Istanbul cruise shore excursions

Istanbul in Turkey is one of the world’s great cities. This ancient port, which links Europe to Asia across the Bosporous, is actually the only city in the world to have parts on two continents, never mind two countries. With a rich history encompassing Roman, Byzantine and Ottomon eras, as well as the development of modern Turkey, anyone cruising the Eastern Mediterranean should make a point of stopping and taking a shore excursion here.

One place that should be included in any excursion of this type is the Kariye (Chora) Museum. This venue originally formed the centre of a monastery complex during Istanbul’s Byzantine era. The church section of this complex, which was dedicated to Jesus Christ the Saviour, has survived largely intact. When the Turks arrived in the city, this complex was converted into a mosque. In 1948, however, it was converted again, this time into a museum with very little left in place as testament to its Islamic past except a 19th century minaret which stands in one corner.

St Sophia’s

For visitors who want to know more about the Byzatine era of the city’s history, then the St Sophia Museum is a top venue to take in on any tour. This was built when the city was still called Constantinople, in the days of the Emperor Justinian. This building has a stunning interior, decorated with pillars from Ephesus as well as marble and precious stones. The dome is a massively imposing and impressive structure.

Sultanhamet Mosque

The Sultanhamet Mosque, also called the Blue Mosque, also makes for an interesting stopping off point for anyone taking a shore excursion in Istanbul. There are no less than six glorious minarets adorning this elegantly designed mosque, which enjoys a status as one of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks. As well as the outside features of this building, there is also plenty to enjoy in its interior. The stunning decorations feature over 20,000 Iznik tiles.

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is a magical place which is an essential part of any trip to Istanbul. Shops selling similar products tend to congregate together in the same street, a legacy of Ottomon days. There is a dizzying array of items for sale in its 61 covered streets. There are over 3000 shops to browse, all in the unique atmosphere of this most impressive location. Some local trade organisations claim that this could be the most visited tourist attraction in the world. Between a quarter and half a million visitors come here each day, making it a hectic and exciting slice of Turkish life.

Istanbul is a great place from which to start your Mediterranean cruise, but it is also a good idea to end your holiday here. The facilities for shopping for souvenirs and other things are superb, whilst there are also plenty of places to socialise. Make sure that a visit is inked onto your itinerary and complete your cruise with some time spent in one of the world’s most arresting and interesting cities.

The Best Things to See & Do in Ibiza

Ibiza, in the Balearic Isles, remains one of Spain’s top holiday destinations, a Mediterranean pleasure paradise which has drawn party goers and artists to its shores for generations. Although the island has a reputation as a place where young people go to dance, there are many quiet corners in its towns and lovely landscapes in its countryside where visitors can find more contemplative or athletic pursuits.

Ibiza is justifiably famous for the quality of its nightlife and in particular its nightclubs. Ibiza Town, San Rafael, San Antonio and Sant Josep all have great venues where some of the world’s best DJs play. The world’s biggest nightclub is located near San Rafael and is called Privilege.

Sand and Sea

The other thing which plays a huge part in drawing visitors to Ibiza is the beach life which is available on the island. Great beaches can be found all along the shoreline, with one of the best located at Ses Salines Beach in Sant Josep de Sa Talaia. It’s no wonder that many people check sites such as Cheapflights.co.uk when there are so many great beaches here.

Of course, all those beaches also mean that there is the sea to enjoy. Many visitors enjoy water sports in Ibiza, with sailing and snorkelling especially popular. Off-shore islands such as Ses Margalides, Tagomago, Sa Conillera and S’Espartar offer great views and places to explore for sailors.

Around those islands there are also plenty of wrecks and other underwater features which make the waters around Ibiza superb for divers. The temperature of the sea around Ibiza is 14 to 18 degrees centigrade throughout the year, meaning that diving is a pleasant experience whenever you visit. Diving schools exist all across the island.
Heritage of the Island

Lovers of history will want to take a look at Ibiza’s Old Town. It’s known as Eivissa Dalt Vila and the walls and old buildings here mean that it has been accorded UNESCO World Heritage status.

Head to southern Ibiza if you want to explore more of the natural life of the island. This is where visitors can see the famous Ses Salines Natural Park, with its 200 bird species.

Sunset has been considered a special time of day for many years in Ibiza and visitors should make sure that they experience at least one sunset during their stay. Ses Variades is one of the locations where thousands of people gather and enjoy the onset of dusk as DJs play.

In the Interior

If you want to see what other resorts away from Ibiza Town offer, then the east coast of the island has Santa Eullria des Riu. This is where you can see the only river in the Balearic Islands with a constant flow, as well as enjoy all the facilities that you would expect from a top-quality coastal resort.

Journeying into the interior of the island is also highly recommended. There are some great landscapes to enjoy, especially if you like hiking. The village of Santa Agnes de Corona is very charming, particularly in January and February when the almond blossom is out.