"East meets West..... Asia meets Europe!" Top 5 Page for this destination Istanbul Ili by June.b
Istanbul Ili Travel Guide: 8,508 reviews and 22,542 photos
“ If the Earth was a single state, Istanbul would be its capital. ” Napoleon Bonaparte.
Great palaces and mosques, ancient churches, bazaars, museum, and the mighty Bosphorous!
ISTANBUL .... the only city in the whole-wide world situated in two continents and so everybody is saying it and I just wanna be counted in the population who knows that... as if there's still a considerable number of people who don't.
History abounds the city of Constantinople.
From the Ataturk airport, the Havas bus stopped at Taksim Square near MacDonalds where I found my way at the other end of the square in the most popular avenue in the whole of Istanbul called Istiklal Caddessi. The avenue that never sleep (soundz like NY). Lots of people parade here from morning til midnight, even after, and if your hobby includes people watching, you're in the right place here - grab a chair in one of the alfresco nightspot along one of the avenue's branch streets.
Full of life during the day.... pumping with energy at night.... and goes with the disbanded Spice Girls words --- "Merhaba Istanbul!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Most things that you will find in this Istanbul page are those that I saw, heard, smelled, tasted, walked through and experiences I've went through.
Istanbul in Winter time - Istanbul in Winter
Istanbul related sites:
Istanbul weather forecast
My Merhaba - everything you need to know about Istanbul, both getting around & getting settled.
Istanbul / Galata guide
List of Best Hotels of Istanbul - for a comprehensive list of hotels and their websites in Istanbul.
Varan Bus Lines - bus company for traveling other cities in Turkey from istanbul.
Ulusoy Bus LInes - another bus company for provincial trips.
Metro Bus Lines - my favorite so far.
The center of the universe in Istanbul is the Istiklal Caddessi where I thought half of the population of Istanbul are passing by everyday!
I don't know where they are coming from but throng of people are parading this avenue from early morning til after midnight. Bars, chillout places, coffee shops, alfresco restos are aplenty in the so many branches of this avenues called sokaks or soks.
I stayed in one of the soks here for few days but can't take the rush and hard to pass by foot going to and from Taksim with the huge crowd, but of course you could always take the historical streetcar or tram but it has limited stops along the way, helpful though....and fun!
For people who like historical stuff, Sultanahmet is the top choice, but Taksim/Beyoglu also offers lots of them, some along the main street, some at backstreets.. There's the Galata Tower further down the road at the end of Istiklal Avenue. Several churches, like the St. Anthony of Padua Cathedral, the Meryem Ana Rum Orthodox Church, the Aya Triada near Taksim Square, and so many other sights.
I personally like the Sultanahmet area and it's surroundings, more peaceful than the more chaotic area of Taksim. Here, you're close to history. Although I prefer staying a bit further down the road in Beyazit, in front of the Grand Bazaar. Yet, it's nice walking down and up the road to Sultanahmet passing by many interesting stuff and sights along the way.
Facing each other is the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, beside the Blue Mosque is the Hippodrome of Constantinople which is a huge square now with few remanants like the 2 obelisks and the serpent colum.. Just beside the Hagia is the Basilica Cistern with it's creepy but fabulous underground structures, don't miss the end of the cistern where you'll find two Medusa heads structures. And just further down the road from the Hagia is the majestic Topkapi Palace where I almost got banned for unmindingly taking photos where the sticker signs of the camera with red X are posted. Whatever that means :)
For people who are having difficulty in choosing their base between Sultanahmet or Taksim, go to Whether to stay in Sultanahmet or Taksim ....and other accommodation tips.
If you have chosen Sultanahmet, I also made a Brief on Hotels in Istanbul for information on proximities of hotels in and around Sultanahmet.
If you have enough time in Istanbul though, my advise: Stay at both sides - Sultanahmet & Taksim...instead of OR.
Me..I'm not a sucker for luxury nor I always enjoy sharing spaces with a lot of people in dormitories, but of course I could and I did from time to time depending on moods. The hotels/hostels/guesthouse I've listed in my Accommodation Tips here are the ones I've stayed at in several visits, and I must state that most of them are the so-called budget accommodations, so these tips are geared towards people on a tight or even slightly tight budget - backpackers, some flashpackers, some travelers who have the budget but prefer to spend it on other stuff, not fussy tourists, in a more crisper sense -- those who spends EUR 15 - 60 per night on accommodation - not more than that.
Wherever you choose, remember, you're still in Istanbul and you will enjoy the city wherever you stand.
- Pros:Nice place for its historical monuments, mosques, friendly people.
- Cons:Lots of persistent carpet sellers, some hustlers too.
- In a nutshell:Asia meets Europe along the Bosphorous.
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