Around the world in 2013

Updated: 18 Feb 2013
Around the world in 2013

Time Out editors across the globe weigh in with the best time to visit their cities and tips on what to do while you’re there

Istanbul, Turkey
Every Istanbulite who loves their city finds themselves desperately awaiting the re-energised atmosphere that comes after a hot and quiet summer. September, when the weather is cooler, is the ideal time to make the most of the movement and innovation.

Food & Drink
The owners of classic Istanbul venue, Auf, have been advancing the city’s food culture for years. Their latest endeavour is Kauf (Meşrutiyet Caddesi 67, Tepebaşı. +90 212 245 60 70/, a gourmet store where you can purchase Auf’s daily flavours – charcuterie, breakfast foods, all kinds of organic and patisserie products, bread and cheese, or stop by for a cupcake when you’re having a sugar craving. It’s a mini venue where you can enjoy breakfast, drink wine with a charcuterie platter, and even warm up for a night out.

One of the best ways to remember that we’re situated on the coast of the Aegean is to adorn our tables with fantastic mezes. With historic family recipes taken from Turks who migrated from the Aegean islands to Ayvalık and Alaçatı, Kydonia (Muallim Naci Caddesi 107, Kuruçeşme. +90 212 257 1131/ transforms the act of eating into a ritual with 70 varieties of meze and fresh seafood.

Located in the only mall in the city’s coolest shopping suburb, Nişantaşı, Mahalle (City’s AVM Teşvikiye Caddesi 162, Nişantaşı) takes a whole new approach to the food court concept, and is the latest enterprise by İzzet Çapa, who is known for livening up the Istanbul’s nightlife with exciting projects. Occupying the uppermost floor of City’s shopping mall, Mahalle offers the city’s best examples of all the mandatory cuisines including Italian and traditional Turkish, as well as sushi. More elaborate than you’d ever expect from a food court.


There’s a reason the Grand Bazaar features prominently in all Istanbul city guides. This classic structure, whose foundations date back to the 15th century, is like a city in and of itself, with close to 4,000 shops under its roof. While many of them are touristic, it’s also possible to discover extraordinary places for a more authentic shopping experience. Be sure to take note of Abdulla for peshtamals, Cocoon for felt accessories, Ethnicon for traditional kilim (flat tapestry-woven rugs) and Örge Tulga for modern jewellery.

No Istanbul tour is complete with a visit to a hamam. Completed by Mimar Sinan in the sixteenth century, the Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam (Bab-ı Hümayun Caddesi 1, Sultanahmet), served alternate purposes for many years before it was finally renovated and opened its doors to the public. The combination of steam, white soap aromas, water poured from gold-plated bowls and echoes produced by the hamam’s superior acoustics is downright therapeutic.

Something new is happening at the museum that’s dropped anchor at Karaköy port: For a short time (Jun-Sep) Around the world in 2013 Time Out editors across the globe weigh in with the best time to visit their cities and tips on what to do while you’re there Kauf İstanbul Modern’s ( outdoor design is being handed over to the imagination of young and rising architects. Taking place with the cooperation of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)/MoMA PS1, this is the first implementation of the ‘YAP İstanbul Modern’ project. The museum itself makes two reasons to visit.

Don’t miss the 13th Istanbul Biennial (Sept 14-Nov 10. Curated by Fulya Erdemci, director of the SKOR Foundation for Art and Public Domain in Amsterdam (who was also the curator of the 2011 Pavilion of Turkey at the 54th Venice Biennale), this two-month long event is the city’s most energetic autumn rush. Be sure to venture into the lively crowd. Its conceptual framework will be revealed on Jan 8.

Parallel to the 13th Istanbul Biennial and alongside the typical exhibition openings, a heated competition amongst art fairs is going on. In addition to the seventh edition of the up-and-coming art fair, Contemporary İstanbul (Lütfi Kırdar International Convention & Exhibition Center, Nov 22-25. www. and the new modern and contemporary art fair ArtInternational İstanbul (Hasköy Yarn Factory, Sept 14-17. are also headed for the city.

Paris, France
We love Paris in the springtime; it’s the season where music warms the city. In the northeast, the Villette Sonique festival fills a vast cultural park with cutting edge rock and electro, with some of the city’s best art, theatre, food and sightseeing nearby. Elsewhere, jazz hums along the streets of the medieval quarter of Saint-Germain des Prés.

Food & Drink
If chilling on a deckchair on the banks of a canal or playing pétanque gets you going, head to Bar Ourcq (68 Quai de la Loire, 19e arrondissement. +33 142 401 226/ in the evening, where a flip-flop wearing, shortssporting clientele gathers for open-air guitar jamming sessions or to picnic on the banks of the canal, refuelling with plastic goblets of cold beer or bottles of wine.

A little canteen snuggled up against the Montmartre steps, Soul Kitchen (33 Rue Lamarck, 18e arrondissement +33 171 379 995/ is a delightful place overseen by three charming, inspired lady chefs. There’s a birdcage full of paper butterflies, an old typewriter, a big bay window, trays groaning with food, pretty coloured furniture and a huge chalkboard menu of inventive dishes made from organic and regional produce – just the sort of place you’d want as your local.

Buttes-Chaumont (Rue Botzaris, 19e arrondissement) is set high up in Belleville and often missed by tourists not keen to stray too far from the usual track. This nineteenth-arrondissement gem is one of the city’s most magical spots. When the city’s boundaries were expanded in 1860, Belleville (once a village that provided Paris with fruit, wine and weekend escapes) was absorbed and the Buttes-Chaumont was created – all meandering paths, waterfalls, temples and vertical cliffs.

Sacré-Coeur Basilica in the distance, at Montmartre

The traditional artists’ quarter, famous for hosting everyone from Picasso and Modigliani to Hemingway and Soutine, Montmartre and its raunchy neighbouring red light district Pigalle make the perfect destination for sightseeing. In spring 2013, make sure you take in a more contemporary art attraction in the next arrondissement over towards Villette: a Keith Haring retrospective at the Centquatre gallery (

Covering seven hectares, 3,000 traders and up to 180,000 visitors each weekend, the Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen (Avenue de la Porte de Clignancourt, 18e arrondissement +33 140 123 258/ is generally thought to be the biggest flea market in the world. But the fleas left long ago, and since 1885 what started as a rag-and-bone shantytown outside the city limits has been organised into a series of enclosed villages, some entirely covered and others with open-air streets and covered boutiques for the antiques dealers.

Part of the ongoing renaissance of the suburban Villette area, the Villette Sonique (Late May. festival has taken place every spring for the last six years, becoming an unmissable destination for fans of indie rock and electro. 2012’s edition filled the cultural park’s venues with the likes of Godflesh, Melvins, Liturgy, The Psychic Paramount and The Spits, and there are also numerous brilliant free (and very crowded) open-air concerts in the grounds.

Season after season for the last 30 years, the Théâtre de la Ville (Théâtre de la Ville, 2 Place du Châtelet, 4e arrondissement) has put on a Pina Bausch show, and it seems certain that ‘Kontakthof’ (Jun 11-21) will be no different. Created in 1978, the show was filmed by Anne Linsel and Rainer Hoffman for their 2012 documentary on Bausch. In it, a series of short scenes speak of meetings, the body and seduction – subtle choreography that explores the relationships between men and women.

A joy for fans of jazz, the annual Festival Jazz St-Germain des Prés (May 19–Jun 3. brings concerts to exclusive venues – in the past, musicians have strummed, boogied, scatted and sung the blues everywhere from theatres to canal boats to cultural centres – and the streets, with plenty of free open air gigs. New talents are encouraged, and there are always side exhibits like photography or, in 2012, an exhibition on ‘Jazz and Chocolate’.

Beirut, Lebanon
If Lebanon is on the itinerary, pack your bags between June and early August. Beirut celebrates the end of a cold, rainy winter with rooftop bars, beach clubs and legendary music festivals.

Food & Drink
For a traditional slice of Lebanon, head to Al Falamanki (Damascus Rd, Sodeco. +961 132 3456/ in Monot. Once you’ve found a spot amongst the closely packed tables and cosy couches, join the locals for a round of arguileh or backgammon and enjoy a good assortment of honest Lebanese food.

Perched on top of Beirut’s iconic An Nahar building, Iris (An Nahar Bldg, Al Maarad Str, Downtown +961 309 0936/ rooftop cocktail lounge manages to maintain a relaxed yet sophisticated ambience. Offering unparalleled views over the sea and city, Iris is the perfect spot to watch the sunset over dinner or drinks.

A neon Li Beirut (Makdessi Str, Hamra. +961 328 6977) sign lights up the window of this pocket-sized bar, a dim hovel warmed up by a classical Arabic soundtrack. The crowd is hip but unassuming, the mezzé delicious, and the cheap drinks mean things usually get messy late into the night.

The coastal town of Byblos

Byblos today is a relaxed version of its glamorous 1960s self. The coastal town’s low-key seafood spots are a stone’s throw from its ancient souk, lined today with upscale restaurants and bars. Down cobbled market alleyways, locals pedal souvenirs of the nearby Crusader ruins that overlook the sea.

Every weekend, there are a couple of Beirut history buffs waiting to take you on a guided tour (Walk Beirut, every USD20 per person) of their city. See textbooks come to life as you pound the pavement past Roman baths, the Jewish quarter, cathedrals and a bullet-ridden Holiday Inn.

One look at Baalbeck Festival’s previous line-ups (Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie) makes it clear why the festival (www.baalbeck., founded in 1955, has become a cultural institution. A moonlight concert inside the ruins of one of the Roman Empire’s most complete temples is an unforgettable experience.

Beirut Art Center (Bldg 13, Str 97, Adlieh. +961 726 2112/, a non-profit space dedicated to contemporary art, curates some of the Beirut’s best – and most inspiring – exhibitions. Emerging artists and the more established feature at the centre, which also hosts talks, documentary screenings and workshops. A small café purveys the basics for a mid-peruse refuelling.

A recent addition to the American University of Beirut, AUB Art Gallery (Sidani Str, Hamra +961 135 0000 ext 4345/ focuses on Lebanese art, boasting a massive collection from painter Saliba Douaihy, who went from classical portraits to hard abstractions in the blink of an eye.

Barcelona, Spain
Don’t think us too proud of our city if we tell you Barcelona is great any time of the year. We are spoiled by the Mediterranean Sea; we enjoy cool spring and autumn seasons, and fairly warm and sunny winters. Okay, it does get hot in the summer, but hey, you can always go to the beach – it’s just a 30-minute walk from the town centre. For music lovers, come by end of May and join us at the Primavera Sound festival (Blur will be playing), or by Jun 15 for Sónar, a must for electronic music fans.

Primavera Sound festival

Food & Drink
Wander along the boardwalk by the sea at Barceloneta and settle in for a paella at any of these spots: Ca La Nuri (Pg. Marítim de la Barceloneta, 55. +34 93 221 37 75/; La Mar Salada (Pg. Joan de Borbó, 58-59. +34 93 221 21 27/; or Elche (Carrer de Vilà i Vilà, 71. +34 93 441 30 89/

If you’re looking to splurge, a dinner at Dos Cielos (Hotel ME Barcelona, Pere IV 272-286. +34 93 367 20 70/ is expensive but worth it. But for those with a limited budget, you can’t go wrong with Casa de Tapes Cañota (Carrer de Lleida, 7. +34 93 330 03 03); this is the place to have fun and eat well.

For an authentic Barcelonian drinking experience, quench your thirst in our favourite neighbourhoods. Sant Antoni and Poble-sec are packed with cool wine bars where you can snack on tapas, while Gràcia throws a celebration at the end of August every year by dressing up its streets as if it were the Far West or a playground under the sea.

Joaquin Costa Street is good too for bar-hopping: Grab tiki cocktails at Tahití (Joaquin Costa 39), negronis at Negroni (Joaquin Costa 46. www., or dance the night away at Sala Apolo (Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 113 +34 93 441 40 01/ You’ll be back. Soon. But beware if you’re planning to start early; have a vermouth near Blai Street before lunch and you could end up staying here the whole afternoon.

Of course you know about the unmissable sights: the wonderful art déco buildings of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí – La Pedrera, the Casa Batlló and especially the Sagrada Família cathedral – as well as the Picasso museum, the Boqueria market and the Liceu opera theatre – the last two of which are located along the popular tourist trap that is La Rambla. Definitely take the time to stroll along La Rambla on your way to or from the market or the opera, but never ever eat paella or drink sangría there.

Sydney, Australia
You have to like it hot, and some of the restaurants and bars won’t reopen until mid-month, but January is where it’s at in Sydney: the beaches are full and pumping, there’s a ton of outdoor parties and the Sydney Festival – directed this year by Belgian Lieven Bertels – will sate all your cultural needs.

Food & Drink
The Island Bar (Eastern Apron, Cuckatoo Island, Sydney +61 420 220 885/, a tiki-themed pizza and cocktails bar on Cockatoo Island (an old industrial island refashioned as a party and arts hub smack-bang in the middle of Sydney Harbour), is guaranteed good times on a balmy Sydney arvo (that’s local for afternoon). Feeling a little too tipsy to ferry yourself back? There are tents on the island for camping.

This light and airy tiny restaurant on the main road at North Bondi Beach – Sean’s Panaroma (270 Campbell Pde, Bondi Beach. +61 293 654 924/ – offers views of one of the world’s most famous beaches and a hugely exciting, freshfrom- the-garden-and-farm menu. It changes all the time, but it’s likely there will be light, sweet and whipped chicken parfait, hand-cut pasta and whatever fish got pulled from the sea that day.

Bridge Climb ( ain’t cheap, and you have to wear a ridiculous full-body suit, but is there any experience in the world like climbing the arch of the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge? Oprah sure loved it. Bonus fact: more than 4,000 couples have become engaged while crossing the bridge, so if you’ve got the inclination, it’s a good place to put a ring on it.

Stunning view along the Congee-Bondi walk

When Time Out has visitors in town this is hands-down the first thing that we recommend they do – Coogee to Bondi (From Notts Ave, Bondi to Arden St, Coogee. Moderate. 3 hours) walk. Most just do the standard Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach route, but the path through Waverley Cemetery en route to Coogee is the best bit of this ridiculously goodlooking clifftop, coastal walk.