Baccarat’s Guide to Visiting Istanbul

Istanbul is an incredible city offering experiences to delight all the senses. Discover some of Istanbul’s must-see sites and essential experiences.

Istanbul may be a massive city, but it’s first and foremost a city of experiences, where all your senses are stimulated.

If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul. – Alphonse de Lamartine 

HISTORIC ISTANBUL
Sultanahmet, the “Old Istanbul”, has been designated as a UNESCO world heritage site and houses the most popular attractions and sights in the city. This district houses historic mosques and palaces not to be missed, including The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi palace, Basilica cistern and Grand Bazaar, while the new district is home to authentic food and shopping around Taksim Square.

Sultanahmet, the “Old Istanbul”, has been designated as a UNESCO world heritage site.

At the Hagia Sophia Mihrab, take the time to make a wish at the wish column by inserting your thumb into the hole in the column and fanning your hand around it in a half circle. Istanbul Palaces hold a special place in our heart thanks to the Dolmabahçe, with the largest number of crystal chandeliers in the world, the Yildiz, with an unbelievable crystal staircase and the Beylerbeyi with its opaline, emerald green, and red with gold crystal chandelier. Hearing the call to prayer for the first time, the flap of wings as a flock of birds zooms across the sky, and the many haggling negotiations happening in the Spice Market are what makes Istanbul the crossroad not to be missed.

Dolmabahçe Palace has the largest number of crystal chandeliers in the world.

MODERN ISTANBUL
Istanbul may be grounded in history, but the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, the Galerist and the Beyoglu district - the heart of the modern city, packed with cool contemporary art exhibitions - are not to overlooked.

THE TASTES OF ISTANBUL
The sense of taste will definitely not be forgotten in Istanbul, where you will find a mix of Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Balkan cuisine. Even the simplest summer food, such as grilled eggplant with yogurt, watermelon, cucumber and feta cheese, comes to life in Istanbul. New Turkish cuisine offers a refined twist on the classics: house-made sourdough and smoked butter capture your senses, along with cold and hot meze and sea bass poached in raki or oven-roasted chicken with chickpeas, parsley and walnuts. Don’t leave without enjoying the countless cakes, puddings, and baklava soaked in honey, with a strongly brewed Turkish tea and coffee.

Don’t leave without enjoying the countless cakes, puddings, and baklava soaked in honey, with a strongly brewed Turkish tea and coffee.

ISTANBUL BY WATER
A trip to Istanbul would not be complete without a Bosphorus cruise. White marble palaces where the sultans and their harems lived, whimsical timber mansions that were the summer residences of the Ottoman nobility, and majestic stone fortresses that played important roles in the downfall of the mighty Byzantine Empire dot the shore in a travel through time.

A trip to Istanbul would not be complete without a Bosphorus cruise.