Istanbul is the most popular tourist destination in Turkey. Its historical timeline is impossible to ignore. However, not everyone likes touring historical sites. Visitors who have been to Istanbul, more than once are often clueless about what to do next. So, here is a passionate list of an Istanbulite to fill a gap in the tourism market.
Istanbul is a city full of colorful murals. You can spot them all over the city but especially in famous urban neighborhoods, such as Karaköy and Kadıköy. Take time to walk around and look out for these graffiti murals. You can see impressive art works in any corner. Don’t forget to snap a couple of photos! Especially, while visiting Kadıköy, observe the cats and snap some photos of them. The cats are roaming around the streets and they are often fed and sheltered by the public. You can see that street animals are welcomed in many cafes and restaurants as well. Yumma Moda is one of these places where you can eat delicious Turkish breakfast too. The products are all organic and they are coming from various regions of Turkey. For coffee, there is a friendly environment called Walters Coffee Roasters. It’s just like a coffee lab that you might recognize from the decoration as well. You can create your own coffee and paste your label on.
Some people might consider this a dangerous suggestion but on the Asian side of Istanbul, biking routes includes photography stops, parks and local restaurants. You can rent a bicycle in the shores of Caddebostan and spend a quality time by yourself or with friends. The Asian side of the city is full of wonders and you can find out by discovering Kadıköy and Üsküdar with a tour as well. First, you will explore the historical district of Üsküdar. Near the port of Üsküdar, a barnlike place called Kanaat Lokantası has been serving delicious dishes since many years. The restaurant is particularly fancied by the locals for its home-made ice cream and sahlep. Also, you can take a boat from the port to reach the famous Maiden’s Tower. However, getting the Maiden’s Tower Entrance& Transfer in advance would be more beneficial for a comfortable journey.
Watch the Fishermen Along the Galata Bridge
Everyday dozens of local men form a row along the Galata Bridge for fishing. Since it’s an incredible sight, you might be familiar to this view from the famous pictures of Istanbu. They spend hours hoping to catch fresh seafood. For going to the historical heritages in Eminönü and Sultanahmet, walk along the Bridge and observe the fishermen dealing with the waves of Bosphorus. There is a fish market at the base of the bridge where you can eat fresh-caught fish. Try balık-ekmek which is a street food and it’s a mixture of fish and bread. It’s totally worth trying for! After passing the bridge, be prepared to the crowd that awaits to visit the attractive spots of the city. Make sure you have the Istanbul Tourist Pass for easier access to the famous attractions.
Explore the shores of Bosphorus
Arnavutköy is the perfect location to get away from the touristic craziness while still experiencing a beautiful area of the city. It’s a very modern and multicultural area with Ottoman-style mansions and trendy cafes. It’s one of the places that became a popular area for fishing. So, you might find some great restaurants to enjoy fresh sea-food. Try Eftalya Restaurant for a fine-dining experience with warmth and elegance. Locals usually spend time in the cocktail bars during the weekends. Alexandra Coktail Bar and ANY are the famous ones to enjoy good music as well as drinking unique and delicious cocktails. If you are wondering about visiting more local areas, a Cruise in the Bosphorus might be a good opportunity to spend time in both Asian and European sides of the city. You will spend a one fine day through the waterway seperating the two continents and get a more local feel of Istanbul while seeing some gorgeous sites.
Get Closer to the Nature in Istanbul
Visit the Parks of Istanbul
Istanbul seems like a building-focused metropolis but a few areas such as Maçka Demokrasi Parkı have managed to survive. It’s a park where people can escape from their urban routine for a while. Located in Maçka, near the streets of Nişantaşı, it’s a little park where you can see locals walking with their dogs or hanging with their friends. During spring and summer, people enjoy sunshine while bringing their own foods and drinks to the park. Another alternatife is the Emirgan Park which is one of the largest ones in Istanbul. Make sure you come here if you are visiting the city in April since it hosts the Tulip Festival every year.