Dance of continents…
Think of a city which was a capital for centuries…
Think of a city through which sea flows…
Think of a city which is the heart of culture of a country…
Think of a city which is the heart of history of a country…
Think of a city which is the heart of business of a country…
Think of a city which is the heart of entertainment of a country…
Feel the beat of that heart in your heart… Enjoy İstanbul…
This short essay is a city guide through this amazing city…
How can you reach İstanbul?
There are two main airports in İstanbul. One of them is Atatürk Airport which is located in Yeşilyurt in European Part of İstanbul and the other one is Sabiha Gökçen which is located in Asian part of İstanbul. Both of them are international airports. Moreover Atatürk International Airport is the main hub of Turkish Airlines with direct flights departing to more than 200 destinations.
How can you come from airport to city center?
There are several ways to come from Atatürk Airport to city center. Public transportation is developed so good.You can choose the most suitable for you. Subway through Aksaray, municipiality busses, Havataş Shuttle busses are the most popular ones. Moreover you can rent a car, take a taxi or order other private shuttle services.
If you have to come to city center from Sabiha Gökçen Airport you can also use municipiality busses, havataş shuttle, private shuttle, take taxi and rent a car.
Where To Stay in İstanbul?
There is a great variety of locations and hotels in İstanbul from the most luxurious residences to the cheapest budget hostels. So the location and the quality choice is up to your aim to come and your budget.
What to do in İstanbul?
First of all, please keep in mind Istanbul never sleeps. Eventhough most of the tourist attractions are located in European Part of the city there are so many things to do in Asian Part as well…
As Istanbul was the capital of Byzantine and Ottoman Empire for centuries there are so many museums, palaces and historical buildings.
Between Haliç, Bosphorous and Marmara Sea there is historical semi island. First settlements in İstanbul were founded in this historical semi-island. Moreover for centuries this location was heart of Istanbul. In historical semi-island you can find unforgetable atmosphere. The most famous spots in this semi island are;
Sultanahmet Cami (Blue Mosque): This mosque was built in the beginning of 17th century by the order of Sultan Ahmet I. This historical mosque is known by tourists as Blue Mosque as interior of the mosque is covered mostly with blue tiles. Eventhough it is still used for prayings, tourists can visit it during serving.
Ayasofya (Hagia-Sophia): This famous museum was built in the beginning of 6th century by Byzantine Emperor as an Orthodox Basilica. After Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered the city, it was converted to Mosque and after 1935 it is used a museum.
Aya İrini Kilisesi (Hagia Irine): Hagia Irine was built in 4th century as an Orthodox Church. It is located in the courtyard of Topkapı Palace. Now it is used as a museum and concert hall of classical music concerts due to the impressive acustic.
Yerebatan Sarnıçı (Basilica Cistern): Basilica cistern is the biggest indoor water cistern in İstanbul. This important place is used as a museum.
Topkapı Sarayı (Topkapı Palace): Topkapı Palace was built in 1478 by the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Ottoman Empire was ruled from this palace for almost 400 years. This palace was both office buiding and home of Ottoman Empirers. Nowdays it is very important museum.
Arkeoloji Müzesi (Arceology Museum): This museum is one of the biggest museums in Turkey. As it was located in the capital of Ottoman Empire, many different kind of show pieces can be found in there.
Kapalıçarşı (Grand Bazaar): This bazaar is one of the oldest and largest indoor bazaars of the world. It is very famous among the tourists coming to İstanbul.
Beyazıt Meydanı (Beyazıt Square): Beyazıt square was the largest square in Bzytaine times.
Dikilitaş: This column was transfered from Egypt during Byzantine Empire times and located in old semi island of İstanbul.
Mısır çarşısı: This old bazaar is located in Eminönü near Yenicamii (New Mosque) and this bazaar is famous for herbs and spices sellers.
Yeni cami: This mosque was built in 17th century in Eminönü.
Aside from these magnificant historical places there are some other important spots to visit in Istanbul….
Haliç: Haliç, in other words Golden Horn, is the part of sea which seperates historical semi island and Beyoğlu. To reach from one side to anothere there are three major bridges. The most famous one is Galata Bridge. A favourite place for Istanbul fisherman in all seasons.In there you can eat traditional sandwiches with freshly caught fish. From Eminonu pier you can take a tour through Bosphorous.
Pierre Loti Tepesi (Pierre Loti Hill): Pierre Loti hill is located in Eyüp district. You can enjoy awesome view of Haliç (Golden Horn) or simply rest in one of cafes located in there. If you would like to go to Pierre Loti Hill you can use teleferic from Eyüp.
Miniaturk: Miniaturk, the largest miniature park in Turkey, was opened in 2003. In there you can see mini copies of all famous buildings of Turkey.
Galata Kulesi (Galata Tower): Galata Tower is located in Galata district of İstanbul which was built in 583 as a light tower. Through b histroy it w as rebuilt many times. On the top of the tower you can enjoy panoromic view of Istanbul.
Büyük Mecidiye Cami: (Ortaköy Mosque) Among city dwellers and tourists Büyük Mecidiye Mosque is known as Ortaköy Mosque. It is located near Ortaköy square just near shore.Dolmabahçe Sarayı (Dolmabahçe Palace): Dolmabahçe Palace was built in the second half of 19th century . It was used as an administrative office and house of sultans for almost 70 years. Domabahçe Palace is one of the most beautiful buildings in İstanbul. It is located just on shore in Beşiktaş district. The thing that strikes ther most is architecture and gardens of the palace. In Dolmabahçe Palace, you can easily feel the power of an Ottoman empire. Moreover the founder of modern Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk died in Dolmabahçe Palace in 10th November 1938.
Ortaköy: Ortaköy is located between Beşiktaş and Kuruçeşme districts. In Ortaköy you can watch amazing Bosphorous view while drinking a cup of Turkish coffee. Moreover Ortaköy is famous for baked potatos (kumpir) and waffels wich you can try in of the cafes,like native Istanbul residents. For years this place is a meeting point for young people.
Kuruçeşme Arena: Kuruçeşme is another district of Istanbul. Great concert hall is located in there. If you want to be a part of Istanbul’s high society life we recommend you to visit Suada which is a small island just near the shore with good restaurants and clubs.
Bebek Koyu (Bebek Bay): Bebek is the most famous and luxurious part of Bosphorous. It is between Kuruçeşme and Rumeli Hisarı. In Bebek there are cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs.
Rumeli Hisarı: While going to north after passing Bebek Bay you will come to Rumeli Hisarı which is famous for breakfast cafes. Especially on Sundays, it is really hard to find even a parking lot both in Bebek and Rumeli Hisarı.
Taksim Meydanı (Taksim Square): Most probably Taksim Square is the best known place in İstanbul except Bosphorous. For centuries people meet and enjoy themselves in Taksim. In other words we can say Taksim is the heart of İstanbul.
İstiklal Caddesi (İstiklal Street): İstiklal street is the most famous street in Turkey. You can start to walk from Taksim Square to Tünel which was first subway in Turkey. In this amazing street you can see people 24 hours per day. There are some good clubs in side ways of İstiklal Street. Besides İstiklal Street is full of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.
Nevizade: Nevizade is a district just near to the İstiklal Street which is famous for pubs and bars.
Çiçek Pasajı: Çiçek pasajı is a passage which is on right hand side while going from Taksim Square to Tünel. There are many restaurants in that passage.
Asmalımescid: Asmalımescid district is in the end of İstiklal street which is famous for restaurants.In there you can find classy fish restaurants and many other tastes.
Fransız Sokağı: (French Sideway) While you are walking in İstiklal Street through Tünel on your left side you can see Galatasaray High School. Just behind this high school you can see this little sideway in which there are many little cafes which are decorated in French style.
Nişantaşı: We can say Nişantaşı is fashion point of İstanbul. In Nişantaşı you can easily find fashion stores, luxurious cafes and restaurants.
Parkorman: Parkorman is the forest park near Sarıyer . Many concerts are organised in there.
Hamam (Turkish Bath): Many tourists who come to İstanbul visit Turkish Baths for diffirent expirience and new fresh sensation.
Saphire Skyscaper: This skyscaper is the tallest skyscaper in Europe. Its height is 261 meters including antenna. It is located in Levent district whch can be called a business center of morden Istanbul, full of skyscrapers and office centers. On the roof of Saphire building you can enjoy gorgeous panoramic view of Istanbul.
Çamlıca Tepesi (Çamlıca Hill): Eventhough everybody thinks that all attractions are in the European part of İstanbul, there are many things to do in Asian Part as well. Going to Asian part from European part by boat is so enjoyable for most of native İstanbul residents and tourists. Çamlıca Hill is located in Üsküdar which is in Asian part of İstanbul. Many people believe that İstanbul is located in seven hills and Çamlıca Hill is the tallest hill. There is garden, cafe and restaurant in Çamlıca in which you can enjoy your meal and watch Bosphorous.
Bağdat Caddesi (Bağdat Street): The famous street in Asian Part of İstanbul is Bağdat Street which is a very long and wid full of luxiouris boutiques including Louis Vuitton, Burberry. etc.. There are also many cafes, restaurants located in Bağdat street.
Sahil Yolu (Coast Way): This road is paralel to Bağdat street. Especially in warm and sunny days you can see many people walking,jogging or just sitting in cafes. Moreover you can see isle of İstanbul from that shore.
Adalar (Isle): There are 5 isle of İstanbul to which you can get by boat. The biggest are Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, Kınalıada and Sedefadası. Büyükada and Heybeliada are famous for phaeton tours. Enjoy walking and spending time in isle.
And now time for entertainment…
There are many restaurants and cafe chains which serve different cusines from all over the world …
Famous cafe restaurant, bars and clubs…
360 Restaurant/Club: There are three 360 restaurant/clubs in İstanbul. The most famous one is located on İstiklal street. While walking from Taksim to Tünel just after Galatasaray High School you will see “Mısır” block. On the seventh floor of this building an amazing view and good restaurant is waiting for you. 360 restaurant/club offers you delicious meal and superb Istanbul view. After eating your dinner you can enjoy music in 360 club.
Elio: There are two Elio Restaurants in Istanbul. One of them is located in Nişantaşı and the other one is in Sedef Island. Medditerian and Italian cusines are mostly surved in there. You can enjoy both clasy atmosphere and delicious meals.
Lacivert Restaurant: Lacivert restaurant is located in Asian Part of Istanbul. It is situated just on the shore. You can enjoy delicious fish menu in there. Moreover after making your reservation if you want they can pick you from European side by boat.
Kız kulesi (Maiden Tower): Maiden tower was built on a small island and you can go to that tower by boat. There is a good restaurant and bar. You can enjoy fantastic view of İstanbul just in the middle of Bosphorous.
Mezzaluna: Mezzaluna is a famous chain of Italian restaurants. Enjoy Italian cusine in İstanbul.
Nuteras: In summer time you can enjoy good weather,delicious meal while watching Haliç view on the terrace of a classy restaurant/club Nuteras.
Mangerie: Mangerie is a cafe/restaurant which is located in Bebek Bay. It is famous for tasty desserts.
There are many local chain restuarants and cafes with unforgetable atmoshpere in Istanbul which serv tasty meals: The House, Midpoint, Kitchenette, Big Chefs
Suada: As I have already mentioned Suada isa an island which is located in Kuruçeşme shore. You can reach Suada by boat from Kuruçeşme. In Suada there are many fish and kebab restaurants and morever there is an open swimming pool in which you can enjoy swimming in summer time just in a middle of Bosphorous.
Reina: Reina is most probably one of the famous clubs in İstanbul. Especially in summer time you can enjoy your meal and after that dance the night away.
Sortie: Sortie is another good club which is located in Ortaköy.
Blackk: Blackk is another club which is located in Ortaköy. Eventhough it is not located just near seaside it is always full of young people who want to enjoy.
Corridor: Corridor is a bar which is located in Nişantası Reasürans building. It is famous for the Dj’s and good music.
Touchdown: Touchdown is another trendy bar which is located in Reasürans building.
Dükkan Burger: It is a chain of cafes serving one of the most delicious hamburgers in İstanbul.
Doğatepe: This cafe /restaurant located in Etiler is mostly famous for it’s magnificent view.
Abbas Waffle: This is the famous waffle buffet in Turkey. There are Abbas Waffle Buffets in some other parts of Istanbul but the most famous one is located in Bebek.
Sultanahmet Köftecisi: Sulttanahmet Köftecisi serves Sultanahmet meatballs which is located in Sultan Ahmet Square. They serve tasty meatballs with reasonable prices.
Kızılkayalar: This buffet is just in the enterance of Istiklal Street in Taksim Square. They serve tasty hamburger and doner kebab with reasonable price. The most famous one is so-called “wet” hamburger, wich young Istanbul dwellers usually eat after a night out…
In addition to these famous cafe bar ,club and restaurants, there are world wide famous chain restaurants and cafes like TGI Fridays, Gloria Jeans and Starbucks…
Ofcourse the ones that I have mentioned above are just few…Istanbul always changes and every person can find what is right for him…
How about shopping?
Istanbul nowdays is becoming the world known fashion capital… You can find so many places for shopping.
İstinyepark: İstinyepark is very popular among natives… It is located in İstinye district of İstanbul. There are many fashion butiques such as: Calvin Klein, Mark by Mark Jacobs, DKNY, Etro, Hermes, Hugo Boss, Vakko..
Kanyon: Kanyon is also very famous shopping area…. It is located in Levent district. It has anunsual arcitecture design. Such well known like Harvey Nichols, Lacoste, Max Mara, Vakko and located in Kanyon Shopping Mall.
Metrocity: Metrocity is another famous shopping mall in Levent. As it is so close to subway, it is so conveinent to get there. There are almost 170 stores will give you enjoyment of shopping.
Akmerkez: Akmerkez is in Etiler district of İstanbul. It is also a great spot for shopping with just brands as Diesel, Massimo Dutti, Tommy Hilfiger. Moreover after shopping you can rest and enjoy your meal in Papermoon, one of the most famous restaurants of İstanbul located in Akmerkez.
Cevahir: Cevahir shopping mall is located in Mecidiyeköy. Cevahir shopping mall is one of the biggest shopping malls in İstanbul. 6 floors includes huge range of brands and shops from exlusive to most democratic one…
Trump Towers Mall: Trump Towers Mall has recently become one of the most trendy shopping malls of Istanbul .
This are just few shopping malls….Istanbul is full of opportunities for any kind of budget and needs…
As you can see there are many things to do in İstanbul.. If you come to İstanbul for a few days it would be very hard to visit all those attractions.. Maybe even ten days will not be enough… So, this guide may help you to choose attractions that are interesting for you…