I remember fondly as I read through these travel tips for Istanbul, Turkey. Years ago, I traveled to Istanbul for a winter holiday. My highlights included my first Turkish bath, buying a Turkish rug while imbibing many an apple tea (that Turkish rug still decorates my living room), the aroma of the spice bazaar, and yes, baklava. For those that have visited or have yet to feast your eyes and stomach on Istanbul, please enjoy the turnkey travel tips for Istanbul by Hostelbookers.
Exploring Istanbul – 10 Reasons to Visit the Historical City
Visitors going to Istanbul find ample reasons to venture out into the town and partake of the pleasures that wait. After a bracing cup of Turkish coffee, you can set out to tour charming museums filled with ancient artifacts, followed by a luxuriating afternoon at the Turkish Baths leading up to a leisurely evening taking in the view from rooftop bars and bistros all over Istanbul. Browse through some chic and cheap hotels in Istanbul as well as budget travel activities listed below. Reminder: Don’t forget to get your Turkey Visa before you go.
1. Visit a traditional Turkish Bath
Kind of the opposite of a trip to the gym is a sojourn to a Turkish bath, known as Hamams. These often palatial monuments to good clean fun get you not only soaked and scrubbed till you squeak; you can indulge in massages and scrubs that leave your feeling like a butterfly released from its cocoon!
2. Have Coffee with a Friend
Reputed to be the strongest brew in the world, Turkish coffee has developed a local mystique and in Istanbul they believe that if you join someone for a cup of Turkish coffee cooked up in the traditional copper “cezve” and served in a “fincan” cup, you will remain friends for forty years.
3. Fill up on Bargain shopping
Some of the best souvenir shopping isn’t all on Istiklal Street, the backstreets in the Avrupa Pasaji district sport narrow alleyways crowded with tall shops that deal in everything from antiques to designer shoes.
4. Chill out on Rooftop Bars
In Istanbul, Purgatory is located on Istiklal Street on the top two floors of an apartment block accessed by a tiny elevator. Once there, walk right in because there is no cover charge for the music and drinks are dirt cheap. A favorite hangout for college kids, expats and regional characters, Purgatory is the place to see and be seen in Istanbul.
5. Food, Oh the Food!
Your taste buds will not know what hit them at the Spice Bazaar, a traditional marketplace that specializes in varieties of Turkish delights, those chewy, jelly-filled concoctions that are laced with nuts and flavored with subtle whispers of rose water, mint and lemon.
6. Visit Sacred Sites
Aya Sofya (The Church of the Divine Wisdom) inspires visitors to connect with their inner deity in a chapel built with 30 million gold mosaic tiles.
7. Capture beauty
A favorite shutterbug destination is the Blue Mosque, built in 1609 near Hagia Sophia on the site of the Byzantine Imperial Palace. The six minarets topped with blue spires make for beautiful exterior photographs and the stained glass windows and rotundas bathe the interior in a soft blue glow.
8. People Watch
Hang out around the Galata Bridge or the New Mosque to watch the fascinating parade of humanity making their way through there day
9. Explore Grandeur
See how the Sultans live at royal abodes like the Topkapi Palace where the harem room stands in testament to the lusty ways of Imperial families.
10. Discover Turkish Culture
The rich history of Istanbul is displayed in over 72 museums, some in grand edifices like the Kariye Museum while others are tucked away in houses like the Asiyan Museum displaying relics of one of Turkey’s most renowned poets.
Guest post provided by Lela Lake, a travel writer for Hostelbookers. Hostelbookers provides Chic and Cheap hotels in Istanbul, Turkey