Collected by Andi Fisher , AFAR Local Expert
I am heading to Istanbul in 2014, a place I have always wanted to visit. The colors, the food...my head spins thinking of all there is to see. This is my list of items to check out as I prepare for my trip.
Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, Erzak Ambarı Sok. No:92, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Smaller than the Grand Bazaar but more intense, the Spice Market is equal parts tourist trap and necessary shopping stop for cooks and foodies. Meet the original spice girl at Ucuzcular (remember Area 51 to find her booth), one of the few...
No. /B, Kocatepe Mahallesi, Taksim Fırını Sk. No:25, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
In the heart of the city’s business district of Taksim, Barceló is a modern example of Istanbul’s contemporary face. Designed by Zeynep Fadillioğlu, the interiors balance both classic and contemporary features, offering a warm,...
Firuzağa Mahallesi, Bostanbaşı Cd. No:19, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The Çukurcuma neighborhood, just a short walk down the hill from Istanbul’s busy İstiklal Caddesi, is an antique, vintage, and retro lover’s delight. Step onto Faik Paşa Street or Turnacıbaşı Street and you step back in time....
Rüstem Paşa, Yeni Cami Cd. No:3, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Visiting a mosque, to me, is always the strongest display of one's faith. I'm not Muslim, but every time I see the devout take some quiet time and create their own Oasis, I feel compelled to pause and contemplate.
Gümüşsuyu, 34437 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
So why go to Istanbul in the late fall/early winter? Well, airfares are lower than in high season, you can pretty much get any hotel room you want, there are no crowds so no lines to stand in, and the price of pretty much anything you might want...
Sinanpaşa, Köyiçi Meydanı Sk., 34353 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
One of my favorite foods in Turkey (and there are many) is a serving of fresh kaymak clotted cream, drizzled with honey, and spread on bread. You can buy it in the supermarket or find it in some breakfast spots, but everyone's favorite is Pando in...
Balat Mahallesi, Mürselpaşa Cd. No:10, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Beyazıt, Kalpakçılar Cd. No:22, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Soon after conquering Constantinople and defeating the Byzantines in 1453, Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II commissioned the beginnings of the Grand Bazaar to reinvigorate trade with the city. More than 550 years later, the bazaar is one of the oldest...
Firuzağa Mah., Cihangir Mahallesi, Türkgücü Cad. 59/A, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
After a morning of wandering Istanbul's winding streets, it is a treat to find a delicious eatery like Datli Maya, ready to welcome you with brick-oven baked bites in the form of lahmacun (similar to a thin-crust pizza) and other delicious menu...
Ömer Avni Mh., İnönü Cd. No:50, 34427 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Topaz is regarded as one of Istanbul's most elite upmarket restaurants and it’s the place to be if you wish to celebrate a special occasion. From their terrace restaurant you can indulge in their degustation or a la carte menus whilst the lights...
Abbasağa Mahallesi, Mumcu Bakkal Sok. No:5, 34353 Beşiktaş/İstanbul - Avrupa, Turkey
I have been hearing about the wonder that is breakfast at Besiktas Kaymakci aka Pando Kaymak for years. Everything you read about this place says it's worth the trip and every bit as good as you have heard. Here is another one of those posts. It...
Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Walk into Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) and look up to the heavens to see why so many conquerors and their respective religions claimed this basilica turned mosque turned museum as their own. Visitors will swoon over the Byzantine gilded mosaics,...
Edebiyat Sk., Ümraniye/İstanbul, Turkey
I was lucky enough to get to be with a real Turkish family during the Muslim holiday of Kurban Bayram, also known as Eid Al Adha. This is the holiday where people sacrifice an animal in the name of God, in honor of Abraham's willingness to...
Cankurtaran Mh., Tevkifhane Sk. No:8, 34400 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
There is no more romantic spot in the world to ask your prospective bride to marry you than at the rooftop restaurant of the Seven Hills Hotel, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey. Pick a night that will display a full moon and clear skies. Go a little...
Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Adorned with more than 20,000 blue handcrafted İznik tiles, stained-glass windows, and the golden brushstrokes of a 17th-century calligrapher, the Blue Mosque is the legacy of Sultan Ahmet I (1590–1617). The young sultan audaciously wished...
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