Useful Guide and Travel Tips for Your Next Holiday in Istanbul Turkey
With one arm reaching out to Asia and the other to Europe, Istanbul Turkey is the only city in the world built on two continents. Lying on the banks of the Bosphorus, Istanbul is a city that is thousands of years old. Originally, it was known as Byzantium, and later, Constantinople, before adopting the name Istanbul in the early 20th century.
In Istanbul, you will find that architecture, culture, and trade routes converge from all over the world. However, it is also important to be cautious and savvy while you explore the city, as there will often be scammers looking to catch unwary visitors off their guard.
It is Istanbul’s endless variety that fascinates its visitors. The museums, churches, palaces, grand mosques, bazaars and sites of natural beauty are countless. At such times you can see why Istanbul is truly one of the most glorious cities in the world.
What to visit when in Istanbul?
The architecture in Istanbul is truly wonderful, and you can see a range of different influences and styles. You can start from the Byzantine Hagia Sofia (that is over 1,400 years old), to the Romanesque Galata Tower. Istanbul is also the original home of the tulip, and the Sultanahmet Park and Emirgan Park are great places to see vast numbers of flowers in bloom between March and May. Another place worth visiting if you enjoy historic art is the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora.
It is intricately decorated with beautiful frescoes and mosaics that are very impressive. Some other highlights include visiting The Blue Mosque, The Grand Bazaar, and a Bosphorus cruise. The Grand Bazaar was amazing—it’s one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. When in Istanbul Turkey you should try the local cuisine. Go to a Food Walking Tour if you have time! You’ll learn more about history, culture, local life, plus get fed all day long.
What to eat when in Istanbul?
Turkish cuisine is very diverse, and Istanbul is a melting pot of cultures, so you can see these influences together in their cuisine and street food scene.
Here is some traditional food you should definitely try:
Çiğ Köfte: Traditionally, this dish is served as a type of raw meat tartare. But, nowadays, it’s made in a vegetarian style and can be found throughout Istanbul.
Lahmacun: A type of Turkish Pizza that can typically be ordered with a variety of toppings. Great for all types of foodies!
Kokoreç: Though I didn’t try this, my local friend in Istanbul said this is one of his favorite foods. It’s essentially a meat sandwich made from lamb intestines, but tastes better than it sounds!
Adana Durum: A very traditional meat kebab.
Balik Ekmek: A really yummy fish sandwich.
And of course, a trip to Istanbul wouldn’t be complete without a stop for a cup of Turkish coffee. You’ll find that Turkish coffee is a bit thicker in consistency than espresso and has a distinct flavor of cardamom. It can be an acquired taste for some, but definitely worth a try!
The mean of transport when in Istanbul Turkey
The public transportation network in this huge city can be confusing at times, with a large range of routes, and a variety of options ranging from the subway, buses, trams, overland trains and even ferries that take people to different parts of the city.
The Istanbulkart is the best way to pay for your transport, as it is a refillable card, and covers all of the main public transport options. If you are traveling with a friend or your family, you can tap for different people with the same card, so it makes getting around with groups much easier. Taxis should be fairly inexpensive, but be wary of drivers who try to negotiate fixed fares or those who try to shortchange you.
Photo credit: Fatih on Unsplash