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Weekend In Istanbul  
User currently offlineLY7E7 From Israel, joined Jun 2004, 2234 posts, RR: 19
Posted (8 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 1106 times:

I am going to a long weekend citybreak in Istanbul, any advices on what to do?

P.S. I also want to book a flight on TK, since I've never tried them, how good are they?

[Edited 2005-08-21 18:19:31]


2 things are endless: ignorance and space
12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11153 posts, RR: 59
Reply 1, posted (8 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 1087 times:

Quoting LY7E7 (Thread starter):
I am going to a long weekend citybreak in Istanbul, any advices on what to do?

If you want to see everything in Istanbul, I'd say you need one week as there are so many sites to see and Istanbul is a very big city.

By weekend break, I assume you will have two full days. In that case, I'd say spend the first day around Hagia Sofia and Sultan Ahmad Mosque (Blue Mosque).

Then in the evening, spend time walking around the Golden Horn area and maybe have a meal at one of the restaurants under the Galata Bridge. Be careful though, many of the restaurants try to rip you off so make sure you read the bill well. There is a pretty good restaurant there called Yildiz, but it is a bit expensive. There are plenty of other choices though. Also if you have time, try visiting the Galata Tower which is across the Golden Horn (you cross the Galata Bridge to get to it). It's this old tower up on a hill and it has a great panoramic view of the city. There is a fee to go up and there is a restaurant up there too.

If you have time, maybe go up to Taksim Square and go down Istiqlal Street (Independence Street). There is a nice old trolley that goes up and down the pedestrian street. But let me warn you, it is very crowded.

On the second day, I'd say you should visit Topkapi Palace which will take an entire day for you. It's huge and very fascinating. In most of the rooms however, they don't allow photography. Even if you don't use flash, they still won't let you. There are a couple rooms though that photography is permitted, even with flash.

If you have another day, then visit the Dolmabahce Palace. It is the last palace the Ottomans built and it is where Mustafa Kemal Ataturk died. They have a big Turkish flag over his bed. It's a fascinating Baroque-style (European) palace.

Those are the top things to do. A boat ride down the Bosphorus is also very nice, but I don't think you'll have time for that.

Quoting LY7E7 (Thread starter):
P.S. I also want to book a flight on TK, since I've never tried them, how good are they?

I flew them from Istanbul to Budapest and I have to say they are not very good. They don't really do a good job with the safety presentation and you can tell that the staff just don't want to be bothered. They're not too helpful. If I remember correctly, they were very late in putting the seatbelt sign when we were landing.

They are not terrible, but they are not great in my opinion. Just average. The food was alright though. They forgot to serve coffee or tea which was the bad part however...

Have a good time in Istanbul. Let me warn you that the taxi drivers WILL try to rip you off. Some will change the taxi meter without you noticing once you arrive while others will take you to your destination using a longer route than is necessary.

Regards



"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
User currently offlineLY7E7 From Israel, joined Jun 2004, 2234 posts, RR: 19
Reply 2, posted (8 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 1083 times:

BA,

Thanks for the info!

I am sure that 4 days is nowhere near enough to explore such a great city, but I gotta start with something. I hope this will be my first trip their out of many others to come  Smile

Rudy



2 things are endless: ignorance and space
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 1080 times:

Make sure that you visit the Hamdi Restaurant for dinner, excellent food and an excellent view from their terrace.

Patrick


User currently offlineBA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11153 posts, RR: 59
Reply 4, posted (8 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 1071 times:

Quoting LY7E7 (Reply 2):
I am sure that 4 days is nowhere near enough to explore such a great city, but I gotta start with something. I hope this will be my first trip their out of many others to come

Since you have four days, you should be able to see Istanbul pretty well.

I forgot to mention, if you have time, check out the Suleymaniye Mosque. It is also very impressive, although it is a tad bit rundown from the outside.

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 3):
Make sure that you visit the Hamdi Restaurant for dinner, excellent food and an excellent view from their terrace.

I really wanted to eat there. Unfortunately we didn't have time.  Sad

Regards



"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 1066 times:

Quoting BA (Reply 4):
I really wanted to eat there. Unfortunately we didn't have time.

Make sure that you visit it next time when you are in Istanbul, it is definitely worth to have dinner there (especially when you can sit on the terrace).

When I was there with my girlfriend, we met the German ambassador. He noticed that we were talking in German so he came to our table for a short chat, in the end he even paid a round of drinks for us.  bigthumbsup 

Patrick


User currently offlineTLG From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 369 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 1066 times:

Quoting LY7E7 (Thread starter):
I also want to book a flight on TK, since I've never tried them, how good are they?

I and some friends once flew ATH-IST on TK, back in 2002, and I had a new experience on that flight! They did the safety presentation after takeoff. They had started it but suddenly they shut it off and we started the takeoff roll. It seemed a little strange to hear "Before we take off..." while in the air! Otherwise I was impressed with TK. They served a decent meal for a 1-hour flight.
-TLG


User currently offlineAirxLiban From Lebanon, joined Oct 2003, 4506 posts, RR: 54
Reply 7, posted (8 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1033 times:

LY7E7, having spent the best years of my life in Istanbul this is the advice I would give you:

Spend one day visiting Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and Topkapi palace as they are in relatively speaking the same area. It'll be a long day, but it'll be worth it.

Spend another day going to Kapali Carsi (kahpaluh charshuh, covered bazaar) and the spice market. Maybe have lunch at Pandeli's restaurant, it is one of the oldest in Istanbul and is right above one end of the Egyptian bazaar (spice market).

It would be nice for you go to up the bosphorus to Tarabya or Yenikoy and enjoy a nice meal at a fish restaurant there. Fish from the Bosphorus is absolutely delicious in my opinion.

During another day you can go shopping in the Nisantasi (nishantashuh) district and have dinner around there somewhere. Walk up towards Taksim square and then go down to Beyoglu and go chill there in the evening. There is a place called limonlu bahce which I used to frequent...can get you the address you'd like.

Another thing to do in Istanbul is to go to the war museum on Cumhuriyet Caddesi (jumhuriyet jeddesi) and also to Florence Nightingale's museum on the Asian side.

Definitely get on a bosphorus cruise, particularly at night and definitely eat at a fish restaurant (i can give you some suggestions) if you like fish. Very delicious.

Oh yeah and another thing to do is to go have an authentic turkish bath. There is a bath near Beyoglu called "Galata Hamami" and is definitely worth the experience. Don't know if you've been to one of those before...but two interestings things about it are 1) you won't be able to afford much modesty and 2) you'll most likely need a shower once you are done with it.

Spending some time at a seaside cafe or shopping in Arnavutkoy or Ortakoy would also be nice...and is one way of sucking up some local colour.

Oh and if I were you I'd avoid the Sulemaniye Mosque.

Hope that I could be of some help.

And one more thing...if you find yourself having the time and the interest I'd recommend that you take a ferry (deniz otobus) to Buyukada which is the biggest of the princess islands. To be honest there isn't THAT much to do tehre but people go anyway.



PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
User currently offlineAirxLiban From Lebanon, joined Oct 2003, 4506 posts, RR: 54
Reply 8, posted (8 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1032 times:

Oh and as far as TK, I flew on them a fair amount when I lived in Turkey and I'd say that they are decent, but not exceptional. I think TLV-IST is a 737-800, never been on a TK 738 but I hear that they are well kept on the inside and pretty decent to fly on.

But then again I haven't flown on TK since 1998.



PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
User currently offlineLY7E7 From Israel, joined Jun 2004, 2234 posts, RR: 19
Reply 9, posted (8 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1021 times:

Thanks for the tips!

I've booked a flight for the early October, trip report will follow.

regards,
Rudy



2 things are endless: ignorance and space
User currently offlinePropatriamori From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 986 times:

If you go "see the sights" bring some cash. You need to buy a ticket to get into the Hagia Sofia,,Topkapi Palace, etc. and they are not cheap for non-Turkish Citizens. Last time I was there (this March) they were charging something like 30 Million TL to get into Topkapi, and another 30 Million TL for the Hagia Sofia.

User currently offlineLY7E7 From Israel, joined Jun 2004, 2234 posts, RR: 19
Reply 11, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 979 times:

Quoting Propatriamori (Reply 10):
30 Million TL

Well, I guess I'll buy a Turkish passport to save that amount  Smile

Seriously though , that would be ~$22 according to xe.com, which indeed sounds very expensive for visiting a museum/national site.

On the other hand ,since all other expenses are probably less than in a major European/north American city, it does not really matter...

Also, there's the new turkish lira: $1 = NTL1.35



2 things are endless: ignorance and space
User currently offlinePropatriamori From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (8 years 11 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 969 times:

That's right, it comes out to 20-25 bucks US, Turkish Lira or Yeni Turkish Lira. There were quite a few tourists there in queue complaining about the cost, and someone was even trying to get a refund (to see ALL of Topkapi there's a separate ticket for the treasury, harem, etc. and each one is about the same as the ticket just to get in).

The Hagia Sofia was a little cheaper than Topkapi, as I recall, but watch out for the carpet sellers crawling all over the area, they'll offer you a tour right over to their "uncles" shop.


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