Istanbul Travel Guide

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Hello Travelers,

How are you all doing? I’ve been having a really fun summer traveling and enjoying my time here in San Francisco. Finally, I had some free time to work on my travel posts. So, I had a chance to visit this mystical and beautiful city last year and I wanted to share my travel memories with you. The city which used to be known as Constantinople amazed me with it’s beautiful architecture and hospitable people. I stayed right in Taksim Square which is the center of the city. It was pretty convenient to get to any of the attractions from here via taxi’s.

Turkish food that you ought to try:

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  • Aryan – a cold yogurt beverage
  •  Dondurma – an ice cream that is thick and almost chewy
  • Simits – sesame-encrusted bread rings
  • Mussels stuffed with rice
  • Nargile – hookah

This was my itinerary for the 3 days I was there:

Day 1

1)Sultanahmet Square

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This was my first stop right after heading out to the visit the city. With the Blue Mosque on one side and the Hagia Sophia the other, the views are breathtaking. The gardens are well maintained and the area is spotless.

2) Hagia Sophia

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[Cost: $13 USD]

This is a beautiful museum/ mosque built between the years of 532 and 537, the building was a church for nearly a thousand years. It’s considered the magnum opus of Byzantine architecture. The eclectic symbol of Istanbul itself with a mix of Christian mosaic art along-with Islamic calligraphy.

3) Blue Mosque

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[Cost: Free]

This is a gorgeous mosque built in front of the Hagia Sophia by Sultan Ahmed. It’s architecture consists of beautiful domes, semidomes and minarets and it’s one of the most popular tourist spots in Istanbul.

4) Topkapi Palace

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[ Cost: $13. Harem: $10 more]

The Topkapi Palace served as home of the Ottoman Sultans and was also the residence of the imperial Harem. Do note that this is closed on Tuesdays.

5) Basilica Cistern

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This is an underground cistern that lies beneath the city of Istanbul. It has multiple columns paying tribute to the slaves who died during its construction.

6) Galata Bridge

Walk across this bridge at sunset and enjoy a beer and nargile while watching ferries make their way to the docks.

Day 2:

1) Galata Tower 

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[Cost: $7]

This has beautiful views of the city and a restaurant and bar at the top. There is also a fun simulation ride you can do which gives you the experience of flying over the city.

2) Dolmabahçe/ Dolmanbahce Palace

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Built in the 19th century, the palace was used by the final Ottoman sultans as their primary residence and administrative seat. The architecture is a beautiful blend of European and Arab designs.

3) Beylerbeyi Palace

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[Cost: 10 TL ]

This was the summer palace for the Sultan.  Quite beautiful from the inside, however, photography is not allowed here. It has guided tours every 30 minutes. There is the sultans gate, so if he wanted to go somewhere there was the gate to the Bosporus.

4) Taksim Square

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This is a vibrant, modern neighborhood located in the European part of Istanbul. Visit Çiçek Pasaji – passage of flowers.

5) Ortakoy

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This place is full of crowded restaurants and bustling bars. Ortakoy is a nightlife hub for Istanbul’s trendy and wealthy young people. You can definitely get some delicious food, drinks and breathtaking view of the Bosphorus from here.

Day 3

1)Miniatürk

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[Cost: $7]

This is a Mini park. Has miniature versions of all the famous attractions in Turkey. Loved exploring this cute little park.

2) Cruise of the Bosphorous

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[Cost : 25 TL]

You should def set aside a few hours and do this. Tickets can be purchased from the pier. This cruise sails across both the European and Asian side of Istanbul right from until the black sea. You can get gorgeous pictures and enjoy the breeze with some nice Turkish coffee on the boat.

3) Egyptian Spice Bazaar and Grand Baazar

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Come here on the last day to do all your shopping. You can get some really aromatic tea and spices, beautiful Turkish lamps and other decorations.

Here are some more pictures that I took:

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Beautiful carvings on a pretty structure outside a mosque

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Trying to capture a flying bird

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Intricate details of a beautiful Turkish bath

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That’s all for this post. Thank you for visiting. Have an awesome day and happy to answer any questions in the comments below.

Love,

Ankita

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