Istanbul, oh Istanbul. The only city on two continents, the pearl of the Bosphorus, a blend of cultures, the cradle of civilizations. There are so many experiences one should try when visiting this vibrant city.This list will introduce you to the 10 must have experiences that no traveller should miss!
- Have a bath in Hurrem Sultan Hamam
A Turkish bath at a hamam is full of ritual. Specific ‘tools of the trade’ include a bath bowl, a pestamal or body wrap, slippers, a bath glove, olive oil soap, shampoo, comb, hair conditioner and body lotion. The bath itself includes a body scrub, a bubble wash massage, a head and neck massage but it is much more than that. To discover more: http://www.barefootplustravel.com/bazaars-hamams
2.Dine out like locals do
Turks love eating Kebab, that’s for sure. But, there is so much more to Turkish cuisine than Kebabs. Stay away from the touristic spots and experience the way locals eat. Snack on a simit, a circular bread, typically encrusted with sesame seeds. Try Turkish tea in its tiny glasses, or Turkish coffee, which is darker and stronger than regular coffee. Don’t forget to visit a Meyhane, a traditional tavern, to try Raki, the Turkish alcoholic beverage, meze (appetisers) and more:
3. Walk the two continents
What is more exciting than walking on two continents in one day? Walk the backstreets of Galata, located in Europe, visit small shops for handmade products. Then take a ferry to Kadıkoy, located in Asia, walk around Moda, the oldest spot in town.
4. Take the Bosphorus Dinner Cruise
This is a once in a lifetime experience. The dinner cruise takes you on a magical journey zigzagging between Asia and Europe while you enjoy a Turkish traditional meal and traditional dances and performances Don’t forget to dance with the belly-dancers!
5. Watch the Whirling Dervishes
The ceremony of the Whirling Dervishes is an 800 year tradition in Turkey, and consequently, an important part of Turkey’s cultural heritage. In fact, UNESCO proclaimed this unique ritual an Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005. More on:
6. Shop till you drop in Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar is not just a marketplace but one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. It is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. Stroll around the Bazaar to meet the local artisans creating their masterpieces and find some traditional antiques.
7. Take the nostalgic tramway in Taksim
The historic red and white Tram runs up and down Istiklal Street (once called the Grand Rue de Pera) from Taksim Square to the Tunel Square – a distance of 1.64 km (1 mile). If you take it from Tunel Square in Karakoy up to Taksim you can then walk back down Istiklal visiting the many shops and exploring the various side passageways, like the Balik Pasajı (Fish Passage) or Cicek Pasajı (Flower passage).
8. Learn the art of Ebru (Turkish Water-Marbling)
Participate in an Ebru-Workshop to discover the secrets of a Turkish art. Ebru consists of sprinkling colored ink on the surface of either plain water or a viscous solution. By carefully laying paper over the liquid, the image formed by the ink floating on top of the surface of the liquid is transferred to the paper. Thus, each Ebru is as unique as a fingerprint.
9. Take a day trip to the old Ottoman capital
Edirne was the capital of the Ottoman Empire from 1361 until 1453, when Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Constantinople and made it the capital. It is home to three special mosques, each unique in its own right.