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Istanbul Guide

Updated: Jun 10, 2023



Having lived in Istanbul for years, I created this guide around 2018 specifically for my friends who were planning to visit the city. Originally sent as a Word document through email, I've now decided to share it here for easier access and sharing. Enjoy reading it and exploring the vibrant city of Istanbul. Cheers!


European Side


Region: Sultanahmet – Eminönü (1-1,5 day) (The top touristic region)


Places to see & To Do:

· Topkapı Palace

· Basilica Cistern

· Hagia Sophia

· Grand Bazaar

· Sultanahmet Mosque

· Spice Bazaar

· Bosphorus Tour & Anadolu Kavağı @ Asian Side ( Grand Tour)


What to Eat:

· Nothing that special, but Sultan Ahmet Meatball is very famous, not my favorite


Region: Taksim – Beyoğlu - Galata (1 day) – Touristic


Places to see & To Do:

· Most crowded area

· Walk on the Istiklal Street ( Main Street), visit narrow & backstreet (be careful)

· Nightlife is very famous here

· Visit Passages

· Visit Galata Tower

· Eat


What to Eat:

· Taksim is a little world. You can find everything. Any kind of restaurants. (Italian, Vegetarian, Turkish etc.) Some of my favorites are Leb-i Derya, Midpoint, The House Cafe and 360 (Touristic)

· Meyhane: This is the name of Turkish traditional restaurant mainly with Turkish traditional music. The rule is drinking Rakı & eating Meze (Turkish Tapas). Here are the good ones:

o Any Meyhane in Nevizade (Street)

o Cumhuriyet Meyhanesi near Nevizade

o Any Meyhane in Asmalı Mescit

o Galata Meyhanesi

o Any meyhane in Çiçek Pasajı, but touristic

· Wet Hamburger (That’s very famous among locals, mainly eaten after drinks although it's not a healthy nutrition approach ;) )


P.S-June 2021: Due to the political reasons, authorities ruined the soul of Taksim. You can still go but not the same taste and soul.


Region: Beşiktaş , Ortaköy & sea side between the bridges (1 day) – A little touristic (only Ortaköy)


Places to see & To Do:

· Dolmabahçe Palace (Beşiktaş)

· Walk on the seaside from Ortaköy to the 2nd bridge

· Visit every interesting places ( Ortaköy outdoor selling jewellery's etc.)

· Ortaköy-Kuruçeşme-Arnavutköy-Bebek-Rumelihisarı

· Little Bosphorus Tour from Ortaköy

· Visit Starbucks @Bebek (best Starbucks in the world regarding the view)

· Nightlife is very famous in Ortaköy (Reina, Sortie, Angelic) and in Bebek (Luca)

· Breakfast in Rumeli Hisarı is trend among Locals, as of 8 a.m on Sundays

· Galatasaray Island in Kuruçeşme: Very little Island in the middle of the Bosphorus. Night Club, restaurant and Swimming Pool included on it.

· Swimming Pool in Çırağan Sarayı


What to Eat:

· Fish Restaurants along the seaside (Bosphorus) are very famous and must to go: Bebek Balıkçısı & Park Fora are my favourite ones…

· Happily Ever After @ Bebek and Aşk Café in Kuruçeşme


Region: Karaköy – Not touristic


· Great place to hang out and eat in many local and tasty restaurants. I write down the ones that I remember but there are a lot more:

o Mükellef (Meyhane – Modern)

o Karaköy Lokantası (Meyhane)

o Güllüoğlu (For Turkish delights and desserts)

o Demeti (Meyhane - It’s in Cihangir, but very close to Karaköy)


Asian Side


Region: Bağdat Street – Not touristic


Places to see & To Do:

· Main & longest street

· Great for shopping & night life (Premium Region)

· Close to seaside, let’s walk there and hang out on the grass with many nice people especially in Caddebostan close to Bars Street

· Bars Street


What to Eat:

· Lots of fancy and tasty restaurants


Region: Adalar (Prince Islands) – Touristic


Places to see & To Do:

· Büyük Ada ( very calm place & great, No car, no loud)

· Hagia Yorgi Church@ Büyük ada (tough to walk but great view)

· Starbucks Büyük ada ( one of the best Starbucks)


What to Eat:

· Any Fish Restaurant on the sea side


To See: Maiden’s Tower in Üsküdar - Not touristic

· Very Little

· Just a tower in the middle of the sea ;)

· Don’t have to go there just take ferry & see it ;)


Region: Kadıköy - Not touristic

Places to see & To Do:

· Everything for locals and students, very crowded area easy to go there by Ferry (Take Beşiktaş-Kadıköy ferry, go to the roof and enjoy the view) Good for shopping and eat good local food.


What to Eat:

· Çiya Restaurant: The best Turkish traditional Food & Kebap

· A lot of local and international food places and bars


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