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10 Things Not to Do in Istanbul

Istanbul is a really great city to visit. However, as in every city, you should be careful in some aspects in order to have a trouble-free vacation. In this article, you will learn about the things that you should NOT do when visiting Istanbul.

In order to avoid overspending and unnecessary expenses as well as to make use of your time well, take a look at the list I’ve prepared for you.
Here are the 10 things not to do in Istanbul:

1. Don’t Stay near the Crowded or Historical Places

It might seem much more favorable to stay close to the historical places because you don’t have to spend time and money on transportation. But if you do so, you may miss the real Istanbul and the authentic local life.

If you are staying near the Blue Mosque or in Taksim, near Istiklal, you will see the crowds of both tourists and locals. It will also be very noisy. For example, you can stay in Fatih, not far from Sultanahmet, and enjoy the neighborhood. It’s also cheaper.

In particular, you should avoid staying in Taksim. Most of the hotels in Taksim (where there are many popular nightclubs) are built up before the nightclubs with extremely loud sound systems, so there’s a lot of noise.

The fact that Istanbul is a touristic city means that the region will not remain silent until the working hours. This is a big disadvantage for you if you are tired. Instead, you can spend the night in central but more quite districts, such as Galata or Cankutaran.

2. Don’t Try to Get to Everywhere on Foot and Be Careful Using a Taxi

When you look at the map of Istanbul, some places can really look very close together. But in reality, it takes a lot of time to get to those places. For example, when you go to Dolmabahçe Palace, you may think that the Yıldız Palace which can be seen from there is not that far.

However, if you don’t take the bus, a long and tiring journey will be waiting for you. If you enjoy long walks, then this is not a great distance for you, but if you try to reach by walking everywhere you will be very tired.

Turkish taxi drivers love to take more money from tourists. That’s why they take you where you need to go by using longer routes. Some of them may even have faulty taxi meters which shows much more price than the normal tariff.

When you take a taxi from a taxi stand you can get rid of these scammers. The logos on the doors of taxis indicate that they are most likely safe. You can download and use the BiTaksi App to call a taxi to any location or to call a taxi from a nearby taxi stand.

3. Don’t Expect Drivers to Follow the Traffic Rules and Don’t Use Tram

Turkish drivers have a really bad reputation about following traffic rules. Therefore, you should be very careful in every situation like when you rent a car or cross the street as a pedestrian. Be sure to always pay attention to the vehicles. Because Turkish drivers generally do not care about other vehicles or people. If you decide to use a car in Turkey, especially a big city like Istanbul where you will be stuck in traffic, you must be someone really patient.

Taking a ride on the historical tram in one of the most famous avenues of Istanbul, Istiklal, may sound quite attractive. But when you get into it you will realize that it is a very disturbing environment due to the crowd. The same crowd will also prevent you from seeing the environment.

So, especially if you intend to see this wonderful street, I suggest you do that without taking a ride on the tram. Many tourists take photos only in front of the trams without going in. But if you’re very tired and there are more places to visit, you can prefer to take the tram instead of walking to the other end of the street.

4. Don’t Shop on Istiklal, and Don’t Only Prefer Shopping at Malls

Don’t shop at Istiklal Avenue. Istiklal has many European brands such as H & M, Bershka, Mango, and some local Turkish brands, therefore it is hard not to fall into the charm of buying fancy pants or shoes. However, people traveling to Istanbul recommend going to large shopping malls where prices are much lower located in non-touristic districts generally away from the city center.

In Turkey, especially when you come to Istanbul, shopping only in the shopping malls that you can frequently encounter in your own hometown would be ridiculous. Because there are many beautiful markets and bazaars in Istanbul that you cannot see anywhere else.

In Istanbul, you will find wonderful handmade and traditional crafts and arts, clothing, and accessories in markets like the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar, which are much more unique than the name brands found in shopping malls.

5. Don’t Buy Everything You See and Don’t Forget to Bargain on the Bazaars

Yes, the Spice and the Grand Bazaars are great and there are many options you can buy, but it is primarily designed for tourists and therefore really expensive. Go to a local bakery or a supermarket if you want to buy a Turkish delight or tea.

Let me give you an example. Assume you want to buy Turkish tea. When you go to the Grand Bazaar or any other touristic market and ask prices to several stores, they will give you different numbers. One might want 40 Turkish Liras while another only wants 15 Turkish Liras. And you can buy the same product from a supermarket, let’s say only for 10 Turkish Liras.

In Turkey, it is very important to bargain the price. You can even reduce the price in half. The products in the bazaars are very expensive and you cannot buy everything in supermarkets or local stores. If you really want to buy a product, feel free to bargain the price.

When the seller says the price, tell him it’s too expensive. They will lower the price a bit, but if you keep saying that it is too expensive, they usually want you to calm down and set the price yourself. Give it a reasonable price and make a deal without getting too exaggerated. In this way, you can even buy a product of 70 Turkish Liras for 30 Turkish Liras.

6. Don’t Eat near Touristic Areas and Avoid Going to the Pudding Shop

This is definitely something you should not do and not only for Istanbul but also for all tourist cities. For example, if you have dinner in a restaurant right next to the Dolmabahçe Palace, you pay a lot of money and the food would not be so good. Walk away 20 30 minutes from the area you tour and you will find really nice places to eat.

The Pudding Shop was once the meeting point of young hippies and adventurous travelers located across the Hagia Sophia. But now, it’s not like as it was 50 years ago. Although the name is the same, the business has a tourist-oriented (and tourist-priced) restaurant, like other places in the area.

7. Don’t Hesitate to Try Street Food and Don’t Diet While Visiting Istanbul

Turkey has an incredibly delightful and composite cuisine and you do not even need to go to a restaurant to try. You can enjoy street food anywhere. You can get yourself a “kumpir” (stuffed baked potato), “balık ekmek” (fish and bread), tombik (similar to a burger, but much better), simit (bread with sesame seeds) and baked chestnuts. And of course, you should try freshly squeezed orange and pomegranate juices.

Street vendors are all over the city, so you don’t have the chance to be starved. If you do not like street food and do not think it is hygienic, then you should prefer small Turkish restaurants. Frankly, I don’t suggest you go to McDonald’s or Burger King. Turkish cuisine is not limited to street food, so go to restaurants that serve traditional kebabs and delicacies. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed!

Since Turkish food is great, I don’t suggest you visit Istanbul while you’re on a diet. In such a case, when you walk past the restaurants, you will really suffer. You’ll want to try everything a little without feeling guilty, from the satisfying kebabs to fresh seafood, from fantastic candies and milky desserts to tasty appetizers. So make sure you visit Istanbul at a time when you are not dieting and try as much of Turkish cuisine as you can.

8. Don’t Disrespect the Dress Code Especially in Mosques

Turkey is a Muslim country and this means you need to comply with the dress code. I advise women not to wear short dresses, skirts or revealing dresses. Even if you only wear tights, you may be subject to disturbing looks. Nobody wants that. Therefore, I recommend that you choose your clothes carefully when you visit Istanbul.

Turkey’s historic mosques such as the Blue Mosque, or Yeni Cami are not only touristic places but also the sanctuaries where people pray. Therefore, it is always a good idea to show your respect by not dressing as if you were going to a club. I suggest you have a sweater to cover your arms and shoulders and not go to the mosque in short shorts or a mini skirt. You can be more comfortable by choosing more modest clothes and you can continue your journey without any problems.

It can be seen that the woman visitors entering the mosque are tightly wrapped their heads with the headscarf-style pashminas which can be bought from the bazaars. It is not necessary for women who do not pray to cover their hair completely. Some guides will tell you that you are not required. More importantly, your arms, neck, shorts, and skirts should be of a modest length. You should not wear short skirts or any other revealing dress.

Mosques have certain prayer times, but visitors can enter and pray at any time. This means that even though the mosque is open to tourists, praying is still going on. So, please try to speak quietly, do not use your mobile phone and if you want to take pictures of people praying, at least be careful about it. Also, pay attention to the separate men and women sections.

9. Don’t do the Bosphorus cruise, instead, take a ferry to the Prince’s Islands

Nice tour, yes, but relatively expensive. There are too many seats on the boat, but the seats on the window side are filling up quickly. The 3-hour stop on the Asian side has a view of the ruins of a small Ottoman Empire castle before the Black Sea.

Tour gives you 2 hours and 30 minutes to get you to the seafood shops. Once you’ve got on the islands, you can swim, hike and rent a bicycle. Büyükada, the last stop of the tour, is my favorite island with its vehicle-free streets and worn-out wooden villas consisting of galleries from the old world until the 70s.

There is a better option if u want to take a trip to the islands. Do what local people do and take the ferry to the Prince Islands in the Sea of Marmara. It is much cheaper than a trip to the Bosphorus, but there are still landscapes on the southern coasts and you can watch Istanbul from the middle of the sea.

10. Don’t Deal with the Crowd of Topkapi, Visit Dolmabahçe Palace

I know people don’t agree, but unless you’re a big history enthusiast, Topkapi Palace is not worth that crowd and price. In the middle of winter, even in heavy rain, it looks like a crowded festival. Moreover, although the art and architecture are absolutely magnificent, you can see similar pieces in the old buildings and galleries of Istanbul.

Dolmabahçe Palace, which has all the richness of Topkapı, offers you a guide and a free harem tour. Symbolizing Turkey’s journey from the empire to the republic, the passage from the civilized world to get interior design tips from other cultures, this structure is quite spectacular. The view of the Bosphorus is marvelous and there is a birdcage full of peacocks. In addition, Dolmabahçe has the second largest chandelier in the world.

Istanbul How Much Money to Take?

Istanbul has always been one of the favorite cities of travelers. It is a city where the history, cultures, and wonders of nature come together. Yet, your Istanbul trip might be quite expensive if you don’t know where to stay, where to eat or where to travel.

So, how much money you should take with you when traveling to Istanbul? I did some research for you and found suitable & budget-friendly options. Let’s do some math!

If you wonder how much money you should bring with you when visiting Istanbul, you should first note that the money you will spend will vary based on your preferences. But, if you want some average numbers in order to make a rough budget plan, I can provide 3 basic average costs for you. First of all, the daily cost of traveling (visiting museums etc.) in Istanbul on average is 35$. Second, the money you will solely spend on food in one day is approximately 15-20$. Third, the average accommodation price for a couple for one night is 50$.

Keep reading this article in order to learn about how to plan your budget before visiting Istanbul, places to visit in Istanbul, when to visit Istanbul, the travel routes, where to stay in Istanbul and Istanbul cuisine. Additionally, I will answer some frequently asked questions at the end of the article!

Budget Planning Before Visiting Istanbul

How much money you need depends on how much you are going to spend. Accommodation cost excluded, about 20 $ per person/day should be sufficient for a budget holiday and it will include lunches, dinners, small gifts, snacks, public transportation, a few drinks at the pubs and cafes, and museum entrance prices. But as I said, I excluded the hotel expenses, as well as night clubs, expensive restaurants or expensive gifts like carpets or jewelry.

If you want to visit all the touristic places, Haghia Sophia (3.5 $/person), Topkapi Palace (6.5 $ each person including the harem which you must visit), Basilica Cistern (3.5 $/person), Blue Mosque (free – but you can donate), the Bazaars (free – still you can shop) and Dolmabache Palace (3.5 $/person) – that will be about 17$ total for entrances per person. Public transportation is quite cheap – and you will want to walk a lot (but you have to pay for the Bosphorus cruise).

Lunches are really cheap (you can eat simple foods such as döner, simit etc) but if you want to sit down and have a rest, it would cost you around I would budget 4$ per person for lunches (assuming you don’t drink wine and prefer inexpensive restaurants).

For dinners, there are some great restaurants in Sultanahmet but those are quite expensive. There are also some really cheap restaurants as well. You can spend 6$ per person in these restaurants and get enough.

That will cost you to around 27$ per person per day in total – excluding accommodation and shopping. It may seem cheap but since shopping is so good and there are so many options to buy, you probably spend a lot on it. There are also very good but expensive dinner/lunch options. Put it in a nutshell, visiting Istanbul for a week will cost you between 150$ – 500$ based on your spending.

Places to Visit in Istanbul

Istanbul is one of the most prominent cities in the world in terms of its historical and natural riches. With its increasing population and the urban fabric that has become chaotic, it has formed its unique order within that chaos. Generally, the tourist spots were collected in the area called the Historical Peninsula. At the intersection of the West and the East, you can see good and bad, beautiful and ugly, old and new in every corner of the city.

Since it is a touristic city, life is quite expensive in Istanbul. There are too many places to visit, yet you need extra time and money to visit all these places.

Istanbul is an 8 thousand-year-old residential area. Many civilizations came out to take this city. The ships of the seven seas docked at the ports of Istanbul and many caravans brought goods from one end of the world to the Istanbul markets. Today, countless historical buildings of Istanbul turn it into a huge open-air museum.

Numerous places, restaurants, cafes or pastry shops that keep the social memory alive also have an important place among the nostalgic places of Istanbul. In a nutshell, Istanbul tells us “Discover me. Again, and again!”.

On the one hand, the crowded Istiklal Street where the crowd flows like floods, and on the other hand the streets of Burgazada which are cheered up only by wave and seagull sounds. Istanbul is still the world’s oldest and most famous city, and more importantly one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Istanbul, known as the Gate to Happiness, opens a door to an adventure to the travelers coming as guests as well as the people born here. Many of the places to visit in Istanbul make different connotations and refreshes memories when people see them again at different ages.

Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Basilica Cistern, Cemberlitas, Galata Tower, Rumeli Fortress, Anatolian Fortress, Dolmabahce Palace, Haydarpasa Train Station, Fener Greek Patriarchate and of course the Maiden’s Tower are the primary places to visit in Istanbul.

Other than historical places, if you want to enjoy the nightlife you have many good options as well. Here are the 5 best nightclubs in Istanbul:

  • W Lounge, Akaretler – Beşiktaş
  • Reina, Ortaköy
  • SupperClub, Ortaköy
  • Masquerade Club İstanbul, Gayrettepe
  • Anjelique, Ortaköy

When to Visit Istanbul and The Travel Routes

Istanbul has a structure that attracts tourists in all months of the year. The city offers a distinct beauty in every period. In the spring, Judas trees bloom purple flowers, and in autumn the yellow vegetation embraces urban streets with a beautiful landscape. Likewise, Istiklal Street, which is under the snow white in winter, has the beauty of Europe’s Christmas cities. Some people love this city in winter, and others in summer. It wouldn’t be right to do such a redirect. I can say that Istanbul is always beautiful.

In terms of prices, it doesn’t matter when you come to visit Istanbul at all. Prices do not vary based on the time of the year. So you do not need to think about visiting time when planning your budget.

There are flights from all airports, bus trips from all bus terminals and train services from all train stations of Turkey to Istanbul. Likewise, there are direct flights between Istanbul and all major cities of the world. Air transportation to Istanbul by domestic and international flights are provided through 2 airports. Sabiha Gökçen Airport reached 31,316,109 passengers in 2017, and Atatürk Airport is the most widely used transportation route with 63,7 million passengers in the same year.

Ataturk Airport is a transportation hub which is used quite intensively with 1,500 aircraft takeoffs a day and it is the easiest place to reach the city center. The flights of many local and foreign airlines are made from both airports. The 3rd airport, which started construction in Istanbul, has much more capacity and it is planned to have a field where 3 planes can land at the same time. The airport is expected to reach an annual capacity of 150 million passengers and is expected to be opened soon.

Esenler Bus Station, where there are many bus companies, has been the main point of access to Istanbul for many years. The historical bus station still serves today. The bus station located in Bayrampasa, has more than 200 bus companies, 168 platforms, 11 thousand square meters with 50 thousand tickets per day, and in service since 1994. Apart from the Esenler bus station, Alibeyköy and Harem Stations are the other major bus stops serving for many years. Nowadays, the Alibeyköy bus terminal has been renovated and the use of the Harem bus station has been reduced. On the Asian side, many private companies have their own mobile bus stations.

Where to Stay in Istanbul

The five-star luxury hotels all around the city offer a sumptuous opportunity for accommodation. Cheap and expensive hotels are located in every district of Istanbul. The most famous hotels in the city are located on Ciragan Street, Maslak and 4. Levent. Besides, if you enjoy taking part in nightlife or crowded places, you can choose Besiktas, Kadikoy, and Taksim. Check out your travel plans before choosing the area to stay on your trip to Istanbul. You should decide which of the districts among Sultanahmet, Galata, Eminönü, Taksim and European Side to visit for your plans.

During your first trip to Istanbul, you can easily walk to tourist spots such as Eminönü, Gülhane, Galata, Sultanahmet, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar. In addition, reaching to Eminönü, Kadıköy, Üsküdar and the Prince Islands by motorboats and ferries is a very nice experience and quite cheap.

The best hotels in this area include the Ayasultan, the Best Western Empire Palace, the Sirkeci Mansion, the Doubletree by Hilton, the Lalahan Hotel, the Orient Express and the Novotel Istanbul Bosphorus. If it is not your first visit to Istanbul and you do not like crowded places, you should not prefer to spend a lot of money on luxury restaurants.

If you are coming to Istanbul to live the nightlife, to see the most beautiful sights and to eat in the most popular restaurants, ie if you will spend a lot of money, you should definitely choose the accommodation in Taksim. You can reach many lively and vibrant places such as Istiklal Street, Pera, Cihangir, Galata and Asmalı Mescit from Taksim area. Here you will find the most favorite fish restaurants, taverns, bars, and cafes.

From the late hours of the night to the early hours of the morning, you can visit many places. The best hotels in the region are The Marmara Taksim Hotel, Innpera Hotel, InterContinental Istanbul, Gezi Hotel Bosphorus, Golden Park Hotel and Divan Hotel. If you’re not coming to Istanbul for nightlife and do not like crowded places, Taksim is not for you. You can choose to stay in other parts of Istanbul.

If you would like to stay in the best hotel, here are the top 5 hotels in Istanbul:

  • ST REGIS Istanbul at Nişantaşı: 282$/night
  • Four Seasons Istanbul at the Bosphorus: 374$/night
  • Raffles Istanbul at Zorlu Center: 445$/night
  • Grand Hyatt İstanbul at Harbiye District: 974$/night
  • The Ritz-Carlton at Şişli, Istanbul: 367$/night

Istanbul Cuisine

Istanbul has a culinary culture originating from Byzantines and Ottomans. However, most of the traditional dishes have been forgotten and replaced by new ones. Istanbul, as a meeting point of Turkey, offers a combination of flavors from each region. The culinary culture of the city changes according to the periods, but some flavors have always been popular. In the last 20 years in Istanbul, kebab shops and restaurants of Southeastern Anatolia have become very popular. Urban cuisine varies from region to region.

The fact that the culture called Istanbul culture has been replaced by Anatolian culture has narrowed the borders of Istanbul culture and influenced the cuisine. However, if there is an advantageous part of this, it is that the city has a combination of all the tastes of Turkish cuisine.

In addition to this, Asian and European cuisines take their places in the city, particularly Greek, Chinese, and French restaurants. As an impact of American culture, fast food has become widespread in recent years. In fact, there are fast-food shops that sell products like hamburger, pizza, lahmacun, wraps, sandwiches, toast and hot dogs one after another in the streets of Istanbul. The choice of fast food is generally a cheaper choice and will keep your money in your pocket.

Istanbul is a metropolis where you can find the best examples of world cuisine besides Ottoman – Turkish cuisine. You can find anything that you’re looking for in Istanbul, which doesn’t have boundaries about eating and enjoying.

There are many unique restaurants in Istanbul, like beautiful Greek taverns and the oldest bakeries. Most famous Istanbul Greek taverns where you can taste the delicious tastes of Greek cuisine such as greek salad, octopus & squid grill, bekri appetizer, sesame saganaki, crispy shrimp, lakerda, galaktopoureko, farsala are Maestros-Arnavutköy, Neşemore-Etiler, Ela Maçka Taverna-Maçka, Süreyya Teras-Beyoğlu, Zorba Taverna-Gayrettepe, and Giritli Restaurant-Sultanahmet.

If you want to prefer luxury restaurants, here are a few suggestions that will surely satisfy you:

“Cecconi’s”, The Best Italian Restaurant

Cecconi’s restaurant is a modern Italian restaurant located in Istanbul (based in Venice). Soho House has an on-site restaurant located in West Hollywood, Miami Beach, Brooklyn, Berlin, Barcelona as well. First of all, we would like to point out that Soho House is a part of the hotel, but you don’t have to be a member here to eat.

The prices are:

Plin agnolotti with butter and sage is 10$.
Pizza with black truffles, zucchini flowers, and goat cheese is 20$.
amb chops with tomatoes, beans and salsa verde is 20$.

“Lacivert”, The Best Bosphorus View

If you want to taste the tastes of the Mediterranean cuisine in the best view of the Bosphorus, I recommend Lacivert. Since 1999, serving in a historic Bosphorus Mansion, Lacivert has become a classic. Lacivert welcomes its guests with its unique Bosphorus view tables at its terrace in summer, and in the winter months in its glassy halls.
It depends on what you eat and drink, but on average, it costs you 35-45$ per person.

Nusr-et, The Best Steak

Nusr-et, one of the most successful steakhouses in the market have gained great fame with their shows on social media. Meat prices at Nusr-et are as follows:

Veal ribs: 30$ (2 person)
Veal Rib Steak: 18$
Veal Shashlik: 18$
Porterhouse Steak: 32$ (2 person)
Veal Chops: 20$
Chops with mustard sauce: 20$

For a 1 Week Trip to Istanbul, How Much Money Do I Need?

Although prices will vary based on your preferences, the average accommodation price in Istanbul for a couple for 1 week is 300$, where the food cost you around 100$ for a week and the price of traveling is around 250$ for a week. So, you can visit Istanbul 2 people for 1 week with 650$.

What Are the Must Visit Places in Istanbul?

Even though there are so many places to visit, if you have limited time you must definitely visit the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Galata Tower. It will cost you around 30$.

Istanbul Airport Where to Eat?

In general, the most problematic and boring part of traveling is the hours you need to spend while waiting for your flight. For these times in Istanbul airports, I made a list of restaurants and places for you to eat, rest and have a good time.

So, are you looking for places to eat in Istanbul Airport? Then you need to check this list out.

Istanbul has 3 airports. The names of the airports are Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW), Atatürk Airport (IST), and Istanbul Airport (ISL).

Istanbul International Airport

Istanbul International Airport is the third and newest international airport in Istanbul. The airport was opened in 2018. It is located on the European side. Istanbul airport is planned to become the main airport and as the largest in the world. Since it is new and in progress, not all the restaurants are in service. The goal is 150 places to serve passengers. However, a remarkable number of cafes are in service.

Location: Tayakadın Mahallesi, Terminal Caddesi No:1, 34283 Arnavutköy/İstanbul

Restaurants and Cafes:

Departures Floor:

 In the part of Domestic Terminal-Airside, there are 3 cafes in service which are Gloria Jean’s Coffee, Seferi and Simit Sarayı.

GLORIA JEAN’S COFFEES: It is a place where you can sit and relax while eating your dessert and drinking coffee. Average price for a cup of coffee is 3-4$ and for desserts 8-10$.

SEFERI: Seferi is more like a buffet. You can grab your drink and snacks for a fair price like 2-3 USD.

SIMIT SARAYI: Simit Sarayı is one of the most popular places to have breakfast in Turkey. A fresh Turkish bagel and a cup of tea can save your day. You pay 4-5 USD for a bagel and a cup of tea.

In the part of International Terminal Airside, there are 2 cafes. One of them is Simit Sarayı and the other one is Via Café.

Via Café is another place that you can have your appetizers and drinks.

In the part of Landside, there are Mvnch and Seferi buffets.

MVNCH: The buffet offers you a broad array of fresh fruit juices and appetizers. You can find a delicious combination.

The restaurants and cafes that are in progress to be in service: Brewmark, Chef Restaurant, Jackie’s, Malatya Pazarı, Mood Up, Tadında Anadolu, Take Off, Tchibo, Turkish Cusine, Tickerdaze, Yo! Sushi.

Sabiha Gokcen International Airport

Sabiha Gokcen Airport is an international airport which is located on the Asian part of Istanbul. The airport is named after Sabiha Gökcen, the first female fighter pilot in the world and adoptive daughter of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Her last name means ‘belonging or relating to the sky’ in Turkish. Sabiha Gökçen Airport is one of the largest airports in the country. 

Location: Sanayi Mahallesi, 34906 Pendik/İstanbul

Restaurants and Cafes:

There are lots of restaurants and cafés at Sabiha Gökçen Airport await you to spend time and eat delicious foods.

In front of the Terminal, you will see Grab&Fly buffets, both in International and Domestic parts. You can take a sandwich and tea or coffee as an appetizer. 

In Departures Passenger Hall, there are around 13 cafes where you can eat and rest. There are some franchised brands such as Burger King, Popeyes, Sbarro, Starbucks, and Caribou Coffee. On the other hand, you can have your breakfast in Simit Sarayı or your lunch in Usta Dönerci. You may prefer to taste Turkish foods once more before you are leaving. You can drink your last Turkish coffee and eat your dessert in Mado Café. Also, you can have your breakfast, lunch or dinner in Mado Cafe but the desserts are the best choice.

In International Departures Air Side, you can find the same places I addressed in Departures Passenger Hall. Besides, there are other cafes such as Secco Cafe, Trattoria Milano, Karafırın, BigChefs, Heroes Sports Bar, Grab&Fly Express, Gate Cafe (near gate number 201), and  Grab&Fly(near gate number 301).

TRATTORIA MILANO: The restaurant serves Italian cuisine in general. You may prefer to eat pizza or pasta. However, the reviews are not that great. The service needs to be improved. The prices are high but it is normal when you consider average prices in airports. Also, they serve wifi access but you need to order something over 5-6 USD.

SECCO CAFE: They have a rich menu for coffees. The croissants are recommended. Besides, you can find some snacks like a sandwich for 2-3 USD.

BIGCHEFS: BigChefs is a beautiful place to eat, drink, relax and spend some time. They have the finest food in the airport and the place takes you away from the chaos of the airport. The prices might be high but the quality matches with the price.

HEROES SPORTS BAR: The bar is a nice relaxing spot that offers good food and alcoholic beverages. However, the service needs to be improved.

KARAFIRIN: Karafırın is a patisserie thus the place is ideal for breakfast. The place has a wide menu of pastry and offers a comfy space. You can shop for fair prices when you consider other cafes in the airport. For instance, you pay 5-6$ for a cup of tea and sandwich.

In the Domestic Departures Air Side, you can find cafes and restaurants that are the same as I addressed in International Departures Air Side. Additionally, there are Center Point, Turkish Kitchen, Puro Gusto, and Efes Pub Gate.

CENTER POINT: The place offers you a wide variety in the menu and alcoholic beverages. Center point is one of the places that you can sit, eat and spend time in comfort.

TURKISH KITCHEN: It is a good place to eat Turkish food. Besides, space is comfy and chic.

PURO GUSTO: With its menu of beverage, breakfast, sandwich, and dessert, it is a place that offers much. Puro Gusto is a chic, comfy and nice place to eat,drink and rest.

Istanbul Atatürk Airport

Istanbul Atatürk Airport is an international airport that is located on the European side of Istanbul. Atatürk Airport is the first airport in Turkey. It is opened in 1912 as a military airfield then opened in 1953 as an airport. The first name of the airport was Yeşilköy Airport. In the 1980s, the facility was renamed as Atatürk International Airport, named after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey. The airport is about to be closed for scheduled passenger flights and the new airport, Istanbul Airport, will take its IATA code (IST).

Location: Yeşilköy Mahallesi, 34149 Bakırköy/İstanbul

P.S.: The prices of the restaurants in airports can be overpriced especially when you consider franchised restaurants such as Burger King, Mc Donald’s, Starbucks etc. For instance, you pay 4 USD for a Burger King hamburger menu around the city but at airports, you pay 8-10 USD. Besides, most of the restaurants in airports offer you Wi-Fi access but it is likely to be expected from you to order something around 5-6 USD.

How to Kill Time at the Airport

The hours you need to wait for your flight might be long sometimes or even you can be stuck in the terminal for a long layover. These times can be boring. For all that free time, airports’ shopping areas and restaurants can be a good choice.

Personally, I love this free time before boarding. Since daily life is exhausting and always in a rush, it becomes hard for finding a time to even read a book. It makes me feel like I have free time for myself. I always take a book with me and when I arrive at the airport, I grab a cup of coffee and sit in a comfy café then enjoy my book and coffee. If you don’t have one, you may buy from D&R store at the airport.

Besides, you may check your e-mails or complete an unfinished job with your computer or talk with a friend via your social media accounts when you have time to kill. In general, the restaurants and cafes in the airports of Istanbul give you access to Wi-Fi in return of your 5-6 USD order.

Istanbul airports offer you places for pre-flight shopping, eating and drinking opportunity. However, Istanbul Airport is still in progress so you may not find places for pre-flight shopping but try restaurants that I addressed before. If you have a flight at Sabiha Gökcen Airport, you may find more places to eat, drink and shopping.

Duty Free & Shopping at Sabiha Gökçen Airport


The duty-free shopping area is run by SETUR company and serves in the departures and the arrivals halls. In this duty-free are, you can find local and foreign drinks, tobacco and cosmetics, accessories and electronics. Some brands at duty-free are: Gucci, Haremlique, Havainas, Kipling, Lacoste, Maurice Lacroix, Misaki, Mont Blanc, Nike, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Dior, Emporio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, Omega, Prada, Ray-Ban, Salvatore Ferregamo, Swatch, Tag Heuer, Anne Klein, Authentic Dress, Timex, Tissot, Turkish Delight, Tommy Hilfiger, Organic Food, and Pilgrim Swarovski.


At Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, shops range from gift shops where you can find traditional crafts of souvenir to designer brands or shops of Turkish football teams. The available shops are listed as:

Departures Passenger Hall: D&R, New Bazaar, Portes Market & Gift Shop, SuperStore gift shop, Watsons, Altis gift shop, Selin Silver, Area Shop, Levent Lostra,Bazaar Istanbul, Kartal Yuvası, TS Club Corner,GS Store,Fenerium

International Departures Airside: Victoria’s Secret, Time Pieces, Vakko Boutique, Micheal Kors.

How to Go to the Airports in Istanbul

Istanbul Airport: You may use public transport services of IETT and private services of Istanbul Otobüs A.Ş. You may prefer to use the municipal buses which have a fixed route that departs from  Mecidiyeköy and Atatürk Airport stops. On the other hand, İstanbul Otobüs A.Ş. buses provide private transportation service on a regular fixed route departing from Taksim, Kozyatağı, Yenikapı, July 15th Democracy Bus Terminal and Tüyap.

For detailed information of IETT shuttles such as routes, departure times and points, here is the website you can check:

For HAVAIST shuttles detailed information:

Sabiha Gökçen: The easiest and cheapest way for transportation to and from Sabiha Gökçen is via HAVABUS Shuttles. The white shuttles that await you in front of the terminal take you to Taksim and Kadıköy.  For Taksim destination, you pay 3 USD and for Kadıköy, you pay 2 USD. The working hours of the shuttles are between 03.30 am and 01.00 am.

For detailed information:

If you prefer to get an Uber ride, then you pay 20-30 USD from Sabiha Gökçen Airport to Kadikoy. For Taksim Square, the price is 30-40 USD.

For other destinations:

Another option is taxi ride. The destination fees are calculated according to adding kilometer fee onto taximeter opening fee. So, when I calculate roughly, the destination from Sabiha Gökçen to Kadikoy costs 20-25 USD. To Taksim Square, it costs 25-30 USD. To be sure, you should ask the driver before getting in.

Besides, you may use rail transport which includes the Marmaray Project, Kadiköy Kartal Tavşantepe Metro Line, and Train. However, the rail transport system may get confusing for a foreigner since its complex lines. So, HAVABUS shuttles are recommended in general.

Istanbul Atatürk Airport: For economic and easy transportation from and to Istanbul Atatürk Airport, you may use HAVABUS shuttles, again. The shuttles arrive and leave in every half an hour and the schedule starts at 4:00 am and finishes at 1:00 am. Fee changes from 2 to 3 USD.  Another option is the subway. You need to use M1A Yenikapı- Atatürk Airport line. 

Getting an Uber ride from Atürk Airport to Kadikoy destination costs 25-35 USD and to Taksim Square costs 10-25 USD. You can check the website link I stated before for other destinations.

For Taxi ride, the destination from Atatürk Airport to Taksim Square, roughly it costs between 10 to 15 USD.

TAV Airport Hotels

When your waiting hours are extended and you need to have a place to stay but you don’t want to get far from the airport, then TAV Airport Hotels are the best choice for you. However, it is not a cheap way when you consider.  The average price is around 100 EUR for a night and breakfast is not included.


Which Istanbul Airport Is the Closest to the City Center?

New Istanbul Airport is at a distance of 35 kilometers to Taksim Square. The airport is located by the shores of the Black Sea.

Sabiha Gökçen Airport is located on the Anatolian side of Istanbul at Kurtkoy. It is 12 kilometers to Pendik, 40 kilometers to Kadikoy, and 50 kilometers to Taksim Square.

Istanbul Atatürk Airport is located on 24 kilometers distance from Taksim Square.

So, Istanbul Atatürk Airport is the closest one to the city. However, the transportation system that is provided makes your journey easier. That is the reason why you don’t need to be worried. On the other hand, calculating average arrival and check-in time and acting according to the schedule is necessary for you to catch your flight. Istanbul is a big city and traffic might be stucked in most of the times.

What Time Is It in Istanbul?

The standard time zone in Istanbul or Turkey is UTC/GMT +3 hours.

Which Side of Istanbul Is the Blue Mosque?

Located in the Europe side of İstanbul, the Blue Mosque is one of the most significant examples of classic Turkish architecture, which was constructed in the early 1660s.

I ensure you, you will easily realize the 20,000 blue tiles decorating its domed ceiling when you enter inside.

If you have the plan to visit this unique historical structure, here is an important guideline for you! To begin with, you need to know by which vehicle you can go; from the Europe side or the Asian side of İstanbul? All matters and you can follow all answers below.

Secondly, you should learn some historical pieces of information before visiting, like the Architect Mimar Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa and you should know how to enter in terms of dress code and other matters to this sacred place.

After finalizing your visit, here are also some suggestions to do around the  Blue Mosque such as High Sofia Museum and Topkapi Palace.

You will be informed at the end of the reading, but I still need to remain you the popular and so delicious Sultanahmet Koftesi not to return before testing!

About the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque)

The Blue Mosque, known also as Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish, has high historical value. The name of ‘blue’ comes from blue tiles surrounding the walls of interior design.

This Mosque visited by many tourists every year was built between 1609 and 1616 years which is the period during the rule of Ahmed I. As one of the popular tourist attraction in İstanbul, this structure comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasa and a hospice.

The number of visitors coming specifically to see this mosque is quite high nowadays. Because of this tourist attraction, and being that much active mosque, there is an arrangement to prevent any possible chaos: it’s closed to non-worshippers for a half hour or so during the five daily prayers.

If you approach the Blue Mosque from the west side of the mosque which is from the Hippodrome, you will see great architecture.

The Architecture of the Blue Mosque

The importance of architecture of the Blue Mosque comes from being a sign as a bridge between two periods: both Ottoman mosque and Byzantine church developments centuries.

While it combines some Byzantine elements of the neighboring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture, it is also seen as the last great mosque of the classical period of Ottoman Empire.​

In terms of Minarets, this one is the first one of the two mosques in Turkey that has six minarets, before the Sabancı Mosque in Adana.

Every four minarets standing at the corners of the Blue Mosque are fluted, pencil-shaped minarets with three balconies (called Serefe) and stalactite corbels, which makes the muezzin had to climb a narrow spiral staircase five times a day to announce the call to prayer. Yet, this system has changed as a public calling system.

As exterior part of the Blue Mosque, the central hexagonal fountain is rather small in contrast with the dimensions of the courtyard, and its semi-dome has a fine stalactite structure, crowned by a small ribbed dome.

There is also an iron chain hangs in the upper part of the court. This heavy iron chain entrance on the western side of the Mosque let the Sultan enter the court of the Blue Mosque on horseback.

The purpose of this is to make the sultan lower his head every time he enters the court so that he can show his humility in the face of the divine with a symbolic gesture.

When it comes to the inside of the Mosque, we see that the floors are covered with carpets. There are also many spacious windows confer a spacious impression, and each exedra of the Mosque has five windows, some of which are blind.

The other element inside is the mihrab. It is made of finely carved and sculptured marble. Also, the design is okay to make anyone see and hear the Imam when it is so crowded.

The interesting part of the design is about lamps. There are many lamps inside the Blue Mosque and they are covered with gold and gems. There are also ostrich eggs and crystal balls inside to make it more beneficial.

Lastly, there are more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles inside. They were produced in İznik, which represents the cultural and artistic zenith of the Ottoman Empire.

History of Istanbul’s Blue Mosque

As one of Istanbul’s most iconic historical sights and an essential part of the city’s skyline with its six magnificent minarets, the Blue Mosque was built by Architect Mimar Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa, who was the last student of Architect Mimar Sinan, Turkey’s most celebrated architect between 1609-1616 during the period of I.Ahmed.

When Sultan Ahmed I get the construction of the mosque started, he was only 19 years old. That is why at first his decision was provoked by some Ottoman scholars and statesmen since they thought he had no right to build a mosque.

However, despite everything, he got the construction started in 1609 on the site of the palace of the Byzantine emperors, which faces the Hagia Sophia and the Hippodrome. In fact, it is a site of great symbolic significance.

We have some pieces of information about the opening ceremonies there from the library of the Topkapı Palace. It says the opening ceremonies were held in 1617.

Furthermore, Sultan Ahmed I experienced praying inside of his mosque although he has died only a few months later. Also, Mehmed Ağa died in 1617 at about the same time as his sultan after the construction the mosque was completed.

He did not leave workers alone during the process. For example, he visited the construction site at every opportunity and spent hours watching the erection of the mosque.

Finally, the total cost of the construction of the Sultan Ahmet Mosque was over 180 million akçes.

How to Get to the Blue Mosque from Asian Side

If you want to try going to the Blue Mosque from the Asian side, there are some easy options for you.

Take a Boat to Go Across

You can enjoy with Marmara sea beauty when going across by taking a boat. This boat that you are able to take from Kadikoy or Uskudar will take you Eminonu or Karakoy.

From both Eminonu and Karakoy, you can walk to the Blue Mosque, or as a second choice you can take modern tramway and get off the Blue Mosque station.

Take Metrobus

If you choose to try Metrobus to go across, European side of İstanbul, you should take Metrobus and get off one of the stations of modern tramway such as Edirnekapi.

After Edirnekapi, you should transfer the other tramway in Topkapi station. The name of the metro line that will take you directly to the Blue Mosque station is called as ‘KabatasBagcilar Metro Line.’

The station you get off named the Blue Mosque is already just in front of the Blue Mosque entrance.

Take Marmaray

When coming from Uskudar or Kadikoy, Marmaray is also a good choice because it takes only 7-10 minutes.

You should get off Sirkeci station and then you should find the exit of the Blue Mosque. After that, you can walk through the mosque easily while visiting the old streets of İstanbul.

How to Get to the Blue Mosque from European Side

You are already on the same side as the Blue Mosque which is the European side and tries to go to this place. It is just easy to reach your destination.

Take Modern Tramvay

You can take modern tramway and get off the station named the Blue Mosque. There is already the entrance of the place you intend to visit, and here you go!

Take Marmaray

It is easy for you to take Marmaray if you are near Zeytinburnu in the European side. You can take Marmaray and get off Sirkeci. After finding the exit gate of the Blue Mosque, you will see the minarets of this mosque and the one of High Sofia Museums.

​How to Visit the Blue Mosque?

There is no ticket or money demanded to visit this mosque. The only rule you need to obey when visiting is about clothes. There is a dress code when entering together with taking your shoes off. You can put your shoes in plastic bags provided at the entrance freely.

The reason for this rule is behind the practices of Islam. Muslims tradition is required taking shoes off when entering a mosque to make the place clean.

When it comes to the dress code, you will already see a board telling you what to do at the entrance. If you are women wear a head covering when entering to Blue Mosque.

Needless to say, there is no need to cover your face, but only your hair is where you should cover when entering.

And now, you are inside. You should remain quiet because there might be some people praying there.

Also, you can take a picture but it is better not to use flash because never forget that there is a place of worship so it is needed to be respectful and quiet.

Mosque Rules and Etiquette For Tourists

For some tourists, it might be a different experience to visit Blue Mosque. If you have some questions in your mind such as if there is an entrance fee, dress code, here below is the answers for you:

  • You should plan your visit in terms of the time so that you better arrive mid-morning. The things you need to know is that pray happens five times a day with the first call to prayer at sunrise and the last one at nightfall.

The rule here is that the mosque closes for 90 minutes at each pray time so you might not be able to visit this mosque at prayer time or within a half hour after the call to prayer.

  • How to enter this building is a bit different than other historical places. Before entering into the Blue Mosque, you need to take off your shoes and put in plastic bags provided at the entrance. It is a rule required of all persons as part of Muslim tradition when entering a mosque.
  • For the dress code, it is different for women and men. If you are women wear a head covering when entering to Blue Mosque. Head coverings are available at the Blue Mosque entrance for free.

You should place the fabric cover on top of your head with equal portions hanging on both sides. You do not need to cover other parts of your face

Yet, it is okay to take one side from a piece of fabric and wrap it around your neck, tossing it behind your back with covering your shoulders. In short, you need to cover only hair.

For men, there is no rule to wear a speacific clothe when entering inside.

  • After entering the mosque, you should remain quiet as there is a place of worship. Therefore, you should visit the mosque respectfully and quietly.
  • If you want, you can do a donation to help maintain the Mosque at the exit door. It is not compulsory for sure, but if you make the donation you will get the official receipt for it.

Hippodrome of Constantinople

Before entering the mosque, you will see a huge area after the modern tram, including the place between the Blue Mosque and High Sofia Museum. Here is called a Hippodrome of Constantinople.

It is a public arena mainly for chariot races and this word comes from Greek. Hippos mean horse and dromos mean way since this place was used as home to gladiatorial games, official ceremonies, celebrations, protests, and torture to the convicts.

The capacity of the Hippodrome was approximately 40,000 and it was decorated with monuments that were brought in from across the empire including the Serpent Column.

What Else Nearby?

After visiting the Blue Mosque, you can visit many other historical and enchanted places near this mosque. For instance, there are Turkish and Islamic Art Museum, Hagia Sophia Museum, Underground Cistern, Arasta Bazaar, and Topkapi Palace in the heart of İstanbul’s peninsula.

However, you should know that unlike the Blue Mosque, you need a ticket or other types of tickets such as Museum Pass to be able to enter.


The Blue Mosque and the places nearby including Hippodrome of Constantinople is one of the great options you can ever have when roaming İstanbul.

Not only the Blue Mosque, but also some other choices like Great Place Museum, Topkapi Palace, and Underground Cistern are waiting for you there!

Please do not forget to try Sultanahmet Köftesi that Sultanahmet is famous for. This famous meatball is really delicious with its spicy chili sauce and it goes well with rice.

Have a nice visit and enjoy your delicious meal!

The 6 Best Restaurants in Istanbul with a View

Istanbul is a big and cosmopolitan city which can offer people so many trendy, fancy and fascinating restaurants with delicious food and an enchanting view. Being the fact that Istanbul is the unifying city of Europe and Eastern culture, it offers you a wide world cuisine. You may find restaurants with any kind of food you prefer.

For foreigner people, Istanbul can be the best point to explore new cultures via food. Enjoy not only the delicious foods, beverages or cocktails but the stunning views of the Bosphorus and Istanbul skylines.  Discover the perfect spots for romantic dinner or having a good time with friends or drinking with joy or just a place to relax in Istanbul with an enchanting view.

So, are you asking for the best restaurants in Istanbul with a view? There is a list you may be interested in:

First, High-End Restaurants:


Category: World Cuisine.

Details: An amazing place which combines Japanese, Mediterranean and Turkish dishes with the help of Executive chef Hüseyin Arslan and chef Hiroki Takemura. Sunset has a great menu and a sushi bar with an amazing view of Bosphorus. Sunset restaurant serves the best-grilled steaks in Istanbul. The restaurant has a highly professional and skilled kitchen and wait staff. It offers customers a quality service.

Average Price: Minimum Food Price: ₺80-100

                            Minimum Cocktail Price: ₺50-80

Location:  Adnan Saygun Caddesi Yol Sokak No. 2 Ulus Parkı, Ulus; +90 212 287 03 57


Category: World Cuisine, Rooftop bar

Details: The founder of the restaurant Turkish-Swedish chef Mehmet Gürs opened Mikla in 2005. The menu reflects both Turkish and Scandinavian influences. The cherrywood-smoked loin of lamb is the must try. The restaurant offers a very spectacular panorama from the Golden Horn to the Bosphorus. Additionally, the restaurant is located on the rooftop of the chic Marmara Pera Hotel where you can enjoy your drink with a spectacular view.

Average Price: ₺276 – ₺552

Location: The Marmara Pera, 15 Mesrutiyet Caddesi, Beyoglu; +90 212 293 5656


Category: World Cuisine.

Details: With its remarkable view of the city and Bosphorus, Vogue Restaurant offers you tastes from the world cuisine including over 70 varieties of sushi and an extensive beverage list.

Average Price: ₺135 – ₺541

Location: Akaretler Spor Caddesi, No:92 BJK plaza A blok k:13 Beşiktaş, Istanbul; +90 212 227 44 04

  • ULUS 29

Category: The Mediterranean and Turkish cuisine, Restaurant/Bar/Club

Details: Ulus 29 is a versatile restaurant in offerings. As a club, restaurant and a bar, Ulus 29 offers you an amazing view to relax and a wild club scene. 

Average Price: ₺40 -₺850

Location: Adnan Saygun Caddesi Ulus Parkı İçi, Ulus; +90 212 358 29 29


Category: Turkish cuisine, rooftop restaurant.

Details: Safran Restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Intercontinental Hotel. It offers live Fasıl music and the finest dishes of Turkish and Ottoman cuisine with its authentic atmosphere. Also, want to note that this restaurant is Academie Internationale de la Gastronomie awarded.

Average Price: ₺120 -₺175

Location: Asker Ocagi Caddesi. No:1, Taksim, Istanbul; +90 212 368 44 44


Category: Lounge and Terrace bar.

Details: This is the best place for lovers. It has a stunning atmosphere that screams romantic. Tuğra Restaurant is located on the first floor of the original Çırağan Palace and offers live classical Turkish music, rich Ottoman decor, and dining experience. 

Average Price: ₺200 +

Location: Ciragan Caddesi 32,34349 Istanbul; +90 212 236 7333

Secondly, if you choose none of the above and looking for a less fancy place and good value for money, then there are some places more for you to check and visit.


Beykoz Coast Social Facility offers you a unique décor with Ottoman ornaments and an amazing view of the Bosphorus while you can enjoy delicious dishes and high-quality service with a good value for money. It is highly recommended, especially for breakfast. 

Location: Gümüşsuyu Mahallesi Kemerüstü Sokak/Beykoz / 444 10 34


Florya Social Facility is a place where green and blue match perfectly. The place offers delicious foods, calm and peaceful atmosphere with a good value for money.

Location: İtfaiye Arkası Florya / Yeşilköy/ 444 10 34


Moda Pier Restaurant is located on Moda’s historic pier. The place is the best for weekend breakfast experience for a very good value for money. However, the place does not offer alcohol. 

Location: Caferağa Mahallesi, Moda Cd., 34710 Kadıköy/ +90 (216) 349 40 49

Istanbul is a big and crowded city in which people cannot find time to spend with their friends or family sometimes. In this kind of rush in life, food becomes that sweet break which brings family and friends together. Togetherness is one of the most important things in family and friend relationships. Sharing food or sharing a memorable moment with food is a beautiful and delicious way to provide this togetherness. On the other hand, it brings people together to meet and socialize with each other.

Food plays an important role for Turkish people and the culture. It symbolizes sharing, connectedness, good memories, and togetherness. In most of the Turkish homes, food gathers family members together and it is expected to be all members of the family in the table. It signifies respect for each other and good family bond. A sit-down dinner enables you to chat with people you love and find out what’s going on in each person’s life. This is a chance to elders pass on their stories or share their knowledge and advice from their experiences with the young ones and strengthen the bond of family, relatives, friends or neighbors.

The hadith: ‘’A man is not a believer who fills his stomach while his neighbor is hungry.'”, is very important to Turkish people and the culture, as well. Religious days such as Ramadan and Festival of sacrifice empower this idea. Throughout Ramadan, people fast to understand how hard is to be hungry and share their food with people in need. In the festival of sacrifice, people share their sacred meat with aidless people and their circle. Sharing food is important to show that you are a good neighbor and a believer.

Some of the Best Chefs and Their Restaurants in Istanbul

Istanbul does not have only acclaimed restaurants but also chefs. Most of these worldwide known Turkish chefs such as Kemal Demirasal, Mehmet Gürs, Civan Er and Maksut Aşkar have their own restaurants in Istanbul. Here are names of the restaurants and their location:

Kemal Demirsal- Alancha:

Alancha, Vişnezade Mahallesi, Şehit Mehmet Sokak No.9, Maçka, Istanbul/+90 212 261 35 35

Mehmet Gürs- Mikla:

Mikla, The Marmara Pera, Meşrutiyet Caddesi No.15, Tepebaşı, Istanbul/ +90 212 293 56 56

Aylin Yazıcıoğlu- Nicole:

Nicole, Tomtom Mahallesi, Tomtom Kaptan Sk. No:18, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul/ +90 212 292 44 67

Civan Er- Yeni Lokanta:

Yeni Lokanta, Kumbaracı Yokuşu No.66, Tünel, Istanbul/ +90 212 292 25 50

Maksut Aşkar- Neolokal:

Neolokal, Salt Galata, Bankalar Caddesi No.11, Karaköy, Istanbul, Turkey, +90 212 244 00 16

Famous and Local Dishes of Turkey

All seven regions have their own traditional special foods and people’s taste of food changes from one region to another in Turkey. For instance, in Western regions, olive oil dishes are famous while spicy foods are famous in Eastern regions in general. Also preparing style and ingredients of foods can change one to another. Since Istanbul is a big city, you can find almost every local foods of the regions. 

Here are some of the best known and popular local dishes:

Kebap&Döner: They are very popular both in Turkey and other countries. So, I assume that you don’t need information. Also, they are the most popular street foods. So you can find easily when you travel around.

Mantı: it is likely to say that you can think of mantı as something like dumplings. Mantı has two main ingredients: the dough and grounded beef or lamb filling. Generally, it is served with yogurt and hot tomato sauce.  

Lahmacun: Lahmacun, also known as Turkish pizza, is made with minced meat on the thin dough. Generally, It is served with lettuce and lemon. Most people squeeze lemon on it and roll.

Kurufasulye: Kurufasulye is the most popular dish in Turkish homes. It is technically beans that cooked with or without meat. It is served with pilav (rice), pickles and onions.

Coffee Break with a View in Istanbul

1-Pierre Loti Cafe:

Pierre Loti café has a history of its own. It is named after Pierre Loti (Julien Viaud) who was a French naval officer and wrote novels under the pen name of Pierre Loti. He was in love with this café for its spectacular view of Istanbul.

Location: Eyüp Merkez Mahallesi, İdris Köşkü Cd., 34050 Eyüp / +90 (0212) 497 13 13

2-Aşşk Kahve

The place has a wonderful view that you may enjoy your coffee with.

Location: Kuruçeşme Mahallesi, Muallim Naci Caddesi, No 64/B, Beşiktaş, İstanbul

3-Bebek Kahve

Bebek kahve is a shabby chic café with an amazing view in Bebek.

Location: Bebek Mh. Cevdet Paşa Cd.- Beşiktaş, İstanbul


As a franchised café, Bebek Starbucks is a popular spot to drink coffee and relax with a beautiful view.

Location: Bebek Mh., Cevdet Paşa Cd. No:30, 34342 Beşiktaş/İstanbul

Must Try Famous Desserts in Turkey

In Turkey, people are very keen on desserts. They have too many dessert types. Also, you are likely to see lots of baklava shops, sweet stores, and patisseries on the streets. You should visit them and try desserts with a cup of tea or Turkish coffee. 

  • Baklava:

It is very debatable when it comes to the origins of Baklava. The Greeks and many other countries in the Middle East could argue that baklava is theirs. But the fact that it doesn’t matter where it belongs, it is very delicious. If you like desserts with syrup, you will love it. There are endless varieties of baklava. You can choose baklava that is made with hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios and more. Also, the shapes and size are various. You can choose your baklava shaped as squares, rolls, diamonds or spirals. Baklava is also served with kaymak which is local sweet clotted cream or with a vanilla ice-cream in some dessert shops.

  • Künefe

Künefe is a dessert with sugar syrup like baklava but it is crafted with a piece of aged cheese (kaşar). It is the great combination of the salty cheese, the sweet syrup, and the crunchy wheat. It is also likely to be served with ice cream or kaymak in some places.

  • Halka Tatlısı/ The Brothel Dessert:

It is not its name what makes it famous but its delicious taste.  Halka tatlısı is like a sticky churro. It is syrup soaked rounds. It is the most famous street-side dessert.

  • Maras Ice Cream:

Maras ice-cream is one of the oldest and the most popular desserts in Turkey. This ice cream is made with goats milk, sugar and salep (special powder). What makes it famous is the sellers. They will show you some tricks and a quick show when you want to buy.

  • Lokum/Turkish Delight:

You should have heard Turkish lokum. It is very world-wide and famous. It is a tiny snack that normally served alongside Turkish coffee. Turkish delight has a wide variety, it will be hard for you to choose.

  • Sütlaç/ Rice Pudding:

Sütlaç is made with rice, sugar, rice flour and milk. It is a mild dessert so you will not be as guilty as you eat baklava.

  • Aşure/ Noah’s Ark Pudding:

Most of the people believe that aşure is what Noah made it up as a celebratory dish when the waters subsided.  It is made with pretty much everything such as beans, nuts, dried fruit, pomegranate, sugar etc. Aşure differs from region to region and people to people.


What to Do in Istanbul in 3 days?

Well, there are so much to do. You may visit cultural sites such as Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic arts, Dolmabahce Palace etc. Besides, Istanbul is the paradise of shoppers. If you love shopping, then you may want to see Grand Bazaar and the boutiques alongside the streets. Also, the Eminonu Egyptian Spice Bazaar is a famous gastronomic spot. On the other hand, you can visit the restaurants that I addressed before. There are so many places to eat delicious foods, try local dishes and have a fun night with an amazing view in Istanbul.

Is Istanbul Safe to Travel?

In general, Istanbul is a safe city but you need to be careful about your properties while traveling , especially in crowded places and streets. Like in every other big cities in the world, there are always some places and chance with safety risks.

Istanbul Tourist Pass Where to Buy

If you are a tourist willing not to miss even one significant and popular place to visit in İstanbul, İstanbul Tourist Pass is the one what you are looking for.

Where are you able to buy this pass helping you access to Istanbul’s Most Popular Attractions, Museums and Tours with Airport Transfer, Mobile Internet, Fast-Track Access and Personal Guidance in a cheap way.

To purchase İstanbul Tourist Pass, just one click online is enough. You can even make it transfer your hotel before arriving there.

On the other hand, the other options such as İstanbul Museum Card and İstanbul Card for public transportation are options that you can buy from some places such as kiosks and some points of sales such as Topkapi Palace and Harem.

To learn more points to buy and see the advantages of these cards, let’s keep reading together!

What Is Istanbul Tourist Pass?

İstanbul Tourist Pass provides free access to many top places and attractions in İstanbul as a digital city pass. It includes some activities for children, during the days you choose.

The advantage of this one is to help you save money, and explore Istanbul at your own pace.

By having this, you can also skip the ticketing lines, which would make your travel more enjoyable and faster.

In other words, this city pass let you enjoy many attractions and experiences İstanbul has to offer in a simple, convenient, and inexpensive way.

This pass also gives you great opportunity to access chat during available hours with professional guides from Istanbul Tourist Pass over WhatsApp.

Choose Your Pass Online

By selecting the best choice for you, you can have İstanbul Tourist pass online.

Here are four categories for you to choose:

2 Day Pass: It costs €95 total for 1 adult(s) & 0 children. If you have some children, it is 45 EUR/child. Regardless of any discount code, 0-5 years are always free.

3 Day Pass: It costs €115 for total for 1 adult(s) & 0 children. If you have some children, it is 45 EUR/child. Regardless of any discount code, 0-5 years are always free.

5 Day Pass:  It costs €135 for total for 1 adult(s) & 0 children. If you have some children, it is 45 EUR/child. Regardless of any discount code, 0-5 years are always free.

7 Day Pass: It costs €145 for total for 1 adult(s) & 0 children. If you have some children, it is 45 EUR/child. Regardless of any discount code, 0-5 years are always free.

While İstanbul Tourist Pass includes many things such as museums like High Sophia Museum and Topkapi Palace, attractions like dinner cruise, whirling dervishes, and services like airport transfer and mobile Internet, there is another card named Museum Pass İstanbul.

Here are the places listed below cost the price just near of the name an easy calculation to see how advantageous this card for you:

Hagia Sophia Museum (Guided Tour) €15

Topkapi Palace Museum (Guided Tour) €15

Basilica Cistern (Guided Tour) €9

BigBus Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour (24 hours) €35

Bosphorus Dinner Cruise With Turkish Shows€50

Whirling Dervishes Show €18

Maiden’s Tower €4

Istanbul Airport Transfer (Shared) €30

Unlimited Mobile Internet Access (3 days) €27

Bosphorus Cruise €4

Madame Tussauds İstanbul €13

Sea Life Aquarium Istanbul €15

Princes’ Islands Boat Trip (round-trip) €4

Hop-on Hop-off Bosphorus Boat Tour €3

Legoland Discovery Centre İstanbul €10

Xtrem Aventures İstanbul €10

Pera Museum €4

Sakip Sabancı Museum €5

Dialogue in the Dark €9

Dialogue in the Silence €9

Hagia Irene Museum (Guided Tour) €10

Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum (Guided Tour) €11

Although all above costs you €310 without İstanbul Tourist Pass, you can have all just paying €95.

Apart from this you will have Whatsapp Traveler Support online as other advantage of Istanbul Tourist Pass. In short, you can save over €200 with Istanbul Tourist Pass.

What Is Whatsapp Traveler Support ?

This card gives you an opportunity to have one to one guiding advice via Whatsapp.

As long as you have an Internet connection, you can contact your personal online local guide.

You can have it aanytime between 10.00am to 18.30 so that you can ask for help, or whatever you want like directions and recommendations of places to eat or visit.

In fact, if i is your first time to visit this big and crowded country, it is very handy to take some advice or solve your problems if you get confused when roaming.

It is very advantageous and inexpensive since if you hire a private guide, it can cost approximately 20 euros an hour or more.

What Is Museum Pass Istanbul?

Museum Pass İstanbul is one of the museum card served by Ministry of Culture and Tourism. It enables you to get a pass to visit Istanbul’s top museums comfortably.

If you want to be able to visit the historical and cultural treasures of İstanbul, the capital city of three empires, whose history dates back over more than 9 thousand years, this card is suitable for you.

This card is valid for 120 hours and costs 185 TL.

There is one point where you should not get confused. There is a card in Turkey named as MüzeKart that is valid for 300+ museums nationwide.

However, only Turkish nationals and foreigners with a residence permit can obtain it.

When it comes to the Museum Pass Istanbul is for tourists visiting the metropolitan, hence providing access to a limited amount of venues.

In fact, the Museum Pass is the one and only card you can apply for if you are a foreigner in this city.

Where to buy Istanbul Museum Pass?

You can order it online before your visit. Therefore you can have this card delivered to your hotel, waiting for you and ready to use upon your arrival.

Needless to say, you should be very sure about the address of your hotel before ordering so that you will not face any unexpected problems when you arrive at your hotel.

Besides online buying, there are many sales points in İstanbul to buy this card.

Museum Pass Points of Sales

Here is the list of sales points with some informational parts about the places where to buy İstanbul Museum Pass.

Hagia Sophia Museum

Although Hagia Sophia was used as a church for 916 years, it was converted into a mosque after the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmed.

After being a mosque for 482 years, this situation has changed under the order of Atatürk and the decision of the Council of Ministers, and Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum in 1935. Today it is still visited by many tourists as a museum.

Topkapı Palace and Harem (which is a section inside the Topkapı Palace)

As a residence of the Ottoman Sultans, Topkapi Palace is such an important place for history in this country.

Yet, at the same time, this place has a value of the administrative and educational center of the state, which initially constructed between 1460 and 1478 by Sultan Mehmed II.

Also, Harem is a place were the sultans lived together with their families at Topkapi Palace. Especially for architectural history, this place has taken many visitors to analyze with its architectural styles ranging from the 16th century to the early 19th century.

Hagia Irene Museum

As a church dedicated to holly peace, Hagia Irene means ‘divine peace’ in Greek. There are some different beliefs about this museum.

One of them is that the church was first built in the 4th century AD over the ruins of a pagan temple by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine I. What the interesting part is that during the following centuries the church was restored several times because of the earthquakes and some big fires.

Istanbul Archaeological Museums

The Archaeology Museum consists of two separate buildings. They are the main building(old building) and additional building (new building).

However, the Istanbul Archaeology Museums consist of three museums. Those are Archaeology Museum, Old Eastern Works Museum, and Enameled Kiosk Museum.

Museum of  Turkish and Islamic Arts

Turkish and Islamic Works Museum as the first Turkish museum covering the Turkish and Islamic artworks wholly have been started to work at the end of the 19th century.

It has been completed in 1913 and the museum has been opened for visiting in the soup kitchen building located in Süleymaniye Mosque complex, which is one of the most important works of famous architect Mimar Sinan in Ottoman times.

İstanbul Great Palace Mosaic Museum

The Museum of Great Palace Mosaics is located in Arasta Bazaar within the Sultanahmet Mosque compound, which constituted in such a way that containing the mosaic pavement partially intact in the northeast section of the arcaded yard of the Great Palace in East-Roman period.

Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam

Here is quite new when compared to other museums.

It was opened in May 2008 and located in the Gülhane Park (Rose Garden), in one of the most beautiful areas of Istanbul. The museum is such a big that extends over 3500 square meters along the old palace wall, on the former stables of the Sultan’s Has Ahirlar.

Chora Museum

The museum located in the Edirnekapı neighborhood is a church building that constitutes the center of the Chora Monastery, which was a great building complex in the Eastern Roman Empire period.

Actually, it was dedicated to Jesus Christ but the building was called “Chora”, which means “in the country” or “outside of the city” in Greek because it stood outside of the city walls built by Constantine.

Fethiye Museum (Pammakaristos)

The church is in Çarşamba vicinity of Fatih county of İstanbul. Fethiye Museum Pammakaristos (very very happy) Monastery had been built in East-Roman period. However, the north church is used as a mosque today.

Galata Mevlevi House (Galata Mevlevihanesi)

The Galata Mevlevi Lodge (Galata Mevlevihanesi) was built in 1491 as a first Mawlawi house in Istanbul.

It ceased to function as dervish tekke (lodge) in 1925 and opened as a museum in 1975 and underwent a major refurbishment between 2005 and 2009 and now serves as a museum about the Mevlevi Sufi Islam sect.

Rumeli Hisar Museum

It locates within borders of Sarıyer district and gave its name to the location, covering 30.000 m² areas. There is a monument-art built in the narrowest part and flowing (600m) section of the Istanbul Bosphorus just opposite Anadoluhisarı.

You can visit here between 09.00-16.30 everyday except Wednesdays.

Yıldız Palace

Yildiz Palace is located between Beşiktaş and Ortaköy, in the Yıldız Park.

The Yıldız Palace is complex which extends 500,000m2 and consists of several pavilions, palace buildings, and other service and management buildings. You can transfer here by bus and minibus from Beşiktaş to this palace.

Where Not to Use Istanbul Museum Pass?

To be able to use your museum pass in Istanbul, the museum you are planning to use should be operated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Some places managed by other bodies do not accept this card. For example, Dolmabahçe Palace or the Basilica Cistern are the places where the museum pass is invalid to use.

For some museum where museum pass valid, there are separately-ticketed areas within these sites, such as the Harem quarters and Hagia Irene church within the Topkapı Palace complex.

What Is Public Transportation Discount Card?

As a tourist, if you are not willing to take a taxi every time or if you do not intend to rent a car when traveling, you will need a transportation card to roam in İstanbul.

The system of public transportation can only be accessed by using electronic cards in İstanbul. You can purchase 1-ride, 5-ride cards or the Istanbulkart.

Where Can I Buy the Transportation Card?

In every station of the subway, trams, Metrobus, funiculars and some kiosks located near most stops of the public buses have a yellow vending machine. You can buy your transportation card from these places.

If you wonder about the price, here is the updated information for you:

As of February 2019, the cost of the card is only 6 Turkish Liras (TL) if you buy it from the machines but it is 7 TL to purchase from most kiosks.

How Do I Use the Transportation Card?

The card you will buy from the machine or kiosks does not have any credit so you need to credit money to your card for your rides.

Yet, there is no need to get worried; it is just easy as to have the card. From the yellow machines you buy the card, you can load your Istanbulkart.

Or as a second choice, you can loan it from the kiosks where you purchased the card, wait for the card to be scanned and deposit cash to load your Istanbulkart.

When you ride the public transportation machine, you will see a card reader. What you need to do is just to bring your card close once for each passenger you want to pay for.

And here is the last tip:

If you have a child under the age of 6, you do not have to use this card. It is just free for children under the age of 6.

You should load your card with the approximate money you need. You should calculate it more or less not to have any problem when traveling because not every station ( generally bus station) have kiosks to credit money.

The per person per ride cost 2019 will be as follows in Istanbul:

  • Buses: 2.60 TRY
  • Tram: 2.60 TRY
  • Metro: 2.60 TRY
  • Cable Car: 2.60 TRY
  • Funicular: 2.60 TRY
  • Boats: 2.60-4.00 TRY