Exploring Istanbul


Istanbul really is one of a kind. I wouldn’t hesitate to say that there is no other city in the world that matches up to the diversity of this unique city. Never have I seen a girl in bikini and burka in similar places, without any hesitation or discomfort. No day goes by when you are in the city and you are not reminded of the fact that this city is the only one in the world to be falling on two different continents of Asia and Europe. And well, you can tell very easily with the sight on the city from your horizon when on a cruise, that which part belongs to Asia and which one is Europe:

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Having spent a week or so in Istanbul I am definitely recommending the place to all tourists for a mix of beaches, bazaars shopping, delicious food, sceneries, culture and modern clubs/ bars. Here are some of the places you must not miss out on when you are in the city:

Blue Mosque

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Beautiful architecture, peaceful and the biggest mosque in the city.

Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar/ Egyptian Bazaar

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Beautiful and bright cultural markets with Turkish sweets, silver jewellery, souvenirs, pashmina, silk and lots more. Don’t forget to bargain!

Suada Island

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A beautiful bar/ swimming pool/ restaurants made on an island in middle of the water body. Beautiful views, some really great drinks and an environment to relax. Can be a bit pricey though!

Kurusecme Kahveshi

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This is a restaurant based near the port where you take boat to get to Suada Island. And the food, place, environment and people are absolutely amazing. I had the best host of our lives, who we took a picture with as well. He recommended us all the items we had for food and shesha, they were all amazing. We also celebrated my 21st birthday there, so it was more special J.

Solar Beach

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The beach is slightly away from the city and not so famous with the tourists but it a gem undiscovered. It was one of the best days we had; the food was amazing, view was great, water was clean and people are warm and welcoming like the rest of the city. Beware, the sun does get very strong!

Prince’s Island

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Your trip to Prince’s Island would be one worth remembering and make sure that you return with some stunning photographs. You would need to take a cruise from Kabatas for 5 liras, that is about an hour’s ride with beautiful views of islands and the city. You can take horse carts or bicycles to a hiking spot and hike to the top of the island. Even though it can be tiring, it will be worth every ounce of energy spent!

Galata Tower

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Take a lift to the top of the tower and enjoy the stunning view of the city from all its sides when walking along the circumference of the tower. The entrance ticket is 10 Liras but totally worth the money. If you decide to walk to the tower from a near station or other destination, you will be sure to bump into some amusing shops and people.

Taksim Square

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Taksim square is a good place to begin your trip. It has some shopping malls, stalls and landmarks. Be sure to try their ice cream pranks (you do get to buy the ice cream in end, which is likely to be around 10 Liras if you don’t bargain).

Meal in a restaurant with balcony

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The view from the balcony is absolutely stunning, especially as the sun goes down. The weather in summer time is perfect too. I wouldn’t recommend a specific restaurant with balcony seating as the one we went to had mediocre food but well, if you find one try it for sure!

There are places that I wish I had gone to if I had more time in Turkey, this includes hitting one of the clubs- they say Reina and Club 36O are the best ones in town. Another thing has to be the Hamam, a plan which got cancelled as the previous day on beach left us all with vicious sunburns.

Extra tips:

–          If you are in a group of 3-5 you might find it more cost effective to take a cab around the city as compared to taking metros.

–          You must know the basic words of Turkish, as language really is a problem, more in some and lesser in other regions of the city. Here is a quick language guide for tourists.

–          ALWAYS check your bills to see if any extra item has been added or the price has been changed/ increased. From all eight days that we ate out in Turkey, only one bill was rightly stated. All restaurants/ salespeople will try to rip you off knowing that you are a tourist.

–          Do not go to restaurants where there is not a set menu/ bill with all the prices stated. Trusting word of mouth might be too costly for you when the bill shows up.

–          Always haggle and bargain with the shopkeepers in the Bazaars, despite the fact that items seem very cheap in pounds, they will definitely tell you a higher price than what they offer to other locals.

–          Try the street food, it sometimes tastes better than most restaurants.

Happy travelling!

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