JetSetTrader’s Must See Guide to Istanbul
Historical Attractions (these locations are all within walking distance)
- Haghia Sophia Church
- Topkapi Palace
- Blue Mosque/Sultanahmet Camii
- Basilica Cistern/Yerebatan Sarayi
- Grand Bazaar (10-15 minute walk from historical attractions or short tram ride)
Depending on your interests, you only need half a day or one day to visit all these attractions.
- Taksim Square
- Istiklal Caddesi (Avenue): One of the most famous avenues in Istanbul. Suggest walking all the way down Istiklal to see all the shopping, restaurants, and entertainment venues. As you are walking down make sure you see Cicek Pasaji and walk through Nevizade Sokak. As you pass Galatasaray Square, which is the midpoint of Istiklal, definitely stop by 360 rooftop restaurant for the spectacular view of Istanbul. You can continue walking down to the end of Istiklal to Tunel Square for more cafes, restaurants, and entertainment.
- Galata Tower: You can continue to walk down Istiklal through the narrow streets down to the Galata Tower. Definitely go up the tower and see the incredible view of Istanbul.
This is a vibrant, high energy, and hip area. There are many cool restaurants, cafes, and clubs. You will find whatever you are looking for in this area. Asmalimescit is the most popular spot in Istanbul now.
Many cafes and restaurants. Great area to take a long relaxing walk on the Bosphorus. My favorite Starbucks is there on the water and Bebek Café for some tea and beautiful view. It is the only Starbucks I have ever seen in the world that delivers coffee to yachts on their little Starbucks boat. Check out Lucca and Mangerie. Brunch is great at Koru Kahvesi as well.
Again, many restaurants, cafes, and shopping. Favorite hangout is House Café in Ortakoy. Nightclub Anjelique and Zuma for night time entertainment.
Great area to walk around for shopping and eating. You will find all the high end designers and restaurant chains in Nisantasi. Very trendy area.
Go to Ask Café, which is really nice for lunch and then you can walk on the Bosphorus.
1. Beyti (www.beyti.com) – Best meat restaurant in Istanbul.
2. Hamdi (http://www.hamdi.com.tr/) – Great Kebab’s
4. Sunset Grill & Bar (http://www.sunsetgrillbar.com/) – One of my favorites places for dinner in Istanbul. Great atmosphere.
5. Zuma (http://www.zumarestaurant.com/) – Contemporary Japanese cuisine on the Bosphorus.
6. Vogue (http://www.voguerestaurant.com/) – Beautiful view with Asian menu
7. Papermoon (http://www.papermoon.com.tr/) and Gina http://www.voguerestaurant.com/ for Italian. These restaurants don’t have the Bosphorus view.
For Jetsetter’s and people looking for trendy spot’s check out this company which owns and operates many of the hot spots in Istanbul. http://www.istanbuloors.com/
- The Istanbul Edition Hotel - http://www.editionhotels.com/hotels/istanbul/
- W Hotel - http://www.wistanbul.com.tr/
- Four Seasons on the Bosphorus - http://www.fourseasons.com/bosphorus/
- Ritz Carlton - http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Istanbul/Default.htm
- Ciragan Palace Kempinski on the Bosphorus - http://www.kempinski.com/en/istanbul/Pages/Welcome.aspx
- Park Hyatt - http://www.istanbul.park.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp?null
- The Sofa Hotel – Tuesday nights at Longtable is great night - http://www.thesofahotel.com/
- Hotel Les Ottmans – http://www.lesottomans.com/
- The House Hotel - http://www.thehousehotel.com/
- MidTown Hotel - http://www.midtown-hotel.com/
- Bentley - http://www.bentley-hotel.com/
- Divan - http://www.divan.com.tr
- Witt Istanbul Hotel - http://www.wittistanbul.com/
- Reina (http://www.reina.com.tr/)
- Anjelique (http://www.istanbuldoors.com/)
- Billionaire Club (http://www.billionairelife.com/eng/il_club/istanbul)
- Su Ada (http://suadaclub.com.tr/)
Additional things to do:
- Visit Dolmalbache Palace in Besiktas
- Ferry boat ride on the Bosphorus from European side to Asian side.
- If you have the time definitely go to Buyukada and Heybeliada (http://www.buyukada.org)
Overall, there are many amazing places to visit in Istanbul and too many to list here. I listed all the places on the European side since I ever rarely go to the Asian side, which is more residential. As you walk around you will find quaint cafes and restaurants that are worth visiting that are not mentioned here with incredible views, service, atmosphere and food.
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