Collected by Laura
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...
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,...
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...
Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34410 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The Basilica Cistern is a must-see on any Istanbul itinerary. If you take a tour of the city, you may see major mosques, houses, and churches, but this is a truly unique experience. It is located right across the street from the entrance to Aya...
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...
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...
Rüstem Paşa Mah., Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, Tahmis Caddesi, Kalçın Sokak No:11, 34116 Eminönü/Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The best spot for kebaps and kunefe with a view is Hamdi Restaurant. An easy walk from Rustem Pasa, across from the New Mosque, downhill from the Grand Bazaar and a stone’s throw from the Spice Bazaar, Hamdi’s view sweeps the Golden Horn with the...
İskenderpaşa Mahallesi, 34096 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Don't let looks deceive you. If you enjoy food with a bite of chili then try one of South Eastern Turkey's favourite "fast food" specialties: Etsiz Çiğ Köfte (no meat raw köfte). The traditional way of making the köfte is with raw meat (Çiğ...
Teşvikiye, Vali Konağı Cd. No:40, 34365 Şişli/İstanbul, Turkey
If you’re keen to experience the medieval practice of "kahve falı" or "fal" (fortune telling with Turkish coffee) then make an appointment at Symbol Café in Nişantaşı with Tunc, one of the few English-speaking coffee readers in the city. Once...
Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi, Kara Ali Kaptan Sok. No:7, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The blocks of Karikoy from the Galata Bridge going east to Istanbul Modern have emerged as one of the hottest areas in the city in recent years. In this transitioning neighborhood, there are still plenty of local barbershops and offices and shops...
Alemdar Mh., İncili Çavuş Sk. No:15, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
On arrival to Istanbul, many tourists order the chicken şiş (chicken kebab) for a meal because it's familiar and safe, but they're really missing out on some of the best food in the world! I encourage anyone visiting Turkey to gastro-travel...
Nejat Eczacıbaşı Binası, Evliya Çelebi Mahallesi, Sadi Konuralp Caddesi No: 5 Şişhane, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Istanbul's premier music promoters have another trick up their sleeve: a top-floor wine-and-dine hangout overlooking the Golden Horn. The Istanbul Foundation for Arts and Cultures (IKSV) serves a mix of rock, jazz, super-trendy cocktails and...