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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

The latest TripAdvisor stats are out and Paris, Rome and London have been kicked down the list of world’s top destinations. The winner in this year’s poll? Istanbul. So what does this Turkish megalopolis have to offer travellers? Apparently a lot!

It is pretty shocking that Paris, who won in the poll last year, has fallen all the way down the list to 7th place in the latest TripAdvisor poll for the hottest travel destinations for 2014. Even New York City which has always battled with Paris for first place has dropped to 12th place this year.

London? Our darling capital placed a respectable third place.

But let’s talk about Istanbul, this year’s hottest destination according to TripAdvisor’s poll-takers. Istanbul is a fab city for shopping, eaten and sightseeing and from London, flights to Istanbul are cheaper than ever onboard Turkish Air.

Shopping in Istanbul

Istanbul is a fab city for shopping. The first stop should be the Grand Bazaar which has been serving shoppers for hundreds of years, since the middle of the 15th century to be more precise. Today the bazaar has more than 3,000 stalls to browse! If you love a good bargain than the Spice Bazaar and the Arasta Bazaar are the perfect places to pick up a new rug (perhaps not recommended if you’re travelling with carry-on luggage only), handicraft or exotic spice. For something a bit more contemporary, try Beyoglu for fashion, music and books.

istanbul-lanterns

Eating out in Istanbul

Turkey has some incredible food. We’re all familiar with the late-night kebab after a bender but there’s so much more to Turkish cuisine than kebabs and Turkish delight! For something traditional, look for restaurants called Meyhanes, which serve both hot and cold meze and fresh seafood. Local markets will sell a delicious array of flatbreads, cheeses, Turkish salami and lentil soups. Pretty much everything you need for a picnic. For desert? Try baklava or lokum.

turkish-food

Sightseeing

Istanbul is a remarkably gorgeous city that is famous for its Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. It’s a city that blends antiquity with modernity. Any sightseeing tour of the city should include the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya, the Topkapi Palace and the Basilica Cistern. Don’t forget to take a ferry across the Bosphorus, the mighty river that separates Asia from Europe.

blue-mosque

World’s Top 10 Destinations for 2014:

  1. Istanbul
  2. Rome
  3. London
  4. Beijing
  5. Prague
  6. Marrakesh
  7. Paris
  8. Hanoi
  9. Siem Reap
  10. Shanghai

Have you ever visited Istanbul? What were your first impressions?

Imgs: abdulazizceylan, pdbreen, klebtahi, noneil70 / Flick cc.

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