Shopping in Istanbul. Without forgetting the Grand Bazaar and its surroundings (more than 30,000 square meters you can visit shops) where you can spend almost half a morning looking and buying, hand-painted porcelain pieces, scarves, rugs and, mainly gold and silver jewelry, you have You have to be good at haggling because otherwise, the prices aren’t particularly cheap.

It is advisable to leave the haggling routes (unless you like it, of course), to do this, take a walk along Kamekan Sokagi street, it is the street up to the Galata Tower, here you can find 4 really interesting shops with a mainly vintage look: Nes, Pliée, and Paristexa.

The street Istiklal Caddesi (similar to the street price of Madrid but much longer and bustling) has a variety of shops with local and international brands, including Topshop, and Spanish Camper, Mango or Breshka

You can also find the Demirören and  Boyner shopping centers (similar to El Corte Inglés) with a good section dedicated to Sephora and Is Merkezi, with stores that have branded clothes at good prices.

The Çukurcuma neighborhood is very good for rummaging around and finding antiques, mainly furniture. Likewise, go through the streets that face French Street, you will find Petra Vintage, and an incredible price, and Otto, a little more expensive but interesting, both are in Yeni Carsi.

If you go to the Asian area, go down to Kadiköy, it is a commercial area with a lot of atmospheres, and in the Bagdat Caddesi area, you can find good designer stores.

To go out to dinner and have a drink

Without a doubt, the neighborhoods with the most atmosphere in Istanbul are in the areas of Europe (Beyoglu) and Asia (Bagdat Caddesi)

In Beyoglu, the surrounding streets that you will find along Istiklal Cad street have a lot of life (both for restaurants and cocktail bars (we recommend going through Le Man ). Istiklal Cad street begins in Taksim Square (depends on where you are staying, but you can reach it by tram to Kabatas and then take the funicular) it is the true nerve center of the city.

An excellent bar to have a drink is 360 (Istiklal Cad 311), it has a terrace with views of the Boonsboro and the Golden Horn, the Leb-i-Derya restaurant (Kumbaraci Yokusu 115/7), you will find both from Taksim square. If you go down Istiklal Cad arriving at the Gala Tower, have dinner in any of the restaurants on Asmali Mescit street, they have a very good atmosphere.

Another area to have a drink and also find a great atmosphere is Asmalimescit, look for Seyh Berder Sok 3 street and here is the Babylon concert hall (if you come in January, they play The Pain to Be Pure at Heart ).

If you come in summer, a bar with an incredible terrace is Reina in Bebek, it overlooks the Bosphorus and it is a real luxury to have a drink there. Here in Bebek, you also have to try the waffle of Abbas, impossible to skip it.

In the Asia area, you can go down to Kadiköy and you will find a good atmosphere in bars (depending on where you are staying, you can get there via the ferry -2 lira- that you take at the port with the tram stop in Eminönü).

What to visit in the city

Istanbul is anything but boring, it is a huge city (almost 10 million inhabitants) distributed in the areas of Europe and Asia.

In the Europe area it is necessary to visit the Sultanahmet and Seraglio neighborhoods, here you will find the main monuments of the city of Istanbul, you will need two days to dedicate a visit to the Blue Mosque (free admission, but it is necessary to be aware of the time of I pray because during this one you cannot visit); Santa Sofia Museum (AyasoFya, 20 lire and 15 lire the harem); Topkapi Palace (20 lire) and his harem (15 lire) and Archaeological Museum.

Going up to the west of Sultanahmet you will find The Grand Bazaar (Kapaliçarsi), the University of Istanbul, and the Süleymaniye Mosque, the latter its entrance is free, you will only have to be aware of its prayer hours.

In the north towards Faith and Fener, it is important to make a stop at the Faith Mosque, and tour the neighborhoods until you reach the Church of San Salvador de Chora, the Yavuz Selim Mosque, and Fener Greek Orthodox, here you will see the real atmosphere from the neighborhoods of Istanbul, its markets and fast food stalls.

 At the height of the Bulgarian Church of St. Stephen, you can take a bus, at any of the stops along the road, all buses stop at the Eyüp Mosque and the Pierre Loti Cemetery.

During this tour you will be able to see the Golden HornOn both banks, you will have excellent views when you get to the Pierre Loti Cemetery from its cafeteria and viewpoint, to get to Pierre Loti, you can do it on foot from the Eyüp Mosque or with the funicular (it costs 2 lire).

The next area that you have to take into account is Beyoglu, once you have crossed the Galata Bridge you can reach the Dolmabahçe Palace (40 lira, entrance to the palace and the Harem) and its mosque. 

You will spend half a morning touring the ranches and strolling through the park’s gardens. From here, you can take a bus (2 Liras) to Ortaköy town and eat a stuffed roast potato, it is the town’s specialty. 

The next stop would be the town of Bebek, like Ortaköy, they are don towns on the banks of the Bosphorus that you have to dedicate a minimum of a couple of hours to walk them. As you will have to take a bus or taxi on the way back, be patient, it can take 40-50 minutes from Bebek to Kabatas station due to the traffic jam.

If you want to enter the Beyoglu area, without a doubt the atmosphere and the streets around the Galata Tower are exceptional, here you can visit the embassy quarter and specifically Asmalimescit

Going up to the Galata Tower will cost 11 lire and you will have excellent 360-degree views of the entire city, on the floor of the viewpoint there is a cafeteria, take advantage and make a stop for a coffee.

Then head over to the Hotel Pera Palace (Mesrutiyet Cad 98), the Church of San Pedro and San PabloCalle Frances an (a very good option to come for dinner at night, it has a good collection of French restaurants) and the Çukurcuma neighborhood (very stately atmosphere).

When it comes to taking a boat tour to explore the Bosphorus or the Golden Horn, there are multiple offers, one option that you can consider is to go to the Eminönü stop and from there see the offers in the port. You can take a boat tour of the Bosphorus for 2 hours for (10 Liras), it is a very good and inexpensive option.

Some recommendations

If you go in autumn-winter, do not hesitate to drink a pomegranate and/or orange juice at any of the stalls on the street. Have ice cream at the Mado ice cream parlors, try the puff pastry cakes from the Koska patisseries, and buy a piece of cheese and cold cuts at the open-air market next to the spice bazaar.

If you are going to move with public transport (metro, tram and/or bus) buy the Istanbul Kart, you have to pay a deposit of 6 lira and then fill in as you spend, this will save you 0.25 cents for each trip you make (2 lira on all public transport, including the ferry). If you don’t want to buy the card, then you will have to buy the 2 lira token (Jeton) for single trips.

The buses go to the top and tend to catch good traffic jams, but it is the economic version of the taxis, since the latter is not very cheap, and in case of traffic they are not worth it. The trams also go to the top, so be very patient, zen way.

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