Istanbul is one of the most vibrant and interesting places in the world and only city that is situated between two continents. All this gave Istanbul special charm that will expand all your senses and make you come back for more. I had Istanbul, for long time on my bucket list but somehow each time plans failed and I end up not going. Finally, this time we made connection. From now on I definitely have special place for this city in my heart.
One of the keys to understand Istanbul is to experience the extreme difference between the West and East.
- Explore Istanbul’s most interesting neighborhood – Arnavutköy
Well, I know Istanbul has more then one cool neighborhood but this time I’ll write about Aranvutköy. A historic neighborhood famous for wooden Ottoman mansions and seafood restaurants, located on the European shoreline of the Bosphorus. Don’t forget to walk around the homes behind those that front the waterfront as this neighborhood has so much to offer ! Most picturesque houses are hidden all over this quite neighborhood. Just wait to show you what I have found there!
- Take a ride with a ferry boat
Along the tram, metro and taxi ; ferry is one of the cheapest and most scenic transportation option you can use in Istanbul. As the traffic jams can get really bad during the rush hours, jump on the ferry and explore Istanbul from the waterfront. It’s cheap, fast and enjoyable. Single ride cost only few euros, depending where you want to go. It’s crazy that you can go to another continent in less then hour and for less then 5 euros. Well Istanbul is full of surprises !
- Enjoy the craziness of Galat bridge
If any of your friends or relatives visited Istanbul and brought you a postcard or magnet there is a big chance that you already heard for this bridge. The romantic appearance of the Galat Bridge made it a subject of many paintings and souvenirs. Today, the modern Galat Bridge has several restaurants and coffee houses underneath where local people enjoy their meal watching the rush of the ferry boats and fishermen. A walk across the bridge is an interesting way to experience the local feel of Istanbul. If you are in love with this beautiful views of fishermen all over the bridge make sure to come during the Sunday to experience this unique attraction in full spirit.
- The architecture masterpiece – Dolmabahçe Palace
The magnificent Dolmabahçe Palace was the residence of the Sultans and the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1853 to 1922. This is the Versailles of Ottomans. It is very luxurious, the exterior is made of white marble and it’s perfect for stunning photos. It’s one of the most beautiful monuments of Istanbul, Atatürk even made it his presidential residence during the last years of his life.
The price for the Palace is 30TL and 20TL for the Harlem ( 40TL if you go for both ) . The visit must be accompanied and is open every day from 9am to 4 pm except Mondays and Thursdays.
- Istanbul’s must do : Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)
Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are facing each other on the large esplanade of Sultanahmet. Two different times, two different religions. Both are today one of the most visited tourist attractions of Istanbul. Blue Mosques is one of the few mosques in the world with six minarets. The mosque is called blue because of the blue tiles of it’s interior walls. Admission is free like in all the mosques in Turkey.
While you’re in Istanbul don’t forget to enjoy one of the richest cuisine in the world. Find rooftop bars and restaurants that will give you unforgettable memories, shop in Grand Bazaar, try Turkish bath – hamam, drink fresh orange and pomegranate juices, meet friendly Turkish people, play and feed cats on the streets, take a walk from the Galat Tower across Istiklai Caddesk all the way to Taksim Square and just enjoy this multicultural city at fullest.
Say that and local will love you back !
Let me know if you have visited Istanbul and what was the best part of it! Really looking forward to hear all about it!