Have you been to the historical site of Istanbul: Sultanahmet, Kapali Carsi, Hagia Sophia etc? Probably yes. Have you eaten the world famous kebab? Probably yes as well. You have probably also taken a walk by the sea, or drank Turkish tea in a coffee shop by the sea... Maybe, you even have had time to visit the Asian continent and the Bagdat Street (one of the liveliest streets and shopping venues of Istanbul).
If you have done most of these things, you have probably seen the gist of Turkey. But, if you want to taste more of the local, in fact it you want to go deeper than the local- do things that even some of the locals do not do- than follow the advices on this list.
Day 1 - Istanbul
As such, the list below is not exactly the hidden germs of Istanbul. Continue reading to discover the real germs in the details of these items.
Istanbul Ferry is a general concept. There are ferries used for public transportation, which depart from Besiktas, Uskudar, Eminonu, as well as Bostanci, Karakoy, Kadikoy etc. There are also touristic ferries, which depart from Ortakoy, Bebek, Emirgan etc. that take the visitors on a basic 2 hour trip on the Bosphorus. All of these are worth doing as they provide you the opportunity to observe scenes from locals' lives during rush hour as they rush from one continent to the other on the public ferry boats. The tourist boats on the other hand provide with an enormous sightseeing opportunity with music, foods and drink and sometimes a guide.
However, what would make Istanbul Ferry experience a germ-like experience, a unique, personalized one is if you go to Balat (Halic) and rent a fisherman's boat. (You need to approach the fishermen yourself and bargain for rental). Ask the fisherman to take you around the Halic River during sunset and this will indeed feel like a historical stanza in a gondola.
Istanbul Photography Walking tour is an organized walking tour with the experts of photography and the city... Let yourself be guided through the back streets of the city and capture the moments.
Going to the Tunnel is very very easy. You take the historical tram from the Taksim square all the way down to the Tunnel. Here what is to be discovered can be guided by your imagination. Visit the music shops, enter all passages, streets to discover your own hidden germs: stores, cafes, galeries etc. Hint: One of these germ-like cafes is called Marva. The small neighborhood cafe is frequented by those living in Beyoglu. Locals come there with their laptops and books to find a peace of mind. Their Sunday brunches are also very delicate. Open-buffet for 15 to 25 TL with limited, but delicious and home-baked choices. To reach here walk down from the side of Gloria Jean's Coffee Shop in the Tunnel towards the Deutsche Schule. After passing the school, make a turn to the right and you will embark on this little cafe inside this historical and rich street.
The Princes' Islands are also not hidden by nature, as you may be able to see them even as your plane gets ready for landing. However, there are hidden germs on these islands, which you will discover by going to the islands. The following are some of these germs -hidden or not: The Aya Yorgi Chuch up on a hill on Buyukada, Kalpazankaya on Burgazada (go during sunset and eat fish) and Sedef Port Restaurant on the Sedef island.
Zencefil: a gread vegetarian restaurant (vegetarian restaurants are not very common in Turkey) hidden in the backstreets of Beyoglu/Istiklal.
Ara Cafe for the photographers to enjoy a local scene and good food. If you are social enough you may even be able to converse with the renown photographer/owner of the cafe: Ara Guler himself (he is known to have photographed Salvador Dali. Otherwise, you will still be able to get a glimpse of him.
Mikla great food with great location. It is not as hidden anymore, but it definitely is a germ.
Walking by the Bosphorus on foot is not very hidden either. However, it will give you the opportunity to relax and discover places on your own. If you can keep it up and walk until Istinye on the European Coast, do not forget to visit the little cafe Sonay Cay Bahcesi on the coast. They have such delicious toasts with double cheese and fresh tea.
For daily get aways Arnika provides nice tours in and around the city. Another organizer is Uyku Tulumu (www.uykutulumu.com.tr/ )
And, as you do all or any of these things, try out the street food: chestnuts (in the picture), bagels or corn...
Galip Dede Caddesi
34430 Istanbul, Turkey
+90 21 2522 4902
Kurabiye Sokak No. 8-10 (at Beyoglu)
90 212 24 44082
Tomtom Mahallesi Tosbag Sokak 8/A
90 212 245 41 05
Meşrutiyet Caddesi Tepebaşı
The Marmara Pera
34430 Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 251 5656 / 90 212 251 4646 (Hotel)
Çırağan Caddesi, Yıldız, İstanbul 34349, Turkey
3438 İstiklal Cadesi. No:55 Mim Han Kat:1
80080 Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 245 1593