Istanbul is one of those cities you can never get enough of. So many delicious foods to sample, glorious sights to see, and all that shopping! If Istanbul is on your bucket list, make sure to remember this list, for it contains all of its hidden treasures. When in Istanbul, make sure to do the following.
Visit the Grand Bazaar
It is best to go there early in the morning before it becomes super crowded. I went right before leaving to the airport around 8.30 AM while the employees were still having breakfast together, but they were super friendly and welcoming. I managed to bargain like we do in Egypt and got amazing spices, light fixtures, and even a free Turkish tea! There, you can also have a bite in one of their small restaurants and spend hours shopping.
Snack on Grilled Corn
Try out grilled corn that is sold on almost every single street there, delicious and addictive!
If you want to party in style there is no doubt that “ULUS 29” is literally the best club/restaurant out there. With an amazing view of the city, great music and friendly staff.
Be A Tourist
Make sure to do some major sightseeing like visiting TopKapi Palace, but be prepared to spend at least three hours there between waiting in line for the tickets and actually visiting the place, as it is gigantic but worth it. Hagia Sofia and Basilica Cistern are also two interesting places to visit.
The Whirling Dervishes
Watch the “Whirling Dervishes” show at HodjaPasha culture center. It is a Sufi practice that takes place almost every day at 7 PM and 8.30 PM for an hour.
Get an Authentic Hamam Experience
“Hamam” experience at Aga Hamami, one of the oldest in Istanbul. They take their hamam very seriously! You can book a session with someone who will provide you with the material and a good scrub. Or you can do it alone and enjoy Turkish chai or apple tea afterward.
Enjoy the Yummy Brunch Options
If you stay in a hotel, I recommend booking your stay without breakfast, as there are a lot of amazing breakfast and brunch places that serve delicious food for half the price. To add, you will get to try all the Turkish specialties and not a typical hotel breakfast. One of the good ones is “Dogaciyiz Gourment.”
Sample Turkish Delicacies
Due to the fact that there are a lot of restaurants in Istanbul, they all compete to have the best food and service so that they attract more clients. Therefore, you can easily have great, cheap meals. One of the delicious meals we had was meat cooked in a clay pot, where the waiter breaks and serves you the dish while everyone takes videos of the show! And the pastrami hummus as an appetizer was out of this world.
Shop till you Drop
Have at least one afternoon for shopping, around Istiklal square. There are plenty of Turkish brands that are good, affordable and not the typical retail shops you find in every country.
Enjoy the Little Things
Lastly, Turkish delights with a cup of chai to end a great afternoon is that is needed.