Istanbul is a great destination for a city trip. Especially if you live in Europe, Istanbul is perfect. It’s closeby but a totally different world. Similar to Marrakech, you feel like you flew for hours and you’re there in a jiffy.
Istanbul has beautiful mosque’s like the Blue Mosque and the Aya Sophia. Wonderful bazaars where you can stroll around for hours without seeing the same shop twice. Sobuy that lamp/bag/candy when you see it, because you’re never going to find it again!
It has the fabulous Topkapi Palace where the stories of Sultan’s come to life. It has Dervish ceremonies where you can watch the Dervish swirl to come closer to the thruth.
And it has food. Great food.
My favorite restaurant in Istanbul is Amedros. This restaurant with delicious Turkish dishes is in the middle of my favorite neighborhood Sultanahmet. If you want to eat healthy; they’ve got various salads and tasty grilled aubergine. And if you want to indulge; you should have their warm chocolate cake for dessert!
If you want to have a fancy dinner, I’d recommend Mozaik. It’s a very stylish restaurant with huge wine glasses. It’s housed in an old Ottoman building from 1878, but we had our dinner at a streetside table. It has many dishes to choose from,including dishes from different regions in Turkey. And they have many salads, making this restaurant also very suitable for lunch.
For a great experience, you can have dinner at a Meyhane. Here they’ll play live Turkish folk music while you’re having dinner. On any night the meyhanes will be filled with locals eating meze or fresh fried fish and drinking raki. On Fridays and Saturdays you’ll have difficulties finding a table.
The Bosphorus divides Istanbul in an Asian and European half. If you go to the Eminonu end of the Galata Bridge, you can have a nice fresh fish sandwich. And when I say fresh, I mean fresh. See how the catch the fitch on one side of the boats, cook it on the boats and sell it on the other side of the boats.
When in Istanbul, you should definitely try a Hammam. We went to the Cemberlitas Hamami. Here you can have a Turkish bath in one of the most beautiful buildings of Istanbul. It dates back to 1584 and was commissioned by the wife of Sultan Selim II. It has separate baths for men and women and you’ll get a good massage. If you got thirsty after this ritual, a fresh fruit juice stall is never far away.