Studying abroad is an unforgettable experience that enriches your educational and personal growth. In addition to soaking up the culture, language, and customs of another country, you’ll have the opportunity to make the memories of a lifetime by traveling to see some of the world’s wonders. If you’re studying abroad in Europe or the Middle East, there are tons of flights and great deals to be had. Taking a weekend break or, better yet, a week’s visit to Istanbul is guaranteed to be an experience to remember.
Travelers are Discovering the Gem of Turkey
Even if you only have a short amount of time to visit, Istanbul is worth it. In fact, TripAdvisor has ranked Istanbul one of its TravelersChoice winners for 2013, and this cosmopolitan city was also named “Best European Destination 2013” by europeanbestdestinations.org . It’s no surprise – with its astonishingly rich and storied history, it’s truly a must-see city. And fortunately for students, it’s affordable.
Istanbul Highlights: Sites Not to Miss
Having been the capital of four major world empires, Istanbul boasts a history to beat any metropolis on the Old Continent. Among its many treasures are some remarkable Roman ruins, as well as remnants of the Byzantine Empire, which was formed when the Roman Empire split up into eastern and western empires in 395 B.C.E. and which flourished for over one thousand years. Lovers of art and architecture will be in heaven: churches, palaces, ancient ruins and fortifications, millennia-old bazaars, fountains, cisterns and historic streets, especially in the central Sultanahmet area of the Historic Peninsula.
In addition, over six hundred years of Ottoman Empire glory are fully on display across the European Peninsula, including the Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace – unforgettable stops on any world traveler’s itinerary. The Hagia Sophia in particular – which has been a patriarchal basilica, a Roman Catholic cathedral, an imperial mosque, and a modern museum – is considered to be the building that changed the course of architectural history.
Europe and Asia Mix in the Middle: the Old City
All of Istanbul’s remarkable heritage is reflected in the magical Old City on the Historic Peninsula. This is the place to go to get a glimpse through the millennia of Istanbulli history – the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque, the Sultanahmet Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, the Galata Tower, the Gulhane Park, the Basilica Cistern, and the Beyazit Tower. Around nearly every corner are charming streets, landmarks, and alleys to explore, breathtaking views of the metropolis and the Bosphorus, and exotic tastes waiting to be discovered.
Amazing Nightlife and an International Scene
Istanbul’s nightlife varies from cozy neighborhood taverns to gritty basement dives with a mix of music to glitzy, sleek and stylish clubs. There’s a bit of everything for everyone, and the nightlife is particularly active in the Ortaköy, Beyoğlu, and Eminönü districts.
Great Deals in a Spectacular City
Istanbul is a major airline hub and fortunately for international students, it’s on the route map of many low-cost carriers such as EasyJet, Germanwings, Air Berlin, Norwegian, and the Turkish airline Pegasus. Istanbul is simply a spectacular city that’s affordable and offers something for everyone – plan your getaway now!