Istanbul – a massive city with nearly twenty million population. Since ancient times, with its geographical location and history, it has always been a cultural centre. Istanbul has three different bridges which connect Europe and Asia and the people who reside in Istanbul can switch continents easily. We have met people who live on the European side and go to work on the Asian side. Istanbul, the city between two continents is totally safe to travel. First of all, Istanbul is not the capital of the Republic of Turkey. Even though it is the cultural capital, the official capital is Ankara. You can easily get lost in the dusty pages of history when you are walking along the streets of Istanbul. In this unique city, you can learn more about Turkish-Ottoman culture, ancient Rome, and different religion such as Islam.
The European Side of Istanbul
Ataturk airport is also located on the European side. So, you can quickly see the European side if you have limited time in Istanbul. Hagia-Sophia a museum which was converted to a mosque from a church looks fabulous. Opposite to that, you can see the beautiful Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii). In this parts of Istanbul, you should visit the Topkapi Palace (a palace where the Sultan ruled the empire). You can get to the grand bazaar by foot from this location. When you are shopping in the grand bazaar, do not forget to bargain!
If you are hungry after all these trips, we recommend you to eat fish and bread while watching the astonishing view of the Galata Tower. You can get that fresh fish and bread meal from the small boats. However, most of the cultural-historical trips can be easily done within a few days in this part of the city. In order to name the zones, it is better to have accommodation somewhere in Eminönü, Sultanahmet, Taksim.
All these districts based on the European side and pretty close to the top sightseeing places in Istanbul.
The Asian Side of Istanbul
The Asian side, most of the people find it “hipster”. If you are going to visit the Asian side, we recommend you to have accommodation somewhere in Kadıköy, Caddebostan, Moda.
When we compare the Asian side to the European side, we can say that the Asian side is calmer and quieter. Opposite to the many cities in Europe, Istanbul is never sleeping. The streets are always full of people. On the Asian side, you can find many bars and pubs where you can enjoy a pint outside.
The Islands of Istanbul
Istanbul has many small Islands where you can easily go by ferry from the Asian side. Many people ask us “What is the best Island to visit?” the answer is we do not know! All of the Prince Islands are beautiful. However, the biggest island is named as “Büyük Ada”. There, you can see the pretty houses built during the times of the Ottoman Empire. You can rent bikes and cycle through the church at the top of the Island and enjoy the stunning landscape of Istanbul and its Islands. Prince Islands also quite romantic because no car is allowed and it is in pure nature. You should definitely eat those delicious ice-creams!
The Turkish Food in Istanbul
Turkish food has always taken a worldwide place. You can eat döner kebaps wherever you go in Europe. For the ones who do not know about Turkish food and what to eat there, we have written a list! In most of the Turkish restaurants, they serve free starters such as salats and appetizers. Do not be shocked when they start serving you the food which you have not ordered it. Turkish breakfast! A broad array of breakfast food. Great to start to a day! Lahmacun! It is a Turkish pizza where you can find nearly in every kebap shop. Döner! If you have eaten döner before, forget about it! You have never tasted the real Turkish döner somewhere outside of Turkey. Kebap! Most of the people think that döner is the same thing as kebap. Actually, it is not! Rice and Beans! You can see many hawkers selling rice and beans, or chicken. Give it a shot and you will love it and it is so cheap!
Çiğköfte! It is another street food which is cheap and healthy! Alcoholic beverages: Turkish people are obsessed with Raki. You should give a try to it while having a good time with nostalgic Turkish music. Bonus: Visit Salt Bae’s restaurant. We have never eaten a burger which was that delicious in my whole life. You can easily find his restaurants on google maps. Do not forget to eat the delicious Turkish sweet baklava! We wish you a happy trip to Istanbul. Just enjoy the Bosphorus, Turkish food and the good weather! Istanbul for sure would not be like an ordinary European city, you will feel yourself like in a different world. If you are going to visit Turkey, do not end your trip without seeing the amazing Cappadocia
. Have we mentioned that the fruits and the vegetables are so natural and fresh in Turkish supermarkets?