Cheap flights to Istanbul are a snip since low-cost giant easyJet has injected some competition into the London-Istanbul route. The city's location is dramatic. Perched on the Bosphorus Strait, half is in Europe, half in Asia. Istanbul's glorious imperial history includes stints as the capital city of four empires - Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman.
Istanbul's rich cultural heritage is apparent in the cobbled stones of the vast Grand Bazaar that hubbubs with the sounds of traders and tourists, in the Aya Sofya (Church of the Holy Wisdom, also known by Haghia Sophia, its Greek name), and in the Topkapi Palace (Topkapi Sarayi), the official residence of the Ottoman Sultans for more than 400 years.
Turkish food is magnificent, faves are testi kebab, mercimek corbasi (red lentil soup), kofte (meatballs), imam bayildi (an eggplant and tomato dish, the name of which translates as "the priest wept" to represent its sheer deliciousness), borek (a pastry of which there are hundreds of varieties) and baklava.
Of course, no trip to Istanbul could be complete without a visit to a traditional hamam (bathhouse) or a ferry trip from Eminönü (Europe) to Anadolu Kavagi (Asia).
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