There is something electric about Istanbul; it is sophisticated, glamorous and steeped in history. The mighty blue Bosphorus cuts through the city dividing it between Asia and Europe, and you can find amazing things to eat on every corner. This is MSK’c ultimate Istanbul City Guide.
What to See
Dust off the cobwebs with a coffee at Fes Café in the Grand Bazaar – where Mr Bond jumped through the window, on a motorbike, in Skyfall. There is no better place for people watching and you are only a stone’s throw from the city’s major tourist attractions.
Blue Mosque, which dominates the city skyline, with its beautiful domed roof and towering minarets.
Just around the corner is the massive Topkapi Palace, a sprawling Otoman palace with ornate rooms filled with wonderful Muslim relics and beautiful gardens.
Not complete with an amazing skyline, check out the Byzantine Basilica Cistern – more exciting than it sounds. Known as the sunken palace (it is that fancy!), and built in the 6th century to house the palaces’ water, it’s a maze of colums, mirrored with black water and lit with green and red lights. It is serene, eery and beautiful all at once.
Mikla – one of the best restaurants in Istanbul, with a beautiful pool and an excuisite menu. It is hard to pick one thing on the menu, so go with lots of freinds and get stuck in.
Hamdi – an Istanbul establishment that serves some of the best kebabs in the city. Marvel at the view of Galata, Sultanahmet and the Bosphorus as you tuck into a feast on the terrace.
Helvetia– A lovely neighborhood restaurant in Asmali Mescit area that serves some of the best local food around – kofte in tomato sauce,
tabbouleh, bulgur wheat salad and soups. It is basic
and exquisite all at once.
Wander through the trendy boutiques in the Tunnel Area of the city, where the fabulous Lomo store is located.
Check out the food shops that line the street in Sirkeci on the Asian side. You can buy wonderful olive oils, nuts, honey and dates.
For something a bit more unusual head to Fashion@Eye in trendy Karaköy where you can pick up rare vintage sunglasses.
The House Hotel Bosphorus – This boutique hotel is situated in Ortakoy, with views of the Bosphorus Bridge. The rooms are extremely luxurious. The Hotel is attached to the House Café Ortakoy, which is such a cool place to hang out, eat and drink.
Hamman – the famous Turkish Hamman is a real expericene. You can drape yourself on marble beds in the Cagaloglu Hamman, doing your best Kate Moss inpression (check out W magazine’s shoot).
Suada Club is a beach club right in the middle of the Bosphorus. You can sip on fabulous drinks and nibble treats on a day bed next to their huge swimming pool. You get the most unbelievebale panouramic views of the city form this floating location.
– sip on a cold sapphire tonic as the sun sets from this boutique hotel’s roof top bar.
Lucca – get a table outside this cool bar and hang-out with the great, good and super cool of Istanbul. The music brings a little bit of Balearics cool to the city.
Kircicegi – This is the best place for mid-night munchies. Beautiful kababs and amazing Turkish soup. Its’s open late and you can sit outside.