"East meets West..... Asia meets Europe!" Top 5 Page for this destination Istanbul Ili by June.b

Istanbul Ili Travel Guide: 8,513 reviews and 22,548 photos

Istanbul... the center of it all!

“ 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!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Hosgeldiniz!

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.

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Istiklal Caddessi, Taksim, Beyoglu

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.

Sultanahmet

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 and Cons
  • 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.
  • Last visit to Istanbul Ili: Sep 2010
  • Intro Updated Apr 11, 2013
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Reviews (135)

Comments (14)

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Dec 3, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Fabulous Istanbul page with very helpful and detailed tips about the public transport system. I will be in Istanbul from Wednesday night and probably make use of your tips. Thanks a lot.

  • TrendsetterME's Profile Photo
    May 10, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Hey June, great photos and helpful tips of fascinating "Istanbul" ... :)

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Mar 6, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    Some good tips. The question is whether that bargain clothing is worth anything. The stuff we bought for cheap turned out to be just that...cheap...

  • Sep 3, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    Just thinking about a trip to Istanbul in November. I'm grateful you've put all this information here. Thank you!

  • wabIV's Profile Photo
    Jun 27, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    Great photos and Istanbul tips. I'll be sure to mention your name and enjoy the red carpet treatment. All the best!

  • neodue's Profile Photo
    Apr 11, 2009 at 11:39 AM

    Great tips about my lovely city.You are like an istanbuller June.

  • diana_renou's Profile Photo
    Dec 18, 2008 at 10:55 AM

    Great page of Istanbul!!! It is very useful to me. Thanks for your helpfull tips!!

  • BlueLlama's Profile Photo
    Feb 9, 2008 at 3:30 AM

    I had to read your tip about the Taksim rip-off! I agree though, they do make good stories afterwards! Really nice pages on Istanbul, wish I'd seen them before I went. Bee

  • Hopkid's Profile Photo
    Feb 1, 2008 at 10:46 AM

    Nice tips on IST! They'll come in handy during my trip next month. Thanks!

  • daryll's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2007 at 10:41 AM

    Hi June! you have great tips. As i will be staying around sultahamet area, is it worth joining a tour around the area especially Haya Sofia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi?

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June.b

“Traveling is the best education there is...and the most expensive one, and no graduation. (Quote me)”

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