Most of the people make a bucket list, with all the places they want yo visit at least once in their life. A bucket list I have also made since a little kid. I’m proud of myself because I managed to travel at the first country of my list, Turkey.
We stayed four nights in Istanbul and from there we went to Cappadocia for two more nights.
Where to stay in Istanbul
We stayed at Endless Suites Taksim at Istanbul. The hotel was amazing and the price included breakfast and free use of hamam, sauna and spa. The room was nice, clean and modern.
Breakfast also has a big variety of food. With so many choices everyone can be satisfied.
What to see in Istanbul
You can’t go to Istanbul and not visit Hagia Sophia. As soon as you enter a shiver overwhelm you. Especially if you are Greek, you have to visit Hagia Sophia and Istanbul even once in your life. Whatever you have heard, nothing is enough to describe it. You have to go yourself, because it’s a life experience.
Unfortunately it’s quite neglected and it’s a pity, for such a cultural heritage site.
!Photos had been taken before the museum turned into a mosque!
Blue Mosque worths a visit, it has also a free entrance. The entrance is not allowed to tourists during the pray time. Women have to wear a scarf, to cover their heads. If you don’t have, they give you one at the entrance.
You have also to remove your shoes and you put them in a bag to get it. The outside part it’s beautiful, but inside it haven’t something special. Due to the free entrance it has many tourists.
Grand Bazaar is one of the largest indoor markets in the world, with more than 4.000 stores. It’s a huge labyrinth and paradise of Turkish delights.
Practice at home your skills in the bazaar and get ready to visit the Grand Bazaar. If you are good at shopping, you can achieve up to 80% off the original price of which you want to buy.
Fron Hagia Sophia we left and went up to Fanari. You might felt a bit nostalgic, as all those stories that your grandparents told you, come to life and imagine how the life would have been like a century ago. Streets are full of colours and they cheer you up. Explore the paths and take some awesome shot in front of the colorful houses.
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
In Fanari you should visit the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which is a reference point of Christianity. You don’t have to believe to visit this place, as it’s full of interesting stories.
Greek Orthodox College
An imposing building is built of red bricks brought from France. It is probably the most beautiful building in the neighborhood and stands out from afar. In fact, it still operates as a school.
Galata Tower is a circular stone tower built in 1348, then known as the tower of Christ. There are many shops, grocery stores, cafes and souvenir shops around.
The line to get upstairs is big, but once you reach the top you will enjoy a panoramic view of Istanbul. Personally, I did’t go up, as I’m not patient enough to wait two or three hours in the line.
Taxim Square – İstiklal St.
Taksim Square is one of the busiest places in Istanbul. Go down to the huge ikstiklal pedestrian street and find whatever you want. Places to shop, eat and drink. It has everything.
Tip: In case you visit Istanbul during the sales period, you would probably found some very good prices at famous brands.
Dolmabahçe clock tower
A beautiful attraction to see. The architecture of the clock is special with manorial details. It’s located between the Bezmi Alem Valide Sultan Mosque and the Sultanate Gate of Dolmabahçe Palace.
In front of the Ortaköy Cami it’s the best place to take incredible shots. It’s the perfect place next to Bosporus, and behind of it. it’s the Bridge of Bosporus. You can enjoy your coffee to the cafe shops which are in front of the Bosporus.
Bosporus Bridge – Bridge of the Martys of July 15
Bosporus Bridge connects Asia with Europe. To be more specific, it connect the two sides of Istanbul.
The trademark of Istanbul was renamed “Bridge of the Martyrs of July 15” in honor of the victims of the failed coup on July 15, 2016.
If you are a fun of sports you should plan your trip during a sport event. We chose to go a specific date to watch a basketball game of Anadolu Efes, in the Euroleague and a Champions league football game of Galatasaray.
It’s a special experience, as there is a super organization and every game is like a blockbuster. At the basketball court, although it wasn’t completely full, the atmosphere was quite impressive.
Where to eat in Istanbul
In Istanbul you should definitely try their street food. We tasted from several sandwich shops with doner and it was one of the best foods we tried.
Be careful! You will see several counters with mussels. If you want to try seafood it would be good to be careful. Especially in the tourist spots it is not the best quality. You don’t want to end your journey with food poisoning.
Seven Hill Restaurant Istanbul
The restaurant with the best view of Istanbul. On one side, within walking distance, the Hagia Sophia and on the other, the Blue Mosque. In fact, it is one of the most photographed restaurants in the area.
You can drink your coffee and eat a Turkish breakfast, although it’s better to visit the place at noon for lunch. They specialize in seafood and their fish are fresh. If you want meat you have to ask for it, as they were not on the menu.
Prices are normal, especially for such a popular place.
You can’t visit Istanbul without going for dinner at a Nusr-et restaurant. In Istanbul there are four restaurants.
We tried the Nusret Salad, two burgers and fries. Portions were very big, and eventually the potatoes were unnecessary. If you are a cheddar fun, you will love the burgers! We also chose to eat the perfect baklava with ice cream.
D Migos Balat
In Fanari you will find this wonderful restaurant. We sat on the roofgarden to enjoy the view. The restaurant has modern decoration with nice architecture. We ate the best food there, from all the restaurants we visited. Delicious and affordable.
We chose tagliatelle with pesto and chicken sauce, margarita pizza and chicken schnitzel with french fries. Although we were full, we also got a fruit fondue.
If you want to try the best baklava of your life, then you should visit this place. It has a huge variety with many ingredients. Whatever you like. I don’t have to say a lot about this. place. You just have to go if you ever travel to Istanbul.
If you want to eat a snack, like a toast with kaseri cheese it’s a nice affordable solution.
Beltas Rest Cafe
The best cafe to enjoy your tea, next to the Bosporus with the view of the Bosporus Bridge. It reminds me a traditional Turkish coffee shop with original tastes. You can also try a lot of other foods.
What you need to know before go to Istanbul
- A Turkish lira is around 8 euros.
- Mobile data don’t work in Turkey, because it’s not belongs to the European If you want to have access to Wifi, you can rent a device or buy a local SIM. We rent a device and we paid around 25-30 euros for our days.
- From Greece it’s not need to have a passport to travel to Turkey. You must have a new ID.
- Many apps like Booking.com are blocked in Turkey. You should have arrange all your reservations before entering the country, just in case!
Turkey is a beautiful and misunderstood place. People are so kind and helpful. Istanbul has a lot of amazing places to explore near the Bosporus, admiring the shops and the view.
If you want to see more about my trip to Istanbul, then you should visit my profile on Instagram.