How to Fall in Love with Istanbul


It’s so easy to fall in love with Istanbul. The city is so beautiful– so romantic, it resembles the set of an epic love story. Romance in Istanbul is around every corner. You can smell it, hear, feel it with each step. And every street brings you face to face with a sultan’s palace or a French patisserie. The melting pot of food, architecture and cultures encourages visitors to fall in love.

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Why I Love Istanbul

When I think of Istanbul, I think of the color red. Not just because of the Turkish flag but for romance and passion. And Istanbul has both. Istanbul is neither European nor Asian. It’s an enticing mixture of both. Because it straddles two continents, it has one foot in each world. It is for this reason that it’s so easy to find inspiration and fall in love with Istanbul. Walk in the Beyoglu district where patisseries, cafes, and Art Nouveau buildings conjure images of Europe. While just a few steps away, the minarets of mosques and the call to prayer will evoke a time of insatiable sultans, concubines, and the intrigue both have had in literature and movies.

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Just Walking

In some cities, everyday activities like walking become romantic strolls. In Istanbul, narrow streets turn into wide boulevards. Whether walking alone or on a tour— delight in the sounds and aromas from street vendors. Enjoy a Turkish coffee or a tutti-fruity hookah. The light filters down from beautiful street lamps, creating shadows that dance on the pavement and stone pavers as you traverse them.

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Basilica Cistern

Although currently under renovation, the city’s most unexpectedly romantic attraction is the Basilica Cistern. Constructed in the sixth century and then forgotten for centuries. The cistern once stored the city’s water has been re-fitted with lights and music. The classic architecture is a beautiful backdrop to romance. Fish flitter about the 336 columns that support the ceiling. Don’t miss the upside-down head of Medusa that forms the bottom of one column.

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Bosphorus Ferry Cruise

The cruise between continents last about 20 minutes. Grab a seat on the ferry that cruises the Bosphorus Strait as musicians play traditional music. Snuggle inside or up on the top deck, as you watch the lights of the city pass you by. The skyline is low but lifted into the sky by the towering minarets, lighthouses, and towers that line the river. You can see the beauty of the city clearly as the crest of the gentle waves and fall against the side of the boat.

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Shopping Can be Romantic

The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest covered markets in the world. Shop for a colorful lantern, Turkish rug, or gold jewelry. Take home a reminder of your time in the city. No one will rush you. Sit and enjoy an assortment of teas, chocolates, and Turkish delights with the shopkeepers. Languish at the moment, while counting how many languages are spoken all around you.

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The Sunsets are Magical

The sunsets from the Bosphorus are amazing, but if you’re looking for a place to witness a sunset from on high, visit Galata Tower or the lighthouse. But beware, there is no crowd control, so it gets pretty busy.

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  1. Joanna

    I have had the chance to travel to Istanbul a few years ago but I had to cancel because my friend couldn’t go anymore and it was a 2 people packaged deal. I’d love to go one day, it looks like such a contrasting city.

  2. Becca Wilson

    This definitely does look like such a magical place to visit. I have only ever heard great things about exploring the culture. I love your pictures!

  3. Sundeep

    I already fall in love with Istanbul. This place is what we called dream place. Your travel pictures and courageous to travel even more.

    1. stacey

      Brittany, I realized a couple years ago that I was missing out on great places in the states. I had traveled all over the world. So we made it our mission to vist all the cities in America we hadn’t been to. I hadn’t been to Chicago because I realized I hadn’t been. So in those few years we hit all the great ones. Now the only city on my US bucket list is Vegas. lol

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