We spent so much time in this city that I feel like we can already consider that we lived in Turkey! That’s way I think we know the city well enough to recommend the best things that this city can offer.
The next list is not in order of importance, neither it’s random, it’s just an organized chaotic way of doing things, just like the city we are talking about.
1 – Sultanahmet
- Hagia Sophia: this is church which origins go back to the 4th century. It was turned into a mosque in the 15th century, and now it’s a museum. Inside there are still some of the Christian frescos from before the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
- The blue mosque: it’s one of the biggest mosques in Istanbul and it’s highly decorated. Of course this is not the real name, and it’s a nickname that comes because of the blue tiles inside. It’s a really imposing building with its 6 minarets. Once here you can visit the Islamic information center where they will answer any doubts you might have. (Don’t feel ashamed if you think your questions are stupid, they’ll be happy to answer!).
- The Basilica Cisterns: dating back to roman times this is where water was storage. It’s quite amazing to walk though it with its many columns. Some people say it’s not worth, but I found it amazingly interesting.
- Once in the square, next to the cisterns you can find the Millennium, and obelisk that marks the beginning of the roman way, and the one it was used to measure distances between cities.
2 – Sunset at Café Pier Loti
After dark and tired of so much visiting, you can climb to this old café and enjoy the views of the city. The café is really nice, but if the weather it’s ok I would definitely recommend staying in the terrace, the views of the city by night are superb.
3 – Evening at the Galata tower
Climbing up the tower is a must, but what you shouldn’t miss is the evening atmosphere around it. Especially on weekends people hung around here playing music, juggling, dancing or just talking. It’s a great feeling and the locals make you feel welcomed among them. Until you have experienced this, you can’t really say you know the city.
4 – Best island hostel
I know… a hostel? I’m not doing publicity of the place, but it really is great. The atmosphere between the travelers is amazing, it’s one of the cheapest accommodations in town and … it has the best views you can imagine. From the top floor, where the 16 bed shared room is you can see both Hagia Sofia and the Bosphorus, I don’t think that even in the most luxurious hotel you can get such a great view from the moment you open your eyes in the morning!
5 – Istanbul Marathon
It only happens once a year, but it’s the only time you can walk from Asia to Europe, during the rest of the year the bridge is only for motorized vehicles. This is an event also for local people, who go to the bridge for breakfast, but the marathon offers many other interesting things not seen anywhere else.
It’s so horrible organized that it’s actually funny. Also there are lots of sellers along the way offering tea, pastries, water … and people buy it! (I don’t know about other marathoners, but I don’t carry money with me!)
For now we believe it’s enough to make you want to come to Istanbul, but stil,l soon we will update the next five reasons …
To be continued …