Australian travellers have long been in love with Istanbul’s enchanting past and modern appeal.


Straddling Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul is a firm favourite with tourists around the world.

It’s a fascinatin­g city starring fabulous architectu­re, historic sites, great dining, shopping, nightlife and an exotic atmosphere.

Spend time in the Old City to explore wonderful highlights including Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and the 17th-century Blue Mosque, which features six minarets and an interior showcasing 21,000 blue-green Iznik tiles.

Love shopping? There’s certainly plenty of choice with more than 4,000 shops in the Grand Bazaar and more Turkish Delight flavours than you could ever imagine.

Regent’s pre- and post-cruise land programme, Culinary Delights of the Ottomans includes visits to the above plus the Chora Museum in one of Istanbul’s oldest districts. It was first a church, then a mosque and now a museum. Guests can taste dishes made from ancient Ottoman recipes that were typically served in Istanbul’s palaces hundreds of years ago. For a historical understand­ing of the cuisine, guests will dine on its most representa­tive dishes, the same ones that the royal family consumed.

The Women’s Bazaar in the historical Zeyrek district in the shadow of a Roman aqueduct is also of great interest. Regent also offers excellent shore excursions including Istanbul at Night, when the city is illuminate­d and mesmerisin­g. To reach the Old Town, you will cross Galata Bridge, which spans the Golden Horn, a waterway named for the shimmering golden colour it takes on as the sun sets.

You will then pass the new mosque, which was constructe­d in the 17th century, on the way to expansive Sultanahme­t Square. The square offers extraordin­ary views of the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia, a former cathedral that was converted into a museum, which shimmers at night.

Both iconic buildings radiate in the uplights, which cast bold shadows that make features such as the soaring minarets appear even more dramatic. Upon reaching the Kumkapi quarter, guests can enjoy an atmospheri­c restaurant for a traditiona­l dinner. Expect fabulous seafood plus great views of this historic city.

Regent Seven Seas has 34 cruises that will visit Istanbul this year and in 2023.

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