How to get fit in Istanbul.

Are you planning your next spring holiday and already thinking of how to get in shape before donning your bikini? If press ups and sweating it out at the gym don’t appeal we have a suggestion which is much more fun. How about a trip to cheap hot spot Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, via exotic and exciting Istanbul, where classes of belly dancing will tighten those tummy muscles?

Famous for its key position on the global map, firstly as Byzantium, then as Constantinople, Istanbul is a vibrant city with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, overlooking the waters of the Golden Horn and the Bosporus. Its spectacular location, striking Ottoman mosques, Byzantine churches and bustling bazaars make it a fascinating spring destination.

Start to get fit with an uphill walk to, and a wander around the Topkapi Palace and its grounds, heart of the Ottoman Empire for nearly four centuries. Then walk to the nearby mosque (formerly a Byzantine church) which houses the museum of Santa Sophia. From here you can walk to the Sultanahmet old town, where the city's Egyptian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman heritages are clearly visible and get healthy with a steam in one of the area’s Turkish Baths.

Now comes the muscle toning. The age old tradition of belly dancing is not only sensual and fun, but also works wonders on the belly itself! What better place to learn than its place of origin? Learn how to shimmy the ‘göbek dans’ with one of the instructors on the list at bellydanceclasses.net/turkey/, as recommended by BBC Travel. One of the best is Les Art Turcs, which offers private classes.

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