Wander through the largest covered market in the world, witness the ancient treasures of the city, indulge in a wide selection of fine Turkish treats and experience the ‘Sultan’ way of life. ISTANBUL is a feast for the eyes and the soul.
It was the capital city of some of history’s greatest empires. The Romans, The Byzantines and The Ottomans, all picked Istanbul as their home city. Today, it is the most populous city in Turkey, uniquely straddling the Bosporous Strait, connecting the continents of Asia and Europe.
Istanbul is massive; therefore, I would suggest that first time visitors stay in the Sultanahmet district. Apart from being the oldest part of the city, it is in essence the beating heart of the city. It is in these bustling, zealous streets that you’ll find the city’s main sought after attractions such as: the 6th century marvellous Hagia Sophia, the stunning Blue Mosque – a still active mosque decorated with blue marble tiles, and also the ever sensational Grand Bazaar.
The latter is the largest covered market in the world, and a bazaar like no other. With 18 gates, 61 streets, and over 4,000 shops, it will surely gobble a large chunk of your trip. Here you’ll find just about anything you can imagine from hand woven towels to carpets, antiques, jewellery, spices, Turkish treats, and even nazi regalia! Keep in mind that there aren’t any fixed prices here and therefore, you must try your hand at haggling with the merchants.
Istanbul’s attractions will wear you down, so I would highly suggest going for a hamam (Turkish bath). It’s a three step process of sauna and steam, a full body wash with a deep scrub, and a fine massage that will restore you back to your pre-boarding self.
I would also highly suggest sacrificing a day to visit the Princess’ Islands, an archipelago of islands just off the coast of Istanbul. You can easily hop on a fast ferry, and this trip on its own is worth the time, as you can watch hundreds of seagulls escort the ferry to the islands. As soon as you arrive, you will instantly notice the rather peculiar distinguishable factors of these Islands; silence and serenity. Here, all motorised vehicles are banned, and the only sounds you’ll hear while gazing at the Victorian era cottages will be those of horse-drawn carriages and bicycles.
If you’re short on time, yet still in the mood for a trip on the waters around Istanbul, I highly suggest going for a full Bosphorus tour. Most ferries depart from Eminönü Station, and the shortest cruise goes all the way to the Asian Side. If afterwards your stomach is rumbling and gurgling, be sure to check out some of the best fish restaurants right beside the boarding point at Eminönü.
• Make sure you obtain a visa before travelling to Istanbul.
• Istanbul is a city heavily reliant on cash.
• Wear proper clothing when visiting religious sites.
• Be ready to haggle. Prices in the bazaar are flexible so you might end u buying something 70% cheaper than the original price listed.
© 2018 – VIDA Magazine