Ancient, mysterious but full of surprises will be your first impressions when visiting Istanbul, Turkey. The city of Istanbul is considered the heart of Turkey with more than 2,600 years of history, Istanbul has many churches, mosques and many attractive tourist attractions. Especially, The Historical Area of Istanbul has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Thanks to these historic architectural works, Istanbul has attracted millions of visitors each year. So, what to do and how to plan a budget perfect trip to Istanbul for the first-time? Let’s check out our Istanbul travel blog (Istanbul blog, Istanbul trip blog) with the fullest Istanbul travel guide (Istanbul guide, Istanbul tourist guide, Istanbul visitor guide) from how to get, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit and top things to do to find out the answer!

Istanbul_Hagia_Sophia_Sultanahmed
Istanbul, the city of mosques. | istanbul travel blog
Grand Bazaar market
Baklava, must-eat in Istanbul.

Napoleon once said: “If the world were a country, Istanbul would be the capital!”. So, what prompted Napoleon to say that, this can be easily is explained by Istanbul’s unique location lying on the two continents of Asia and Europe. But that’s just the shell on the outside. Deep inside Istanbul also contains a rich culture and timeless historical values.

Istanbul travel blog: Overview of Istanbul

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey with an area of 5,343 km² and a population of more than 15 million people, located on two continents of Asia and Europe, stretching on the both sides of the Bosphorus Strait – an important waterway connecting the Sea of Marmara and Black Sea. Istanbul is also the center of economic, cultural and commercial of Turkey and the capital of the province of Istanbul.

Galata Bridge Istanbul with Yeni Cami mosque, view from Galata Tower
Galata Bridge Istanbul with Yeni Cami mosque, view from Galata Tower

Istanbul at night

Because of such strategic location, in the past Istanbul was once the capital of many powerful empires such as the Roman Empire (330-395), the Byzantine Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453) and the the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). Today, imprints of these empires still exist in Istanbul.

Turkish ice-cream (dondurma)

Istanbul travel blog: Is Istanbul the capital of Turkey?

Once the capital of many powerful empires in the past but today Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey, the capital of Turkey is Ankara. However, many people still mistake that Istanbul is the capital of Turkey (like mistaking Sydney as the capital of Australia).

Galata Tower
Galata Tower

Some fun facts about Istanbul

  • The Istanbul’s population is more than 13 million people, more than the population of Belgium. And only a third of the population living in the Asia part of the city.
  • Istanbul’s metro system is the 3rd oldest metro system in the world after London and New York.
  • Istanbul is the city with the most mosques in Turkey with the number up to 3,113.
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul,Turkey-9
The amazing complex of this church

Istanbul travel blog: Which season should I travel to Istanbul?

You can go to Istanbul at anytime of year. But it is advisable to travel in spring and autumn. Because these two seasons have a cool climate, it is very pleasant to visit. Spring in Turkey starts from April to June while autumn lasts from September to November.

Note: In particular, if you travel to Istanbul in October, you need to pay special attention. Because October is Ramadan month of Muslim. The people of Istanbul in particular and Turkey in general will live in a completely different time compare with normal days. All banks and ATMs will stop working.

Sailing on Bosphorus Strait.
istanbul trip blog
An Istanbul’s cafe

Istanbul travel guide: How to get to Istanbul?

Currently from Hanoi or Saigon (HCMC) has a direct flight to Istanbul with a flight time of 10-12 hours, which is very convenient operated by Turkish Airlines. This is Turkey’s airline with the widest flight network around the world. From Vietnam, the airline operating routes to Turkey and all European countries.

Turkish Airlines will land at Istanbul new airport – the world’s largest airport which has just come into operation since April 2019. Due to its massive scale, it takes time to move to the departure gates of the aircraft, so you also need to find out some information about this airport in advance to avoid missing flights.

Turkish Airline

Fares vary from time to time, ranging from 900 – 1,000 USD for round trip. Depending on the time of promotion or some agents have their own policy with the airline, you can hunt for cheap round-trip tickets from 650-700 USD. With a total flight time of ~ 10 hours from Hanoi and 12 hours from Saigon, you will be served 2 meals and free drinks. In-flight dishes are generally quite delicious, nutritious, often with bread, butter and a kind of thick sauce come together. Drinks including free tea, coffee and fruit juices are served with meals. Economy Class passengers have 8kg of carry-on baggage and 30kg of checked baggage. The airline does not limit the number of packages to bring. Its online booking website: https://www.turkishairlines.com.

There are also several airlines fly to Istanbul such as Emirate Airlines and Qatar Airways, but fly with these airlines you have to transit via Dubai or Doha airports.

Getting from the airport to the city center

There are 2 main airports in Istanbul: Istanbul (IST) and Sabiha Gokcen (SAW). Both of these airports are international airports, however Sabiha Gokcen mainly serving low-cost airlines.

You should choose fly to Istanbul Airport because it is located on the Europe part of the city and there are more types of public transport to travel to the city center. Specifically, how to get from the airports to the city center as follows:

From the new Istanbul Airport to city center (and vice versa)

Inside Istanbul Airport (IST), the world’s largest airport.

Currently, this Istanbul new airport has just come into operation in April 2019 and is about 40km from the city center.

Bus: The most economical way to travel from Istanbul airport to the city center – Taksim district and vice versa is to take a bus of Havaist company.

The advantage of this type is convenient, cheap (only 30 lira / person / way), straight to Taksim square, but not directly to the Sultanahmet area (only to the nearby stop Beyazıt Meydan). Please visit this website to see its route, schedules and book tickets. ($1=7.46 Turkish lira (TL)).

Havaist Bus Route
Havaist Bus Route

Shared Istanbul Airport (IST) Transfer for City Center

Taxi: If you have a lot of luggage and have just traveled through a long journey, you should take a taxi. Taxi price from IST airport to city center is around 150 lira.

However, the price is not always fixed at 150 lira. For the trip from city center to the airport, the driver will prefer to bargain with customer than turn on the meter. If you ask them turn on the meter, they will take a detour to charge you more.

Metro: Metro is also an affordable option, but you will have have to carry your luggage, a bit tired. Specifically, you will have to change trains at Gayrettepe station to the Taksim line. And another downside is that you could not go straight to the Sultanahmet area (only to Veznecilar station nearby).

M11 Gayrettepe-İstanbul Havalimanı Metro Hattı | istanbul travel blog
Istanbul Airport Metro Map | istanbul travel blog

From Sabiha Gokcen Airport to city center (and vice versa)

There are fewer transport options available from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to the city center than from Istanbul Airport. The easiest way is to book airport transfer service. This service you can book directly with the hotel or travel agencies. The price for this trip is about €10 (90 lira).

Sabiha Gokcen Airport

Istanbul trip blog: Getting around Istanbul

In Istanbul city we mainly walk, because we stayed a hotel which close to some famous attractions. For a long distance, we use tram or taxi.

Istanbul tram

There is also a popular public transport, that’s ferry. However, the ferry is only needed when you want to go to the Asia coast of the city and it is not convenient way to access any tourist destinations at all.

NOTE: If you traveling a lot around the city, you should buy an Istanbul Kart card (iOS, Android). You will have to spend 10 TL for the card and 20 TL deposit to use all public transport with an unlimited number of people (as long as there is enough money in the card). However, after buying the card, it cannot be returned or withdrawn. One advantage is that the card can be used for many people. You can buy it at some major transit stops such as airports, Sultanahmet, and Eminönü. See more here.

Istanbul metro map

Istanbul Welcome Card

Istanbul travel blog: What to do and where to go?

Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya)

Used to be the largest Orthodox church in the world for 1000 years. After being invaded by the Ottoman Empire, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. Visiting this place, you can easily find remnants of Orthodox on the walls. The main highlights of Hagia Sophia are its majestic domes and magnificent mosaics that amaze even the greatest architects. In just 6 years (532 to 537), the Turkish people built a remarkable architectural work of mankind in Byzantine style.

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The amazing and large scale of this mosque complex.

Hagia Sophia Introduction Tour with Audio Guide

Address: Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı No:1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Height: 56 m
Opening hours: 9am – 5pm (winter) & 9am – 7pm (summer)
Admission: TL 30

Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)

Sultanahmet Camii was built in the early 17th century, it owns the largest scale and most beautiful among the mosques and is also a symbol of Istanbul. The reason for its name Blue Mosque is because the mosque is paved with 20,000 blue glazed tiles with more than 50 different tulip designs decorated throughout the mosque. Like many other mosques, inside the Blue Mosque there is also the tomb of Sultan (King) Ahmed I.

Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque Small Group Tour

Free opening to visitors but the mosque still remains a sacred place of worshipping. So, before going inside the mosque, you will have to remove your shoes and women will have to wear a headscarf. For Muslims, they will clearly wash their hands, feet and face as a show of respect to their (God) Allah.

Blue Mosque in Istanbul, architectural masterpieces
Magnificent inside

Istanbul Classics Tour

It also free offer bags for visitors store their shoes and lend a headscarf to female guests (but this headscarf is not nice).

Address: Sultan Ahmet, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Hours: 9AM–7PM
Admission: Free

Topkapi Palace Museum

Located in the Sultanahmet District, Topkapi Palace is a witness to the historic ups and downs of the Ottoman Empire. Topkapi has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site because of its historical stature as well as its unique beauty. This palace was built in the 15th century and served as the residence of the sultans for more than 400 years during the most prosperous period of the Ottoman Empire (1465-1856). Because of that, this palace complex is extremely large.

Topkapi Palace

Istanbul Topkapi Palace Tour with Skip-the-Line and Audio Guide

By the early 20th century, the Turkish government used it as an office before turning Topkapi into a museum. Tourists will not only be impressed by the scale of the palace, but also have the opportunity to witness first-hand historical artifacts such as the sultans’ weapons, the watch collections or precious jewelry from the Ottoman period.

Before it became an open museum to visitors, the palace used to be the residence of the Sultan and the queen, imperial concubines with hundreds of houses, mosques, entertainment areas and harem. In addition to keeping historical artifacts of the Ottoman Empire, this Istanbul tourist spot is also a beautiful place to enjoy a view of the Bosporus Strait.

Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, & Basilica Cistern Combo Tour in Istanbul

Address: Cankurtaran, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Hours: 10AM–4PM/Tuesday: Closed
Construction started: 1465
Admission: Museum 40 TL + harem 25 TL

NOTE

  • The 3 tourist attractions of Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace are always crowded with tourists, so you take advantage of going from the early morning at around 8:30am.
  • If possible, hire a guide to learn more about each place because the information inside each spot are not enough.

Dolmabahce Palace

Considered as “The Versailles of Istanbul” because of its extremely magnificent architecture. Dolmabahce will impress you from the moment you set foot in the Bosphorus where separates Istanbul into two parts in Europe and Asia.

If Topkapi Palace looks ancient, Dolmabahce Palace has a bit of modernity and elegance. Located right next to the Bosporus, the palace is like a shining jewel that adorns the city of Istanbul.

Dolmabahce Palace
Dolmabahce Palace

Because the palace only allows 5000 guests to visit a day, you should take advantage of early visiting. Visitors can freely visit the garden while wanting to go inside the palace will have to take a tour guide. Visitors are not allow to take pictures inside but when the guide and security do not pay attention you can still “take some photos”. When detected, the guide will remind guests but they will not be too strict.

Address: Vişnezade, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
Hours: 9AM–4PM/Monday, Thursday: Closed
Construction started: 1843
Admission: 40 TL (visit the outside palace)

Galata Bridge

A historic bridge crossing Golden Horn Bay connects the old town of Sultanahmet with the modern northern part of Istanbul.

Galata Bridge does not have a monumental architecture like the Chain Bridge in Budapest or the Tower Bridge in London. But it has a more special meaning of all, the connection between the past and the present, the connection between cultures. If this side is a bustling street scene with modern buildings, then the Sultanahmet side has a ancient look. Therefore, it has a very special meaning, standing here to see the world of two separate cultures.

Galata Bridge Istanbul with Yeni Cami mosque, view from Galata Tower
Galata Bridge Istanbul with Yeni Cami mosque, view from Galata Tower

Strolling along the bridge you can easily encounter the idyllic life of the people of Istanbul. In particular, you will see many fishermen, they fish during the day and resell to the restaurants below or fish sandwiches boats.

Galata Tower

The Galata Tower was completed in 1348, once the tallest tower in Istanbul that many visitors want to come. Galata Tower is one of the prominent tourist spots in Istanbul. In the past, the tower was destroyed by two major fires in the 18th and 19th centuries and was restored to welcome visitors. Today, visitors can admire the 360-degree panoramic beauty of the city when reaching the top floor of the tower.

With a height of up to 67 m, Galata Tower is the ideal spot for visitors to admire the panoramic beauty of the whole city under shimmering lights at night. Guests can also enjoy a cozy and romantic evening at the top of the tower as there is a restaurant and cafe to serve visitors.

Galata Tower
Galata Tower

Address: Bereketzade, Galata Kulesi, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Opening hours: 9am – 8:30pm
Admission: 25 TL

Bosphorus Strait

It is the most beautiful sunset spot in the world. This narrowest strait in the world is the natural boundary separating the two parts of the Eurasian continent of Istanbul. In addition, this is also a political hot spot, which get countless papers and ink of the international media.

But contrary to the information in the newspaper, the Bosporus is a very poetic place. Visitors can take a cruise tour to enjoy scenery along the Bosporus, admiring the two continents of Asia – Europe of the city.

To catch the yacht you have to go to the Eminonu Pier to buy tours from the “hot boys” here. Before buying the tour you should go along the pier to aks tour prices but most of the prices that the “boys” offer are the same, 15 TL. After gathering enough guests, all will be invited to get on the bus to get to the pier, whoever gets on first will get a nice spot on the 2nd floor of the boat. As for my team who came up late, we had to sit in a decorated wedding cabin.

Sailing on Bosphorus Strait. | istanbul travel blog

Honesty, this is one of my memorable experiences in Turkey. I was also quite surprised because I have never seen such a beautiful sunset, even much more beautiful than the sunset in Santorini.

Basilica Cistern

Known by various names such as the Underground Palace or the Sunken Palace. But in fact, this was once an underground water storage and a water filtration system providing drinking water for the people of Istanbul. Visiting this place you will be lost in a different world with columns created by the ancient Romans.

Inside Galata Tower
| istanbul travel blog

The Basilica Cistern is a famous underground structure in Turkey that has appeared in many TV series. Previously, it was a underground water lake for the people of Istanbul then forgotten for a few centuries and now becomes a tourist attraction in Istanbul.

Take the space of darkness as the main theme, it is lit by spaced lamps and 336 pillars built by the ancient Romans. This work will make visitors can not help admire by the talent of the ancient people. In particular, there is a stone pillar with an upside down Medusa head statue (which historians have yet to explain why the head of the statue was placed upside down).

Address: Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Opening hours: 9am – 5:30pm
Admission: 20 TL

Maiden’s Tower (The Virgin’s Tower)

If you have ever seen pictures of Turkey, you will see a nearly 30 meter high tower alone in the middle of the Bosporus sea.

There are many legends surrounding this tower, but the most famous is the story of a rich father who wants to protect his beloved daughter from the dangers and he built this tower in the middle of the sea. It has also been used as an ancient watchtower and worshiped the god of fire since ancient Baku. From this tower, you will admire the peaceful sea scenery with the hillsides and surrounding nature.

| istanbul travel blog

Today the tower has become a restaurant. If you have an opportunity to travel to Istanbul, you should try to have a meal here to be able to see Istanbul scenery and hear more thrilling stories.

Taksim

The most bustling neighborhood in Istanbul. Contrary to the timeless beauty of Sultanahmet neighborhood, the Taksim district brings the breath of modern life. When night falls, Taksim will become very crowded with shops and bars.

In the Istiklal pedestrian street, there is also an ancient system of tram that has existed for nearly a hundred years, creating something very unique for this neighborhood.

Istanbul tram in Taksim. | istanbul travel blog

NOTE: The security of this Taksim area is a bit complicated, you should be a little bit more careful, especially at night. Because there are many restaurants and bars in this area, there are many risks.

Ortakoy Mosque

Ortakoy Mosque, also known by another name is Buyuk Mecidiye Camii. The mosque is both a symbol of the Ortaköy district and is known as the “jewel” of the Bosphorus. Buyuk Mecidiye Camii is built right next by the Bosphorus, located at the foot of the Bosphorus Bridge.

Among over 3000 mosques, Ortaköy is still one of the most beautiful structures in Istanbul. This mosque was built from 1854 to 1856 by order of Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid. Ortaköy was designed by great architects Garabet Amira Balyan and Nigoğayos Balyan.

Mecidiye Mosque
Mecidiye Mosque

Address: Mecidiye, Mecidiye Köprüsü Sk. No:1 D:1, 34347 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
Opened: 1856
Hours: 4AM–10PM

Istanbul travel blog: What and where to eat?

Due to a city located on two continents, that is why Istanbul there are many unique culinary features that are difficult to find anywhere else in the world. Among them are doner kebab, fish sandwich, stewed lamb, baklava… Below are famous dishes you should try.

Doner Kebab

Referring to Turkey can not help but to mention Doner Kebab – a famous traditional dish in Turkey. Previously, Turkey was a country of nomadic tribes, so they often roast meat to keep for a long time, sandwiches with bread and vegetables, quite similar to today’s doner kebab. In Turkey, Doner often sandwiches with lamb, beef and chicken … absolutely no pork because the Muslim Turks do not eat pork. The marinated chicken is delicious, soft, juicy. Beef is okay, while lamb is a bit too strong taste, maybe because I am not used to the taste of Turkey.

| istanbul travel blog

Turkish Ice Cream Tricks (Battered ice cream)

The reason for the name ice cream trick is because the sellers will use all kinds of tricks to fool you, not allowing you to get the ice cream. Note that this cream is only for virtual living, but it is boring to eat, a bit flexible so that the seller can playing with you.

What makes Salep dondurma impressive is the texture and resistance to melting.

Fish sandwich (balık ekmek) at Galata bridge

For a long time, I have read an article on a travel forum that this fish sandwich is so delicious, but the truth is it is not as delicious as I hoped. A fish sandwich only has a few lettuce and fried fish without any sauce, so it is bland. Only the fried fish show on the boats is attractive. You can come to Galata bridge and try it on boats.

| istanbul travel blog

Stewed lamb

Lamb is a familiar ingredient in Turkish meals, there are many dishes prepared from it, in which this attractive stewed lamb cannot be ignored. Lamb after being thoroughly stewed with spices will put in a ceramic jar. After that, the waiter will light the fire around and create a unique fire dance before you can enjoy it.

Tea and raki

These are the two most used drinks in Turkey. When entering someone’s home, you will definitely be invited to a cup of tea, showing the hospitality of the people here. Raki a alcoholic drink made of twice-distilled grapes and anise with a fairly high alcohol content (up to 48%). Therefore, if you cannot drink alcohol, you should consider before drink it!

Raki | istanbul travel blog

Honey

Turkey is a country with high annual honey production in the world, honey prices are not cheap either. This is a commonly used ingredient in cuisine to make cakes, sweets, yogurt,…

Bread served with honey and yoghurt. | istanbul travel blog

Turkish Baklava

Baklava in Turkey is a layered pastry dessert made of filo pastry, and filled with chopped nuts, and sweetened with syrup or honey. This is must-try food in Istanbul in particular and Turkey in general. It also was one of the most famous and popular sweet pastries of Ottoman cuisine.

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

This is also one of the indispensable dishes in the daily life of the people of this country that you should try. The dish is attractive and eye-catching with the main ingredient is lentil stewed with tomatoes, peppers, onions and a little cream to create fat.

Lahmacun cake

Turkish style pizza is known as signature street food but it is everywhere so you can buy to try it. Place on top of the cake is minced lamb stir-fried with spices, chopped chili, coriander and squeezed on a little lemon juice to enhence flavor. Then roll it up, wrap it in paper and cut it in half to eat, not bring it to bake, fast, neat, and quick.

| istanbul travel blog

Midye Dolma

This is a famous dealcoholized wine dish consisting of clams stuffed with a mixture of spicy rice. At restaurants in this country, they will not stop bringing this dish until you say stop and the shop owner will charge by counting clam shells.

Cig kofte (raw meat balls)

Cig kofte is one of the best raw meat dishes in the world with a very spicy taste. This raw meat dish is often served with flat bread, salad, pomegranate seed oil and spicy sauce.

Simit (Turkish sesame bagel)

This is a traditional Turkish cake and is often used for breakfast. A kind of soft and spongy bread is formed in a ring shape, sprinkled with white sesame seeds on top and then bake. You can buy them in street food vendors or pastry shops. Enjoying a hot cake with a cup of tea or served with cheese, salad brings delicious flavors.

istanbul travel blog
| istanbul travel blog

Türk Kahvesi (Turkish Coffee)

Turkish coffee not to be mixed with boiling water as usual. They are incubated in a stove at a low temperature and served in large cups. Turkish coffee has a slightly sour taste, very strong and especially when you drink to the bottom of the cup you will see a layer of coffee paste due to coffee powder will settle down.

Mado Chain

This is a famous Turkish ice cream and pastry chain of stores in Turkey. The desserts, ice cream, and juices were delicious. In addition, it also serves savory dishes, pizzas in large plates, a quite full for a meal of about 70 TL. Nice view, cozy, very nice service staff, nice dress.

Address: Alemdar, Divan Yolu Cd. No:24, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Hours: 8AM–12AM

Turkish Delight Chain

Here is a collection of famous Turkish brands, Turkish traditional sweets, pastries, cakes, baklava… My favorite is Turkish Chocolate, which is very cheap and delicious. This is must-visit place in Istanbul.

istanbul travel blog
| istanbul travel blog

Istanbul travel blog: What and where to buy?

When traveling to Istanbul, you can buy many interesting things as gifts such as apple tea, lokum (Turkish Delight candy) or hand-woven rugs, Nazars (charms against the evil eye), olive oil, traditional pottery handmade, leather products, refrigerator stickers with pictures of famous places, …

Nazars (charms against the evil eye).

Grand Bazaar

One of the oldest markets in the world, the Grand Bazaar has more than 3,000 stalls, it can take many days to explore. The Turks are known for their skillful, careful and meticulous skills, so at Grand Bazaar you can find unique Hand-made items. Even basic items such as water bottles, pots, but under the talented hands of the Turks they turn into extremely beautiful home decorations. In addition, the Grand Bazaar is famous for the areas selling condiments, spices or chocolates. A note for visitors is to bargain when shopping here. The merchants in Turkey, especially in the Grand Bazzar always say overcharge. You have to bargain, usually 1/3 of the value of the item.

istanbul travel blog
Grand bazaar shops in Istanbul.

Address: Beyazıt, Kalpakçılar Cd. No:22, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Opened: 1461
Hours: 10AM–6PM

Misir Carsisi (Spice Market)

Located next to the Bosphorus on the European coast of the city, this market sells many Turkish specialties: Nuts, apricots, tea, confectionery, cheese and unique handmade decorations. The experience of buying nuts is to buy at shops outside the market, I see the list price of these shops 10-20% lower than shops in the market.

Spice bazaar Misir Carsisi

Shopping Malls

Forum Istanbul Shopping Center

This is the largest shopping mall in Istanbul and is also one of the Metro stops, so travel is very convenient. This place can meet most of the shopping needs of customers, including all famous domestic as well as global clothing brands, cosmetic brands, supermarkets, fruit stalls and food courts. What I like the most is the food court here, the price is cheap and the taste is very easy to eat. If you cannot eat Turkish food, coming here will feel like being saved with delicious fried chicken, nutritious and cheap salmon.

Address: Kocatepe, Paşa Cd, 34045 Bayrampaşa/İstanbul, Turkey
Hours: 10AM–8PM/Saturday, Sunday: Closed

Marmara Forum

This mall is located next to the Media Mart and the large mall of Decathlon Mall Of İstanbul and about 800m from Metro station. In addition to household items, clothes, food, and fruit, I really like the shops selling crockery, ceramics here: Fancy designs with very affordable prices.

Address: Osmaniye, Çobançeşme Koşuyolu Cd. No:3, 34100 Bakırköy/İstanbul, Turkey
Hours: 10AM–8PM/Sunday: Closed

Aqua Florya Shopping and Life Center

This is also a pretty big shopping mall in Istanbul, but what I like most here is its location. This mall is close to the old airport, next to the beach road and a park where you can relax, entertain, cycle, sunbathe or watch the sea. You can also enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee at the outdoor restaurant overlooking the sea, or lie on the large rocks to sunbathe and watching seagulls.

Address: Şenlikköy, Yeşilköy Halkalı Cd. 93-93/1, 34153 Bakırköy/İstanbul, Turkey
Hours: 10AM–8PM

Istanbul travel blog: Where to stay?

According to my Istanbul travel experience, you should stay in the Sultanahmet and Taksim neighbourhoods:

Sultanahmet

Old Quarter where famous tourist attractions of the city gather such as Sultanahmet Camii, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace …

If you want to feel the timeless beauty of Istanbul, you should book a room here. Get up early and walk around so you can feel the quaint beauty of each street.

Some hotels in the Sultanahmet area:

istanbul travel blog
| istanbul travel blog

Taksim

It is considered the heart of Istanbul with the square and bustling pedestrian street. Moreover, this is also the main hub of all traffic routes in the city.

You can easily find cheap buses to get to the airport from here. However, the security of this area is not very good, as I saw here.

Some hotels in Taksim area:

Mirrors Hotel

In addition, you can refer to one of the best Airbnb in Istanbul:

–> Use this link https://www.airbnb.com/c/anht5185, to register for an Airbnb account and book a room, you will get a discount up to $55 for the first booking.

istanbul travel blog
Deluxe Roof Top Loft Flat with Balcony 4 rd Floor at $22/night.

Istanbul travel blog: Some useful travel tips before you go

  • Buying Istanbul Museum Pass to save money on entrance tickets to attractions. See more infornation and prices via the following link.
  • Using Hop-On, Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour in case there is only a few hours of transit to visit the city. See more here.
  • Preparing in advance the pocket WiFi device or buy a sim card in advance at home (or if it’s convenient to buy at the airport). Because if you buy at stores, the staff knows that you are a foreign tourist, so they will recommend very expensive sim packages.
  • Turks speak English quite poorly, not as well as I imagined. The hotel staff who read number 4 as “five”, should I sad or happy?!
  • For girls, you should choose beautiful headscarf in advance when entering the mosque, because the headscarfs that are borrowed at the tourist sites are not beautiful.
  • Do not point your camera at people who are praying.
  • Muslims do not eat pork, so when entering a restaurant, you should not order dishes with pork.
istanbul travel blog
| istanbul travel blog

Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Istanbul you can refer to

Are you looking for more top things to do in Istanbul: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out here. And My trip to Istanbul — Explore the bridge city of Asia and Europe. And Turkey travel guide here.

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