The ultimate Istanbul Guide
Istanbul is one of our favorite cities and we wrote the ultimate Istanbul Guide for everybody who plans to visit this awesome city.
Istanbul is buzzing with a great vibe, has the perfect mixture of hip and traditional culture and has many sights.
Interesting Fact: Even though Turkey is part of Asia, Istanbul has an European and Asian side.
What to do | The Ultimate Istanbul Guide
Visit the Blue Mosque
There are many beautiful Mosques in Istanbul and one of the most famous ones is the Blue Mosque.
We suggest to go there early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
The Mosque is opened from 9am until one hour before dusk and closed for two hours visitors during prayer hours
To enter, you have to follow the dress code:
Female: Cover your arms and legs
Male: Cover your shoulders and legs
Don‘t worry when you are not dressed appropriate, shawls and outer garments are provided at the entrance if necessary.
The entrance is for free.
How to get there:
There is a tram stop just in front of it and the T1 stops there.
Enjoy the view from Kubbe (title photo)
Kubbe is a gorgeous view point with a café.
Because of the gaining popularity of this spot, a smart guy opened a café there and sells coffee and tea to the view seeking tourists.
Here is the location:
Visit the Galata Tower
The Galata tower is an iconic sight in one of Istanbul’s oldest neighborhood and a really interesting historical event happened there:
In 1630 Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi flew from the Galata tower on the European side to the Asian side with artificial wings. This was the first intercontinental flight.
For around 3€ you can go up the tower and enjoy the view.
The tower is open 7 days a week from 9am until 7pm.
But be prepared for a huge line if you plan to go up.
Visit the Ortaköy Mosque
The inside of the mosque is pure art, especially with the huge chandelier in the middle of the prayer room.
Definitely go there, it’s one of the most beautiful mosques we have seen.
How to get there:
You can reach the mosque by bus or taxi but not with the tram.
Get lost in the hip area Karaköy
Istanbul is packed with historical buildings and history but there is also an opposite world:
The trendy area Karaköy where you can find many cool cafés and bars.
Shop at the Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world and it spreads over 61 streets with over 4000 shops.
Even if you don’t like shopping, a stroll on the market is worth the time and you will definitely find something you want to buy. 😉
Visit Hagia Sophia
Once a church, then a mosque, now a museum:
Hagia Sophia is an architectural beauty and you shouldn’t miss it when you go to Istanbul.
Tip: Because it is right next to the Blue Mosque, you can combine them to one visit.
Explore Balat the colorful Jewish quarter
Do you wanna get away from the crowds and go for a relaxed stroll?
Check out the area Balat.
This area with the quirky colorful houses is not only nice for Instagram shots but as well to have a walk or to drink some coffee.
Enjoy Turkish cuisine
We love Turkish food, especially the calorie bombs Baklava.
When you go to Istanbul you should definitely have a taste of the Turkish cuisine.
But be careful, it’s not known for a low amount calories. 😀
Visit a Turkish Hamam
A Hamam is a public bath where, based on the type, you either wash yourself or an attendant is washing and massaging you.
This is not a simple place to wash down, the visit will be a cultural experience with a bath procedure.
A visit will cost you between 20 and 50€.
There are many things more to do in Istanbul but these activities will keep you busy for at least three days.
Where to stay
There are three things that are really important for us when it’s about our accommodation:
A strategic location, a comfortable room and a delicious and filling breakfast.
All of them are covered by Walton Hotels Galata.
The hotel does not only provide modern and comfortable rooms and a tasty breakfast buffet, it has also a great location:
It’s only a 2 minutes walk to the famous Galata tower or a short tram ride to the blue mosque.
We had a great time and can highly recommend the hotel.
If you are interested, you can book your stay here.
How to get around
Istanbul has a great subway, bus and tram network which makes it easy to explore the city.
We recommend you to buy the Istanbulkart, which is a cashless payment method.
You can buy it at vending machines at tram stops or subway stations or at some kiosks as well.
If you need to go somewhere by taxi, rather than a regular taxi, use Uber or BiTaksi (an Uber alternative) because those apps offer cheaper rides.
Tip: Don’t travel abroad without an insurance.
If you want to know which we are using, have a look here.