How do you read a city? Or, more precisely, how do you learn to live that city? Simply, by walking all day and observing people.
So, where to start in Istanbul and how to recapture its essence if you have a limited time.
Follow the following best of list to find out about what to do and why to do that...
Enjoy the city!
Day 1 - Istanbul
To live a city and learn its unique language and heart beat, perhaps it is best to start from its downtown (the most crowded area): Istiklal Caddesi. Walk all the way down through the crowd to the tunnel where there are various cosy coffee shops and music stores. Discover back streets, find your way to Cukurcuma (the upcoming Bohemian district of Istanbul) and rest at some coffee to do some people watching to learn about the way of life of these people.
Next, give yourself a break from the crowds and turn to the city's other face: the Bosphorus. Take a long walk by the coast, eat ice-cream and enjoy the view.
Once, you have absorbed the idea of the city, go meet its soul at the historic center: Sultanahmet. Visit the Topkapi Palace, Basillica Cistern... While these are only two of the major landmarks, Sultanahmet is by its own a place to be discovered.
Your next ideal should be to learn about the way of life. How do these people bargain? Go to the Grand Bazaar (Covered Market) and to the Spice Market to learn about that. AND, do some shopping! Shopping and eating are inevitable parts of any travel. Buy local food, Turkish coffee, lokum, carpets, leather goods to take home as souvenirs.
To get philosophical and to watch a moving old-time tradition go to the Dervish Lodge.
To mesmerize yourself as the ladies used to in the past, visit the traditional spas of Turkey (for those who may prefer a more upscale service and treatment, modern spas also exist)
Daily trip to the Princess Islands to enjoy nature and the sea (it is now possible to swim in some of the islands)
For a cultural break visit SantralIstanbul, where almost always a show, a workshop or a concert is hosted!
Istiklal Cad., Beyoglu
34437 Istanbul, Turkey
Çırağan Caddesi, Yıldız, İstanbul 34349, Turkey
34122 Istanbul, Turkey
tel: 90 212 522 4422
fax: +90 212 528 5991
Yerebatan Caddesi 13
(Near St. Sophia)
34110 Istanbul, Turkey
tel: 90 212 522 1259
22 Kalpakçılar Caddesi
34975 Istanbul, Turkey
tel: 90 212 519 1248
Behind the New Mosque in Eminönü
Galip Dede Caddesi 15
34430 Istanbul, Turkey
tel: 90 212 245 4141
Junction of Turnacıbaşı and Capanoglu Streets No:24 Galatasaray
tel: 90 212 252 4242
Eski Silahtarağa Bektrik Santralı Kazım Karabekir Caddesı No.1
34060 Istanbul, Turkey
tel: 90 212 311 5000 / 90 212 444 0428
fax: +90 212 444 0428