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Capital Of Culture: Istanbul

Earlier this month we summed up the top travel destinations for 2010, but no list would be complete without Istanbul - this year's European Capital Of Culture. Below, we list some of Istanbul's must see highlights.

Istiklal Caddesi
This lengthy pedestrian avenue (about two miles long) is where you'll find the hub of Istanbul's commercial culture. Bars, cafes, restaurants, boutiques, cinemas and markets range from the hip and expensive, to everyday and affordable. Take a stroll in the morning for a quiet perspective, or join the throngs as the sun begins to set.

Turkish tea and coffee
Caffeine is available on every corner in Istanbul so throw out your one-a-day rule and indulge in copious amounts of freshly brewed tea and coffee. The Turkish like their tea strong and served in small glass cups with plenty of sugar. Expect the coffee in espresso cups with a thick, undrinkable coffee base about a centimetre thick.

Pera Palas
This original 1890s hotel has had a complete makeover in honour of the city's new title and will reopen in April. The grand Pera Palas was known as the hotel of choice for Orient-Express passengers and once counted Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemmingway and Alfred Hitchcock as guests.

Cemberlitas Bath
Where better to enjoy a Turkish hamam than in the country of its origin. This steamy institute was built in the late 1500s and continues to accommodate both men and woman looking for a hot dip. Cemberlitas Square on Divanyolu Street.

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Clayton Truscott

Clayton Truscott

Clayton is a comfortable traveller, having grown up in a small city that was far away from everything. He spent lots of time in the car as a child, driving up and down the coast of South Africa on surfing trips with his family. After studying abroad in the United States and spending a year working in London, he moved to Cape Town, where he completed a Master's Degree in Creative Writing. He now works as a freelance writer for various travel, surfing and action sports publications.