GoWonder Guides

GoWonder City Guide | Istanbul – Turkey  

GoWonder City Guide | Istanbul – Turkey  

This is not a standard city guide you can find anywhere else. GoWonder travellers share their favourite spots from their hometown to create the most authentic guide. Discover the best things to do in the world’s greatest cities.

Today let’s follow Amy (@amylouise0114) to Istanbul.

Getting Around

Istanbul is great for transport. I never use taxis (but if you do want to they are not expensive BUT they legally have to put the meter on-if they don’t then don’t pay/continue the journey. The minimum fee for a taxi is 10tl or 2 dollars). The best way to get around, especially large distances around the city is by metro. They are frequent and reliable. It costs about 2tl journey 30 cents I guess. To access it you can buy tokens at the mayor stations. Or, which is the cheaper and easier way, is to buy an Istanbul travel card for a couple of dollars at some kiosks around the city (they are usually around the metro station selling newspapers and gum often called ‘bufe’).

You can then top these up by what ever amount and are cheaper per journey and waste less time. You then top them up inside any metro station at the self service kiosks. The metro goes across both continents and also a separate line the ‘marmari’ goes under the sea between continents. If you want to get up to the Sulten Ahmet area with the blue mosque and grand bazaar then you must take a tram- which also take the same card. As do the long looking government busses. Alternatively you can get a dolmush. They are privately owned minibuses. They are a huge network and pennies but slightly harder to negotiate your way around with. I advise downloading Mapsme app and use it to get to where you want. Also Traffi app helps you navigate public transport routes in Istanbul. You can cross continents with the metro, metrobus (which has its own lane apart from the bridge) and thirdly with ship that go every half an hour or so from Beşiktas to Kadikoy (other routes available) all of these take the Istanbul travel card and cost less than 3tl or 30 cents-ish.

Must Try Food In Istanbul

Number one is definitely Turkish Breakfast/ kahvalti.

Must Try Restaurant In Istanbul 

I don’t have a favourite restaurant but there are certain streets that are famous in Istanbul for the atmosphere. If you are around Istiklal street on a weekend çiçek pasaj and the ones behind it are an absolute buzz of life. Similarly in kadikoy. You must wonder round to the main restaurant street, the smells, sights and atmosphere are he best. I do LOVE Turkish breakfast and if you only eat one meal in the bull this must be it. Look for a ‘köy kahvalti’ village breakfast that is served in lots of small dishes.

In kadikoy there are so many amazing independent boutique breakfast places. I like ‘Yer’ restaurant for organic and veggie food in kadikoy, delicious breakfast. Moda terras in kadikoy has lovely food but less of a street feel. In Istanbul you must try: Turkish Breakfast, baklava, börek (pie- all kinds), pide- turkish pizza, MEZZES MEZZES AND MORE MEZZES, more of the restaurants in the busy areas have MEZZES trays that they bring out to show you, try kumpir-baked potato. This place has SOOOO much amazing food!!!

Must Try Cafe In Istanbul 

Kadikoy is really the central for boutique and quirky cafes and shops. If you fancy a stroll around some independent shops with cute little cafes all around that is the area you need to head to.

What is Istanbul known for?

The bospherous separates Istanbul and the two continents it is on. The boat tours are lovely and cheap (20tl-4 dollars) to soak up the scenery.  If you like history then this is your place. Hagir Sofia, tookapi palace, dolmabache palace, are all beautiful and packed full of history. They are about 40tl each or you can buy a museum card that covers some of them. The blue mosque is free but disappointing. The cisterns are worth a look for 20 tl but take about 15 minutes. There are some great galleries and museums around like Istanbul Modern and Pera.

Top 3-5 places to check out in Istanbul ?

Go to the ancient city walls. Go to the less busy of the princess islands. Go to kadikoy, wonder around the boutique shops, cafes and bars. Go up to moda tea garden and glimpse the dolphins that often swim off that shore. On a Saturday night in the summer head to moda sea side, buy some beers, sit on the grass with the locals who are drinking, playing music and tight rope walking to name a few things!

Must Try Activities in Istanbul?

There are always mini festivals going on like wine festivals. ‘Take me up the bospherous’ hosts comedy nights in English.  There are several music festivals in the summer.

Night life in Istanbul

Kadikoy and Taxim are the main hotspots. Kadikoy is less for clubbing more for bars. Taxim has many clubs.

Accommodation in Istanbul 

The places most central for the tourist areas are around Taxim and Sulten ahmet. Very busy touristy areas. Kadikoy is a very friendly relaxed place if you want less crowded more chilled scene.

Female Travellers Safety Tips For Istanbul 

The closer to the tourist areas the safer you will be. But generally for a huge city Istanbul is traveler friendly. Be careful of pick pockets on public transport.

What to do in an emergency?

Call the tourist police. If it’s serious just call your consulate.

Additional Tips

EAT EAT EAT!!! It is an amazing and wonderful city with soul and life. Eat at the ‘lokantas’ if you want a dirt cheap, local meal. They look a bit like cafeterias and can be found everywhere!

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From #Wonder to #Wonder, with love & care.

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