I know that I usually post in the fashion category on Wednesdays however since I’m traveling I have so much content about Istanbul that I thought it was the best idea to share this week and go back to fashion next Wednesday.
I’m in this beautiful resort in Dalaman at the moment and it’s so nice to slow down for a little and relax, I have been tanning, swimming, going to the gym and eating a lot of nice food so I can’t really complain.
Istanbul, the city on 2 continents, blew my mind away, its architecture and pretty sights and most importantly its hospitality. This is the first time I’ve ever actually been abroad alone and I must admit I had the best time, I met so many people and I really enjoyed exploring the city. I think a week would be a good timeframe to explore and enjoy the city a little more however, I managed to do quite a bit in 2 days so I wanted to share places that I had the chance to see as well as a few tips I acquired visiting the city on two continents.
My hotel was located in Sultanahmet also known as the Old City or Constantinople as some history buffs may know it as. The hotel was in a great location – within walking distance to all the main attractions that the city offers. I started my first day leisurely strolling from the Sura Hagia Sophia hotel to first of all Hagia Sophia located in Sultanahmet Square. The square in itself is absolutely beautiful with Hagia Sophia on one end and the Blue Mosque on the other. I walked around the square taking the sights in, taking a lot of pictures. I even filmed a vlog but I may have to add it later as the WIFI in my current hotel is rather slow and won’t let me upload much.
Hagia Sophia was my first call, constructed from 537 to 1453 and is one of the oldest Greek Orthodox cathedrals in the area and even in the world before the Seville Cathedral was constructed. It’s famous for its massive dome and it is absolutely breathtaking. Unfortunately, I didn’t go inside as I was pressed for time but will definitely do it the next time I’m here. From here I decided to walk over to the Grand Bazar.
On the way to the Grand Bazar is the Basilica Cistern which is basically the largest cistern that lies under the city. It has been constructed by 7000 slaves and it was used to provide water filtration system for the Great Palace of Constantinople also known as the Sacred Palace as well as Topkapi Palace after the Ottoman conquest in 1453.
Next to Basilica Cistern is the Million Stone which is the starting place for the measurement of distances for all the roads leading to the old cities of the Byzantine Empire. The distance to all the major worlds’ cities is displayed on the stone pavement. London is 2502 km away from that very spot. I met a really nice man here who give me a few tips about Istanbul and showed me a shop that sells beautiful carpets and hand sewn bed covers. There are few people selling carpets in this area and they are really nice and polite so much so that I felt refusing to see their goods was rude and so decided to spare a few minutes and check their shops out. They do offer really good stuff however; I wasn’t in the market for a carpet.
From there I walked toward the Grand Bazar via Yerbetan Avenue. Grand Bazar caters to almost 400,000 visitors daily and it’s one of the largest markets in the world. It’s located in the district of Faith and it’s an absolute must see when in Istanbul. I walked around, bought some tea and spices for my friends; you can literally find whatever you like here. The Grand Bazar in itself consists of 3000 shops and you must remember to negotiate the price as this is a custom in Turkey as I’m sure many of you know.
After strolling through the different shops, I made my way down to the Eminonu district where you can see some jaw-dropping views of the Galata Tower and the Bridge, Bosphorus Bridge and on the hill Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque. The new Mosque is also located here and the area is quite busy, I’d say watch out for your belongings just in case, however, having said this I really didn’t have any issues. From here you can cross the Galata Bridge by taking one of the subways that lead to the river bank directly underneath the busy motorway.
Galata Bridge offered immense vies of the Galata Tower and Karakoy district, its yellow taxis and crowdedness really make it cool. Also, there are random people fishing on the bridge all day so don’t be put off by the fish smell as its quite normal for this area.
I walked through Karakoy towards Istiklal Avenue passing the beautiful Galata Tower that offers panoramic views of Istanbul. This area is filled with artsy and quirky shops, record stores and cafes with steep streets. I really enjoyed walking around the area as it was so beautiful and picturesque.
Once in Istiklal Avenue which is the equivalent of Oxford Street, I looked through a few different shops and had to stop myself from spending a lot of time inside the shops as that wasn’t the purpose of my visit but that’s what girl to do when there is Sephora on every corner!! I did, however, treat myself to a relaxing manicure and pedicure as I had dinner plans at Nicole restaurant which is considered to be the best restaurant in Istanbul. I went back to my hotel after Istiklal avenue to relax a little and get ready for dinner at the Nicole where I had a 10-course meal and wine tasting. It was literally one of the best meals I’ve ever had and I need to share the full post with you all next week as this place is highly recommended if you are in Istanbul.
I really hope you enjoy this post; I will be sharing part 2 on Friday so please come back and check it out.
As always please leave your comments and email me with any questions as I love hearing from you.
Lots of Love