Thing You Shouldn’t Go Home Without…
Buy a turquoise magic eye coaster to ward off any impending doom.
Pure Turkish honey from the Egyptian Bazaar.
Delicate rose petal jam from Uc Yildiz in the fish market in Istiklal Street.
Carpets; it may be a cliché but a must, the best quality and designs in the world.
Leather; it’s always fashionable and frightfully cheap.
Take a boat trip on the Bosphorus. Ferries, private boats and water taxis on the Bosphorus are one of the most attractive ways to get around the city. Boats can transport you from Europe to Asia in a matter of minutes. You can also use the two bridges if you prefer to travel by car.
Try Turkish coffee, nargile (hubbly-bubbly pipe), baklava (a Turkish pastry) and Turkish delight.
Have a bath in Turkish hammams. If you prefer a historical hammam, you may prefer Cagaloglu Hammam near the Grand Bazaar. Otherwise, Caudalie Vinotheraphy Spa in Hotel Les Ottomans offers a luxurious, modern take on the Turkish bath using Caudalie products and has couples treatments.
Take a ferry up the Bosphorus to Anadolu Kavagi. The village is surrounded by wooded hills and there are great views from the Byzantine Yoros castle which once controlled the Black Sea approaches.
Go to peaceful Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara to the south of Istanbul. Four of the nine islands are easily accessible by ferry from İstanbul. Burgazada, with its horse-drawn carriages and its Greek Orthodox Church of St John the Baptist, is particularly charming.
Istanbul is a like big stage where you can find many cultural events for all tastes. Some of the most important ones are the International Music Festival (June), International Jazz Festival (July), International Film Festival (April), Istanbul Biennale (September), Contemporary Istanbul Arts Festival (November).