Istanbul Flight Tickets
There are two airports where international and domestic flights take place in Istanbul. Istanbul Airport in European side and Sabiha Gokcen which is named after the first Turkish female pilot and where you'll land in after your flight with Pegasus. The easiest way to reach the city center in the Anatolian side from Sabiha Gokcen is Havatas. If you're going to go to the European side, you can go through the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and reach Taksim after the stops of Maslak, Levent and Besiktas. If you need to stay in the Anatolian side, there are Havatas lines that go to Kadikoy. If you're going to use Havatas to go back as well, don't forget that the buses take off in every 30 minutes between 04:15 am and 00:45 am. You can reach details about airport transportation on http://www.flypgs.com/pegasus-ile-ucus/havaalani-ulasim.aspx. If you prefer taxi instead, the prices betweek Sabiha Gokcen Airport and Taksim may vary between 70-100 TL, depending on the traffic.
If you've reached the city from Istanbul Airport, once again Havatas buses will be waiting for you. You can reach Taksim or Kadikoy with these buses and then go wherever you want to go by using public transportation or taxis. Havatas takes off in every 30 minutes between 4 am - 1 am and the length of your journey may vary between 45 minutes to 1,5 hours depending on the traffic.
If you want to rent a car instead of using public transportation in the city, flypgs.com may help you with that.
ISTANBUL ON METRO
Metro is not that much of a developed transportation system in Istanbul but it's the best option for those who want to stay away from traffic. Sishane-Haciosman metro line in Europe and Kadikoy-Kartal metro line in Anatolia are in service.
Let's not forget that there is a tramway line between Zeytinburnu – Kabatas, a suburban train on Yesilkoy - Sirkeci line, a funicular line that connects Taksim and Kabatas, a metro line between Sishane and Yenikapi and a historical subway that goes from Karakoy to Beyoglu for those who like travelling by rail systems.
WALKING AROUND IN ISTANBUL
Istanbul is quite a big city with a population that is close to 15 millions. That's why its transportation system is very complicated. The easiest way of transportation is buying a refillable AKBIL from IETT spots.
It's smart to use "dolmus" for the routes of Bostanci-Taksim and Kadikoy-Taksim, which connect two sides, and to reach Taksim, Besiktas, Nisantasi or Kadikoy from settlement areas like Yesilkoy, Aksaray, Bakirkoy or Bostanci. Dolmus, which takes 10 people, is quite practical since its gets full really fast and you can pay with actually money when you get in. Minibuses that work on Besiktas-Istinye-Yenikoy line are practical since they stop when you raise your hand onthe street. However, there is no fixed pricing for those. Everything depends on the line you take and the stop you'll get off. That's why you should ask how much you need to pay in most of these public transporation means.
There are 3 different systems of sea transportation to go from one side to the other. Motorboats that take the distance between Besiktas-Uskudar in 5 minutes; ferries that go to Kadikoy from Besiktas, Karakoy and Kabatas and sea buses that allow you to reach Bostanci in a short from Kabatas, Bakirkoy or Eminonu. We recommend you to check http://www.ido.com.tr/ for practical info about times and where to go.
There is a map that's been created in the hopes to help you understand this complicated system: http://sehirrehberi.ibb.gov.tr/map.aspx You can get help by writing your current place and destination here.
Also IBB Trafik app that you can download to your smartphones will help you in this city where there is a constant struggle with traffic: http://tkm.ibb.gov.tr/ceptrafik/trafikiphone.aspx
It's possible to see yellow taxis in every corner. Even though you'll see many empty taxis that won't pick you up ay 3 am, when it's time for driver changes, Istanbul has a taxi system that is faster than most of the other places in the world. Thanks to the taximeters that are standardized with the latest regulations day/night tariffs won't bother you.
If you think that the price is too high, http://taksiyle.com/ calculates the price between two spots for you.
Shopping in Istanbul
Istanbul, is huge city where you can find many alternatives from shopping centers to Osmanbey streets, from Laleli to Merter. We want to stay a bit more focused and present what we've chosen among them. Here are the ones that made it to our list...
Neighbourhoods of Fashion
Nisantasi has been known as the heart of fashion for years. Small boutiques like Midnight Express, Bil’s Store; Beymen Blender where you can follow internationa trends; chains like Machka, Maje and French Connection and expensive brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton are lined side by side along Abdi Ipekci, Tesvikiye Street and Valikonagi.
Another shopping destination is of course Bagdat Street. Don't be surprised when you see people leaving stores that are lined side by side between Bostanci – Ciftehavuzlar like Camper, Miss Sixty, İpekyol, Twist, Roman, Vakko and Boyner.
Galata has become the center of young designers and independent boutiques in recent years. This trend that has started with Bahar Korcan in Serdar-ı Ekrem Sokak, continued with the opening of Building which exhibits the collections of Turkish designers on the very same street. Nowadays, it's possible to see boutiques which sell foreign brands like Paris Texas, a shoeseller names Old Sandal and Lomograph camera store all along Camekan Sokak, Galata square and Galip Dede Street.
Shopping centers are the most common investments in Istanbul. That's why, it's impossible to not mention shopping centers when it comes to shopping. Here are the leading ones in terms of location and convenience:
There are expensive brands like Armani, Miu Miu and Burberry, a permanent market place and Masa restaurant for the times you get tired in Istinye Park.
You can find almost anything for shopping and eating out in Zorlu Center, which is one of the most central shopping center of the city; you can watch worldwide known musicals and plays by following the calendars of Zorlu PSM (Performance Arts Center).
You can get out of a shoe seller and go to a movie theatre in Forum Istanbul, countinue shopping after making sure that you're kids are entertained at Istanbul Puppets Festival.
There are outlet shops, movie theatres, small squares, a theme park and even an "Arena" for concerts in Ora.
Cevahir has many floors, it's really big and it has anything you, your home, your partner and your kids need. The only potential problem is that you may get tired while trying to go around in all its floors and see every store.
Successful Fashion Designers
Umit Benan, who has brought a new approach to menswear and is the new creative director of Trussardi; Erdem, who prepares clothes for Hollywood stars and those who want to look good on the red carpet; Huseyin Caglayan, who fascinates everyone with its artist identity as well; Zeynep Tosun, who amazes first Istanbulitea and then those who follow Paris and London fashion weeks with her innovative designs; Bora Aksu, who is highly appreciated in London with its avant-garde approach; Arzu Kaprol, who has shown her own collection in Paris Fashion Week and got great reactions; Cengiz Abazoglu, who continues his fashion career that starts in a fashion house from Brussels by making dresses for celebrities; Asli Filinta, who is the architect of hip, young and creative designs; Simay Bülbül, who is the ruler of leather, buckskin and suede; Ahmet Baytar, who fascinates those who follow Istanbul fashion with his shoes and bags; Ipek Arnas, who is a very promising name with her brand 2Ters1Duz and other famous Turkish designers' boutiques can be found in Istanbul.
Accommodaiton in Istanbul
Istanbul hotels are lined side by side in Aksaray, Sultanahmet and Talimhane areas. If you don't want to stay in hse touristic areas and look for something more special, here are our recommendations.
Its Sultanahmet branch which has been converted into a hotel from a former prison or Ortakoy building that stands with all its grandeur by the sea. Whichever Four Seasons hotel you stay, a rich breakfast is guaranteed in the morning.
Tel: 90 (212) 381 40 00
Ciragan Hotel Kempinski
Jazz concerts are held in the garden of Ciragan Hotel, which is in service in an Ottoman palace from the 19th century. Also, it's a good idea to make reservations a couple of days in advance for its spa.
Ciragan Caddesi 84, Besiktas
Tel: 0212 258 3377
Sumahan, which is located on the Bosphorus shore, is located in a renovated building from the 19th century, which used to be an alcoholic drink factory. If you have decided to stay in Sumahan, you'll wake up to the day on one of the rooms with balconies that open up to the sea and have time to gove your body a rest in the Turkish bath.
Cengelkoy Mahallesi, Kuleli Caddesi 51
Tel: 0216 422 8000
The best alternatives for those who want to live in the middle of the city are The Marmara Hotel or The Marmara Pera. While The Marmara offers a terrace with Istanbul view and a rooftop pool, Mikla in The Marmara Pera serves Turkish-Scandinavian fusion food in the company of a panoramic city view from the Golden Horn to Bosphorus.
Pera, which was known with the pseudonym of "the little Europe", used to be frequented by famous names like Ataturk. If you're staying at Pera Palas, you can have your dinner in Agatha Restaurant and hang out in Orient Bar for a cocktail.
Mesrutiyet Caddesi No: 52
Tel: 0 212 377 4000
You wake up to the view of historical Istanbul peninsula and take your place at a table of Turkish breakfast with home-made jams in its terrace.
Ahirkapi Sokak No:24
Tel: 0 212 455 44 55
For those who prefer boutique hotels...
The advantage of staying in one of the House Hotels is that you can have your breakfasts in any House Café you want. It has branches in Nisantasi, Galata and Ortakoy. The room prices start from 500 TL on average.
Wood floors, big beds, silence, iPad station, free internet. These are some of the privileges offered by Georges Hotel. The French restaurant Le Fumoir, where Istanbulites make reservations days ago to have dinner, is in the lobby of your hotel.
Serdar-i Ekrem Sokak No:24 Galata
Tel: 0 212 244 2423
Witt Istanbul Suites
You're in rooms that see Golden Horn and Bosphorus view in Cihangir. Floors are wooden and the furnitures are elegant. Even mini kitchens with coffee machines are included in the rooms with the idea that there may be some who want to have a home-like experience during their vacations.
202A Defterdar Yokusu No. 26 , Cihangir
Tel: 0 212 293 15 00
If you want to stay in a hotel where Duke Ellington sings, Ella Fitzgerald’s voice lits your mornings and the trumpet of Louis Armstrong echoes in your bathroom, this is the right address.
Bahtiyar Sokak 1, Nisantasi
Tel: 0212 296 3002
In all of the rooms of Park Hyatt, whose sizes vary between 50-250 m2 and all of which have old Istanbul photos signed by Ara Guler, there are high technology facilities like internet access, plazma tv, DVD player and dock stations.
Bronz Sokak No. 4, Tesvikiye
Tel: 0 212 315 1234
Sofa, has enriched its rooms, which are designed for art lovers, with a spa in the common area. There is also a beautiful terrace with a panoramic city and sea view in the hotel.
Firin Sokak No: 41 Tesvikiye
Tel: 0212 368 1818
Economic alternatives for hostel seekers...
In this hostel that is in the middle of Sultanahmet, there are services like private bathrooms, internet and locked closets. Bed prices start at 16 TL.
Cankurtaran Mahallesi, Akbiyik Caddesi no:17
Tel: 0212 516 9260
Cordial House Hostel
This hostel that is 250 meters away from Sultanahmet Mosque, also has a cafeteria that is frequented by students of Istanbul. Bed prices start from 30 TL.
Binbirdirek Mah. Peykhane Caddesi
People become friends while drinking tea in the common room, everyone who goes there comes back pleased. Beds cost 34 TL.
Zambak Sokak No: 5, Beyoglu
They have barbecues in summer on its terrace. The internet is for free and it's the meeting point of everyone from all around the world. Beds cost 25 TL.
Yeni Akbiyik Caddesi No.13, Sultanahmet
Tel: 0212 517 9493
Bauhaus, which was on the list of best hostels of the world for multiple times, has been renovated in 2012. You'll love Neco, who is the owner of the hostel, and you'll want to extend your vacation to stay in his other hotel in Dalyan. Beds cost 28 TL.
Bayramfirin Sokak No:11, Sultanahmet
Tel: 0212 638 6534
World House Hostel
It's price of 22 TL includes breakfast, clean towels and sheets and bus tickets. The hostels also offers you a chance of cheap hammam session.
Sahkulu Mh. Galip Dede Caddesi 85
Tel: 0212 293 5520
Food and Drink in Istanbul
There are many alternatives from breakfast to dinner in Istanbul, which is one of the biggest metropols of the world with many cultures living together in the past and present. About what and where to eat in Istanbul, from traditional Anatolian delicacies to the most outstanding examples of the world cuisine, you can take our recommendations into account.
You can put as much mezzes, cheese and deli varities and tens of olive products as you'd like in your plate in Namli, which has two branches in Karakoy. Moreover, you should definitely order eggs with pastrami.
Rihtim Caddesi No:1/1 Kat Otopark Alti, Karakoy
Tel: 0212 293 6880
You'll be pleased with options of Egg Benedict, toast with Turkish sausage and cheese and omelettes with potatoes, dried tomatoes and parmesan in its menu which is accompanied by Bosphorus view. If you go there around noon, chicken salad with tabule, grilled fillet steak and oven cooked lamb are delicious.
Cevdet Pasa Caddesi 69, Bebek
Tel: 0212 263 5199
Cuppa is the most beloved breakfast of the locals of Cihangir. There are at least 20 alternatives in its menu of fresh juice coctails. French Toast with Nutella is especially the favourite of those who love sweets.
Yeni Yuva Caddesi No: 26/5 Cihangir
Tel: 0212 249 5723
Van Kahvalti Evi
The headquarter of Van breakfasts, which have become popular all over the city, is in Cihangir. What makes it special is putting "murta" made of corn flour, creme and honey on a pieces of bread from the small plates that come to your table and eat them.
Defterdar Yokusu 52, Cihangir
Tel: 0212 293 6437
It's the favourite especially of those who want to take their newspapers and hang out casually on Sundays. There are many delicious alternatives from pastries to bread with eggs, borek to tomato plate. Once you've already been there, don't forget to buy fun gifts about Istanbul from Kagithane that is right next to it.
Kemankes Caddesi, Fransız Gecidi Is Merkezi No: 11A
Tel: 0212 251 71 95
Rumelihisarı’nda önünde kuyruklar bekleyerek oturulan Kale Pastanesi, where you can get seated only by waiting in line in front of it in Rumelihisari, prepares fried halloumi cheese so good that you it's hard to believe. Their menemen is also delicious.
Yahya Kemal Caddesi No: 16
Tel: 0212 265 6563
For the noon sessions...
Pears, salmon or vegetables that come with a crunchy and thin crust; fishballs; branzino with fresh thyme; "tel kadayif" with milk. Easy dishes, amazing tastes. Kantin keeps its promise of feasts to the locals of Nisantasi and its menu changes on a daily basis. It's also possible to buy bread, cheese, sauces and stuffed vine leaves from its market downstairs.
Akkavak Sokagi No: 30 Nisantasi
Tel: 0212 219 31 14
One of the best places of House Cafe, which has branches in Istinye, Kanyon, Tesvikiye, Tunel, Odakule and all around Istanbul, is in Caddebostan. The dishes are simple: All like pizza, pasta, meat and salad. Ingredients are fresh. Lemonades with fresh mint are delicious.
Don't be distracted by its branches in Nisantasi or Bebek. Use your chance in its main place, that has been opened in 1981 in Moda Burnu. Hamburger, hotdogs, potatoes and French toast. It's hard to find somewhere else that these are more delicious.
Ferit Tek Sokak No: 15 / 1
Tel: 0216 346 07 70
Samsun style "Cullama", which is made of leeks, eggs, tomatoes, peppers and onions or Gaziantep style "Eksili Tarakli", which is made of chopsteak, quince, tomato sauce, spices and pomegranate syrup. If you want to taste the best foods of not only Istanbul but also the whole Turkey, you can find the delicacies of many regions from Urfa to Antakya, Siirt to Cyprus, in Ciya.
Gunesli Bahce Sokak 43, Kadikoy
Tel: 0216 330 3190
It used to be a tiny shop and now it's big. If you go there for lunch, it'll be uninhabited. "Begendili kebab", "icli kofte" and "pilav" with tomatoes are among the specialties there. One needs to order a mixed plate of dessert. Otherwise, you'll regret not asking for other dessert.
Mim Kemal Oke Caddesi No:21, Nisantasi
Tel:(0212) 225 46 65
Options are limited but delicious. "Su boregi" with minced meat, cheese or spinach; and then "baklava", "sutlu nuriye", "sekerpare" or "sarma".
Mumhane Cad. No: 171 Karakoy
Tel: 0 212 249 96 80
You've taken a tour in Grand Bazaar and now you're looking for the ideal spot for lunch. The choice is easy: Stewed lamb and spinach puree.
Nuruosmaniye Cad. No: 48-2 Eminonu
Tel: 0212 522 4762
In Ara Kahve, you can see the famous photographer Ara Guler sitting on one of the chairs at any time of the day. It's inevitable that its frequenters are artists, photographers and creative types.
Tomtom Mahallesi Tosbag Sok. No.2 Beyoglu
Tel: 0212 245 41 05
There are very few places in a garden in Istanbul. But if you're one of those who like being in greens especially in summer, we add White Mill to our list of recommendations.
Susam Sokak No:13 Cihangir
Tel: (0212) 292 28 95
Don't care about its imitations. The real one is in Sultanahmet. There are meatballs - plain or with kasseri, piyaz on the side and "irmik helva" for dessert in its menu. That's it.
Divanyolu Caddesi No: 26 Sultanahmet
Tel: 0212 522 97 85
In the evening...
It's a must to order "muska borek" after mezzes and and ask for onions on the side of liver in Yakup, which is known as the headquarter of the intellectuals-journalists of Istanbul. If there is no place to sit, we recommend you to get seated in Asmali Cavit that is right across the street, in Zeytinli that is on its left or in Refik which is on the street behind it. Atmospheres are similar, mezzes are delicious. Especially Cavit's home-made mustard should be put on meatballs.
Asmalimescit Sok. No:35/37 Beyoglu
Tel: 0212 249 2925
You're in Moda, facing Bosphorus right next to the see. There are shrimps in butter, warm liver, "muska borek" and "acili ezme" on your table. And of course friends.
Moda Caddesi No: 265
0 216 336 07 95
Sabahattin is a fish restaurant that is loved by both tourists and locals. Its rice with mussels is legendary and if you go there in the plate fish season, they cook it very well, as well. Salads are prepared daily, fresh and have many ingredients.
Seyit Hasan Kuyu Sok. No:1 Cankurtaran
Tel: 0 (212) 458 18 24
Ever Tukish person will experience the joy of eating hasheesh kebab, doner and aubergine kebab after eating hummus and "ezme" with piece of bread in Hamdi.
Tahmis Caddesi, Kalcin Sokak No:17 Eminonu
Tel: (0212) 528 03 90
Jash is the best address for Armenian mezzes in Istanbul. Its menu that starts with topik, stuffed mussel and Circassian chicken continues with delicious meat alternatives. You can sing to the sound of a squeezebox on weekends.
Cihangir Caddesi No.9 Beyoglu
Tel: (0212) 244 30 42
Once Zubeyir comes to the fireside, spicy skewer kebabs, aubergine with goat cheese, clam, ribs, roasted pepper-onions-tomatoes will be served to your table one by one.
Bekar Sk. No: 28 Beyoglu
Tel: 0212 2933951
Develi is the 'true' kebab restaurant in Istanbul. It doesn't matter whether you're in its Samatya or Kalamis branch, you need to order "findik lahmacun" or "icli kofte" for starters and continue with Adana kebab, pistachio kebab, Ali Nazik or Beyti depending on your taste.
Munir Nurettin Selcuk Cad. Kalamis Yat Limani
Tel: 0216 418 94 00
It's known as a "meyhane" but it brings a completely new approach to this concept. Smoked snakefish, steamed mussels with bitter vinegar, potatoes with chicken liver, cheese baked with truffles oil with porcini mushroom and cucumbers with vinegar will be your choices of mezzes; sea branzino, veal ribs and veal cheeks with barley noodles will be your choices in main courses. Don't for get to spare some space for ice-cream with sage.
Yeni Carsi Caddesi, No:19 Firuzaga, Beyoglu
Tel: 212 252 50 67
Octopus, salicornia, stuffed mussels, artichokes or livers... Everything in Karakoy Lokantasi is just delicious. It seems to be that you get full and get happy even before reaching the course of fish and decide to eat less mezzes and more branzinos the next time. We recommend you to make reservations 1 week earlier.
Kemankes Karamustafa Pasa Mahallesi, IETT Karakoy Stop
Tel: 0212 292 4455
Chef Mert Seran may serve both shrimp and plate fish to your table depending on the season! Everything is fresh, delicious and the view sees Istanbul from above.
Adnan Saygun Caddesi, No:1 Ulus
Tel: (0212) 358 2929
As the name suggests, this is a true delicatessen, a French style bistro. You should enjoy a big piece of fillet steak served with oven baked potatoes after its shrimps salad. If you here in the evening, you can taste their freshly baked sponge cake or enjoy its Happy Hours coctails.
Mim Kemal Oke Cad. No.19/1 Nisantasi
Tel: 0212 225 06 04
Nusret’s thing is the kind of meat that is delicious, rare cooked, and can be reserved and marinated in advance! There are all kinds of beauties from entrecote to chopsteak, sausages to fillet steak in its menu. Go there before it's too late in the evening, the food is so good that you'll need time to digest it.
Camlik Ihsan Aksoy Sokak No: 6 Etiler
Tel: 0212 265 30 37
Set is our recommendation for those looking for a fish restaurant which is away from the noise, cheap, cosy; serves good mezzes, delicious fish and peerless amuse bouches. Prices are quite affordable but they don't accept credit cards, so be prepared!
Haydar Aliyev Caddesi No:18, Tarabya
Tel: 0212 262 0411
The place, that is created by Cordon Bleu graduate Iranian chef Hazer Amani, is in service as a bistro on its ground floor, as a sushi bar on its second floor and offers fine dining on its top floor.
Cevdetpasa Cad. No: 60 Bebek
Tel: (212) 263 63 15
Addresses for those get hungry at night...
Here are the best addresses for soup, doner and "manti" if you get hungry after 12 am.
- Cumhuriyet in Beyoglu Fish Market should be your first choice if you crave tripe soup.
- If you say that you need a heavy pita with more oil, minced meat and kassari, then you'll get a table in Nizam Pide Salonu. (Buyuk Parmakkapi Sok. No: 13 Beyoglu)
- Bambi, Kizilirmak or Cilgin Durumcu in Taksim Square are the places to go for Doner, wet-burgers, toast with double cheese and hotdogs.
- If you want to have some Turkish sausages on the side of "manti, followed by chards with yoghurt, then you'll be in Aztek, that is a local that looks lika a movie set from 1970s. (Kurtulus Caddesi No: 63 Ferikoy 0212 2250079).
- For those who like "kokorec" and stuffed mussles, we recommend Şampiyon in Beyoglu Fish Market.
- Of course we didn't forget tantuni. Once you have plenty of parsley and chili in it, it's great to eat in Emine Ana with "ayran". (Siraselviler Caddesi, Billurcu Sok. No:5/A Beyoglu)
World cuisines in Istanbul...
- If you want to have pizzas from a real Italian brick oven: Trattoria Leon (Ahmet Fetgari Sok. No:40/A, Nisantasi)
- If you crave Spanish style tapas in small portions: Que Tal (Ilk Belediye Caddesi No.5, Tunel, Beyoglu)
- If you want Japanese style sushi, sashimi or udon: Tokyo (Meselik Sokak 24, Taksim)
- If you like the spicy tastes of Chinese and Thai foods: Çok Çok (Mesrutiyet Cad. No.51 Beyoglu)
- If you crave Indian style curry: Dubb (Alemdar Mh. Incili Cvs. Sk 10, Fatih)
- If you want to eat Mexico's taco, burrito, quesedillas dipped in hot sauce: Ranchero (Bagdat Cad. 468/A, Suadiye, Kadıkoy)
- If you want French style boeuf bourgignon, onion soup, fillet steak: Le Fumoir (Serdar-i Ekrem Sokak No.24 Galata )
- If you want a New York style restaurant that creates fusion tastes out of fish, camalary and even vegetables: Maya (Kemankes Sokak 35/A, Karakoy)
Country code: +90
Health Emergency: 112
Electricity Help: 186
Unknown Numbers: 118
Places to see
Places to Visit in Istanbul
Istanbul is such a center of culture and civilzations with its palaces inherited from the Ottoman Empire, modern artists and musicians... Which means there are many places to see in Istanbul.
Istiklal Caddesi, which is one of the rare main streets that are closed to traffic in Istanbul, is the first place to visit with its cafes on both sides; cheap shopping alternatives like Terkos Arcade and Beyoglu Business Center; galleries in Misir Apartmani; modern art centers like Salt and Arter; and entertainment areas like Asmali Mescit and Balik Pazari (Fish Market).
In Cukurcuma area, which is parallel to Istiklal Street and lies towards Cihangir and is known for antique and design shops, you can find many furnitures, objects and vinyls that are new and old ad lose yourself in these streets. And then you can take a break in Kahve 49. If you want to see the life of the city, the people and the art on the walls, you should let youself walk down to the Galata streets from Galip Dede Street. Having a lunch Guven Lokantasi that sees Galata Kulesi is also one of our recommendations.
If you're looking for an enjoyable route to walk in Europe, you can walk between Kurucesme-Tarabya and sit at Bebek Kahve and eat gozleme on the side of a glass of a tea. On the Anatolian side, you can prefer Caddebostan shore where you can find people having a picnic, swimming in the sea, driving bicycles, and skateboarding on weekends. In Istanbul, which is not that rich in terms of parks and gardens, there are still some places to breathe. Goztepe, Fenerbahce, Macka, Emirgan, Yildiz or Yogurtcu parks and Belgrad Woods can be examples of green areas.
Another good walking route is Moda Cape where we reach by walking through Kadikoy shore. You can make sure to catche tea time to relax in Moda Sea Club.
If you want to visit the most magnificent palaces and museums that have been inherited from the past, we recommend you to get a museum card that will allow you access to everywhere from http://www.muzekart.com/.
This monumental building, which started to be built in 1843 in the baroque style, was the settlement of sultans especially during summer months. There are Turkish baths, gardens where Asian plants grow, 141 carpets, and a clock tower that can be seen from its entrance, inside. The most important thing that has happened in the palace, which was the place Ataturk accommodated during his visits to Istanbul at the beginning of the republic, is Ataturk's death on 10 November 1938. It's open to visitors every day except Monday and Thursday between 9 am - 4 pm.
The building, of which construction started in 1465, was used as the ruling center of the country during 400 years of the Ottoman Empire's 600 years of rule. Kubbealti, Arz Odasi, Mecidiye Kosk, Hekimbasi Odasi, Mustafa Pasa Kosk and Bagdat Kosk can be visited in Topkapi Palace, which has been turned into a museum in 9 October 1924. It's open between 9 am - 5 pm, every day except Tuesday.
Hagia Sophia Museum
Having been a patric cathedral with a plan of basilica built in the old city center in the historical peninsula of Istanbul between 532 - 537 AC., it was converted into a mosque after the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottomans in 1453, by Fatih the Conquerer. It was also used as a Catholic Church for a short while during the Latin Empire. This cosmopolitan building which is currently in use as a museum carries the traces of every period it has been through. It can be visited every day between 9 am - 7 pm except Mondays.
Basilica Cistern is the biggest closed cistern in Istanbul. This fantastic building where concerts and dance shows are organized is quite impressive. It's open between 9 am - 5.30 pm every day.
It was funded by Sultan Ahmet I to be built by the architect Sedefkar Mehmet Aga betweeb the years of 1609-1616. The mosque is lit by more than 200 colored glasses and ornamented with more than 20.000 tiles.
Being one of the oldest towers in the world, Galata Tower was built by the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius in 528 as a light tower. In the time of Murat IV, Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi, has flew to Uskudar-Dogancilar with the wooden wings he had made in 1638 after its practices in Okmeydani. The tower is 69,90 meters high and weighs 10.000 tones.
Chore mosaics and frescos are the best examples of the latest period of the Byzantine, meaning the 14th century, painting. The life of Jesus is depicted on the outer narthex and the life of Virgin Mary is depicted on the inner narthex. It's a must to taste Ottoman foods in the garden of "Asithane" after leaving the asthonishing Chora.
Istanbul Modern Museum
Istanbul Modern, which exhibits contemporary Turkish painting and art in Tophane, is an art temple with its cafe, cinema and library.
You can find calligraphy collections and the collections of big names like Rembrant, Abidin Dino and Picasso collected from all around the world in temporary exhibitions here.
The campus of Bilgi University, which is one of the universities with a true culture of campus in Istanbul, has been converted from a former electricity station and it also hosts many places that are used concert areas, restaurants and bars.
The legend says that the kings built this tower on Salacak shore to protect his daughter but couldn't prevent her death. The place, which has a bar and a restaurant inside, also hosts fashion shows.
This cafe and hill in Eyup has been named after Pierre Loti due to the fast that the famous poet spent most of his days here.
Bosphorus/Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridges
Bosphorus Bridge which connects Europe and Asia had started to be built in 20 February 1970 and was opened to use at 12 pm on 30 October 1973, in the memory of the 50th annoversary of Republic of Turkey with an official ceremony. It's 1.560 meters long. It's closed to the pedestrian traffic, and you need OGS or KGS systems to go through with a car. The second bridge, which was completed in 3 July 1988, after Bosphorus Bridge became insufficient to meet the needs is called Fatih Sultan Mehmet.
15000 sea and land animals in more than 1500 different species live in atmospheres that are closest to their natural habitats in this aquarium where there are 64 tanks with a volume of 6.800 m3.
Yesilkoy Halkali Cad. No:93 Florya
Tel: 0 212 574 2130
Grand Bazaar – Spice Bazaar
Grand Bazaar is accepted as the first shopping center since Ottoman Empire's trades have been done there for years. There are many shops that sell traditional items like leather, carpets, silverworks and copperworks. If you walk down to Mahmutbey road after leaving the Grand Bazaar, you arrive at Spice Bazaar spices and dried nuts and fruits are sold.
This artificial islan where there are kebab and fish restaurants and an olympic pool filled with sea water is a life-saver in summer months.
Those waiting on the shores of Islands
If you can spare some time for the Prince Islands, which are 1,5 hours away by ferries and 45 minutes away by sea buses, you can go around in coaches, enjoy the nature and the silence and go around in the smell of jesus trees using the bicycles you rent.
We're sure that you'll enjoy the tours you'll have on a horse carriage around the island in Buyuk Ada. It's a must to eat with the view that sees the cove from above after making your wish on the Hagia Yorgi hill. Once you've already here, you can visit the house of the famous story writer Sait Faik Abasiyanik, as well. If you want to sunbathe or even swim in summer, you should prefer Ayazma Beach or Water Sports Club.
In Heybeli Ada, spend a night in Halki Palace(Tel: 0216 351 00 25 ), visit Huseyin Rahmi Gurpinar and Ismet Inonu's houses which have been turned into museums, visit Cam Limani to smell pine trees and fill your table with dishes made of olive oil in Mavi Restoran (Tel: 0216 351 9 01 28).
There are two must-sees in Burgaz Ada. Definitely visit Kalpazankaya or Baraba Yani.
It's a must to order paper liver and Armenian pilaki in Mimoza, which is a 60-year-old restaurant in Kinaliada.
Understanding Istanbul better...
It's a must to watch some movies and listen to some music to understand Istanbul better...
- Crossing The Bridge by Fatih Akin is the story of the sound of Istanbul and Beyoglu
- Sezen Aksu is musician who has become synonymous with Istanbul.
- Murathan Mungan, Orhan Pamuk, Elif Safak, Orhan Veli, Cemal Sureya, Edip Cansever should be on the top of your list of Turkish writers to explore.
- Babazula, Buyuk Ev Ablukada, Can Bonomo, 123 are contemporary poets of Istanbul.
- Istanbul's colors, sounds and feelings exist in the painting of Abidin Dino, Bedri Rahmi Eyuboglu, Fikret Mualla and Omer Uluc.
NEIGHBOURHOODS OF ISTANBUL
It's not possible to write about all the neighbourhood od Istanbul but we want to summarize the most outstanding and interesting routes for you.
If you intend to see the old Istanbul, you should direct your route that stars from Balat towards Beyazit, Sultanahmet, Cankurtaran and Halic (Golden Horn).
It's a must to breathe in the air of Bosphorus along Kurucesme-Arnavutkoy-Bebek line which is actually a residence.
You won't be around Yesilkoy much but only if you knew what kind of delicacies there are in the fish retsaurants along the shore, especially in Eleos.
Those who get bored in shopping session in Nisantasi, may want to check on the places where Armenians live in Kurtulus, see the wholesellers in Osmanbey and go see the organic market that is set upat early hours in Ferikoy.
Have your feet brought you to Besiktas Marketplace? You should have a breakfast in Pando after a chat with the tradesmen and taste fried calamaris in Turgut'un Yeri if you happen to be there in the evening.
Nightlife in Istanbul
Istanbul is known for its nightlife, evening stops and concert areas as much as its restaurant with a Bosphorus view. We've wanted to make a small list for you. Whichever you want to see.
Istanbulites do these in happy hours, which is the time between 6.30 pm - 8.30 pm, depending on the neighbourhoods they are in...
- Those who are in Bebek sit in Lucca and sip their cocktails. If the weather is a bit gloomy, they hang out in Poupon in the company of lounge music.
- Nisantasiu crowd have some drinks first in Hardal in Atiye Sokak, and then in Touch Down in Reasurans Pasaji.
- Those who are in Bagdat Street meet their friends to eat and drink in Bistro 33.
- Those who are in Tunel enjoy their time with a view of Bosphorus on the terraces of Leb-i Derya, X Restoran of Mikla.
- Locals of Etiler sip their drinks in Kitchenette or Big Chefs.
- Those who have just completed their jogging in Caddebostan take a light coctail among the trees of Zanzibar.
We've picked the 10 best places where you can listen to good music in Istanbul.
Babylon + Babylon Lounge
Babylon is the first name that comes to mind when one says good music. From Jane Birkin to Chicks on Speed, jazz to funk, 80s to 00s, many genres have taken the stage here. You need to check their schedule to know more about the beauties they have prepared for you. Lend an ear to what DJs play in the lounge area before going into the concert room.
Sehbender Sokak No:3.
Tel: 0 (212) 292 73 68
Arkaoda, which is more alternative, indie, free and where you can acts like you've been discovering new Turkish musician in the couches of your own home, is the address of those who want to get out of their houses on Sunday and relax.
Kadife Sokak No:18, Kadikoy
Tel: 0216 418 027
There are performances, dance and theatre productions during the week and live concerts on weekend in this multi-purpose room downstairs of IKSV's (Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts) fascinating building in Sishane.
Sadi Konuralp Caddesi No:5, Sishane
Tel: (212) 334 07 00
Caz müziğin duayenleri Zuhal ve Önder Focan tarafından kurulan Nardis, which has been founded by Zuhal Focan and Onder Focan, who are masters of Jazz music, is a great chance to learn more about Turkish jazz bands, and meet good musicians like Sibel Kose, Ayse Gencer, Cem Aksel.
Kuledibi Sok. No:14 Galata
0212 244 63 27
It's a good place to go especially in summer. DJ parties are held in its terrace. It's a must to have your name on the list at the door or be well-dressed to get in.
Mesrutiyet Caddesi 67 Beyoglu
Tel: 0212 245 6070
It may be hard to get into this place on the Bosphorus line, which is elegant, chic and definitely cares about the looks, on weekends due to its being very crowded. It's recommended to go there before it gets late.
Sahane Sk. No: 10/2, Ortakoy
Kiki, which is frequented by many Turkish musicians, models and actors in Cihangir, is also preferred for its backyard.
Sıraselviler Cad. No: 42 Beyoglu
Tektekci joined Istanbul nightlife in 2011 and has been loved. What makes it different is that it serves its menu which has more than 200 cocktails in the form of shots. It can be very crowded on Friday and Saturday nights - let us warn you.
Tomtom Mah. Akarsu Sok. No:2 Beyoglu
Halay Kahvesi is a tradition that hasn't changed for a long time. On cover nights, which start after 11 pm on week days, Turkish bands take the stage. There are also Open Mic nights in its bistro in a couple of street away and young talents are discovered.
Buyuk Parmakkapi Sokak No:19 Beyoglu
Tel: 0212 245 6313
Apart from that, if you go out to have fun, Lokal and Otto in Tunel; Baylo is Sishane; Ghetto in Galatasaray; Minimuzikhol in Cihangir; Kadife Sokak, which is known as Barlar Sokagi in Kadikoy; many nightclubs that are led by Reina on Bosphorus line are open till the morning.
Corridor in Reasurans Pasaji on Tuesday nights; Sess on Nisantasi Abdi Ipekci Street; Eelence on Mesrutiyet Street; Piyasa in Harbiye and 45'lik in Galatasaray will be places we recommend for those who like Turkish music.