Without a shadow of a doubt, Istanbul – like London, New York or Paris – is one of the world’s great cities. Superbly situated either side of the blue ribbon of the Bosphorus Strait separating Europe from Asia it is, unlike any other city in the world, split between two continents. The old quarter, with its oriental-fantasy skyline of domes and minarets, and its narrow cobbled streets lined with quaint old wooden houses, lies on a tapering peninsula pointing gravely across the straits to Asia. To the south, the blue waters of the Sea of Marmara glitter invitingly. North, across the graceful curve of the Golden Horn, flicker the bright lights of the pulsating entertainment quarter of Beyoğlu. As with most European capitals sometimes hot and humid July and August see locals decamp en masse to rural retreats and Aegean/Mediterranean resorts. The upside of this is that there is less bustle and public transport a little-less crowded. The evening warmth also allows you to enjoy a unique taste of Turkish delights, drinks, dine at a Bosphorus-front fish restaurant in a courtyard garden in the shadow of an Ottoman mosque. The downside is that many music venues, cafes and the like close or slow-down. September and October’s generally clear, sunny days provide the ideal weather to explore in the best possible way – on foot - but it is still plenty warm enough to eat outside, take a Bosphorus Cruise or even swim in the Sea of Marmara from one of the pretty Princes’ Islands.