Istanbul summary

Now, being back in Oslo, it’s time to make a summary of one of the greatest trips I’ve made so far. I’ve just edited 65 photos out of about 220 for publishing in the blog. Before publishing them, I’ll summarize what I got squeezed into a all to short time in Istanbul.

Day 1, Tuesday
– Hagia Sofia
– Walks in Sultanahmet, Eminönü and Taksim

Day 2, Wednesday
– Walk from Sultanahmet to Bosphorus Bridge and back via Besiktas and Ortaköy
– First visit to the Grand Bazaar

Day 3, Thursday
– The Basilica Cistern
– Walk around the Golden Horn via Fatih, Eyüp and back to Taksim on the other side

Day 4, Friday
– Heybeliada (Princes’ islands)
– Haydarpasha on the Asian side
– Second visit to the Grand Bazaar

Day 5, Saturday
– Shopping in Levent, Taksim and the Grand Bazaar
– A CouchSurfing Pub Picnic in Taksim
– Surfing Zeynep’s couch

Day 6, Sunday
– Breakfast with Zeynep and Murat
– Walk to Fatih to see Zeyrek Camii (Church of the Pantocrator)
– Evening walk in Eminönü

Day 7, Monday
– Sokullu Mehmet Pasha mosque
– Topkapi park and Hagia Eirenne
– Walk to Aksaray

I think I got much done in the time available (still without creating any stress). For me, the most valuable part of the trip was to learn to know some locals and to see the parts of Istanbul that aren’t overcrowded with tourists.

My top tips for Istanbul are:

  • Learn the basics of local culture before the trip
  • Get to know locals (but ignore the touts)
  • Visit Hagia Sofia (give it time, the atmosphere is magic)
  • Visit Sokullu Mehmet Pasha Camii
  • After that, get out of Sultanahmet and see other parts of Istanbul
  • Cool off on Princes’ islands (crowded in the summer, though!)
  • Don’t buy anything expensive before really knowing the market
  • Learn to be bold in the traffic but remember to still be careful
  • Walk a lot, it’s the best way to explore. Take good shoes and come in good shape

Istanbul feels quite safe. Still, there are areas that should be avoided during night. Keep a close watch on your things, especially at the bazaar. I once came out of the bazaar with the bag zipper open (precisely why I never keep anything valuable there).

Istanbul is one of the most beautiful, thrilling and special places I’ve ever visited. I’m sure I’ll return, many times. The pictures come in eight separate posts. I hope they will be of value for other lucky travellers going to Istanbul and bring at least a tiny bit of the magic to those who aren’t!

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s