Reasons to visit Istanbul instead of Rome

Why should you visit Istanbul instead of Rome

Are you planning your next trip to Europe and not sure where to go? These reasons to visit Istanbul will give you inspiration to visit this beautiful country as an alternative to popular destinations such as Rome or Paris.

When it comes to choosing a vacation destination, we all often turn to a few popular options. Areas like New York, Rome, and Paris, are common contenders in the battle for the best spot. Each sees vast amounts of tourists every year. Your choice depends on your motivation, of course, but those opting for a trip of historical interest may prefer Rome.

You stand to see some astounding historical sights during a trip here. From the Colosseum to the Pantheon, you can guarantee a visit won’t let you down. Yet, many people do claim that the crowds ruin the experience. And, there’s no denying that Rome gets busy. It’s continually ranked in the top places for the most popular cities going. What’s more, the tourism traffic which passes through tends to take the same routes around the city. It’s no wonder, then, that a trip here is enough to drive many people wild.

Top reasons to visit Istanbul
Image Credit: Pixabay

Despite your need for a little history, then, you may be reluctant to head to this famous city, and you wouldn’t be alone. No one likes the idea of booking up for a trip which is sure to see them crushed into busy crowds everywhere they go. What’s more, Rome doesn’t always have as much historical relevance as we hope. The hot spots are spectacular, of course, but they’re actually few and far between. Hence why many tourists now look to alternatives for this famously historic location.

One of the top options in that instance is Istanbul. Admittedly, this is still a popular city. Turkey attracts 42 million tourists a year compared with Italy’s 52.4 million. Still, it’s surprising how few people realize that this city makes the ideal alternative to Rome. If that appeals, it may be worth finding out the best area to stay in Istanbul and booking up. To prove why you should, let’s look at some of Istanbul’s main benefits.

More historical interest

When it comes to countries of historical interest, Turkey isn’t high on many people’s lists. Instead, we think of more typically classical countries, like Greece or Italy. These are areas of high-profile historical interest, after all. There’s no denying that both have amazing ruins and sights to see. What you might not realize is that Turkey, Istanbul in particular, can offer more history. Admittedly, many of the areas of interest here don’t date back quite as far as those in Rome. It’s worth noting, though, that Istanbul boasts of over 2500 years of history itself. What’s more, it was a much wealthier and more prominent area than Rome. It was even once heralded as ‘Nova Roma,’ or ‘New Rome.’ This is also a country which boasts of history from four empires. As such, you can bet a visit here will provide you with plenty to see compared with a trip to Rome and its one empire. Those seeking Roman ruins need only head to sites like the Column of Constantine or The Valens Aqueduct. Those wanting a glimpse from the Byzantine era have the option of destinations like Hagia Sophia or Gül Camii. And, of course, buildings like The Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar date from the Ottoman Empire. That’s a whole load of history for one single trip. So much that it’s impossible to imagine any destination which offers as much of a walk through the ages. If you want value for money, then, you can’t get much better than this. Let the rich history be one of the top reasons to visit Istanbul.

Rome Colosseum
Image Credit: Pixabay

Quieter tourist destinations

Looking for more reasons to visit Istanbul? As we’ve already mentioned, Rome has the downside of being congested. Sites like the Colosseum are continually clogged with tourists. Everyone who visits takes a trip there at some stage, after all. Admittedly, Istanbul is still a popular destination. There will be plenty of crowds. But, there are far more areas of interest. Thus, those crowds are often spread pretty thin. In fact, Istanbul has more areas of historical interest than the entirety of either Greece or Italy. That makes sense given how many empires have passed through this one destination. With a little luck, then, you may find that the crowds here aren’t quite as concentrated as they would be in Rome. While you may still want to avoid during prime times, you’ll find that you can enjoy the sites while you’re here. And, isn’t that what this whole trip is about?

Istanbul Turkey
Image Credit: Pixabay

A chance to see something entirely new

It’s also worth noting that Istanbul may offer you the chance to see something you hadn’t even heard of before. For the most part, few people realize what a destination like this has to offer until they visit. While spectacular, buildings like the Topkapi Palace don’t have the world-wide acclaim of some iconic landmarks. By comparison, we all know what the Colosseum or the Roman Forum look like, either from pictures or television shows. That’s no comparison to seeing them in the flesh, of course. Still, it’s unlikely a trip to Rome will hold any surprises or unexpected destinations for you. By comparison, a visit to Istanbul is sure to lead you to destinations you have never so much as seen a picture of. Whether it’s the Sultan Ahmed Mosque or the Galata Tower, you can bet you’ll learn something entirely new during your stay. You may also find that these destinations hold much more of a wow-factor given that they’re never before seen sights. You won’t have any preconceptions, and can therefore only find a trip like this a pleasant surprise. If you want to experience something none of your friends have, then, this could be the way to do it. You may even find that your snaps from this vacation encourage them to take a trip like this. And, who doesn’t like to set trends?

Galata in Istanbul
Image Credit: Pixabay

An introduction to fantastic foods

When it comes to food, Italy just about tops it. It’s the home of pizza, spaghetti, and indulgence. But, most of us can now walk to an Italian by going no further than our local high streets. Authentic Italian food would, of course, blow places like these out of the water. But, the fact remains that the food you’ll eat during a trip to Rome may also not come as a great surprise to you. You’ll probably already have tasted many of the dishes on offer. By comparison, a trip to Istanbul is sure to open up whole new culinary doors. In fact, food is often cited as one of the main reasons to visit this destination, and it’s easy enough to see why. Food in Istanbul often takes influences from both history and other cultures. This culminates in a fantastic mixture of flavors and offerings you’d struggle to find elsewhere.

If you can’t let go of the idea of pizza, rest assured that Turkey even has a version of this. Pide is a fantastic take on this Italian tradition, and it’s well worth a try. In case you hadn’t realized, then, there is a Turkish version of near enough any traditional food you already know and love. What’s more, you can bet this alternative will be packed full of spices you’ve never come across before. If the history isn’t enough to tempt you, then, the food certainly should be.

Turkish food
Image Credit: Pixabay

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