Turkey’s economic, historic, cultural, and most populous city Istanbul is world’s fifth most popular tourist destination. Istanbul was pronounced as European Capital of Culture and fast forward five years, around 12.56 million foreigners visited the city in the year 2015. The city is known for its art, culture, and music. Fun fact about the city is that it is transcontinental in Eurasia, the historic and commercial center lies on the European side while the city’s one third population lives on the Asian side.
If you are in for the experience then I would suggest you stay in the old city. You can easily find accommodation there. The only difference is the neighborhood. You must choose from Sultanahmet, Beyoglu, and Kadikoy.
Sultanahmet is the best choice in my opinion as it in the heart of the old city. This is one of the neighborhoods that will be heavy on your pocket since it is a little on the pricey side. There are countless attractions just at a walking distance such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, the Underground Cistern, the Grand Bazaar, and the Spice Bazaar.
You are basically paying for the location. The streets of the old city are filled with shops and eateries. You can visit whichever museum you like, eat whatever, whenever you wish to. If you wish to shop, you can ask your hotel to book you a cab. From the old city to the Mall of Istanbul, it can cost you about 100 lira which is a little too much. You can always choose to travel in the metro to save a few bucks.
If you fancy high-end hotels and shopping malls then the old city is not the place for you. Hotels such as Marriot and Hyatt are located in the commercial center of the city are better options.
When in Istanbul, you must try Kumpir. It is basically a loaded potato. The baked potato is cut in half and all the goodness is removed. Next, your server will mix the potato with cheese and butter. From there, you can choose what goes on the top such as olives, hot dogs, pickles, corn, peas, bulgur and much more. Best snack on the go!
Also, Kofte and Piyaz for dinner. DO NOT INDULGE IN JUNK FOOD. DO NOT! The junk food might be low in price but this is an experience you can’t afford to miss. You must try their Koftee and Piyaz.
And some Ayran to go along with it. Considered the national drink of turkey. People say you will either love it or absolutely loathe it. It is basically cold yogurt beverage mixed with salt or sugar (Very popular during summers.)
Some baklava for dessert. Baklava is basically phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts, usually sweetened with syrup or honey. Let’s just say that the Turks know what they are doing when it comes to dessert so it is a must try.
There are not a lot of people who speak English so you might want to download a translation app.
Let us know of your trip to Istanbul. For more news and updates, stay tuned.