Visiting Istanbul with A Local Guide

In 2012 I got an amazing opportunity to go to Istanbul, Turkey with a friend of mine from college. Istanbul is a beautiful city split between Europe and Asia.  Most of the tourist attractions are on the European side but most residents live on the Asian side (which is where I stayed with my friends grandparents).

Istanbul is located on the Bosphorus River and has plenty to see and do. Unfortunately Turkey is not the safest place to travel right now but hopefully someday it will be so everyone can see how beautiful it is.

Where I Stayed

Like I mentioned earlier, I went to Turkey with a friend so we stayed with her grandparents on the Asian side of Turkey. If you are going as a vacation, I would recommend staying on the European side since that is where most of the tourist attractions are.

Things to Eat/Drink:

  • Turkish Pizza
  • Lentil Soup
  • Kashar Pide – essentially cheesy bread…YUM!
  • Turkish Tea

Things to Do in Istanbul:

Take a Ferry Ride to Büyükada (one of the Prince Islands)

One of my days in Istanbul we took a day trip to the Prince Islands. The ferries to get to the different islands are relatively inexpensive and the perfect distance for a day trip. Unfortunately while I was there a terrible storm hit the island so my friend and I took shelter at a Starbucks for a few hours which cut into a lot of our time to explore. Make sure to check out the Haydarpaşa Railway Station on the ferry ride there!

Topkapı Palace

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is a MUST if you ever find yourself in Istanbul. You can get a lot of amazing things (spices, purses, rugs, paintings) for very cheap. Make sure to barter so you get the best price. I bought some drink coasters and pot holders while I was there that I still use in my apartment today.

Dolmabahçe Palace

Cicek Pasaji

There is a restaurant across the street from Çiçek Pasajı called MADO. My friend and I stopped there for coffee and the waiter brought out a plate to me that said “you eyes very nice” hahah

Sultan Ahmed Mosque

You have to have a face covering when you go into the mosque so I recommend bringing a scarf or something you can use to cover yourself so you don’t have to buy one when you get there.

The Blue Mosque

Boat Cruise on the Bosphorus River

Basilica Cistern

One of Istanbuls most popular tourist attractions, with large ceiling supported by Medusa columns. It is the largest of several hundred primordial cisterns that lie underground the city of Istanbul. The name comes from the fact that it’s underneath the Stoa Basilica square. Originally it was built to help with water filtration for the Great Palace and its surrounding buildings, but is now only used to attract visitors. It was also used as a dinner date spot on Ali’s season of the Bachelorette.

One Last Fun Thing

Because I was staying on the Asian side of the country it was mainly people who live there. One night there was a Turkish pride that I got to partake in which was so fun! I clearly did not fit in with my blonde hair and blue eyes but it was such a fun experience marching alongside my friend and her family!

Thanks for stopping by!


1 Comment

  1. Robert
    October 3, 2016 / 6:06 pm

    Have only seen from the air and the airport. What fun to see it with someone who has relatives living there. Another wonderful blog

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