Istanbul Travel Guide

  • Sultan Ahmet Mosque - Blue Mosque, Istanbul, TR
    Sultan Ahmet Mosque - Blue Mosque,...
    by TrendsetterME
  • Sultan Ahmet Mosque - Blue Mosque, Istanbul, TR
    Sultan Ahmet Mosque - Blue Mosque,...
    by TrendsetterME
  • Grand Bazaar
    by smirnofforiginal

Istanbul Highlights

  • Pro
    mrclay2000 profile photo

    mrclay2000 says…

     Hundreds of sites and attractions to choose from 

  • Con
    Hopkid profile photo

    Hopkid says…

     Not enough meals in the day to try all kinds of food 

  • In a nutshell
    ophiro profile photo

    ophiro says…

     Blend of east and west , Europe and asia. 

Istanbul Things to Do

  • Topkapi Palace

    For me, the highlight of the entire palace complex was the Harem. The harem is a maze of exquisite rooms where the sultan’s wives, concubines, and even his mother, lived. The entire harem consists of 400 halls, terraces, rooms, wings, and apartments that are grouped around the sultan’s private residence. Only about 40 have been restored and opened...

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  • Agia Sophia - Ayasofya

    We left the Blue Mosque and walked through the beautiful gardens to Hagia Sophia/Aya Sofya. Before entering through the Imperial Gate, you come upon the Byzantine Frieze of sheep from AD 415 (stop and take a peek!). And once through the doors, you are struck by the sheer enormity of the mosque. Then you realize how cold(!) and dark it is inside....

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  • Grand Bazaar

    You will either love the Grand Bazaar (Kapali Çarsi) or not. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to visit the Grand Bazaar. However, by the end of my trip to Istanbul, the Grand Bazaar would not even rank in my top ten Istanbul favorites. Of course, it is still a must see. Everyone knows the stats: one of the world's largest and oldest...

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Istanbul Hotels

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Istanbul Restaurants

  • Fishing Boats in eminonu..

    One day at around lunch time we decied to have a fish sandwich (Balik ekmek) at the Eminönü pier near the Galata Bridge. At the stall "Tarihi Eminönü Balik Ekmek" the fish (mackerel) is directly grilled on the boat and then put in a half-bread together with some salad and onions. It costs 5 TYR. In front of the boat you can take a seat at one of...

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  • kumkapi restaurants

    The restaurant was recommended by the hotel and we didn't regret going there. It is located in the historic fishers district of Sultanahmet where many fish restaurants are located. They offer a free shuttel from the hotel and back, thats just awsome! We had a wonderful night, there was a band playing all the time and people were dancing at their...

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  • Haci Abdullah

    Haci Abdullah a half block northwest off Istiklal Caddesi at Sakizagaci Caddesi 17, is among the city's famous old dining places. The ambience is bright and lively rather than quiet and dark, the Turkish food is delicious, but no alcoholic beverages are served. This is a great place for women traveling alone to dine undisturbed.Credit cards are...

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Istanbul Nightlife

See all 231 Nightlife in Istanbul
  • Taverna

    Andon is one of the classic bars of Taksim district and has got several floors with different concepts. You can listen till Jazz music to Turkish music or listen lounge music at a merry evening.Included greek music ... casual

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  • A pub

    My friends "needed" a beer! I followed them and had my unique beer in Istanbul. Not cheap (they said, I have no idea about beer prices, even in Portugal...) too big can for me, and a few minutes of relaxation and conversation, in a quiet place. OK!

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  • Poetry in a strange language

    This is hardly a place for foreigners. We were there searching for a alcohol allowed restaurant, and found ourselves in a very dark tiny bar, eating by candlelight, with three people talking in the corner. When we heard a light applause we finnaly discovered that it was not exactly a common conversation: a lady was reading a turkish text (poetry?)...

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Istanbul Transportation

  • Istanbul metro

    There are 5 subway lines with more then 80 kms. in Istanbul . Metro lines are : M!,M2,M3,M4,M5,M6In Yenikapi station M1, M2 and M4 lines are connected with Marmaray undersea railway pass.This railway also connecting the two continents by rail.

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  • The Istanbul Metro

    The Istanbul Metro has two lines operated by Istanbul Ulaþým (not IETT).The two lines are:M1: Aksaray—Havalimani, going from Aksaray Square in Old Istanbul via Istanbul's main Otogar (bus terminal) to Atatürk Airport. M2: Sishane—Atatürk Oto Sanayi, going from Þiþhane Square, near Tünel Square in Beyoðlu through Taksim Square and north through...

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  • Budget Travel = Istanbulcard

    I highly recommend you to buy istanbulcard if you prefer public transport. You can buy it from most of central stations like taksim,kadikoy,eminonu, karakoy,besiktas,mecidiyekoy and i guess there was one counter in Sabiha Gokcen Airport too but im not sure about Ataturk Airport. If you see istanbulkart satis-dolum you can buy it from there....

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Istanbul Shopping

See all 317 Shopping in Istanbul
  • grand bazaar

    The Grand Bazaar is on everyone's list of places to visit, in some ways it is overwhelming as it seems to go on forever and you're never really sure if you are ever going to find an exit and when you do find an exit you have no idea which side of it you are on. The Grand Bazaar is primarily, or perhaps or even solely, for the tourists. The booths...

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  • spices

    The Egyptian Bazaar is where tourists head to buy spices and dried fruits. If your are unable to go to the Asian side, then this is where you could buy your dry fruits and spices. However go to a few shops, taste and then buy. Our guide took us to the first shop on the right side and many in our group bought there, however, when we went to a few...

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  • carpets

    Ottomania is an established and large retailer of Turkish carpets in Istanbul. They have thousands of carpets from all over Turkey including new and antique. I spent literally hours with one of the owners, Ziya Demir, as he educated me about the range of carpets available and the different qualities. I visited the store a number of times and was...

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Istanbul Local Customs

  • mosques etiquette

    A common question for visitors to Istanbul is how to dress, specifically for visiting the mosques. Women must cover their knees, shoulders and head, men must cover their knees and shoulders and everyone must remove their shoes. Outside of the mosques there are coverups if you don't have any of the parts covered up that need to be and there are...

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  • local food

    Traditional Turkish icecream is made from milk, sugar, salep flour and mastic gum. These two last ingredients make it stretchy and thick. Salep is a kind of flour made from the bulbs of several kinds of wild orchids. Because the source is rather limited, nowadays the guar gum is commonly used instead. As for the mastic - it's a type of resin from...

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  • tea and coffee

    When you ask a Turkish citizen to think of Turkish coffee, "Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi" is the one brand which always comes to mind. Named after its founder, "Mehmet Efendi", the company is one of the most well known brands in the country and has been specialising in top quality roasted and freshly ground coffee for over 130 years. Now run by...

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Istanbul Warnings and Dangers

  • warnings for women

    While on my second trip in Istanbul I decided to go to the grand bazaar by myself, while I was shopping around, this guy ask me if I wanted to purchase leather bags and I said no, but he would not leave me so I gave in. He offered me Turkish Apple Tea and told me I did not need to buy anything. The next thing I know, I'm in this small room with him...

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  • unsafe areas

    I am staying at marmara hotel, Just connecting to taksim square, on the opposite side of the doner places, there is a street which starts with a place called "simit saray" and basically ends with a couple of hotels. It is not just this street, but all small streets around taksim square. You will be stopped by all people in front of their...

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  • taxis

    I will never be going back to Turkey on vacation. In fact I am typing this from my hotel room (marmara hotel), and I cannot wait until my flight in a few days to get out of here. Sure, the people there are very nice, probably living like all people around the world, but I do not recommend Istanbul for travelers and tourists. You will be scammed...

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Istanbul Tourist Traps

  • Roxelanne Baths

    I was warned that this building was adapted to a shop, with all the limitations that it brings. Anyway, the visit was suggested, and I travelled around searching for a open door - no way! Asking nearby I got the answer that the shop is being remodeled, which means... closed. What will remain of the former building, finished the work? I didn't waste...

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  • Touts

    Tourism Is big business in Istanbul, Forbes lists it at the 6th most visited city in the world. I'm not sure how the recent protests in Taksim have affected the number of tourists, it seemed like there were plenty of people still visiting but nothing was terribly overcrowded. While I understand that getting people to eat at your restaurant or into...

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  • Bloody Taxi's

    Have some note written in local language to offer taxi driver and add the distance. At least with a search already done time and distance can be noted. Twenty minute trip shouldn't be forty. Which out for rush hour, this will bump the time up. Even in the UK they are the same. Arriving at destination speak to fellow travelers, they are more than...

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Istanbul What to Pack

  • Summer in Istanbul

    One of the common questions from women is about dressing respectfully as many of the places people visit are mosques. I saw women wearing everything from shorts and a tank top to the local Muslim women who were wearing coats and head scarves. All of the mosques have scarves and coverings should you not be dressed appropriately so I'd advise just...

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  • Free city map from the Tourist...

    Istanbul is said to have six Tourist Information Offices in the European part of the city. I only visited the branch in the Sirkeci Train Station. It can be found on the outside of the new entrance to the train station.Here I picked up a helpful free city map, which besides the streets also the ferry ports and tram lines showed. Apart from that...

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  • Packing to Istanbul

    Since the weather changes every day, I packed clothes for every occasion. Some days I needed to use pullover and jacket. I was expecting it to be hotter that time of year, but found every day different. Is always better to have fresh bottled water, as Istanbul is known for dodgy tap water. A camera is essential to capture all these Islamic art...

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Istanbul Off The Beaten Path

  • Asian side

    "Caddebostan" is located on the Asian Side of Istanbul and is a perfect area to have a walk at the beach side as being away from the city hassle ... Day and night, many people go there to jog, have a walk with their kids and dogs, for bicycle or just to have fun on grass and have their coffee ... Especially on weekends its a huge crowd. Special...

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  • bosphorus boat trip

    Having a "Boat Trip" on The Bosphorus is one of the must's of a Istanbul visit as you will have so many options to start with ... Most tours usually start / end at the Karakoy and Eminonu ports, but here as an alternative I will suggest you to take a public bus from Besiktas and ride along the seaside about 30 mins till you reach Yenikoy and...

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  • hammam

    This historic hamam in "Tophane" is one of Istanbul’s most beautiful and has only recently reopened after years of restoration. Contemporary "Turkish Hamams" find themselves in a difficult position. For centuries, these public bath houses were an integral part of Ottoman life. Islam places great significance on cleanliness and hamams were the...

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Istanbul Sports & Outdoors

  • Besiktas

    In my first visit to Istanbul it was difficult to reach the hotel, one night, because there was an international game of Galatasarai. I remember the area, and, this time, I walked there, verifying that it is Besiktas stadium. Confused!Do they share the stadium? was in circumstantial Galatasarai game?We had no game there, this time, but noticed that...

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  • Bosphorus Cross Continental

    The reason for our visit to Istanbul was so that my husband could swim in the Bosphorus Cross Continental, a 6.5 km swim in the Bosphorus from Asia to Europe. The distance sounds really far until you factor in the current, my husband, who is a good swimmer finished in just 57 minutes, 32 out of 107 in his age group. He said that he lost a few...

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  • Vialand Theme Park, Istanbul, TR

    "Vialand" is the "new kid" in town .... :)This is the newest attraction district in the city, a giant amusement and theme park, shopping mall, cafes, restaurants and so ....Good option to visit for kids and also for adults to enjoy the whole day, many adventures, water splashes and many other outdoor activities ...Enjoy ... :)

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Istanbul Favorites

See all 520 Favorites in Istanbul
  • Asian side

    I had to visit the Asian side, and, in a quick look, tried to find any difference - I didn't. As a matter of fact that continental separation is only a convention, without any differences in landscape, people or construction. The bridges that connect them have that special meaning - only a few meters of water separating two parts of the same...

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  • Hagia Sophia

    Turkish: Ayasofya, Latin: Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia) is a former patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, now a museum, in Istanbul, Turkey. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, until the completion of the...

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  • Bosphorus

    The famous Bosphorus Bridge (Bogazici Köprüsü) is also called the First Bosphorus Bridge, as nowadays two suspension Bridges over the Bosphorus Strait exist. Construction of the 1560 m long Bosphorous Bridge lasted 3,5 years and the inauguration took place on the 30th October 1970. At that time it was the longest suspension bridge outside of the...

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Top 10 Street Food Cities: Istanbul

Rated 5 out of 5 stars

It's not hard to imagine why a city that straddles two continents is a must-see stop for street food. From the visually-striking stalls selling döner (lamb, chicken, or beef on a vertical skewer) to the balik ekmek (fish sandwiches) sold off of boats, one of the greatest attributes of Istanbul's street food is the variety of options. Mornings can start with simit, a ring-shaped bread topped with toasted sesame seeds and akin to a crisper bagel, afternoons begin with a kebab, and a snack of midye dolma (stuffed mussels) is a great break from site-seeing. Two locations noted for their street food are the beginning of Istikal Caddesi in Taksim, and near the Galata Bridge in the Eminonu area if you're hankering for a fresh fish sandwich.

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Explore Deeper into Istanbul
Blue Mosque - Sultanahmet
Things to Do
Bosphorus River
Things to Do
Basilica Cistern - Yerebatan Saray
Things to Do
Dolmabahce Palace
Things to Do
Galata Tower
Things to Do
Istiklal Caddesi
Things to Do
ceramics
Shopping
pickpockets
Warnings and Dangers
shoe polishers
Warnings and Dangers
road traffic
Warnings and Dangers
turkish words
Local Customs
Hamdi
Restaurants
clothes
Local Customs
old houses
Off The Beaten Path
Ortakoy
Off The Beaten Path
jewellery
Shopping
Doy Doy Restaurant
Restaurants
theodosian (city) wall
Off The Beaten Path
Rumeli Hisari
Off The Beaten Path
water
Warnings and Dangers
Chora church Museum (Kariye )
Off The Beaten Path
nargileh
Local Customs
Besinci Kat (The Fifth Floor)
Restaurants
shoes
Local Customs
bargaining
Local Customs
Haci Baba
Restaurants
raki (drink)
Local Customs
bazaars
Favorites
kanaat restaurants
Restaurants
Bosphorus zoo
Off The Beaten Path
blue mosque
Favorites
Saray
Restaurants
Topkapi palace
Favorites
various mosques
Favorites
Ortaköy
Favorites
Suleymaniye Mosque
Favorites
Museum Pass
Favorites
First of May
Warnings and Dangers
A little unusual - Isbank Museum
Things to Do
Kumkapi: Fish Market & Restaurants
Things to Do
Map of Istanbul

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