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Tales from One Thousand and One Nights

Istanbul, one of the most romantic cities in the world. This was the place where John F. Kennedy Jr. took his bride Carolyn Bessette on their honeymoon in 1996. The city is situated on the borders of Europe and Asia. And with the architecture, the promenades along the water, the exotic mosaic of flavours, aromas and sounds it is easy to imagine yourself as a character in a tale from One Thousand and One Nights.

Stroll along the banks of the Bosporus, the river that divides Istanbul into east and west, with views of the Asian shore lined with palaces and picturesque old wooden houses. Enjoy stunning vistas of the city from restaurant Konyali after your visit to Topkapi Palace. And visit the Basilica Cistern, the beautifully illuminated underground water storage in the centre of the old town. It all sounds very romantic, but the true Arabian nights only start after sunset of course.

Istanbul, a top romantic destination
Istanbul, a top romantic destination

Istanbul

As night falls

There is no better place to admire the sunset than from the waterfront. In the district of Eyüp stands Pierre Loti, a hill named after a famous French writer. Traditionally this has been a meeting place for lovers. From here you will have great views of the Golden Horn. The Golden Horn itself, and especially the port, is also a wonderful place to see the lights come on in the city. After dark, sit down for a candlelight dinner. For a special night out, take the ferry from Kabataș or Salaçak to the Kiz Kulesi, a former lighthouse on an island in the middle of the Bosporus. From the restaurant you will see night fall over Istanbul, while you enjoy live music, delicious food and drinks.


Conclude the perfect romantic night with an evening cruise on the Bosporus, sailing from the old to the new city, underneath magically illuminated bridges, with beautiful views of the palaces, castles and mosques.

Romantic dinner in the lighthouse
Basilica Cistern: water storage

Arabian dream

Istanbul has no shortage of romantic hotels and Kybele is among the most memorable. Thousands of handmade coloured glass lamps adorn the ceilings and authentic oriental carpets decorate the floor. Antique chairs, bronze candlesticks and old curiosities complete the picture. The rooms have no television because the three brothers who own the hotel want their guests to enjoy each other and the city. That is also why breakfast is served until noon on the intimate rooftop terrace far from the busy street noises.

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1001 lights in the Kybele Hotel

View on the map

Yerebatan Caddesi, 35 Sultanahmet, Istanbul

Photo credits

  • 1001 lights in the Kybele Hotel: James Offer, Flickr