Collected by Natalie Best
Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, 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,...
Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, 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.
Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
If these palace walls could talk they’d recite plans for military campaigns and tales of love, lust and betrayal that make this former residence and imperial seat of the Ottoman Empire so intriguing. Walk the tile-and-mosaic-lined corridors...
Merkez Mah., 34421 Fatih/Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
There are two ways to walk to the dizzy heights of the Galata Tower from Karakoy Tram Station. One is to follow the pedestrian traffic and ascend an uninviting steep staircase close to the tram way, the other is to take the more photo-worthy and...
Vişnezade Mahallesi, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
This decadent palace, which overlooks the Bosphorus from the European side, holds great importance to Turkey. The late-19th-century sultans resided here and ruled the Ottoman Empire from here, and while the Turkish Republic's capital is in Ankara,...
Yıldız Mh., 34349 Beşiktaş/Istanbul, Turkey
A nice location in Istanbul is Otakoy-stroll the local neighborhood and enjoy a mint tea and sheesha on the waterfront. Local fisherman bring in their catch and even toss the cats hanging around a few treats. In the evening, young couples walking...
This beautiful 19th-century palace on the Asian shoreline near the First Bosphorus Bridge served as a summer retreat for sultans and visiting dignitaries. Designed in a French neo-Baroque style, the palace features six halls and 24 rooms adjacent...
Asmalımescit Mahallesi, Meşrutiyet Caddesi No:99, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
A cultural hub for Turkish and international art, Istanbul Modern opened in 2004 as a permanent home for the contemporary Istanbul Biennial. The 8,000-square-foot warehouse sits along the Bosphorus next to the Golden Horn, a historically important...
Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Meydanı Sok. No:46, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Closed for many years for restoration, the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum reopened in late 2014 and is located on the edge of the Hippodrome in Sultanahmet. The building was once the palace of Ibrahim Pasha (1493-1536), the Grand Vizier,...
Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
If the mosaics of the Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) and Kariye Museum (Chora Church) left you dizzy with admiration, then do take the time to visit The Museum of Great Palace Mosaics. The bi-level gallery sits beneath the Arasta Bazaar, just a stone's...
Cankurtaran Mh., Ayasofya Meydanı No:2, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The sun sets over Istanbul as I am coated head to toe with aromatic clay and served fresh fruit sprinkled with pistachios under the heavenly dome of a 457 year old hamam. Tenderly, my attendant washes me before lathering my body with olive oil...
Ragıp Gümüşpala Cd. Eminönü Otobüs durakları yolu karşısı, Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Rather than take the suggestion of our guidebook (and spend 6 hours floating on the Bosporus only to navigate our way back to the dock of origin with a little trickery), we headed to the west of the Galata docks in Eminonu and bought a ticket for...
Süleymaniye Mah, Prof. Sıddık Sami Onar Cd. No:1, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Suleymaniye Cami is a working mosque perched above Istanbul. Farther away from tourist areas, this mosque brings calm to your soul for its beautiful view outside and the dense quiet inside.
Dervişali Mahallesi, Kariye Cami Sk. No:8, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
To see a dazzling collection of glittery mosaics, go to Santa Kariye, the 5th-century Byzantine church. Also referred to as St. Savior in Chora and as the Church of the Holy Savior, the church is richly decorated with 14th-century mosaics in...
The Theodosian Walls (aka The Walls of Constantinople) stretch just under 6 km across the border of Istanbul's Old City. Built by the Emperor Theodosius in the 5th century, they complimented an earlier protective wall built in the 4th century by...
Firuzağa Mahallesi, Dalgıç Sk. No:2, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Incurable romantics should visit the Museum of Innocence in Beyoglu, Istanbul. Read Orhan Pamuk’s novel The Museum of Innocence first, or visit the museum and then read the novel, or visit the museum while you are reading the novel. It really...
Şahkulu Mh., Galip Dede Cd. No:15, 34420 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Just off the busy pedestrian street, Istiklal Caddesi, and a few steps down Galip Dede Caddesi in the Galata area, is the quiet and inspirational museum of the Sufi Mevlevi Lodge (Divan Edebiyati Muzesi). The Sufis are one of the mystical branches...
İstiklal Cd., Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The lifeblood of modern Istanbul is the two-mile-long pedestrian street Istiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue), running from Taksim Square to the Tünel train station. It's equal parts touristy and local, commerce and culture, and strolling down...
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 Avenue, is an antique, vintage, and retro lover’s delight. Step onto Faik Paşa Street or Turnacıbaşı Street and you step back in time....
While visiting Istanbul, take an afternoon trip across the Bosphorus to Kadiköy to stock up on food, sweets, and tea. The prices in this Istanbul neighborhood are at least half of those in the touristy Grand Bazaar and Spice Market. You'll also...
Beyazıt Mahallesi Çadırcılar Caddesi istanbul sahaflar çarşısı No.16-18-19-22-23, Beyazıt Mh., beyazıt, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Book lovers and bazaar hunters will revel in foraging through the Sahaflar Çarsısı (Beyazit Book Bazaar) for new titles, secondhand books, historical maps, the Quran (in various languages), ancient texts, and other rare finds. The bazaar, between...
Beyazıt Mh., 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...
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...
Sultanahmet Mh., Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Kabasakal Cad Arasta Çarşısı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The very chill owner of Arasta 79 has one of the best shops in Istanbul. Ikat scarves, knotted silk jewelry strung with chunky jewels, delicate crochet strings of flowers, pestemals in every weave and color, bright Suzani and Uzbeki ceramics. If...
Gümüşsuyu Mahallesi, 34437 Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey
Warm, fragrant, and filling, these borek are typical Turkish quick eats. They can be stuffed with either ground spiced meat (occasionally with black currents and/or pine nuts) or a cheese and parsley mix. They are enjoyed best fresh out of the...
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