Trip Plan Details
- Kutahya PorcelainBuyukere Caddesirecommended Kutahya PorcelainIf you want the porcelain that found in Turkish homes and restaurants, go here. Kutahya stocks both the industrial Turkish coffee cups and the more ornate variety. My wife and I once bought 106 coffee ... read morecups here as favors for our wedding. Our guest still have them and we still brew Turkish coffee in ours five years later. The lower level has fine, hand painted porcelain ideal for gift sets. We bought vases here for each set of our grandparents that they proudly display.Rich Carriero
This is the standard porcelain Turks actually buy. Forget the bazaars; go here.
- Chora ChurchCamii Sokak, Istanbul 34947 Turkeyrecommended Chora ChurchIronically, because of the iconoclastic period during which the Byzantines destroyed much of their own religious artwork, the best Byzantine frescoes can be found in Venice and Sicily. However, for ... read morethe intrepid visitors who are willing to venture out to the city walls, Chora Church definitely has the best frescoes in the city. This small chuch is filled with frescoes depicting Christ, Mary, the saints and some of the emperors. The most famous fresco is that of Christ lifting the Jewish Patriarchs out of hell.Rich Carriero
While Ayasofya is the best Byzantine architecture in the city, Chora is home to the best surviving artwork.
- Maiden's TowerSalacak Mh., Salacak İskele Ar Sk 17, Istanbul Province/Istanbul, Turkeyrecommended Maiden's TowerMost tourists don't know what it is but they usually recognize the small tower in the middle of the Bosporus. Originally constructed during the ancient Greek period to monitor traffic on the ... read moreBosphorus, the tower has been enlarged and rebuilt by various empires. Today the tower is a fine dining restaurant with one of the most spectacular views of the city. Visitors can take a private ferry from various spots in the city, though the easiest is Uskudar. If you climb up to the top, you can buy a cup of tea and take in the view of the historic peninsula. Lunch at the downstairs restaurant is reasonably priced, though if you want to go for dinner, you'll need reservations.Rich Carriero
You can see it from just about anywhere in the city, the views are amazing and the restaurant is actually quite good.
recommended The Princes IslandsThere are four Princes Islands that you visit by ferry from Istanbul: Kinaliada, Burgazada, Heybeliada and Buyukada. Ferries leave from Karakoy, Kabatas and Kadikoy. The boat ride takes about an hour ... read moreand a half to the first island and about 15 minutes between islands. In the summertime the ferries can be very crowded so be prepared. The main attraction of the islands is their relative seclusion. Cars are not allowed and the "taxis" are horse drawn buggies. You can also rent bicycles on some of the bigger islands. Kinaliada is the most residential and has the best beaches. However, the Sea of Marmara is not that clean so don't stay in the water too long. Burgazada has a cluster of good fish restaurants near the ferry port. My favorite island was Heybeliada, home to the Greek Orthodox seminary and a Turkish naval academy. Buyukada is the biggest tourist attraction. It's the largest island with many restaurants, ice cream shops and fancy Ottoman-style homes. Trotsky lived on this island for a number of years after he was exiled from the Soviet Union.Rich Carriero
The greenest place in the city, reachable by a bracing ferry ride.
- Canim Cigerimİstiklal Cad. No:162, Taksim/Istanbul - Europe, Türkiyerecommended Canim CigerimMy wife I discovered Canim Cigerim when we were teaching English in Taksim; our students actually brought us there and we were immediately hooked. At Canim Cigerim you ask for the basic dinner. You ... read moresit at a table and they bring you roasted tomatoes, onions and plates of greens like mint and arugala. The main course is a seemingly endless stream of meat skewerers, which you eat with wraps and any combination of spices and the above-mentioned vegetables that you want. It's filling and heavenly.Rich Carriero
Another great nook I found courtesy of the students my wife and I taught.
- Gani Gani13 Kuyu Sokakrecommended Gani GaniDuring our three years living in Istanbul, Gani Gani was the restaurant that we loved and visited most. The decor is authentic Anatolian although the restaurant is located in a maze of streets near ... read moreTaksim in the heart of Istanbul. Our waiters were always very friendly, never rushing our service in any way. The food is phenomenal. Gani Gani makes the best lahmacun and lamb shish kebab in Istanbul. Try the Naum Pasha special for something truly amazing. If you have more than two, consider getting one of the upstairs compartments where you can all sit on the carpet with your friends and eat Anatolian style.Rich Carriero
My favorite place in the city to eat authentic Turkish food. Great food, ambiance and service.
- Topkapı PalaceSultanahmet Square, Istanbul 34122 Turkeyrecommended Topkapı PalaceWith its enormous courtyards and numerous opulent pavilions, Topkapi Palace will take a good of the day get through. The palace is remarkably well preserved with stunning tile intact. There are so ... read moremany exhibits, including huge diamonds and gemstones, as well as a sacred relic section that includes the staff of Moses, cooking pot of Abraham, sword of David and a footprint and beard hairs from Mohammed, among many others. The harem was among the best sections - well worth the additional ticket cost to see some of the best rooms and courtyards but without so much of a crowd. Unfortunately the tourists here take away from the experience - several times we saw groups of young men skip a long line completely and push their way in. Be ready for aggressive crowds, but don't miss this historic place!Lauren Baker
I was tempted to skip Topkapi Palace when I saw the admission fee, but I'm so glad I didn't! The harem visit is also worth the extra fee - I thought it was one of the best sections.
- Grand BazaarCankurtaran Mh, Tevkifhane Sk 1, Istanbul, Turkeyrecommended Grand BazaarWhat an incredible experience! This labyrinth of shops stretches impossibly far in every direction and offers all the souvenirs and trinkets you can imagine. Although it has become primarily a tourist ... read morehub, you can still find authentic shops on the back streets. Fun place to take in the sights and smells while honing your haggling skills!Lauren Baker
Wandering through the bazaar is an amazing way to spend a day!
recommended Seven Hills HotelHands down, this is the best rooftop terrace in an area full of rooftop terraces. It feels like the highest vantage point, with unbelievable views of Hagai Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Golden Horn. ... read moreThe desserts were among the highlights of our trip and the waiters were incredibly nice- always willing to take a picture or offer a blanket if it got cold.
- recommended Ocean's 7 HotelI didn't realize that there was also a hotel, but the restaurant is a must! The historic ottoman house was renovated beautifully and is now run by seven charismatic brothers. After we ate here one ... read moreevening, they remembered us and offered us free coffee every time we walked by for the rest of the week. The food is great, but the view from the rooftop terrace is even better. You won't want to miss this great place!Lauren Baker
Great restaurant run by friendly people!
- Sultanahmet SquareTurkeyrecommended Sultanahmet SquareThis historic area is beautiful, flanked by great cafes and cute shops and full of the smells and sounds of the city. Although this is a prime tourist area it feels authentic.Lauren Baker
I recommend staying in the Sultanahmet area. Istanbul is huge, but most of the historic tourist sites are within walking distance (Hagai Sophia, Blue Mosque, basilica cistern, grand bazaar) and there are great and inexpensive hotels and restaurants.
recommended Basilica CisternThe Basilica Cistern is the largest of ancient cisterns that are hidden underneath of Istanbul. It is quite an experience to visit it (it takes about hour, the line may be long to get in but it’s ... read moreworth waiting). As you enter, you would see a huge underground pool of water, lined with rows of columns. The lighting and music make it mesmerizing. Don’t miss the two columns in one of the corners with Medusa’s head as a pedestal – they are amazing.
commented on this trip
There are many, to many places to see in Istanbul. It will depend on how long you are planning to stay there and what kind of a traveler you are. I can suggest to you the following: The Bosphorus Tour leaving Eminönü, visit The Princess Island, go to the Asian part of the city, to Üsküdar to watch the sunset over the European part, visit Topkapi Palace, the Suleymaniye Mosque, the Galata Bridge and Tower. As for eating ... Istanbul is loaded with all sorts of places to eat. Enjoy.
recommended The Bosphorus StraitThis is a must see. You will get the real idea of the city while on boat, having on one side Europe and on the other Asia. Enjoy!Recommended for:Kayhan Serdar
I have to say. Do whatever it takes to jump on this boat: sehirhatlari.com.tr/en. Do the full Bosphorus Tour for about 25,00 TL and it will blow your mind.
- Istanbul Modern4 Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi Liman Sahasý Antrepo, Istanbul Turkey
- Historic Areas of IstanbulIstanbul, Turkey
- Dolmabahçe PalaceVişnezade Mh., 34357 Istanbul, Turkey
- Galata BridgeKaraköy-Eminönü Verbindung, Istanbul, Turkey
- BeyoğluPiyalepaşa Blv, Istanbul Turkey
- Bosphorus BridgeArnavutköy Mh., Beşiktaş/Istanbul, Turkey
- Galata TowerBereketzade Mahallesi, 34420 Istanbul, Turkey
- The Spice BazaarIstanbul, Turkey