While we were in Istanbul, we were bound and determined to get the full experience of visiting an authentic Turkish bath. We began researching the different options after we’d arrived in Istanbul and quickly found out that the true Turkish baths have separate male and female sections (that makes sense… not trying to be ogled by strange men). But, after scouting out TripAdvisor and a few other websites, we gathered that many of the “true” Turkish bath visits involve excessively awkward experiences, compliments of lots of old-person nudity.
Throw in a language barrier, and we (hesitantly) opted for the more conservative route with a much more touristy [...]
We walked across the Golden Horn Bridge one morning after trying to take the tram to the “newer” area of Istanbul, along the European side of the Bosphorus River. No one knew why the tram never arrived, but, later that day, we found out that someone had suicide-bombed a police station, so they had closed all the tram lines as a pre-caution. Yikes.
After walking around the newer area, we headed to Dolmabahçe Palace, Turkey’s largest palace, which is located right on the Bosphorus River and was used as the center of the Ottoman Empire between 1856 – 1922.
It was ordered to be built by the sultan, Abdulmecid I, as his current residence, the [...]
We headed to the Blue Mosque first thing one morning to try to avoid the crowds as much as possible. Luckily for us non-morning people, the famous mosque was only a few blocks from where we were staying.
The Blue Mosque (also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque) was built between 1609 and 1616, and made bigger and higher than its across-the-street neighbor, Hagia Sophia (then a church, currently a mosque), in an effort to show Islam’s dominance over Christianity. The Blue Mosque’s facade is relatively plain-looking, with [...]
Jet lag on our trip to Turkey was no joke, so we ended up getting later starts to the days than planned. When we finally set out for the day, we headed for the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Spice Market– one of our favorite adventures in Istanbul. Although they are very different than what I’d imagine they were like in years past (lots of tourists these days!), it’s fun to feel like you’re going back in time to visiting the bazaar for your weekly (or daily?) grocery trip.
‘Mısır Çarşısı’ — the Egyptian Spice Bazaar — is a covered [...]
Here’s a pretty cool travel “trick”: Turkish Airlines will either put you up in a hotel for the night or give you a free tour of the city if you have a long enough layover in Istanbul-IST. We covered the details on the free hotel room here (Secret Travel Trick: Free Hotel Layover in Istanbul with Turkish Airlines), now for the free city tour:
You can participate in Turkish Airlines’ “TourIstanbul” for free by meeting the following requirements (can be a paid or award ticket):You’re flying Turkish Airlines into and out of Istanbul You’re just passing through Turkey, your origin and destination is [...]
While most of the touristy parts of Istanbul are on the European side, no trip to the ancient bi-continental city would be complete without popping over to Asia. Part of our journey was curiosity, part was for a “been there, done that” sense of accomplishment but, mostly, we went to sample a restaurant that we heard great things about, Çiya Sofrası.
Trying to figure out how to get there, we had a few options: either a standard passenger ferry or a tourist boat. We didn’t necessarily have to take the full-on tourist-only tour of the Bosphorus and, after a bit of research, figured that our best bet was just to take the ferry that the locals take across the [...]
Istanbul is a huge city filled with never-ending passageways to explore. No matter which part of the city you’re in, there’s an intriguing little store just around the corner filled with real-life treasures. The tricky part is just deciding what to take home with you.
If you’re in the market for a rug, good: there’s no shortage of men trying to cat call you into their shop just to sell you a very expensive rug. Turns out, I didn’t have the #fancy budget for a rug, can you believe it? So, I focused on more attainable souvenirs – and what I could actually pack in my suitcase.
Without further ado, here are my top areas for shopping in [...]
Turkish Airlines, a Star Alliance member, just launched a new route from Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST) to Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport (BOD).
The new route is scheduled to be flown 4x per week: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Why do you care? Because this route opens up more possibilities for booking Star Alliance awards, namely United Mileage Plus awards. And, as with most new routes, the award availability is excellent with 2+ economy seats still open on nearly every single flight going 9 months out:
Visiting Bordeaux? Here are some related posts:SNCF Train: Paris CDG to Bordeaux Walking Tour of Bordeaux, [...]
Bereketzade Mh., Galata Kulesi, Beyoğlu, Turkey 18.5 TL (~$8.90 US) Hours: 9am to 8pm everyday
After lunch at another outdoor cafe (…because Charleston has exactly 0 fun outdoor streetside cafes), we walked over the Golden Horn to the more modern side of Istanbul. Trying to get our tourism on, we headed to a must-see site: the Galata Tower.
In the context of Istanbul, the Galata Tower is brand spanking new at 650+ years old. This is especially evident in the context of the Hagia Sofia, built in 537, whereas the Galata Tower was completed in 1348. Further revealing the age of the [...]