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Istanbul


sambosa75
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Evening all,

 

Off to Istanbul tomorrow morning for 3 nights. Forget we had booked it until a couple of days ago so haven't really done any research in to what to do whilst we are there. Anyone been that would like to offer some advice?

 

Cheers!

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I'm always forgetting about holidays I booked. Only realised the other day that I was meant to be on a cruise in the Caribbean. What are we like, eh?

 

PS: Never been to Istanbul, but don't wear any Leeds shirts out around town. They might not appreciate that.

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Went there last month. Amazing City. We stayed in Galata, right by the Tower in a seriously cool Apartment that was great value thanks to http://www.airbnb.com and the current exchange rate making Turkey one of the best value places in the world for a Brit' to visit. Wouldn't bother with the "Asian side" other than a nice boat trip over there there's not a lot to see and do that side of the Bosporus.

 

We did the Cisterns, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Archaeological Museum. I thought the Grand Bizarre wasn't all that great, far better value for bags, Jewellery (in other words with your missus like I was) etc in the lanes that lead downhill from the GB to the Spice Market. Proper hectic but far better than the GB IMO. Walk over Galata Bridge at least once, has 2 tiers, top tier covered by fishermen bottom completely taken up by (overpriced) bars and restaurants.

 

The "coolest" place we went to in terms of bars/ restaurants was Besiktas. Only a fiver in a cab from Taksim (via a mental downhill road that wraps around the building site for the new Besiktas stadium, it's going to be quality) and worth a mooch if you like a beer. Galata also good, is the Music/ Creative area with decent bars etc. On the point of bars, they aren't easy to find as most eateries open during the day don't serve alcohol. For a pair of soaks like me and my missus this was frustrating! Stay away from Taksim, big concrete square with nothing about it, no reason whatsoever for it to be a Tourist destination from what we saw.

 

Exchange your money out there if you havn't all ready, better rates. It's seriously hilly (every road's like Mousehole Lane ffs), but get a tram pass as that is great value. As SM says, get to a match if possible, Galatasary or Besiktas I'd say (got a soft spot for the latter after speaking to a few of their fans), Fenerbache the Muslim side over there.

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You can do a great circular trip around the city (all 3 sides) by using public transport which is so cheap and you see real Turkish life. We lived on the Asian side for 18 months so can vouch for it, fantastic city and lovely friendly people.

 

From the Square in Taksim, go down the main shopping street using the old tram; this stops at Galata, take in the Tower then go down to the Bridge using the funicular. Walk across have a beer and Ekmek balk (grilled fish in bread) or get on the tram and go up to the top of the bazaar (could stop off and do Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque on the way). Walk down through the Bazaar, then to the Roman Catacombs, then down to the Spice Bazaar, at which point you are then back at the sea.

 

Then jump on the ferry (passenger) to Kadikoy (asian side) which gives a superb view of the Golden Horn, takes about 25 minutes. Over there, find the tram which takes you on a circle around Moda, lovely little trip. Kadikoy has a street in the market area full of bars and restaurants.

 

Then you can get a ferry back over to Besiktas, take another funicular back up to Taksim!

 

Or just use the extended Metro to get to other places, the tram , the taxi, the buses or the boats!

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Got back earlier this afternoon. Wow - what a city. Did most of the things that were mentioned so thanks to all for the advice. To anyone who hasn't been - go. It knocks spots of most other European city "weekend-break" destinations.

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