Thursday, May 8

A Guide to Istanbul


Good morning! I hope you're having a great week so far and that you are looking forward to the weekend ahead. I know I am, on Friday Ben and I are having my brother and his girlfriend over for her belated birthday celebration. I think I may just remake the carrot cake I made last week as it was such a hit! Or I'd be fascinated to hear of any of your favourite cakes/dream birthday cake as I just love cooking and getting flour all down my Cath Kidston apron!

Anyways, giving that it's Thursday and over on Instagram there'll be no doubt lots of #throwbackthursday snaps; I want to share with you my guide to Istanbul. I seriously cannot believe it was a month ago that I was enjoying the sites and culture of Istanbul; and now I'm, well, revising for my exams this month. 

For this guide I am going to keep it real simple, with the top five places/things I would recommend seeing whilst you visit and then giving you the low-down on costs and whatnot as we all need to face the financial reality of a city break.

2. Galata Tower: If you aren't too scared of heights and you want a panoramic view of Istanbul then head on up the lift to the top of Galata Tower. This tower was built in 1348 and was formally known as the Tower of Christ, intended to watch over the Golden Horn of the Bosphorus River. Also, if you're a bit peckish, and don't want to get blown away, head inside and enjoy a extravagant lunch full of delightful treats and enjoy the view while you eat. 

3. Topkapi Palace Museum: This place is an absolute must for all art lovers, architectures, historians and theologians. This museum, which is more accurately multiple museums in one grand botanical garden has outstanding artifacts, claiming to have Muhammad's tooth and also Moses' staff. Also, the jewels are phenomenal, making fine jewels in a jewellery shop look amateurish. I have seriously never seen anything like it before, gold and emerald encrusted beds are just the start of it!

4. Galata Mevlevihanesi: Not the most touristy of places but you seriously need to visit this museum of tranquility when you visit, when I visited it was a beautifully warm spring morning and was able to really appreciate the gardens; and the snoozing cats lying around the gardens. You can also book to watch the Whirling Dervishes in action, taking you back in time and experiencing the culture.

5. Bosphorus River Cruise: Although not exactly a sight in itself, once you depart from the docks you literally have the best sights of Istanbul from the river, so be sure to bring along your camera and snap, snap away! However just some cautionary advice, go to the docks at Zoe Yacht Bosphorus Cruise Istanbul, here a return journey will cost you 10 Turkish lire, rather than the extortionate prices advertisers elsewhere. A good sign is with this cruise is the locals use it, therefore you know you're getting your money's worth. Hop off at any island and enjoy a leisurely lunch people watching and taking in the fresh air, whilst enjoying fresh, local cuisine. 

Let's get down to the nitty gritty prices, what you have to consider at all times is the exchange rate, when a dish is for 26 Turkish lire, do not have a heart attack, divide it by the exchange rate, which is on average for GBP 3.5 so really your meal is costing you £7.40 something. You can really enjoy yourself in Istanbul and live a leisurely lifestyle without breaking the bank (if your exchange rate is good that is). 

I hope you enjoyed this guide to Istanbul, all the of the top 5 sights are linked up if your wandering eyes wish to muse :-) 

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