I have never hidden from anyone that Istanbul is my favorite city, I have just returned from there and I have already bought a ticket to return, it is the city that I never tire of admiring and visiting. Whenever I go to the city, I try to make a mix of sightseeing tours with others little known to tourists, to get to know the city better.
For those who are going to the city for the first time, I have selected 10 things to do in Istanbul that will help you get the most out of your trip.
Visit the Blue Mosque:
The mosque of Sultan Ahmed (Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish) bears the name of blue mosque by the color of its interior. In it, tourists and locals are impressed by the size, the colors of the walls and the ceiling and the feeling of peace and tranquility.
Admission is free, you just need to check if your clothes are okay for entering a religious temple (covered legs and shoulders) and women should also cover their hair, something that a complacent handkerchief can solve, but if you do not have a handkerchief on the hour, they lend you to enter the mosque. Take off your shoes and do not forget that silence and respect are paramount inside.
Eat Kebab and Its Variations:
I suspect to talk about lamb and Turkish food, I love it! And if you like kebab, know that in Turkey there is a multitude of variations, served in the wrap, skewer or on the plate, my favorite is the Iskender Kebab which is the lamb in a bed of bread pide with butter and tomato sauce, along with yogurt. I am so passionate about this dish that I ate almost all this for a whole week in Istanbul.
Take a boat trip on the Bosphorus:
Istanbul is a maritime city, and has a shipping system too, so you can catch boats that run as buses to make the crossing and work with the local transport card.
For tourists’ there is also the possibility to take a cruise on the Bosphorus to know a bit more of the attractions by the sea, and listen to some of the history of the places with the audio guide. Depending on the season, there are longer or shorter cruises, always ask before you buy.
Go to Hamam and take a Turkish bath:
I think that taking a Turkish bath is an experience to be made in Istanbul, it is certain that it is increasingly difficult to find a hamam but still I always go to the city I experience.
For those who do not know, it would be like a sauna but with a lot of steam, where after a while a maid (or employed for men) comes and with an ancestral technique and a special sponge exfoliates your whole body with great vigor until practically all the cells dead.
Climb the Galata Tower to see the city from above:
One of the best views of Istanbul is from the top of the Galata Tower, you can see all the old part of Istanbul and depending on the light, to Asia. My favorite time to climb is in the late afternoon to catch the sunset behind the minarets.
Walking along Istiklal Avenue:
This is the main shopping avenue in Istanbul, which runs from the Galata Tower to Taksim Square. If you want to shop in Istanbul, it is the right place, and if you are not interested, it is also a good place to get to know the most modern part of the city, to see a little of the day-to-day life of this great metropolis.
Smaller and lesser known than the Gran Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar (or Egyptian Bazaar) is much easier to locate because there is only one main way, and it also has much more interesting prices than its famous competitor, even if you do not go buy nothing you can spend to know a little more about spices and teas.
If you are looking for something to buy, there are endless teas but the best-selling are apple, pomegranate and love tea, I have already taken all three and they are my favorites because they are sweet.
Visit the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art:
Near the Blue Mosque is a museum that is not so much visited by tourists, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art has more than forty thousand pieces, among carpets, Islamic calligraphy, and everything related to Islamic and Ottoman art. My favorite parts are the jewels and the displays of Persian rugs.
Take the traditional tram:
This is something I love doing! In Lisbon and Porto I took the ride with old trams and when I discovered that Istanbul still had two lines operating with traditional trams, I ran to make the Taksim-Tünel line that runs all the Istiklal Avenue and costs 1.75TL.
Dolmabahçe was the first European-style palace in Istanbul, and has one of the largest ballrooms in Europe and the largest chandelier I’ve ever seen in my life, with 750 lamps! The view of the palace is obligatorily in a group and with a local guide who tells us the whole history of Dolmabahçe.
Ahhh! When you buy the ticket, enjoy and include the harem that has the additional ticket and know a little more behind the scenes of the life of the sultans. Don’t forget to keep leather jackets with you if you’re planning to travel Istanbul in next few days because of the cold weather conditions over there.
Author Bio-Graph: Kazim Raza is a Digital Marketer and Search Engine Analyst. I love socializing and playing soccer. One of my targets is to guide people how to earn a living via online marketing. There is a proper method to do this, and once you learn what that is, you become unstoppable.