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Old 11-22-2012, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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I'm in Istanbul for 5 days and am couchsurfing while there.

What are some of the top things I need to do? What's a good (and inexpensive) turkish bath for a single guy? I know a few of the baths are for couples and whatnot.

My list thus far:

Blue Mosque
Grand Bazaar
Takism Square
Ortakoy (night life)
Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) - $13
Istanbul Archaeology Museum (Arkeoloji Müzesi) - $8
Church of St. Savior in Chora $6
Topkapı Palace $10
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:22 AM
 
Location: New Zealand
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Read these books first -- will help immensely in appreciating the city:
Istanbul: The Imperial City
Strolling through Istanbul

Other things to do (pictures I took from my trip in September):
- The obelisks and steles on the Hippodrome
- Take a ferry/cruise along the Bosphorus
- Walk the old city walls
- Sulemaniye Mosque
- Galata Tower
- Sunset from Asia
- Eat a ton of great food (check out istanbuleats.com)
- Stroll along Istiklal Caddesi at night -- check out some of the awesome bookstores
- Basilica Cistern
- Florence Nightingale's hospital
- Spice Bazaar
- Maiden's Tower
- Get a hotel with a rooftop view of Sultanahmet
- Eyup
- Rumeli Hisari (north along the Bosphorus)

Lots of other things to see that are not as famous/grand, but you can appreciate if you know/read the history, e.g. Constantine's Column, Sirkeci Station, the Milion, etc.

Btw, Ortakoy Mosque was closed/under renovation when I was there at the end of September.
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Eureka CA
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The current Conde Nast Traveler has a long piece about Istanbul.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:25 PM
 
Location: Dublin, CA
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I just returned from Istanbul. Literally 3 days ago. While your list covers the main sights, you can do these in about 2 days. That is going to leave you alot of time. Unless you are very good with the history of the Ottoman Empire, I'd suggest you take several different walking tours available within Istanbul. I went with the following company:

stanbul Walks

They had great guides and I learned so much. The Byzantine Walk was LONG. We walked about 15K, which is 9 miles in one day (it was actually probably more). However, it was a great tour. I learned a lot.

The bigger question is where are you staying? That means alot too me. I stayed at a hotel very close to major sites. I could walk wherever I wanted within in 15-30 mins which meant alot too me.

The Spice Bazaar and a cruise on the Bosphorous River should not be missed. You can take a local ferry for the cruise, which is fairly cheap. I'd suggest you look at Tripadvisor and go to the Istanbul section. Its how I planned my trip.

Finally, I've been around the world; literally. And Istanbul is one of my top cities to see. I kick myself I did not go there sooner. This was my first trip there, however it will not be my last.

Although a "muslim" country and a European one, it is very relaxed.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:47 PM
 
Location: New Zealand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil306 View Post
While your list covers the main sights, you can do these in about 2 days.
Oh, I don't know about that -- I think it depends on one's traveling style. I take a lot of time exploring and examining each site (especially for photography) and barely saw half the things on my list in 4 days.

Quote:
The Byzantine Walk was LONG.
Was this the walk along the city walls? Really wanted to explore the walls but didn't have time.

Quote:
The bigger question is where are you staying? That means alot too me. I stayed at a hotel very close to major sites. I could walk wherever I wanted within in 15-30 mins which meant alot too me.
This is good advice. Being close to a T1 tram stop is very useful too.

Quote:
a cruise on the Bosphorous River should not be missed. You can take a local ferry for the cruise, which is fairly cheap.
Seconded. I took the commuter ferry from Eminonu to the Asian side twice -- a much cheaper alternative to a tourist cruise, although the latter does go close to the shore and nearer to/stops at many historic sites.

Quote:
Finally, I've been around the world; literally. And Istanbul is one of my top cities to see. I kick myself I did not go there sooner. This was my first trip there, however it will not be my last.
x100 -- Istanbul is one of my favorite cities after one visit. Definitely will be returning for more. I'd strongly advise the OP to read up on the history (the first book on my list is fantastic) -- it makes a huge difference IMHO.

Btw, here are pictures from my Istanbul trip: Istanbul
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
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I disagree that you can see all those sights in two days. Topkapi itself takes most of a day. You could spend a huge amount of time in the Grand Bazaar as well.

And walking can be hot work, depending on the time of year.

I agree you should add the Sulemaniye Mosque if it's reopened (it was closed some time ago for renovations.) Chora is amazing. The Cisterns are very neat too (and cool on a hot day.)

We walked all over for 5 days a few years back--it was June so it got hot in the afternoon, so we came back to our hotel in the Sultanahmet and rested a bit before dinner.

In the summer a trip out by ferry to the Princes' Isles is also very nice.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:46 PM
 
1,369 posts, read 1,774,290 times
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My latest favorite webcams to watch are all in Istanbul - it is the closest I will ever get.

To the OP, or anybody else going, if you happen to pass by the Burger King on Istiklal Street, please take some photos of the webcam, and up and down the street, and especially up in the air to show the tops of the buildings - it's driving me nuts wondering where all the people, cars and streetcars are going to/coming from, and I can't find any photos on the internet showing that area. Google Maps shows the Burger King, but of course there is no Street View there. I want to know!!!

I love all the webcams there, especially the two in the bazaars - for those who have been, you should check them all out - many are pan cams and you can see a lot of the city.

Istiklal Street:

İstiklal Caddesi Kamerası I ibbtube.com

Grand Bazaar:

Kapal

Spice Bazaar:

M

OP, if you do go to the Burger King, tell us what time and I'll take a screenshot of you.
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:56 AM
 
Location: New Zealand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C2ShiningC View Post
it's driving me nuts wondering where all the people, cars and streetcars are going to/coming from
Not sure what exactly you mean, but Istiklal is a pedestrian-only street stuffed with lots of shops and restaurants -- it is a popular hangout (especially Taksim Square at the northern end) and shopping area. Think of say Times Square in New York, or Michigan Avenue in Chicago. It is pedestrian-only, with the exception of official/service vehicles (e.g. street cleaner, security/police, etc.) and a tram that runs along the entire length of the street.
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzz View Post
Not sure what exactly you mean, but Istiklal is a pedestrian-only street stuffed with lots of shops and restaurants -- it is a popular hangout (especially Taksim Square at the northern end) and shopping area. Think of say Times Square in New York, or Michigan Avenue in Chicago. It is pedestrian-only, with the exception of official/service vehicles (e.g. street cleaner, security/police, etc.) and a tram that runs along the entire length of the street.
Yes, that's what I meant by streetcar, the tram. For a pedestrian-only street, it has tons of service vehicles, taxis, motorcycles, and cars, especially in the early morning, who weave and dodge around pedestrians, it is quite scary to watch. There are a lot of buskers who hang out on the threshold of the first building on the left of the cam, which appears to be a bank of some kind. I'm just curious to see what's all around the area of the cam, and want to see looking the opposite direction.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
8,593 posts, read 11,079,658 times
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As far as baths go, I went to Cemberlitas and it was amazing. Built in the 16th century, it's a great experience. That was a few years ago, so I can't speak to anything more recent.

http://www.cemberlitashamami.com/
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