Let me just say that Istanbul did not disappoint!
First of all, it was quite sad when the Ataturk bombing happened when we were there. The next day, police presence was everywhere with not-so-discrete guns with their fingers on the trigger guards. It is not a comfortable sight to see. I didn’t know if I were to feel more secure or more wary of their presence. All Turkish flags were displayed half-mast and a memorial was displayed at the airport to remember those who died.
To a more happier memory, here are the places we visited:
- Hagia Sophia – 40 TL for the entrance (about 14 USD)
- Blue Mosque – free entrance provided you are dressed for the part. No worries as the mosque provides appropriate covering for the non-Muslim visitors
- Topkapi Palace – 40 TL + 20 TL if you’re visiting the Harem’s quarters
- Basilica Cistern – 20 TL. A disclaimer: You have to pay in TL for this one. No credit cards, no USD or Euro for the entrance as the municipality is in charge of this place. It is also not included in the Muzeumkart.
- Istiklal Cadessi – To get to this avenue from Sultanahmet, ride the T1 train to Kabatas. Get off Karakoy (station at the end of Galata Bridge) and go down the underpass. Just turn left until you are on the opposite (diagonally) side of the street. Walk down the sidewalk and you will see a tram station to get to Istiklal. We got lost on our way, but found this an easier route than getting off Kabatas. When in doubt, ask a local! Or use the Trafi app (iOS or Google Play) to get you on your way.
- Grand Bazaar – the oldest covered shopping mall
- Galata Tower
We stayed for four days and enjoyed every minute of it! We can’t wait to go back, despite terror threats abound.
We chose Nowy Efendi for its price point and location. If you don’t mind small rooms, then this place is perfect for your trip!
More details on upcoming posts!
How to get a sticker visa, if you do not qualify for an e-visa check out my previous post here.