious regional cuisine.
Sultanahmet is the district of Istanbul that attracts the most tourist interest and is especially attractive whilst holidays. This is where the beautiful historical architecture has been restored to pristine condition. The Blue Mosque is surrounded by Ottoman-style buildings. Some of those buildings are inexpensive hostels that travelers can stay in while they visit. Since Istanbul has seen the presence of many different empires throughout history, the city's architectural and cultural influences are hugely varied. Beyolu is less traditionally Turkish, bearing a more European atmosphere. This is where the nightlife flourishes amid ancient buildings. The Bosporus is another luxurious place to visit in order to feel a sense of luxury and go shopping.