So, I’ve been to a few places in Turkey but it’s mostly been charter. The only city trip I’ve done in Turkey is to Istanbul and I’ve been there three times. Istanbul has a lot of historical monuments and places a tourist must visit. I’m going to list them all below.
– Hilton Garden Inn Golden Horn // This Hilton hotel is located about 10mins from Taksim Square. The rooms are very nice with super comfy beds and the picture below shows the beautiful view I had from my room. The hotel is huge and has business rooms, a small gym and a nice restaurant with outdoor seating. The breakfast buffet is big and you can order extras from a chef without any extra costs. They have happy hour at the bar every day which is nice 😉 Oh, and the hotel has shuttle service to Taksim Square twice a day, perfect and no need to take a taxi!
Room view at Hilton
– Mosaic Hotel // Mosaic Hotel is located within walking distance to almost everything. The rooms are quite okay, some are huge and some are a bit smaller but still within a good size. The breakfast buffet is good, not too big, but you’ll definitely find something to eat. There’s a metro station not too far from it but the tram station is a bit closer. The hotel is located on top of a hill so make sure you take a taxi to the hotel if you have a big and heavy bag.
– Sultan Ahmet // This is the famous Blue Mosque in Istanbul. It’s huge and the park around it is very beautiful. Be aware before you go in though. You need to cover yourself and if you don’t have a veil, they’ll lend it to you but what’s disgusting is that they don’t wash them!!! They take them from the exit and leave them to the entrance straight away. So you’re going to wear a veil that plenty of other women have worn. A tips, bring your own shawl or something and put it on your head. Also, wear socks! The mistake I did when I entered the mosque was that I had sandals on my feet so I had to walk in there without anything on my feet and millions of people had walked on that plastic carpet. I don’t know about you guys but I was disgusted about this. Except this, it’s worth a visit if you’re interested in seeing it.
– Hagia Sophia // I find this way more interesting than Sultan Ahmet because Hagia Sophia has so much history. Many, many years ago it used to be a church but was then invaded by muslims who tried to change it to a mosque and all the paintings with Jesus on were made of gold which the muslims took. There are still a few ones left but they are half because they didn’t manage to get the gold off. Today Hagia Sophia is a museum and not being used as either a church or a mosque. This is a must because it has such an interesting history and it’s beautiful inside.
– Boat tour // Wanna be in two continents in one day? Take a bout tour on the Bosphorus and you’ll get to Asia. Do it on a sunny day so you can sit outside. The boat tour is around 1,5hrs long but you’ll see beautiful nature along the way.
– Taksim // Taksim Square is famous for it’s long street with shops and clubs. From here you can actually walk to the water and there you’ll find plenty of restaurants. However they do not sell alcohol at those restaurants so you need to go to a proper bar if you want a beer or so. The shops are very good and you’ll find many international ones.
– Kapalicarsi // Grand Bazaar 🙂 Who doesn’t like markets? I love this one! They have so many beautiful things but it gets harder and harder to bargain. The prices can be a bit high but some things are worth it. When you’re done walking around the grand bazaar, go outside to the Egyptian bazaar. They have fruits, nuts and many other things. At the end of the Egyptian bazaar you’ll find the river. I’ll tell you more about what to find there on the food part.
Grand Bazaar Kapalicarsi
– Cevahir Mall // “Diamond mall”. Cevahir is shaped like a diamond and there’s plenty of international shops in it. Even outside of the mall you’ll find a very long street with shops and restaurants. Just make sure you take the right direction 😉
– Historia Mall // Historia is a little bit smaller than the other malls and doesn’t have a very good range of shops. I’ve been there ones and I wouldn’t go back there. If you don’t have much time in Istanbul then try to go the other malls and skip this one.
– Istinye Park // This is my favorite mall!! It’s huge and it has so many good shops. There’s also a beautiful bazaar on the ground floor and yes it’s very expensive but just have a look there.
Istinye Park Bazaar
– Balik Ekmek // So, if you walk through the Egyptian market I said you’d end up by the river but to get there you need to walk under a tunnel and on the other side you’ll find plenty of boats that are selling Balik Ekmek which means fish in a sandwich. You’re probably thinking “what!?” but it’s actually good!! Have a try at least 🙂 It’s cheap and you’ll get it straight away. Basically, they fish, grill and then sell it.
– Under the bridge // From the fish boats you can cross a bridge where you can take a tram to Taksim Square. But, if you don’t eat the fish sandwich then cross the bridge, walk under it and there you’ll find a good choice of restaurant. This is very nice actually so I think you should eat there anyway 🙂
– Simit Sarayi // Favorrrriiitteeeeee café! I just love this café and I love that it has opened in some other places around the world so now I don’t have to wait until I go to Turkey again to eat their bakeries. Of course you need to try a Simit with a filling if you go.
Simit Sarayi (simit on the right)