15 different things to do in Istanbul

1. Samatya, the fishermen’s neighborhood

Kumkapi is the old fishing district of Istanbul, today gentrified and transformed into a succession of restaurants for tourists. If you want the same but more authentic, and only frequented by Turks, visit Samatya, another fishing neighborhood about three kilometers from the center on Kennedy Avenue. At night, the little square and all its restaurants and terraces offer the genuine local atmosphere that has already been lost in Kumkapi. If you want to enjoy good views, I recommend the terrace of the Forsa Restaurant.

2. The best ‘baklavas’

The baklava It is a cake made with a paste of crushed pistachios or walnuts and distributed in a phyllo dough bathed in syrup or honey. They are very typical of Turkey and they make them great at the Hafiz Mustafá confectioneries, founded in 1864 during the reign of Sultan Abdulaziz Khan. They have several stores in the city. One in the central Taksim Square and two more at number 37 and 121 İstiklal Street.

Hafiz Mustafa is one of the best sweet shops in Istanbul to try 'baklavas'.

Hafiz Mustafa is one of the best sweet shops in Istanbul to try ‘baklavas’.

3. Have a tea or smoke some ‘shishas’ in Corlulu Ali Pasa

Corlulu Ali Pasa is a café in the courtyard of an old mosque at 38 Yeniçeriler Caddesi, the central street that runs from the Mosque Square to the Grand Bazaar. Haven of local life in a very touristy area where as soon as you enter they are already putting the coals for the hookahs. Waiter service is very efficient.

4. Visit the book bazaar

In the street between the Grand Bazaar and the Beyazit Mosque there is a stone arch that gives access to a book bazaar. Very small and little looking, but great if you like books and prints.

5. Wander around Yerebatan Caddesi

It is a lightly trafficked street lined with hotels, boutiques, souvenirs, carpets and antiques with restaurants and terraces open until very late and which leads to a corner of the Sultanahmet square (the one with the mosques). A good place to have a late dinner or enjoy a drink.

The Orient Bar of the Pera Palace hotel, in Istanbul.

The Orient Bar of the Pera Palace hotel, in Istanbul.

6. Have a coffee at the Pera Palace

The historic hotel built in 1892 to accommodate passengers of the Orient Express and where Agatha Christie wrote much of her work Murder on the Orient Express It also has a mythical cafeteria. The Orient Bar is open from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., by reservation only. If you can’t find a place, you can console yourself in his patisseriewith sweets, coffee, tea and free admission.

7. Dining under the Galata Bridge

Don’t be too lazy to book a table at one of the restaurants under the Galata Bridge. It is true that they are more expensive than the average in the city and very touristy, but they are quite a spectacle. The views are spectacular.

8. Souvenirs cheaper than in the Grand Bazaar

Walking along the street that goes up from the Pera Palace to the Galata Tower is also a feast of sensations. It is full of cafes, shops and a good atmosphere. The prices of souvenirs They are cheaper here than in the Grand Bazaar.

Cicek Pasaji, a good place to try traditional Turkish food.

Cicek Pasaji, a good place to try traditional Turkish food.

9. Turkish food in a local atmosphere

Cicek Pasaji is a small, glass-enclosed, L-shaped shopping arcade off the popular İstiklal street, inside which you’ll find several restaurants serving traditional Turkish cuisine.

10. Stroll through Nevizade Sokak

A narrow narrow alley on a slope next to the Cicek Pasaji and full of bars where Galatasaray fans usually go when there is a match. Local atmosphere with few tourists.

11. Visit Dolmabahçe Palace

It was the one that replaced Topkapi as the residence of the sultans from 1856 to 1924, the year in which the caliphate was abolished. Selamlik — the part that housed the administrative offices and the official hallsthe harem and the private rooms of the sultan and his family are the most interesting.

12. Ortaköy Mosque

Ortaköy is a beautiful mosque on the banks of the Bosphorus, one of the most beautiful and harmonious in Istanbul. It is perfect to combine with a visit to Dolmabahçe Palace, which is not far away. In the surroundings there is a lot of atmosphere of terraces and cafes. Also, many jewelry stores. On Sundays they set up a small clothing market. A good place to try kumpira giant potato that is stuffed with all the sauces and ingredients: it is the most typical street food in the Turkish city.

13. Tea with a view

Having tea at sunset on one of the terraces near the Süleymanye Mosque while the chants of the muezzin sound from the minarets is an unforgettable sensory experience. You will have the best views over the city with the magnificent silhouette of the mosque on one side, the Golden Horn, the Galata Tower and Beyoğlu on the other; and in the background, Asia. The neighborhood is very run down, but the experience is worth it.

Street food kiosks at the foot of the Galata Bridge.

Street food kiosks at the foot of the Galata Bridge.

14. Try a mackerel sandwich on the Galata Bridge

in turkish it is balik-ekmek and they make them great at Tarihi Eminönü, one of the street food kiosks at the foot of the Galata Bridge. Locals and tourists surrender to this delicacy.

15. Cross over to Asia

You can not stop crossing to Üsküdar, the neighborhood in the Asian area of ​​​​Istanbul. Ferries leave from Eminönü, on the European side. Once there, visit the Mihrimah Mosque, its market – much more local and authentic than othersand walk along the coast to Kiz Kulesi, the Maiden’s Tower, located on an islet in the Bosphorus Strait, which has inspired myths and legends.


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