“If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul” is so accurately said! Istanbul, a true mix of both Modern and traditional features, has been the most calming cities I have ever visited. Its ironic and sad that this is the city with maximum unrest in the recent past!
Istanbul was the first stop of our vacation earlier this June (Read my previous posts to see other places I visited). I fell in Love with the city as soon as I got that one glance of the Old Istanbul – Sultanahmet. It was totally magical with old Mosques, Museums, Hamams, old archeiture, the people, everything was really Beautiful. We stayed at the Four season Bosphorus Hotel located on Istanbul’s glorious seafront. It is said to be one of Istanbul’s trendiest hotels. It is a very Beautiful hotel featuring the most amazing looking spa. (Will be uploading a blogpost giving details about the Hotel)
For all the three days we stayed, we pre booked from India a Private Car (accomapnied by a Tour Guide) from a Local Travel Comapany there called Global Destination. They were fantastic, it was very flexible tour experience. For the first day we wandered around the Taksim Square which is near Bosporus. For Lunch we chose to eat at the Dubb Indian Restaurant Bosphorus located in the Hilton Hotel, it was a newly opened restaurant then, it had a pleasant ambience overlooking magnificent Bosphorus. The food was delicious,their service was remarkable we thoroughly enjoyed our meal there! Later for the day we went shopping around Nisantasi, it is one of the best shopping districts of Istanbul. It has a lot of designer label stores, high street stores, restaurants and cafes.
On the second day of our tour we visited the said “must visit places” of Istanbul. We started the day with visiting the DOLMABAHÇE PALACE (a palace museum) quite close to Bosphorus. Then later headed to Sultanahmet, the main reason I loved Istanbul so much! It is the oldest part of Istanbul, and the location of most of its historical sights. There we visited the BLUE MOSQUE, HAGIA SOPHIA (a church turned into a mosque) and BASILICA CISTERN. They were all very near by to one another hence we got to see a lot on the same day. To describe the three historic places I would say they were really the “Must visit places/to-do things” and places you can’t afford missing while you’re there. Also Basilica Cistern is the place where you could get those signature pictures of you and your family in traditional Istanbul costumes. We had our day well planned ahead as we booked ourselves a 2 hour session of Hamam (a Turkish Bath/spa treatment) in the evening after a day filled with sightseeing. We booked with Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam, which is among the oldest hamamas of the city and offer the most Luxurious and Traditional Hamam Bath and truly what an experience it was! Nothing like before, such a luxury, the place was so beautiful, the staff was kind, great service! Now the Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan is situated on the on Sultanahmet Square which is another of those place you cannot miss when in Istanbul. The square is an oasis of calm in an otherwise bustling metropolis. It was such a tranquil place and you could sit all day and enjoy the view. With the Blue Mosque on one side and the Hagia Sophia the other, the views are breathtaking. The gardens are well maintained and the area is spotless. In between all of the siteseeing we also stopped for Lunch at Dubb Indian restaurant Sultanahmet.
Later in the evening we went for a quick stroll to the Spice Market which was just close by to the Whirling Dervish Show at the Hodjapasha Cultural Center that we had booked to end our day with, thinking it would be like those Sufi night as we had read very good reviews about it online. It was actually very spiritual as they recited some authentic dialogues and honestly really boring to watch and we almost dozed off. So not like how we thought we would end our day!
As they say “A trip to Istanbul is not complete without a Bosphorus cruise” so thats what we did on our last day in Istanbul. We took a short trip around Bosphorus and it is really one of the best things to do when in Istanbul. It gave a nice overview of the city.
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Thanks for reading! Until my next post take care! xo