Istanbul: the city of dreams
Istanbul….how much this word means to me.
I decided to start my blog about my traveling to Istanbul, to the city that took a very special place in my heart forever.
Its true people say that Istanbul is a dream city to visit for all tourists all over the world. But for me it is not just a city. There Ive spend a lot of moments and a big part of my life and I believe I will always turn back to this city.
My first visit to Istanbul was in 2011 and from the first step to this magical city I felt endless love in my heart.
There is definetly something special there, perhaps in the air?
Istanbul… Constantinopole … City-museum.. Great and stately..the friendly city is full of eastern charm that will take your breath away.
Small charming streets that are full of crazy life, gorgeous mosques,castles, traditional hammams, colourful markets, that are full of everything your soul can wish for, amazing restaurants with a perfect Bosphorus views, small cutes cafes on the rooftops, incredibly delicious turkish delights….
Istanbul is a must-visit city to a person, that is open for new cultures, new adventures, emotions and impressions.
I can tell you with full honesty that I know Istanbul better then any other city Ive visited and even better then my own city when I was born. All Istanbul is been explored by my feet along and crosswise.
I dont’ really understand the category of tourists that are coming to any city and they just stay in taxis.
You just can’t feel the soul of the city if you’re not gonna explore and discover it by yourself.
THE BEST DISTRICT to stay in Istanbul:
many tourists forget about that Istanbul is divvided on 2 parts: Asia side and Europenian side
All historical monuments, castles are situated in europenean part of the city, so Asia side is not the best option for you to stay there because it takes at least 30 minutes to get from there by ship.
I lived and stayed in BEYOUGLY district. you can find it as Taksim or Istiklal street – the busiest street in Istanbul that is always full of people at day and night. lots of cafes, shops and small pubs and clubs are here for you to have some drinks and to be relaxed.
SEARCH for NAVIZDADE street that is a small street inside of Istiklal – at night you can catch up some nice drinks and enjoy your dinner on the roof top restaurant.
ASIA side of course is a must visit. There you can enjoy one of the best sunsets you have ever seen in your life.
Just ask for MODA SAHILI. It is amazing long seaside-walk, where you can take an ice cream and make a perfect photo session.
BAGDAD CADDESI – is a popular street in Istanbul and famous for as the best shopping and fashion area.
How to get there:
Turkish airlines, perhaps, will be the best idea for flying to Istanbul. and Ataturk airport has an amazing lounge where you can relax before youre going back home.
Ataturk Airport is situated a bit far from the city center, You can take a taxi or a bus that stops directly near the exit. It will take 30-40 minutes to get to the city with bus or taxi same so it depends only on your budget.
BUS Is 10 turkish liras and taxi is around 30-40 liras.
How to get around
the best option is to explore the city is by your feet as I mentioned before.
BUT to get to Asia side is the best to use the ship that goes quite often. so you can enjoy unforgetable view on the city from the water.
Metro is very clean, modern and nice. You will enjou using it bUT its very new so it wont take you anywhere you want so be ready for taxi or small buses. in big buses you cant pay on a board by cash. You have to have a city pre-paid card.
Where to eat:
In Istanbul this question actually is useless. Cafes and restaurants are EVERYWHERE, on each corner you can feel the smell of kebabs and other tasty things so forget about your diet in Turkey. You CAN’T resist 🙂
What to eat:
you should try: classic Adana Kebab. its is really amazing. Don’t forget to order Ayran to your food. It is milk salty drink, that turks drink during the food. yammyyy
From deserts you HAVE to eat kunefe. It is the best desert Ive ever tasted, I swear.
MUST DONE in ISTANBUL:
- take a walk in the area of Golden Horn. Coming near Eminonu district (it is located down from Galata tower. you can walk and it will take you 10-15 minutes or more, if youre gonna visit each of small shops in this area), you can admire beautiful restless waves of Bosphorus and follow your eye for serving ferries and fishermen on the bridge that gather here every day.
- Take a shot of the sunset on the bridge that connects Asian and Europinean city parts.
- take a lunch under the bridge in one of small fish cafes.
- Go up on Galata Tower, from there you can see all Istanbul like on your hand.
what to see and what to visit:
- Sultanahmet Mosque
- Grand bazaar where you can buy the best spicies ever and all you want to. DONT forget to bargain.
- Taxim Square and Istiklal street
- BIG ISLAND or Princess Islands – not all tourists know about this amazing place. It takes around 40 minutes with stops on the small islands to get there. The best time to visit from 12 pm till the last ship that turns back around 19 pm. stay there all the day, take a bike to ride across all the island and try the best ice cream.
- ASIA side: MODA sahili, BAGDAD caddesi
ONE Of THE MOST AMAZING PLACES in Istanbul for catching the sunset it is CAMLICA hill.
located in Asia side.
it is an incredible hill with the perfect view on all Bosphorus, Bridges and Europinean side of Istanbul with cute restaurant outside.
to get there will take you around 40 minutes by bus in a traffic time ( its a big problem in Istanbul) but its WORTH it.
NIGHT life: the best night club on my opinion is Reina club. with a big opened terrace with bosphorus view and on lightining bridges at night.
PARKS in Istanbul is must visit for those who likes beautiful pictures:
1. Gulhane Park – is located near Sultanahmet.
Gülhane Park is a great rest stop when you’ve explored the historical peninsula and are feeling tired of queuing for hours. Located at the foot of Topkapı palace in Eminönü, Gülhane (Rose House) was once a grove in the outer garden of the Ottoman palace.
2. Park Emirgan Korusu is the most beautiful and biggest park in the city. is located near Istinuye Park shopping mall
there you can rest, take a picnic and drink a real turkish coffee. beautiful lake with swans is must seen.
You can get there by ferry from Bebek or with one of the buses that follow the coast route up the European side of the Bosporus. This park encompasses two decorative ponds, three wooden pavilions, many running tracks and picnic tables.
3. Yildiz Grove & Park is located in Besiktas, in the Yildiz Pavilion that was built by Sultan Selim III for his mother. The grove has variety of beautiful pools, waterfalls and ponds as well as with beautiful gardens and trees. Some of the trees are about 400 years old
SHOPPING in istanbul: here are my favourite shopping malls
As a four-storey shopping center located in the financial district of Levent, the 37.500 sqm shopping center has 160 stores among which Turkey’s and the world’s most selected brands, gourmet restaurants, cafes, a health and sports club and movie halls.
Located in the Istinye neighborhood of the Sarıyer district, Istinye Park has brought a new dimension to Istanbul’s shopping concept. Spread out over an area of 242.000 sqm, the shopping center offers a variety of outdoor and glass roofed indoor sections such as a green central park, Fashion District, street side shopping, a kids’ entertainment center of 1.500 sqm, Hillside Sports and Leisure Club, The Bazaar — an area inspired by historical Turkish architecture — and 12 movie halls, one of which being IMAX 3D.
On the Asian side of the city and roughly parallel to the shore of the Marmara Sea, Bağdat Avenue is a rather green and glossy 14 km long high street. The first residential steps in the area were the luxurious wooden chalet mansions built after 1870’s. Some still exist and contribute to the wealthy look of the upper-scale residential area. As well as the shopping exuberance, Bağdat Avenue is famous for international and local cuisine restaurants, pubs and cafes.