Everyone likes to relax a little on holiday. Some people like to spend the whole holiday relaxing, some prefer to be climbing steep mountainsides or diving into the ocean depths. But either way, everyone needs to take a break, take a breath and relax a little. This is especially true in bustling cities, where the tempo of life can be overwhelming, even to the most ardent lover of cities. We look at one of the world’s busiest and most vibrant cities – Istanbul – and examine the top five ways that you can take time out from your Istanbul city break to relax a little.
Go to Çamlica Hill
Çamlica Hill overlooks the city and offers you wide vistas and open space to breathe and relax. The 360 degree panoramic view is calming and beautiful at the same time, and one of the highlights of any city break to Istanbul. The hill is number five on our list because it is quite an attraction, and can get slightly crowded. This means that while it is very calming and relaxed, it’s not always that serene or secluded.
The Old Sea Walls in the Fatih District
The old sea walls are located close to some of Istanbul’s oldest monuments, churches and tombs. They helped to shape the old walled city, and are a great place to relax while touring the surrounding historic buildings and museums. Sitting down and staring out over the Golden Horn inlet is soothing and almost soporific; great for relaxing over lunch or watching the ships go by at dusk. Either way, it’s a great place to stop while exploring this part of Istanbul while on a city break.
If you want a longer break away from the city for a few days, why not go on a traditional gulet cruise? Gulets are traditional Turkish sailing boats that have usually been converted for luxury tours and tourists on holiday in Turkey. Changing gear from a city break in Istanbul to relaxing on the deck of a ship coasting through the Bosporus strait is a good way to relax for a while. You can then return to enjoy the frantic energy of the city again, refreshed and ready for more exotic sights and experiences.
This may sound both odd and obvious, but if you choose the right hotel in the quieter parts of the town it can be a great place to relax. Choose a hotel with available activities and great cuisine on offer and it can be nice spending a day holed up in your hotel before plunging head first back into the streets. Istanbul city breaks are best enjoyed when you have a good base to come back to, away from the swirling heart of the city proper, and choosing the right hotel should be an important part of your plans when deciding what type of holiday in Istanbul you would like.
Seemingly built around the idea of relaxation, the Prince’s Islands are the perfect place to explore as a part of a relaxing few days away from the main city. The islands are in the Sea of Marmara, reachable on a day trip by boat from Istanbul. City breaks can feel crowded and claustrophobic because of the amount of traffic and fumes around in the city, which is another reason to visit the islands; there are no cars, and transport is by horse and cart only. All of the islands have a serene, gentle feel about them, and just taking a stroll about one of them has an incredibly calming effect. They are well worth a visit on any city break to Istanbul, even if it’s just to help you appreciate the hustle and bustle of the main city even more.
By: Sarah Arnesen