Istanbul is in two continents — Europe and Asia. For this city fought the representatives of the five great empires — the Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman. Previously, Istanbul was the official capital of Turkey, and is now considered the capital of tourism.
Veronica Gordon moved to Istanbul recently, but already love it and nice to know. In this article she is sharing her favorite places and useful notes about life in the city at the crossroads of two continents.
Want to go to Istanbul!
Which district to choose for living
Istanbul is a megacity with 15 million people, so for hotels or apartments choose the Central areas of the city, where the main attractions: Sultanahmet, Eminonu, Sirkeci, Bayazit, Grand Bazaar.
Interesting excursions from the locals in Istanbul
Sultanahmet — quiet area, where Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue mosque, Basilica Cistern, the baths of roxelana and the archaeological Museum.
Quarter Sirkeci Sultanahmet is located just below to the side of the Bosphorus. It is a quiet area with a beautiful Park of Gulhane, which offers a beautiful view of the Strait.
With adjacent district Sirkeci Eminonu, where there is a pier — hence the ships with tourists on Board go on a tour of the Bosphorus. Located near the Egyptian spice Bazaar is the second largest market in Istanbul after the Grand Bazaar.
In Basite it is most advantageous to change money, rent a home, besides the area is relatively close to the center.
2* hotel Antique Hostel — accommodation from 755 rubles/day;
3* hotel Kupeli Palace Hotel — accommodation from 2 780 rubles/day;
hotel 3* Grand Peninsula hotel — accommodation from 2 to 147 rubles/day;
4 star hotel Acra Hotel — accommodation from 5 182 rubles/day;
hotel 4* Hotel Sapphire accommodation from 3 762 rubles/day;
hotel 5* Fer Hotel — accommodation from 8 to 220 rubles/day;
the 5* hotel Ajwa Hotel Sultanahmet — accommodation from 16 to 427 rubles/day.
On the other side of the Bosphorus, is Istanbul, which is ideal for lovers of bars, discos and night life.
Galata is the oldest and cosmopolitan quarter with a special charm. Walking here is a pleasure, moreover, it sells the cheapest Souvenirs. Walk to Galata tower — the symbol of the city. At the top of the tower has a restaurant and observation deck, which offers a magnificent panorama of the ancient city. Tip: go to the tower early in the morning, because later will have to defend a rather big place.
Near Galata is the district of Taksim, where the traffic never stops even at night. Hotels in this area is particularly popular with tourists who come to Istanbul for work.
hotel 2* Bunk Hostel — accommodation from 961 rubles/day;
3* hotel Hotel The Pera Hill accommodation from 2 528 rubles/day;
hotel 3* Pera Luna Residence — accommodation from 3 890 rubles/day;
hotel 4* Mr Cas Hotel — accommodation from 5 669 rubles/day;
hotel 4* Mercure Istanbul Taksim accommodation 6 325 rubles/day;
hotel 5* Daru Sultan Hotels Galata — accommodation 6 095 rubles/day;
hotel 5* The Galata Istanbul Hotel — accommodation from 7 to 830 rubles/day.
What you need to know if you are in Istanbul for the first time
- Going for a walk by the sea, grab a muffin or bread to feed the seagulls that will fly after the ship.
- Don’t take pictures of praying people without their permission is prohibited by law.
- If you plan to travel frequently by taxi, download the app BiTaksi where in advance you can learn the exact cost of the trip. If you catch a taxi on the street, you better get to the taxi drivers who have screwed on top of the counter where the mirror, not the bottom. The one on the bottom, can be “twisted” will take over double the cost.
- In any case, keep cash and small change money, because in some historical places do not accept payment by card.
How to save money in Istanbul
Lovers of museums I advise you to buy a Museum card Istanbul (Istanbul Museum Pass), which will take place in the museums without having to queue (and in the high tourist season to wait for the entrance to the Museum can be more than one hour) and that with it you will be able to save significantly. Card, valid for five days, is 185 pounds (2 323 rubles).
Museums include the Museum card Istanbul:
1. The Hagia Sophia.
2. Topkapi Palace and Harem.
3. Archaeological Museum.
4. Mosaic Museum.
5. Museum of Turkish and Islamic art.
6. Museum of the history of science and technology in Islam.
7. The Chora Museum.
8. Galata Mevlevi.
9. The Yildiz Palace.
10. Rumeli Fortress Hisar.
11. Fethiye Museum.
For travel in public transport buy Istanbulkart — e-travel for travel in metro, tram, bus, Metrobus, vapore (small boat) and the funicular. It costs 6 Lira and can be extended for any amount. If the cost of one passage 4 liras, according to the map — only 2.30 Lira. Istanbulkart is sold in vending machines next to the stops at the airport newsstands.
If you plan to pay off the card in Istanbul, before traveling subscribe cashback on his credit card.
By cards of Sberbank until the end of the year you can withdraw Lira without Commission at Deniz bank. The conversion of rubles into dollars is done automatically.
To see all the variety of Turkish sweets and taste them for free, go to the market Misir Carsisi, which is located in Eminonu district — here sellers are willing to treat you.
Where to eat
Breakfast. For Breakfast go to Sariyer is the most quiet area of the city with a beautiful coastline, where every morning the fishermen go out to sea. Look where it ends and the Bosphorus begins waters of the Black sea.
Breakfast in Lokma (Yahya Kemal Cad, 12), Hotel Les Ottomans (Muallim Naci Cd, 68) or Hisar Café&Restaurant (Yahya Kemal Caddesi, 26), and then visit one of the markets of the area where they sell fish that morning swam in the sea.
Lunch. In Sultanahmet, go to the restaurant on the roof of the hotel Seven Hills Hotel (Tevkifhane Sokak, 8), which offers a great view of the Bosphorus, Aya Sophia and the Blue mosque. Be sure to try the shrimp with vegetables and Turkish coffee. For lunch, you can choose lush green Ulus Cafe (Besiktas, Adnan Saygun Cd, 71/B). Better to book a table in advance and ask for a view of the first level (that is closer to the Bosporus) — the influx of tourists there is huge.
Suggest to get to the restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel (Istanbul Asker Ocagi Cad 1) with panoramic Windows, from which you’ll see all of Istanbul.
Dinner. In the evening the Turks, as a rule, not tightly dinner, and choose places where you can drink tea or coffee and eat ice cream. This is the perfect network cafe Mado, Divan, Alaçati Muhallebicisi Saray Muhallebicisi, Kahve Dünyasi, Simit Saray, Happy Moons, the Midpoint.
What is certainly worth a try Turkish fast food
Make your opinion about fresh squeezed fruit juices, roasted chestnuts (kestane), boiled corn (misir), the bagels with sesame seeds (simit).
SIMIT (Simit) or gevrek — sweet bread ring covered with sesame seeds. Prepared in different variations, for example, cheese or Nutella.
Islak hamburger (Islak Hamburger) the hamburger with chopped meat and plenty of sauce.
Jacket (Kumpir) — baked potatoes, cut into two halves, with butter, cheese and various toppings of meat and vegetables. Be sure to order the sausage and Russian salad (mayonnaise salad with potatoes, carrots, peas and pickles).
Tavuk pilaf (Tavuk Pilav) rice with butter and chicken breast.
Durum (Dürüm) — our Shawarma: thin slices of meat cut from the rotating vertel ‘ wrapped with vegetables in a pita. Sometimes adding melted Turkish kashar cheese. Can also be with chicken, lamb and liver.
Tantuni (Tantuni) is the same that durum, only with beef. Served with yogurt.
Kokorec (Kokoreç) — grilled on skewers spicy lamb offal. Served as a sandwich or just a side dish.
Chi spice (Çig köfte) — vegetarian spicy patties of bulgur, tomato paste and olive oil. The most suitable drink to this dish — ayran.
Lahmajun (Lahmacun) Turkish pizza with minced meat and spices.
Gözleme (Gözleme) — a flat tortilla with a filling inside, often with cheese and spinach.
Kahit Halva (Helva Kagit) — cookies with condensed milk.
Balik ekmek (Balik Ekmek) — in halves of the loaf or pita invested fried fish fillet with onion, salad and vegetables, seasonings.
The stuffed mussels (Midye Dolma) — mussels stuffed with rice, currants and pine nuts.
Pide (Pide) — shaped like a boat of dough with minced meat or egg and cheese.
What to do in Istanbul
The fastest and most comfortable way to see the city take a tour on a comfortable double-Decker bus. You will take on the most interesting places and tell you the legends and interesting facts about the city.
Find time to visit the Maiden tower (Kiz Kulesi), which is in the middle of the Bosphorus and is one of the symbols of Istanbul. According to legend, the tower on this place was built in 400 BC, when Athens fought with Sparta. Originally it was a wooden construction, many times burned, when flashed countless wars, and managed to visit the lighthouse, a prison, a detention center during epidemics of cholera, a restaurant, and there were concerts and exhibitions. Now on the tower equipped with an observation deck, a restaurant and a café. It is best to come here in the evening just before sunset to see the sun touches the horizon.
In addition to the waterfront near the Maiden tower, carry out the sun to sleep, standing on the Galata bridge, on the waterfront in the district of Kadikoy or in the Park on the hill Atatepe overlooking the Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridge over the Bosphorus. Those sunsets you will not see in any other city — the sky at sunset becomes a fiery orange.
Fans of classic detective stories go to the Sirkeci railway station — the final station of the famous train “Orient Express”, arriving here from Paris. Sitting at the station, you can imagine that because of the angle it’s almost fair the famous detective Hercule Paulo or Agata Christie, at the time, who sought inspiration here here for writing “Murder in Orient Express”. By the way, the part of a detective the author has created in the hotel Pera Palace Hotel, which is located in Taksim.
In the Asian part of the city, visit the summer residence of the sultans Palace Beylerbey built in the 19th century, decorated in traditional Ottoman style and plenty of luxury.
In a suburb of Istanbul, the city of şile, tourists and locals go for great beaches on the Black sea and solitude. Golden sand, gentle sea, sometimes bordering on the spectacular rocky cliffs scattered along the coast, ruins of ancient fortresses and charming coastal vegetation to provide refreshing landscapes.
The district of Adalar Islands in the Marmara sea is an archipelago consisting of four Islands: Buyukada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, Kinaliada. Any of them good for a visit due to its special atmosphere. Islands “breathe” differently and give peace and tranquility, an opportunity to swim and sunbathe, to see the old mansions with unique facades, flowering trees and horses with carts. I recommend a look at the island Heybeliada. It is better to go on weekdays. Over the weekend, as elsewhere, a lot of tourists. The Islands can only be explored by Bicycle, horse-drawn carts and electric vehicles.