After living in Istanbul for over two years, I’ve amassed a fair bit of advice and recommendations for visitors. Every few months, especially towards summer, I get emails from friends and friends-of-friends wondering what they should do with a day/week/month in the city. So rather than continue sending the same email around, I thought I’d collect everything I’ve written or forwarded into one post, from the general to the specific.
Google Map of my favorite Istanbul spots
Misconceptions about Istanbul: Chances are, if you are planning a trip to Turkey, you don’t think everyone rides camels and has a harem. But in case you have a nervous aunt, you can send her this post.
Istanbul in 2 days: my very quick-and-dirty advice for first-timers. A few updates: if it’s a reasonable drinking hour, look for a rooftop bar to see the city instead of Galata Tower; Buyuk Hotel Londra is my favorite. Also, the Ortakoy mosque is under renovation, but the neighborhood is still fun to visit.
From EatingAsia.com: How to get the most out of Istanbul. Advice so great I wish I’d written it myself. They also have great stories about lesser-known spots all around Turkey, such a drool-worthy quest for anchovies.
Your Turkish food gurus are the good people at Istanbul Eats/Culinary Backstreets, with a blog, a book, an app, and excellent city tours to help you find amazing hole-in-the-wall eateries.
More great food tips from the Rome-based (but also well versed in Turkish food) Katie Parla, who now has a spiffy new app for the city.
Istanbul on and off the beaten path: A fairly standard list, but I wanted to compare the standard tourist attractions with some lesser-known spots.
Where to shop outside the Grand Bazaar: Note: the wonderful Kagithane House of Paper no longer has a shop in Galata, but they still have stores in Nisantasi and inside Bej Kahve in Karakoy.
Istanbul after dark Another oldie but goodie I wrote in my early months on Gadling, mostly to post about
Google map of my favorite places in Nisantasi
SantralIstanbul: One of my very favorite off-the-beaten-track museums. I last visited it with a friend when I was eight months pregnant and had the “brilliant” idea of taking the ferry. We hired a small boat to take us the rest of the way, and while sitting on the smelly Golden Horn with a strange and sketchy-looking man was less idyllic than imagined, it was an experience.
Eating kosher in Muslim Istanbul: Not relevant for too many visitors, and not the most useful post if you are hoping for a bevy of options, I’m afraid, but thought I’d share our experience with a past guest.