A perfect İstanbul morning starts in Ortaköy, with a traditional breakfast at one of its many waterfront cafes and a breathtaking view across the Bosphorus to Asia. After breakfast, it’s wonderful to wander around the flea market at the square, stroll pass the Çırağan and Dolmabahçe Palaces. (The word Dolmabahçe in English means ‘the filled garden’ because the Dolmabahçe Palace is founded upon a reclaimed land. It’s a beautiful 19th century palace right by the Bosphorus waterfront. It’s baroque and rococo in style and very French. Many people think that it is a model of the Palace of Versailles.) Then arrive at İstanbul Modern, the largest art gallery in the city. As well as looking around the exhibitions, you can have a light lunch in its café – another meal with a magnificent view. After a short walk to cross the Golden Horn via the historical Galata Bridge, you really feel like you are placed where the East meets the West – on the left, a big modern metropolis, on the right, an ancient city of palaces and mosques.
At the end of the Galata Bridge you'll find yourself in the ancient district of Sultanahmet. Strolling through its parks and alleys you'll find many marvellous buildings that testify to Istanbul's long and glorious history - from the lavish Ottoman halls of Topkapi Palace to the world's greatest church, St. Sophia and up to the Blue Mosque with its exquisite Iznik-tiled interior. Finally, feel yourself transported to the 1001 Nights at Kapali Carsi, the oldest bazaar in the world, with its nargileh (shisha/water pipe) stands, jewellery stalls and carpet-sellers.
And finally before you go to your room enjoy a magnificent and panoramic view of the Bosphorus as you sip your drink at the top of the hotel in the City Lights Bar.
Ataturk (the founder of the modern Turkish Republic) stayed here when in Istanbul and died here on the morning of November 10, 1938. Clocks throughout the palace are permanently stopped at five minutes past nine, the time of his death.
The Grand Bazaar (Covered Bazaar)
The Grand Bazaar is the oldest covered bazaar in the world, with more than 3,500 shops.
The Tunel Metro is the shortest underground railway in the world and also one of the oldest, built in 1871-76. It takes just 90 seconds to travel between Tunel square and Karakoy Square.