A huge welcome from The Turkish Travel Blog to Ricky Carbis who has submitted this post on the reasons why he loves Istanbul.
Istanbul has for a long time, been the heart and soul of Turkey.
Boasting more than 12 million official residents, the city is like no other in Turkey. Being the only city in the world that spans two different continents, it is huge. I love Istanbul and can easily admit to a major addiction for this characteristic destination.
You cannot help but be engulfed in the cultural history and significance. So many tourists visit and enjoy adventures through the city, some even make it ‘home’, buying a property in Istanbul or simply spending months seeing all the sights in this city, there really is so much to do.
I have decided to choose my favourite things about Istanbul, maybe some you will have heard of, maybe some you would have not. As well as being my little guide to getting the best out of this awesome city, they are also the reasons why I can say with pride, “I love Istanbul”
Why I love Istanbul
My Favourite Restaurant
You will soon realise that locals love their food! With a plethora of choices from the old favourites such as Burger King and McDonalds, to local humble eateries serving traditional Turkish food at cheap prices, food in Istanbul is amazing.
When choosing a restaurant, most tourists look to restaurants around the Sultan Ahmet district and other touristic areas – however, as with most tourist areas, these can be pricier than traditional local restaurants.
I would recommend checking out Feriye Restaurant that has a fabulous location, overlooking the Bosphorus in Ortakoy. Sitting in a picturesque 19th century building, the menu offers traditional Ottoman dishes with a modern twist; Feriye Restaurant is also famous for its amazing seafood dishes.
My Favourite Museum
Istanbul is a city with so much history, previously ruled by Romans and Ottomans alike. With that said, museums are rich in artefacts and have massive cultural significance.
Being such a colourful and cultural city, I would have go with the Istanbul Modern Museum and Art Gallery as the number one museum to see. Located in a converted warehouse, the museum has fantastic views over the Bosphorus and represents the modern side of Istanbul, located amongst all that history.
The contemporary art gallery plays host to local as well as international artists and many tourists can be seen wondering around this gallery in awe at some of the work on show.
My Favourite Shopping Location
If you are looking to go shopping in Istanbul, there is simply just one place to head to – the Grand Bazaar. The Grand Bazaar has more than 4000 shops that can cater for any budget and any shopping tastes – It is a woman’s dream and a man’s nightmare.
When shopping in the Grand Bazaar, many tourists are afraid to haggle for price, but be brave and haggle!
You will be surprised at the sudden discounts that become available when you raise a question or doubt about purchasing.
Shopping for anything from jewellery, carpet, clothes, artwork, souvenirs, and even spices and groceries – prices are reasonable and choices are spoilt.
My Favourite Historic Site
Again, the history of Istanbul mean that historic sites are literally everywhere! There is the famous Topkapi Palace, which is more than three centuries and was once the home of the Ottoman Empire. Don’t forget about the great Galata Tower which stands tall on the skyline and offers fantastic views across the city.
But, if I had to choose one fantastic historical site for tourists to see, I would have to go with the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii). This is probably THE image of Istanbul. Postcards and posters worldwide all portray this image when advertising the city. The six tall minarets of the Blue Mosque make it a must see. If you go to Istanbul without taking a trip to see the Blue Mosque, well, you might as well have never gone in the first place, it is spectacular.
My Personal Choice for Getting About
Well, you would not go to London without checking out the London Underground, you would not go to New York without going on the famous Subway system. The same goes for Istanbul.
As a tourist, I would highly recommend using the many transport systems available in the city. The Metro System is easily accessed and has two lines serving the city with links to Taksim Square and Tunel Square.
However, no trip to Istanbul is complete without a journey, or two, on what can only be defined as a sea bus! When travelling around, you will see that traffic sometimes gets the better of you, and can really cause problems. Therefore, many people choose to hop onto a Sea Catamaran to zip across the Bosphorus or the Sea of Marmara to get to your desired location. Ferries are regularly brimming full with cars whose owners use the ferry system to commute to work. If you are going to travel around Istanbul, you might as well travel on the sea buses
So there you have it, my top 5 reasons why I love Istanbul. The city is so large and marvellous, it is no wonder that many end up calling it one of the best cities that they have travelled to. One thing is certain though, it sure is an adventurers dream.
Readers Question : Do you love Istanbul as well? If so, what are your reasons and favourite things about the city?
Further Reading on Istanbul
I really shouldn't travel because I can not read maps and always lose my way! But hey, that never stops me and it is part of the fun! Leave a comment below to join the discussions.