Istanbul, Turkey – Once you’ve made it to the city at one point known as Constantinople you may have a very hard time actually leaving, or moving, from the historic center and modern Taksim square. And of course, that’s perfectly understandable as there’s so many things to do and see in the center of Istanbul. As one of the world’s crown jewels, this city will have you spinning with possibilities while you’re continually pulled in different ways to seek out something new. The mosques and markets require utmost attention, while the more modern Taksim square is calling with sidewalk cafes and rooftop bars pulsing with vibrant life.
First things first – see the historic center and get a sense of the city, a much-needed bearing for where landmarks are and how the city is layed out. But once you’ve successfully explored the brunt of Istanbul’s offering (maybe two full days) you’re next step is to get on the water and soak in the surroundings. Istanbul, with swarming streets, is unbelievably beautiful from within but it takes on a new feel when you literally step back and examine her from afar. The magnitude and sprawling nature of Istanbul will smack you in the face and the never ending view of markets, buildings, and city (all beautiful by the way) will leave you shaking your head and asking: How did all of this exist? How did I never know about this, until now?
Two of the better locations to make a day or 1/2 day trip to are Eyup and Kadikoy. Both are enticing and located on opposing ends of the Bosphorous river, so do both if you can. If you can’t, at least grab the local boat to Kadikoy and stroll around the market and business district, then follow the coastal sidewalk path as it winds along – offering views back across of Istanbul proper and ultimately leading to a breathtaking Marina and waterfront community. You’ll also find some of the best souvenirs and local market goods (at non-tourist prices) and perhaps the best spot to scarf down a fresh fish sandwich called Balik Ekmek is at the Kadikoy ferry dock. Well, what else can we say…get out there and explore Turkey!
IF YOU GO:
This day trip is straightforward. In Eminönü, by the Galata Bridge and on the side of the river close to the markets and Blue Mosque, look for the ferry terminal where you can buy tickets. One tip is that you’ll pass this station almost everyday in Istanbul (as you walk the city and cross the bridge) so pick up a schedule before and also when you’re ready for the trip show up about 30 minutes before, by your tickets from the machine, then go grab a coffee and return in time to catch the boat – this is a good way to avoid the hectic ten minute rush before the bus leaves, as everyone is scrambling to acquire their ticket before the ferry leaves.
Have you been to Turkey? Or got a tip for visiting Istanbul? Let’s hear it below as a comment or over on Twitter @TakeYaThere