İstanbul’s strategic location has attracted many marauding armies over the centuries. The Greeks, Romans and Venetians took turns ruling before the Ottomans stormed into town and decided to stay – physical reminders of their various tenures are found across the city. The fact that the city straddles two continents wasn’t its only drawcard – it was the final stage on the legendary Silk Road linking Asia with Europe, and many merchants who came here liked it so much that they, too, decided to stay. In so doing, they gave the city a cultural diversity that it retains to this day.
Art & Architecture
The conquering armies of ancient times tended to ransack the city rather than endow it with artistic treasures, but all that changed with the Byzantines, who adorned their churches and palaces with mosaics and frescoes. Miraculously, many of these remain. Their successors, the Ottomans, were quick to launch an ambitious building program and the magnificently decorated imperial mosques that resulted are architectural triumphs that together form one of the world’s great skylines. In recent years, local banks and business dynasties have reprised the Ottomans’ grand ambitions and endowed an impressive array of galleries, museums and festivals for all to enjoy.
This magical meeting place of East and West has more top-drawer attractions than it has minarets (and that’s a lot).
‘But what about the food?’ we hear you say. We’re happy to report that the city’s cuisine is as diverse as its heritage, and delicious to boot. Locals take their eating and drinking seriously – the restaurants here are the best in the country. You can eat aromatic Asian dishes or Italian classics if you so choose, but most visitors prefer to sample the succulent kebaps, flavoursome mezes and freshly caught fish that are the city’s signature dishes, washing them down with the national drink, rakı (aniseed brandy), or a glass or two of locally produced wine.
Some ancient cities are the sum of their monuments, but İstanbul factors a lot more into the equation. Chief among its manifold attractions are the locals, who have an infectious love of life and generosity of spirit. This vibrant, inclusive and expanding community is full of people who work and party hard, treasure family and friendships, and have no problem melding tradition and modernity in their everyday lives. Joining them in their favourite haunts – çay bahçesis (tea gardens), kahvehans (coffeehouses), meyhanes (Turkish taverns) and kebapçıs (kebap restaurants) – will be a highlight of your visit.
We offer you the unique opportunity to extend your holiday by one or two weeks after you complete one of our tours. You also have the option of staying in a variety of accommodation: from home stays (no meals) to 2, 3, 4 and 5 star hotels on the Black Sea coast:
BLACK SEA COAST
The Bulgarian Black Sea Coast covers the entire eastern bound of Bulgaria stretching from the Romanian Black Sea resorts in the north to European Turkey in the south, along 378 km of coastline.
White and golden sandy beaches occupy approximately 130 km of the 378 km long coast.
The region is an important center of tourism during the summer season (May–October), drawing millions of foreign and local tourists alike and constituting one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
Prior to 1989 the Bulgarian Black Sea coast was internationally known as the Red Riviera.
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, however, its nickname has been changed to the Bulgarian Riviera.
Bulgaria has a coast you will find a variety of places to spend your holiday or weekend and enjoy an exiting summer vacation with friends and family.
Set up on white limestone rocks, Balchik is called also the White city, The first thing that comes to the visitor’s mind when mentioned Balchik, is the Palace, with its Botanic Garden with its collection of 250 big cactus species, which is the second of its kind after the one in Monaco belonging, in earlier times, to Rumanian Queen Maria Alexandrina Victoria of Edinburgh. Typical Mediterranean plants, rare and exotic species and a whole army of cacti are sheltered in the garden. The forms and silhouettes of the buildings, the diversity and medley of their gardens- all this melts in one unique Balkan romantic symphony, so attractive for guests from all over the world.
Is a modern town with good infrastructure and its develop rapidly. In the last few years Kavarna became the uncontested rock-music capital of Bulgaria after successfully organizing a rock festival, which very quickly turned into tradition. There was a settlement dating back to the times BC- excavation works reveala lost Byzantine city and a total of 147 Thracian tombs are scattered around the vicinities of Kavarna. On the beach there is a cave with well-preserved frescoes from the Stone Age.
The cape stretches 2km out of sea, looking very much like an isthmus, surrounded by crimson cliffs with height of up to 70m. The Kaliakra Cape was declared a protected area in 1941 so that to protect the unique nature of this place. There are steppe here and it is a habitat of monk seals.
The biggest Black Sea resort of an international popularity has a 6-km-long, at times 150-m wide sand strip, lined with fine sand and natural dunes. Sunny Beach is never asleep – it is the place most favoured by young people for offering them enormous attractions – restaurants, bars, discos, night-clubs round the clock.
Situated on a small peninsula, one of the oldest towns in Europe still keeps the spirit of different ages and peoples – Thracians, Hellenes, Romans, Slavs, Byzantines and Bulgarians. Nesebar is sometimes said to be the town with the highest number of churches per capita. Although this might not be true, their number and variety is impressive: the Old Bishopric or the Church of St. Sophia is in an early Byzantine style (4th-5th c.); the New Bishopric (St. Stefan), contains valuable 12th century murals; and the Christ Pantocrator and Aliturgetos churches (13th-14th c.) are among the best preserved until today. Nesebar’s National Revival houses with stone foundations and broad wooden eaves, overhanging narrow cobbled lanes leading right into the sea, are also remarkably beautiful.
Pomorie Is located on Rocky peninsula, extending some 5 km into the sea.In its region is the Pomorie lake, an ultrasaline natural lagoon, which yelds 30,000 tons of sea salt per year. The healing properties of the Pomorie mud are world-famous and the resort has grown into a major mud-treatment centre.
The old town lies on a small rocky peninsula in the southernmost part of Bourgas bay.The quaint houses, the cobblestone streets and the sea add to the unique atmosphere of the town.There is a number of hotels, private rooms for rent and camping sites: Zlatnata Ribka, Smokinia, Veselie.
Is located on a peninsula near the mouth of the Veleka river. Ruins of a fortress and Thracian burial mounds can be seen in this area. Over the recent years the resort has established itself as a popular tourist destination. The church of St.George with an original icon of St.Modest is located in the village.