Istanbul

Istanbul is an incredible city.  Where the East meets the West, literally.  Whether you want to see the old part of the city or new, everything is very accessable.  Most of the major sights are in the old part of town and they are definitely all worth it! One thing that I loved about Turkey which is hard to find in other countries- All of the major sites are conveniently located close to each other so it makes it easy!

The Activities

THE BLUE MOSQUE

Beautiful mosque that is still in use.  If you are a female, you are required to cover your head, shoulders, and upper legs.  Bring along a scarf to wrap over your head to be respectful.  This is a beautiful place of worship and the architeture details are incredible.

HAGIA SOPHIA

Right across the way from The Blue Mosque, this is another incredible place to visit.  The detail is amazing.  Everywhere is amazing, so I will bore you with saying it over and over, just go!

BASILICA CISTERN

You may recognize this from one of the James Bond movies.  This is a below ground Cistern is amazing.  Also right next to the Hagia Sophia.  There was a little bit of a line when I went but it was worth it. 

THE GRAND BAZAAR

The Grand Bazaar is seriously cool.  If you like shopping, especially shopping for great souveniers, go here! There are over 2,000 stores and each section has different things to offer.  Whether it's rugs, leather, silvers, gold, designed ceramics, hookahs, backgammon...basically everything.  I had a blast here and ened up getting a bunch of great stuff.  This is a must!

THE SPICE BAZAAR

The Spice Bazaar is right next to the Grand Bazaar.  There are plenty of spices and teas, so shop around.  You can take home really good Safron and lots of other goodies.  

DOLMABAHCE PALACE (THE NEW CITY)

This palace is on the new side of the city.  Grab a great turkish breakfast nearby on the water and then go for a visit here.  You can pay a little more to go into all of the different buildings.   This is right on the Bosphorus and it's very pretty!

CRUISE THE BOSPHORUS

No need to do an all day cruise, just do the few hour choice where a large boat takes you up and down the Bosphorus.  This body of water divides Europe and Asia and is really interesting to get some perspective.  Grab a fresh fish sandwich next to the dock when it's over!

HOOKAH & BACKGAMMON...BACKGAMMON & HOOKAH

Turkey has tons of this.  Especially the Hookah.. It's a lot of fun, especially the places that have both together.  Let your hair down and have some fun!

The Food

ANJELIQUE

This restaurant/night club sits on the Bosphorus that's very up scale.  The food is delicious, request a seat by the water.  People show up to this restaurant, water side, on their yachts, it's definitely a scene.  But what a scene it is.  The food is great! If you want to go very late, the place turns into a fabulous club!

 

A SANDWICH BREAK FROM THE GRAND BAZAAR

Meshur Kokorecciler Zulu Usta

This small hole in the wall served the most amazing, and spicy, meat sandwiches.  While wandering around the Grand Bazaar, you may get hungry.  Out of an alley way in the bazaar, I came across this place.  One of my favorite things I ate in Turkey!

FISH SANDWICH ANYONE?

This boat was right next to the dock when you finish your Bosphorus Cruise.  The fish is fresh caught and delicious.  Enjoy!

TURKISH TEA AND BAKLAVA

A great way to end any night after a long day of exploring.  Drink the tea, eat the baklava, and do it often. 

TURKISH DELIGHTS

Not into Baklava? That's ok, there is an alternative.  Turkish Delights.  They are gummy like, with nuts inside and tons of different flavors.  Find whatever one you like best!

The Lodging

Rated the #1 hotel on tripadvisor.  When going to Istanbul you have to decide if you want to stay in the old or new town (seperated by the Bophorus River).  The old town is where all of the popular tourist attractions are, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, Basilica Cistern etc. The new town is where all of the hip restaurants are as well as the big name hotels.  We decided to stay in the old town because we wanted to be more centralized to all of the sites.  The hotel was really great, nothing very fancy but in a great location with great customer service and a beautiful roof top.  The free breakfasts and happy hours are also a great plus!  I would definitely go back!
Print Print | Sitemap
© Pamela Loria Pennisi