The main sights to see are the...
The main sights to see are the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, and the whole peninsula south of the Golden Horn. Allow a FULL two days, wear comfortable shoes, and hang on to your wallet.
The Grand Bazaar offers the most awesome shopping experience we have ever seen. We're headed back this October, and we intend to do some SERIOUS shopping!
Dolmabahce palace is very impressive as well, especially as it sits right on the Bosphorus, but is VERY expensive to tour compared with the other sites. Let me switch that to worst: you are CONSTANTLY hassled to buy something, or have your shoes shined, or being plied with a hard luck story, or something. You need to develop a hard skin. Also, stay out of the cabs unless dire necessity forces you into one, and then be very careful not to be cheated. Count your money slowly, and don't give it to the driver until you are sure you have the correct amount, and he has acknowledged the same. I would advise being out of the cab when you pay the driver. Turkish money is absurd (over 500,000 lira to the dollar, and sinking fast.) It is very easy to confuse 500,000 with 5,000,000
Route of tankers
Bosphorous is on the route of tankers mainly leaving the port Novorossisk. These tankers are carrying heavy oils, liquid chemicals and all types of explosives. This is a great danger for the city.
The streams of the Bosphorous are unusual and the curvey structure makes everything more difficult. On top of these, most of the tankers etc. refuse to take pilot due to its high cost. The city is under big threat. There are reports on the effects of a possible accident. (accidents occur, but "thank god" not a very big one "yet").
The result can be a real diseaster.
The Lion's milk, RAKI !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Raki is the traditional alcohol drink of Turkey. I suggest you to have it with fish or with appetizers..
P.s. It's very tough, if you don't trust urself with alcohol, take it with alot of water.. ;))
P.s. While u are sitting maybe you can miss it but when you stand up you can feel that you are totally drunkk!!!
The view from Pierre Loti Cafe
The view from Pierre Loti Cafe might be must see activity as well but I think it is not usually included in the standard Istanbul tours. This was the reason why I put it here. The reason for my hesitation was that the view was fantastic even though it was gloomy that day.
I tried to imagine what I would actually see if there was no rain, no for and the water was not that muddy and brownish because of the rains falling the previous days.
What I saw in my mind was an amazingly beautiful view which makes me think that I would love to go back there some day and enjoy a cup of tea sitting on the terrace of Pierre Loti Cafe and looking to the blue waters of the Golden Horn.
It sells everything and is well worth a visit even if you don't buy anything its well worth seeing. Perhaps safer than shopping on the streets.
Its crowded keep your money in your front trouser pocket. Spices would be good souvenirs. £-£££