What to know
- Getting around – The easiest and cheapest way by far is to go around by Uber. Even that it is still supposed to be illegal a lot of them are driving around and we never encountered any problems!
- Currency – The Turkish Lira is the official currency. A lot of places accept Visa/Mastercard but make sure to always pay in TL. Otherwise you will end up paying a lot more.
- Best time to visit – March until October temperatures are warm and hot.
Where to stay
- Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel – For a luxurious stay in the old city of Istanbul. The Sura Hagia Sophia is a truly unique hotel. It is divided into two buildings: one more classic, the other one more focussed on design. Both of them offer a spectacular view of the Hagia Sophia.
For a full review on this hotel click here
- Berjer Hotel – to stay near Taksim square (the main airport drop-off). Make sure to also check out their spa treatments when you’re staying here.
- Corinne Hotel – for easy access to the public transport.
- AirBnb – There are so many nice places to find in Istanbul at a very cheap price. Just make sure that during summer there is working AC in the apartment!
Where to eat
Turkish food consists of a lot of fresh veggies, meat and most importantly humus! Therefore it’s totally normal to order different small plates and share them. Humus should be tried every time cause it tastes a little different at every restaurant! But be aware that smoking inside some restaurants is still allowed. So you might want to get a table outside if you don’t want to be bothered by this.
- N Terrace – If you’re looking for a lunch or dinner with a view. The restaurant offers the most stunning view of the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.
- Sohbet Ocakbasi Nevizade – For the best veggie plates and humus! Located in a cosy street near Taksim where the locals love to come and eat. Don’t be shy to over indulge here cause this place had the best humus.
- Maiden’s Tower – Enjoy a nice glass of Turkish tea and a pretzel while watching the sun go down from the Asian side of Istanbul.
What to do
- Sunset watching at the Maiden’s Tower – The easiest way to get there is to take the subway called Marmaray from Sirkeci station and get off at Uskudar. From here it’s a short walking distance.
- Go shopping – The Grand Bazaar is the place to be! Hundreds of little shops are lined up next to each other. All of them selling candy, souvenirs, handbags and shoes. The salesmen aren’t shy at all and will try their very best for you to take a look at their store. Therefore don’t forget to haggle and always pay in Turkish Lira!
- Visit Dolmabahce Palace, Hagia Sophia, Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Galata Tower. Each of these historic sites has something special to offer. I strongly advise you to visit all four of them.