Activities can be booked through local destination management companies such as CNIDUS (cnidus.com), Dekon Group (dekongroup.com.tr), EA Organisation (eaorganizasyon.com.tr), Scala Mice (scalamice.com) and Plaza Incentive and Congress Worldwide (plazatur.com).
HAMMAM INDULGENCE Melt away tension at one of the city’s Turkish hammams (such as the Cagaloglu baths, Yerebatan Caddesi 34). Soak, steam, soap and be massaged using traditional methods. In Ottoman times the hammam also served as a place of entertainment, and belly dancing demos and classes can be arranged.
TREASURE HUNT A great way to take in sites such as the Grand Bazaar and Sultanahmet Square. For added authenticity, add a rally where participants travel around the city in traditional dolmus taxis – vintage Fords, Plymouths and Chevrolets dating from the 1950s and staged in the narrow, winding streets of the Cukurcuma district, a good spot to bag an antique bargain.
OTTOMAN COOKING LESSON Find out how traditional fare meat balls) is created, and learn how to put together ingredients and make dishes combining Asian, Persian, Anatolian and Aegean culinary techniques.
CRAFT SHOPPING TOUR Take a guided trip and learn how traditional ceramics and jewelry are made. Try your hand at glassblowing and watch carpet weavers at work – learn how to distinguish the age and origin of kilims (hand- woven rugs). End with a mesmeric whirling dervish performance – these take place at the Galata Mevlevi House and Grand Bazaar, and can be booked through Les Arts Turcs (lesartsturcs. com) or Rumim Evlevi (rumimevlevi.com).
BOSPHORUS CRUISE No trip to Istanbul is complete without a Bosphorus cruise by day or at sunset. Dine mezzestyle while gazing at iconic buildings such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Dolmabahce Palace.