1. WHERE TO STAY? 💤
Sultanahmet AND Karaköy
If you’re staying in Istanbul for more than 3 nights, we think it’s worth the effort of booking two hotels/ Air BnBs. First up, enjoy a couple of nights in the heart of the historic district - Sultanahmet. You’re perfectly placed to discover the historic gems of Istanbul, with visits to the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) and Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) a must on your itinerary.
Sultanahmet is steeped in history & religion so if you want to sample the modern side of Istanbul, we’d recommend booking somewhere north of Galata Bridge in Karaköy. This neighbourhood is packed full of cool cafes selling great coffee, interesting galleries & relaxed cocktail bars.
2. WHAT TO DO/ SEE 🗺
Only a short walk from the centre of the Sultanahmet district, this palace used to be home to Ottoman Sultans - today it’s a museum that’s well worth a morning of your time exploring. Meander round the large grounds and hundreds of rooms to learn more about Istanbul’s rich history. Be sure to make the Fourth Court and you’ll be rewarded with incredible views over the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.
3. WHERE TO EAT? 🍽
Balık Ekmek (Fish Sandwich), Eminönü
This suggestion won’t win a Michelin star anytime soon but if you want a truly authentic experience in Istanbul - Balık Ekmek is a must-eat on the south side of Galata Bridge in Eminönü. This famous street food is widely available by the harbour side and ideal lunch on the move. The sandwich consists of grilled fresh white fish with herbs and spices that's packed into a thick chunk of white bread with salad and onions.
4. WHERE TO DRINK? ☕
Four Seasons, A'ya Rooftop Lounge, Sultanahmet
Need to take a break from exploring Sultanahmet, retreat to the serenity of the rooftop at The Four Seasons Hotel. Enjoy a thirst quenching, freshly squeezed juice to cool down or some authentic Turkish tea. The added bonus – you’ll have incredible views over Hagia Sophia.
5. WHERE TO TAKE THAT INSTAGRAM WORTHY PHOTO? 📸
The Grand Bazaar
Sometimes that Instagram worthy photo can require some persistence and determination. In this case, it’s pleasantly declining the countless offers you’ll receive from the traders of the Grand Bazaar trying to sell their wares.
The Grand Bazaar can be a sensory overload but with the colours of the spice bazaar and the Turkish lamps, it also makes for great photo opportunities.