A completely different world
"Perhaps too short...."
We visited Istanbul in November 2004 for a couple of days. Perhaps too short, but we did get a good impression of the city, the people and the way of living.
Conclusion: a complete different world !!
We were lucky to stay in The Golden Horn Hotel in the middle of the old city, so we could do a lot of sightseeing without any use of transportation.
It is by far the best way to 'see, hear and smell' a lot of this interesting city.
My tips are more or less 'personal notes' about the highlights of Istanbul.
For Dutch and Belgian VT-members: see transportation tip about Eindhoven Airport.
Being in Istanbul we did see everywhere the minarets of a countless number of mosques. It is impossible to visit them all as a tourist, so we had to make a choice.
Perhaps a little bit strange, but we did like most the New Mosque and not the Blue Mosque as all the guidebooks do “suggest”.
A remarkable memory was our visit to the Süleymaniye Mosque during the evening prayers, while all the lights in the mosque were on.
Next to the mosques Istanbul is famous for its palaces. I think tourists will visit particulary Topkapi Palace and Dolmabahce Palace.
Both are worth a visit, but we did like Topkapi more, while you are not obliged to have a guided tour and can see all these beautiful objects on your own.
For years the only image I had of Turkey was an association with Galipolli and Anzac Day - but the name still fascinated me. I learned about Consantinople at school and also a bit of Ancient Civilisations. It wasn't until I saw a television program 'The New Europe' with Michael Palin that I decided to add it to the top of my 'must see countries' list. It is now on the top of my 'must get back to' list.
What did I find so attractive? I love the people, culture, food, scenery, history (both ancient and modern), arts and crafts..........
There is so much to see in Istanbul and three days is nowhere near enough. I stayed at the Golden Horn Hotel in Ebussud Caddesi - within easy walking distance of Topkapi, Sultanahmet, Hagia Sophia, The Grand Bazaar - all the well known sights in the old town.
"Cappadocia - the cradle of history."
This area has something for everyone - stunning scenery, fascinating culture, ancient history, great food and lovely people. The must do list includes the Red, Love and Ihlara Valleys, the Open Air Museum, the underground city at Derinkuyu and for the adventuring type hot air ballooning over Goreme. The Ottoman Hotel in Goreme is a great place to stay and has good breakfasts.
Still something for everyone - scenery, ancient ruins, beaches, sparkling seas, great fod and lovely people.
For ruins see Aspendos, Phaselis, Kekova, Myra and Xanthos; for coastal scenery see Kas, Simena, Ucagiz, Fethiye. Swim in the famous Blue Lagoon at Oludeniz.
Travel around the corner to the Agean coast for Ephesus, and Troy. Don't miss out on an inland trip to Pamukkale and visit the hot springs.
And then you will have seen only a small amount of what this country has to offer.
Golden Horn Hotel
Is there anyone who has stayed at Golden Horn hotel at Sirkeci, Istanbul?
Re: Golden Horn Hotel
Wwe stayed a couple of years ago. Quite a nice hotel, just more than average.
It is located on walkable distance of the highligths of Istanbul like Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Grand and Egyptian bazaar, Underground Cistern. Also nearby: train station and seaport.
Can tell you about the price, because we had a package deal, including our flights.