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There are many places in Europe that I wish I’d taken the time to go and visit before I left the UK. One of the places on my wishlist was Istanbul. I’m fascinated in general by countries that are a mix of countries and Istanbul is unique as it is the only city in the world to be in two continents – one foot in Europe and one in Asia.

Turkey has always seemed exotic to me – a European country with that middle eastern influence of fragrant spices, eclectic markets and jewel-like colours everywhere you look.

To be honest, I think these days shopping would be one of the main attractions for me. I love the Turkish and Moroccan bohemian style of interior design with mosaic tiles, lots of textiles in many different colours, carpets and cushions piled on the floor and gorgeous glass lamps (like the ones above). If I ever get the time and money to decorate this place, that’s definitely the look I’m going for. Pinterest is a wealth of inspiration – easy to get carried away!

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest and biggest covered markets in the world. Full of amazing things to buy! Just come with empty suitcases and come home ready to decorate!

Turkish food is also amazing of course and I’m not talking about kebabs! I could quite happily eat meze style dishes forever and never get bored and then there is Turkish coffee and desserts – baklava anyone? I’ve just managed to make myself very hungry….

Istanbul also has a great selection of places to stay from grand and lavish big hotels to modern and funky boutique hotels. I always like using the Wallpaper guides which feature some of the best designed hotels, along with great places for shopping and eating. I can rarely afford to stay in such hotels but I like to dream anyway!

Turkey has always been a popular holiday destination for Brits but most people tend to head to the coastal resorts. Personally, I always find cities more interesting, particularly when they’re as dynamic and have as much to offer as Istanbul does. I swear that one day when the kids are older, I’m going to do a grand tour of Europe and visit all these places that I never got around to travelling to before 🙂

You do need a visa to enter Turkey but trust me, obtaining a turkey visa will be one of the easiest parts of planning your trip.

Photo credits: jaime.silva / Özgün ERDEM / druidabruxu / Kıvanç Niş / laszlo-photo