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dec 21 2012

Europe's Up-and-Coming Destinations

Croatia tops the list of up-and-coming European destinations for 2013, reflecting a 34.9 percent increase in bookings. Above, the Adriatic port of Split is home to the ancient palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian.

(rhonya76/Flickr)

You've checked Paris, London, and Rome off the list. So what should be your next European vacation destination? According to a survey of more than 1,000 American travel agents conducted by Travel Leaders Group (and based on actual trips already booked), perennial faves like London, Rome, and Mediterranean cruises are going to continue being top spots in 2013. But there were European countries that saw surprising gains in popularity. So you better book now. Here are the top three:

SEE THE DESTINATIONS!

jul 12 2012

UNESCO Adds 8 New Spots to the World Heritage List

The Catalhoyuk excavation site in Turkey (Courtesy Turkey Tourism Board)

It's a feather in any location's cap to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so congratulations are in order to the eight new sites added for 2012. "New" might not be the best adjective, actually. The sites include Chengjiang Fossil Site in the Yunnan Province of China, where 196 species that help determine how today's animal groups have developed over the last 530 million years, and Catalhoyuk, a 34–acre Neolithic site in Turkey that was occupied as far back as 7,400 B.C.

jul 23 2010

Turkey: An expert decodes where, what, and how to eat

Çiya, a restaurant in Istanbul (Courtesy Anders B./Flickr)

For five years now, Virginia Maxwell has spent time eating her way across Turkey on assignment for Lonely Planet's Istanbul and Turkey guidebooks. So I enlisted her to write our Turkey Menu Decoder, a handy, one-page resource with translations of food terms and popular dishes—the latest in our growing Menu Decoder series. Below she dishes on the food scene and Turkish etiquette.

jan 15 2010

Istanbul kicks off a culture-packed year

At 20:10 tomorrow evening, a music and light show over the Golden Horn harbor will broadcast Istanbul's arrival as a European Capital of Culture for 2010. The citywide launch party also calls for fireworks and for concerts by an Ottoman-style military band in historic Sultanahmet, local pop star Tarkan at Taksim Square, and alternative rock band Mor ve Otesi at Kadikoy Square on the Asian side on the Bosporus. Many museums will be free and open until midnight.

sep 03 2009

Istanbul: A traveler in need of your tips!

Are guidebooks necessary anymore? I'm not so sure. I'm traveling to Istanbul this week, and I'm relying entirely on using the Internet to connect with smart, openminded, "real" travelers—you know, people like you—for suggestions, ideas, and tidbits.

Is there a great shopkeeper you met in Istanbul who you think I should go visit? A good time to hit a tourist stop? Someplace excellent to stay? A friend there that I should meet? Someone who can teach me how to haggle?

aug 28 2009

Dining on the Bosporus? Preposterous!

The patio at Zuma, an izakaya-style restaurant (Courtesy Zuma)

Dining along Istanbul's Bosporus used to mean shelling out an absurd amount of lira at a stuffy hotel restaurant, but recently a crop of laid-back and worldly spots has opened—all with glittering views and down-to-earth prices. Our favorite is Zuma, a Japanese grill and lounge that turns out creative small plates, such as sea bass with truffle oil. Salhane Sokak No. 7, zumarestaurant.com, from $12.25.

jul 30 2009

A blow to Turkey's new smoking ban

A coffeehouse in Istanbul (Courtesy walterbjoern/Flickr)

Enraged at having his cigarettes confiscated, a customer shot and killed the owner of a restaurant in the southwestern town of Saruhanli, according to a report by Reuters earlier today. It's the first—and hopefully last—casualty since a nationwide ban on smoking inside bars, coffeehouses, and restaurants took effect on July 19.

feb 03 2009

Video: Istanbul, color saturated

Artist Volkan Ergen of Istanbul filmed the following high-def video of his hometown, while floating in a boat along the Bosporus. Ergen's hallmark is his use of a split screen to capture different sides and angles of Turkey at the same time. All of the colors in this video are dreamlike. I'm struck by the meditative sound of the boat, too. Check out Ergen's video, "Two Wings," here:

apr 30 2008

Istanbul: Where to get your sugar fix

Çikolata framuaz, a decadent cake with layers of chocolate and raspberry mousses (Courtesy Liz Webber)

My girlfriends and I had our share of adventures during a week in Istanbul. There was the time I almost got left behind at a bus stop somewhere outside the city, and the many times we fended off catcalls from Turkish guys, as I blogged about earlier.

apr 30 2008

Istanbul: What the guidebooks don't tell you

I recently spent a week in Istanbul with three girlfriends, and we relied on two guidebooks—the Lonely Planet Istanbul Encounter and Eyewitness Travel's Top 10 Istanbul—that offered (sometimes contradictory) cultural etiquette advice.

Both books stressed that physical contact between men and women should be limited and that public displays of attraction were a definite taboo. So we were surprised when we often saw Muslim girls in headscarves canoodling with their boyfriends in very public places.

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