ON BOOOOARD! We are coming!!!
Some people, call it the city of seagulls, for the Greeks it is called Constantinople or else the Poli, which means the city and for most in nowadays it is known as Istanbul.
A city with many names that characterize it but also with many faces. It is an intercontinental city in Eurasia and one of the largest settlements in Europe and the largest in the Middle East as it is one of the largest cities in the world.
They say that Istanbul either it will be worshipped or will be hated by its travellers. For me, the word love is too little to express my feelings about it. This town exudes something culturally, magical and intoxicating romantic. With many important historical monuments, traditional markets, bazaars and modern department stores, not only eating in luxurious restaurants with breathtaking views but also in smaller atmospheric food corners coming from every corner of the city, inviting you to taste the famous of a Touch of spice otherwise Politiki Kouzina in greek which refers to cousine of Costantinople. So, browse with us and get to know Istanbul through our own eyes!
The first thing we' ve done when arrive in the city was to buy local a sim card with free data. Three providors in Turkey for this service and we chose Turk Telecom who gave 6Gb and some local calls for free at the price of almost 20 euro . That was very helpful during our 6 days stay in the city as wifi in most of the places is really poor. Passport needed for registration.
Where we stayed:
We chose to stay in the Loft Istanbul hotel which is located in Beyoglu area, very close to everything and with rates that "touch" almost 9 according to booking.com reviews! Tip: If you choose for your stay this hotel, make the booking from hotel' s site as they offer for more than 4 nights stay, one transfer from Attaturk' s airport for free! We paid also for transfer from hotel to Attaturk airport, 35 euro in 07/10/2018.
Hagia Sofia, Top Capi, Blue Mosque, Suleymanye Mosque. In case you have to choose between the two mosques because of lack of time, choose to go to Suleymanye mosque instead of Blue Mosque. Less touristy and the view breathtaking! Dolmabahce palace is located in the Besiktas district and is one of the most glamorous palaces in the world. Galata tower is a medieval stone tower and offers a panoramic view of Istanbul' s historic peninsoula. At night it looks gorgeous! Ticket cost about 5 euro.
Hagia Sofia-Top Capi
For shopping lovers, in Eminonou neighborhood, a must visit is grand bazaar / kapali carsi the closed Istanbul' s market, with many options for branded replica clothes and shoes, leather goods, ceramics, traditional costumes e.t.c. Here, you have to check the quality of products, as you can find the same for example shoes but different quality around the bazaar. Take your best mood as it is very crowded, and bargain a lot! Many options for shopping you can find also outside the bazaar and cheaper than inside. Don't forget to visit the Misir Pazaar for buying spices. For me the best shopping corner for spices? Hazif Baba!
If you are looking for an outlet mall in Istanbul, little bit outside from the city, there is Asya Park outlet mall. We went there by taxi and is about half an hour from Beyoglu district. You have also many other opportunities for malls such us City' s in Nisantasi small but good and bigger one as Cevahir mall. Walking around Nisantasi and when you will be in Abdi Ipekci street you will find a lot of branded original stores such as Prada, Chanel e.t.c.
Grand Bazaar/Kapali carsi
After so much museums, mosques, palaces and shopping, time for your camera to get fire in Fener/Balat neighborhood! Here you can visit Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Holy and Great Council of Orthodox church, drinking tea or coffee in small atmospheric and colorfull coffee corners in Balat' s area and take a lot of photos for showing of when back at home. In this neighborhood, you will meet children who beg you for giving them 1 turkish lira, houses with no renovation for many years, things that making you feel the difference between the past and present.
Take a small taste
There is no way when visit Istanbul, not having a walk in the most photographed road of the world, Taksim!
There is no way when visit Istanbul not going to Eminonou and taste Balik ekmek sandwich!
Be careful: Most of the taxis in Eminonou district don' t put taxi-meter in contrary to other districts of Istanbul. So before getting a taxi, ask about taxi-meter and if there is no taxi-meter negotiate the price from the beginning as most of them say double or triple price from the normal. For example, for the way from Beyoglu to Eminonou we paid 20 turkish lira and to come back they said 90tr. Money which we gave as we couldn' t find taxi with taxi-meter nowhere in Eminonou!
Where we ate(me, my husband and two friends of us)!
Istanbul has many options for food and as food lovers we tasted as much as we could!
- Ficcin restaurant in Beyoglu. Average food even though tripadvisor' s reviews was really good. Although our good mood, as it was our first night in Istanbul, it was nothing special. Try the burek filled cheese. Grilled meat was bad. Prices good.
- Hatay Medeniyetler Sofrasi in Etiler. Even though, they don' t serve alcohol, we enjoyed a lot! Food amazing and sef Burak amazing and friendly contrary to the other staff of the restaurant( its waiters). So pity for a famous restaurant like this have waiters with so bad attidute! Sef Burak and his food make the difference. Prices were ok.
- Maria' s bahcesi in Etiler. Famous restaurant and amazing food cooked by the sef Maria Ekmecioglu. Here, try delicious fish food. Needs a reservation. Staff so friendly, food amazing and prices good.
- Bahçıvan restaurant in Beyoglu. We found this small restaurant by lack. By our good lack i have to admit! Prices are more than moderate! Food quantity and quality more than excellent! Try kunefe as a dessert. Delicious! Authentic local restaurant! Delicious bread which is cooked in front of you!
- Keskin kebap & doner in Taksim. We paid 150 turkish lira for a person. Almost the same money we paid in the famous Hatay Medeniyetler Sofrasi in Etiler. Avoid it, not only for its prices but also for the quality of food.
- Leb-i Derya in Beyoglu. The view is stunning! Must visit for the view and generally for the all atmosphere. Its food is tasty and they serve alcohol too. Prices reasonable.
- Konak Kebab in Taksim. This restaurant we visited in 2016. We had excellent time there and tasteful food. I don' t remember exactly about prices but as i remember it was normal because we discussed to visit for a second time although its poor reviews.
Istanbul offers lots of opportunities for food and as we note in small food restaurant/corners, you may have better breakfast/lunch or dinner, than the famous ones.
One day tour in Prince' s island or Buyukanda:
Must visit the Prince island! I do not know if this soul euphoria that inspired me this green islet is about my Greek origin and the fact that some 15,000 Greeks lived here in the past years, all I know is that if there is a paradise, it must look something like this. Νot affected by noise pollution, since it is not allowed to use any means of transport other than bicycles, electric vehicles and horse carriage. Have a ride with animal drawn vehicles for the price of 20 euro for about 50 minutes and this is a way to see most of the island. We did it and we enjoyed a lot! Some of the greek names in sea-side restaurants remain from the past to recall their Greek owner even though in nowdays are turkish. During your ride, you will see many mansions of the past for sale, with walls ready to fall down, but also other renovated and be a little bit jealous of those who stay in this colorful, green island.
On board again! With my followers...the sea gulls!!!
Have a taste of it!
With my sister and my best friend!
The historic Monastery of Saint George Koudounas located here in Prince' s island and its pilgrims number rises about 250,000 a year, the majority being Muslim Turks! Got surprised? Don' t. The miracles of Saint are many, not only for christians but also for everyone who approach his grace with faith.
Be careful: There are two feries for visiting Prince' s island. We didn' t know about that and we went in Eminonou and took the slow one. From the port of Besiktas (maybe also from Eminonou) there is a quicker ship. We learned about this in Prince' s island when asking about departure timetable. Locals asked us: with quick or with the normal one? No comparison! Half of the time with the quick and tickets prices similar to each other!
Concluding, Prince' s island is a must visit for me. Here, words cannot discribe the pictures that will remain intelible in my mind!
- Buy a sim card upon your arrival. Three providors in Turkey. Vodafone, Turkcell and Turk telecome.(check their offers)
- Ask about taximeter when you get in the taxis. Bargain about the price of the ride if no taxi-meter.
- Bargain a lot in Grand Bazzaar/Capali Carsi.
- For shopping original brands, go to shopping malls. Nowhere else.
- If you use public transport, buy Instabul kart.
- Taste Balik ekmek in Eminonou! Sandwitch with fish. Delicious!
Istanbul! One of the most beautiful cities in the world! Get ready to know the turkish culture, taste their delicious food and wander around in its colourful neighborhoods! A city that you cannot only visit once. Its anatolian vibes calls you again and again.
Enjoy it and don' t forget to visit my gallery for more photos!