Last week i spent 7 nights in the marvelous city of Istanbul. I had such a great time that i decided to create a blog only about this wonderful city and give you as many types as i can!
You will find in the section "categorie" everything you need to know such as Room reservation, Beverages, Things to See, Transportation....
I hope you will enjoy those information!
Before I start to describe everything about Istanbul maybe i should present myself first. I am a French expatriated in The Netherlands since two years. I like to travel and discover new things. My first big trip was in Iceland where i was a exchange student for a year. Then i came back to France for about two years. I needed to see something else. Change. So i moved to The Netherlands where i work now.
Have an awesome trip...
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Downtown, e to all the important places. The touristic area is devide in 2 big sector: Sultanahmet and Cemberlitas.verything is really easy to access!
If you stay in the Old city you can easily walk
In Sultanahmet you will find Hagia Sophia, The Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace.
In Cemberlitas you will find one of the oldest Hammam of the city, Grand Bazaar and a shopping area.
As you will walk in the streets, in both sector, you will be approach by a lot of Taxi drivers. You can also find there Tram Stations. Close to Grand Bazaar you can find buses, but i don't think you will need them as it goes outside the touristic area.
To go to the New Istanbul and Taxim you will have to use the Tram.
If your hotel is in Old city:
You can simply go to " sultanahmet Station". By 2 jetons per person! . (you can by the jeton in the shop fronting the station) Take the Tram 38 to Kabaltas!
To go to TAXIM, In Kabaltas, pay attention to not go out the station if not you will use a Jeton for nothing! Go directly to your left where is a second platform, you walk straight ahead and you'll take the underground entrance to Taxim. There, you will use your second jeton!
If your hotel is in the New Istanbul:
Just follow the inverse instructions to go to Old City. (you can take any tram who stop in Sultanahmet without going to Kabaltas station)
All Public transportations in Istanbul are the price 1,50 TL per Jeton!
Go to Istanbul!
To Go to Istanbul you can Stop in 2 airports!
The Common and closest is Ataturk Airport. At your arrival, the easiest is to book a Shuttle in Advance. You can find several Websites who propose private pickup as:
The prices for the cheapest is 7euros per person (2 pers) if you are more the price go down til 5 euros per person (max 9pers).
The second Airport is Sabiha Gokcen. The particularity is that the flights are much cheaper! But it is at 70km from the city center. Like Ataturk airport you can use the shuttles. It takes only 1 hour between the airport and Istanbul.
The price for the cheapest is 10 euros per person (2 pers) if you are more til 7 euros per person.
Most of the Hotels and Hostels have agreements for shuttles (sometimes free) so it can be wise to check with them first!
Personnaly, i came through Sabiha Gokcen. The airport is small but very nice! When we arrived a bus were waiting for us to bring us to the main hall. It took some time to take the baggages.
The driver from the shuttle, i ordered the previous day, were waiting at the door (with my name). The pick up was new and very nice. We felt like VIPs! (i booked it from the 1st link up)
When you book the shuttle make sure your recieved a confirmation by email!
For Cheap flights you can check the Pegasus Airline Website: (attention, there are often late!)
There are so many things to see and visit in Istanbul!
My suggestions, if you haven't choose an hotel yet, is to find a place in Old City. Close to Sultanahmet.
The Blue mosque
You can visit one of the biggest mosque in Istanbul, The blue mosque. ( Free entrance)
You can visit as well Hagia Sophia (now a museum) and Topkapi Palace for 20TL per pers.
You will find also The Basilique (Yerebatan) Cistern for 10TL per pers.
You can relax and take nice pictures in the few parks across the area.
You can stop at the Archeological museum, Turkish and Islamic Arts museum, Turkish Carpets museum.
Sultanahmet Topkapi palace
Hagia Sofia Cistern Basilique
You will have access to the 400 years old Hammam. (55TL)
You can bargain at the Grand Bazaar.
You will be close to the port.
You will find the University of Istanbul and at list 3 big mosques.
You can stop at the press museum.
You can see Beyazit Tower and visit the mosque and its wonderfull panoramic view.
You can see the tomb of the famous architect Sinan and the Tomb of Suleyman the magnificent.
You will find an Historical hammam.
You can buy Spices at the Egyptian Bazar.
You will be close to the Train Station and the Ferry Station.
In Galata Aera:
You will be able to cross Galata Bridge and the Golden Horn.
You can visit Galata Tower (10TL)
The main Synagogue (Neve Shalom)
you can go to Taxim and its huge shopping streets.
Galata Tower Taksim shopping street.
All over the city you will be able to visit over 16 Mosques, each more beautiful! Be aware that they will be closed during priors time and that women have to cover them hair!
Eat and drink
As You will Be in Turkey, you will have to taste the local food and drinks!
There is no many differences between the menus in the restaurants. You will find basically the same things.. Kebab or Turkish pizza. However you can easily find Fish restaurants under the New Galata bridge!
If you like to keep your journey as much economical as possible you can find very cheap fast food places in the sector of Suleymaniye, (Down to the Spice Bazaar) ! The price for a Durum will be around 2 TL (less than 1 euro). The food is very cheap but don't expect a good quality! This area is not really touristic so the quality of services and food is quite low!
In general the prices in restaurants are between 3TL and 5TL for toasties or sandwiches (cold or warm) and between 6TL and 14TL for a plate. Of course closer you will be from the touristic area more expensive the food will be! (Prices in Sultanahmet are quite high)
When you will walk in the streets of Istanbul you will be accosted by a lot of Turkish waiters! This method is a bit of a tradition for Turkish restaurants and cafes. That's kind of a competition as well! Who will get the most clients?
Sometime Some of them will seems aggressive but don't take it personally! This is due to the frustration of too less clients... Just keep walking straight ahead!
Turkish delights and sweeties: Don't forget to taste those famous traditional sweeties like loukoum and baklava...
You cannot stay in Istanbul and not go to Turkish "cafes" and smoke Nargile.. or only drink divers Turkish tea!
The most common drink is the "Cai" (tchai)... a normal black tea. As a suggestion, if you don't really like regular black tea you can order a flavor tea like Orange tea, apple tea and all different other kinds.
"Cai" "orange tea"
If you have a preference for Coffee you have to know that it will be really difficult! If you ask for one you will receive a "Nescafe" (instantaneous coffee).. If that is not strong enough for you, you will have the occasion to taste the strongest coffee i have ever seen... the Turkish Coffee! A texture so strong that when you are finish to drink a very sick pasta of pure coffee will be left over!! When you will be served, the waiter will give you water as well so you can clean your mouth!
Don't worry if you cannot live without coffee you can always find Starbucks coffees!!
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