PORT OF CALL SPOTLIGHT: ISTANBUL, TURKEY

Istanbul, Turkey is a vibrant, bustling metropolis that is an exciting cruise port on a Mediterranean cruise thanks to the large number of things to see and do while visiting. Istanbul, Turkey is where east meets west in Europe as the city straddles both the continent of Europe and Asia.

It’s entirely possible to visit both continents in one day with a drive across the Bosphorus Bridge, or a ferry ride across the Bosphorus Strait. This is a commute many people who live in Istanbul make each day — they live in Asia and work in Europe.

Most of the tourism center of Istanbul is on the Europe side of Istanbul. Top sites to see include:

The Blue Mosque: The Blue Mosque is still used for services, but is opened to the public at certain times each day so visitors can see the impressive ceiling and design of the mosque.

Hagia Sofia: An ancient mosque that has two stories, both from which you can examine the dome that was an engineering marvel when it was constructed hundreds of years ago.

Topkapi Palace: A sprawling palace ground and intricate architectural detail makes this an incredible place to explore.

The Grand Bazaar: When short on time, be sure to keep your bearings when shopping in this massive covered market.

Hippodrome: The hippodrome is the location of an ancient Greek stadium that was once used for chariot racing and which still has remnants of that today plus other structural and artistic sights.

Cuisine: You can’t miss trying a kebap, lahmacun, Turkish coffee or the decadently creamy Turkish ice cream.

To make sure you have time to see as many of Istanbul’s top sites as possible, opt for a shore excursion like the Classic Istanbul with Lunch tour or the Complete Istanbul Sightseeing Tour.

Browse Celebrity Cruises’ long list of Mediterranean cruise itineraries that stop in Istanbul — many which have overnight stays in Istanbul! — and then contact your local travel agent or visit Celebrity Cruises to book your cruise.

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