Istanbul – Nothing like I expected (even better)
My first honest fact, it is hard for me to call the city Istanbul as I grow up knowing it as Constantinople
I wasn’t expecting too much and I was absolutely wrong!
Every neighborhood has its own unique story to tell.
I could imagine myself living in Fener street
I was amazed by the variety of street food & the presentation of their Turkish coffee. But I have to admit, Turkish coffee tastes exactly like Greek! I recommend you to try anything seems delicious to you with no hesitation.
The city holds the pride of being one of the largest city in the continent of Europe. And besides the size, it has unique parts in every corner
One of the highlights is that thrilling moment when you enter for the first time the historical Hagia Sophia, it’s a moment that will stay with you for a long long time.
relive the history
A lot of ancient structures from not only 13th or 14th centuries but also former ones are still there. Besides Hagia Sophia, Tорkарi Pаlасе & Blue mosque was my favorites
Have in mind that in order to enter the Blue Mosque, if you are a woman, you have to wear loose clothes & a scarf to your head. Otherwise, they will provide you skirts & scarfs at the entrance. Also, you have to take your shoes off.
The quality of the restaurants was one more thing that surprised me positively. My three favorites were
Zuma (https://www.zumarestaurant.com/) (both in the city )
& Big Chefs (http://www.bigchefs.com.tr/en-US ) which is located on the first floor at SAW airport.
If I had to choose one plate from each it would be the
millefeuille with pistachio at 360º
the salmon-tuna tartar at Zuma
& the Turkish tortellini with yogurt sauce at BIg Chefs
Best daytime coffee-restaurant for traditional Turkish breakfast and light drinks ( and super polite staff) is
CAFE FIRUZ http://www.cafefiruz.com/
And the views, oh these magical views that reminds me everytime how beautiful our world is
Istanbul has plenty of views, I haven’t decided if the city is more beautiful during daytime or night time…
Best souvenir ever
◊Important Travel info◊
- Low costs flights are landing to Sabiha gokcen airport (SAW), its approximately 50 minutes away from the new center and the cost of a private transfer is 250tl
- Be aware of the cars & buses as the locals are used to a more aggressive driving style
- Ask your concierge to book you a tour to the sights, with a guide, as he/she will save you a lot of time from the queues plus they can give you a lot of useful information and locals tips that you cannot find in any tour guidebook. I was very lucky cause I don’t think I could have better tour guide than Mr.Erol Savda www.tripleader.wordpress.com.
- There are two city centers in Istanbul. The old & the new one. Where you are going to stay is according to the style of your vacation. Choose the new center for more variety of new style restaurants/cafes/nightclubs & shops with international brands. You can always visit the old center, where most of the historical places are located, during the day within 2o minutes drive.
- The Marmara Taksim Hotel, located exactly next to the Taksim square, is the highest building in the area (20 floors), which offers to the rooms magnificent views to the town & the Bosporus. (https://www.themarmarahotels.com/the-marmara-taksim-hotel.aspx )