Tourist Information Office
Sultanahmet – near Hippodrome (Divan Yolu Caddesi)
The Basilica Cistern, (Yerebatan Sarnıçı) is beneath the little park at the northern end of the
Hippodrome. Above the hidden cistern is a stone tower that was once part of the city's system of
Beside the stone tower is the Milion, all that remains of a triumphal gate that served as the zero-
mile-marker on the road called the Mese (now Divan Yolu [map]), the Roman road between
Constantinople and Rome.
Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) is across the street from the stone tower, Topkapı Palace is just beyond
Ayasofya, and the Istanbul Archeological Museums are next to Topkapı, down the hill bordering
Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)
Free entrance. Closed during prayer sessions. Tram: Sultanahmet
Tourist enter not the main entrance (from Hippodrome entrance, follow garden path diagonally to
the right to the outh side of mosque)
Aya Sofia (Museum)
You will still have to stand in a queue to get into Haghia Sophia but if you have all day, you can wait
till the end of the day as most of the tour parties will have moved on by then. Tues-Sun 9am –
http://www.kultur.gov.tr Tram: Sultanahmet, 20TL Start very early to avoid tour groups
Little Aya Sofia Mosque
Kucuk Haghia Sophia Mosque (Kucuk Ayasofya Camii)
Free entrance. Tram: Sultanahmet
Avoid noon time, esp Friday noon due to prayer sessions for all mosques
Topkapi Palace (Topkapi Sarayi)
Go very early or late. Avoid weekends
Get to Topkapi Palace before opening time (9am) so you get there before the tour groups. Go
straight to the Harem so you can see around this must see part of the palace in relative calm and
then go to the Treasury (these are the bits that get really busy). 20TL Palace, 15TL Harem (Harem
closes at 4pm) Closed on national holidays and 1pm on 1st day of religious festivals.
23rd Apr - National Sovereignty & Children Festival
1st May - Labour Day
19th May - Commemoration of Ataturk & Youth & Sports Day
Wed-Mon 9am – 7pm, Closed Tues Tram: Sultanahmet or Gulhane http://www.topkapisarayi.gov.tr
20TL for Topkapi Palace
15TL for Harem
I do recommend that if you decide to DIY, purchase a guidebook and read about the places you
plan to visit before you leave your home. Take your book with you so you have a reference once
you are in the historic sights. When you get to Topkapi I would go first to the Treasury because it is
the place that will be the most crowded. Then I would go to the harem, and finally finish up with the
rest of the palace. This is out of sequence, but best for crowd management.
Be sure to purchase both a ticket to Topkapi Palace and the separate ticket to the harm. You will
want to see the harem, and you will need a separate ticket to do that.
You can see all of that kind of relics belonging to Moses, St. John, caliphs, and of course
Mohammed at the Holy Relics section of Topkapi palace. You don't need to pay an extra to visit
that section, which is located at the 3rd courtyard on the left corner. You can not take any photos
inside, with or without flash.
You should get off the tram at Sultanahmet tram stop and walk to the northwest corner of St.Sophia
for the main entrance to the palace grounds.
Istanbul Archaeology Museum (Arkeoloji Muzesi)
Entrance in the first court of Topkapi Palace (2nd portal on the left after St Irene) and up hill at the
back of Gulhane Park. Tues-Sun 9.30am – 5pm Tram: Sultanahmet or Gulhane
Grand Bazzar (Kapali Carsisi)
Opening Times:Monday to Saturday 9:00 - 19:00. Closed Sundays and bank holidays.
Tram: Sultanahmet http://www.grandbazaaristanbul.org
Best entrance thru Beyazit Gate (across from Beyazit stop on the tram along Divanyolu) and
Nuruosmaniye Gate (from Cemberlitas tram stop on Divanyolu, follow Vezirhani Cad to the arched
entrance to the mosque grounds which leads to the bazaar
Istanbul University is opening its doors in Beyazıt Campus to tourists who want to see its historical
entrance doors, 19th-century fire-watch tower, large sculptures and mansions
Arasta Bazaar (very close to Sultanahmet Square, less conjested and cheaper than Grand
Bazaar?) 9am to 7pm. Daily
Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts 10TL
Closed Mondays, 9am to 5pm
Sultanahmet Square in Eminonu
İstanbul Mosaic Museum 7 TL
Daily except Mon 9am–4.30pm
When you exit the Mosaic Museum, you'll be in the Arasta Bazaar on the east side of the Blue
Mosque. Turn right (south), walk through the bazaar and straight downhill along Küçük Ayasofya
Camii Sokak to reach the Little Hagia Sophia Mosque, built by Justinian as the Church of Saints
Sergius and Bacchus around 530 AD.
Located close to Sultanahmet Square at Arasta Bazaar
Tram: Beyazit. From Grand Bazaar, cross university park and follow domes.
Kılıç Ali Paşa Mosque
Beside Tophane Tram stop
Ortaköy Mosque (Ortaköy Camii)
(Officially the Büyük Mecidiye Camii (Grand Imperial Mosque) of Sultan Abdülmecid) in Beşiktaş,
Istanbul, Turkey, is situated at the waterside of the Ortaköy pier square, one of the most popular
locations on the Bosphorus. Neo-Baroque style.
=> Scheduled on a Sunday since there is a market on Sundays?
(closed Monday & Thursday; stay 2-3 hrs; guided tour required) 9am – 5pm, last tour leaves 3pm
The cheapest, most comfortable way to get there is by the Zeytinburnu-Kabataş tram which runs
from Sultanahmet Square down to Eminönü, across the Golden Horn to Karaköy (Galata), then
north almost to the palace. Last tram stop Kabatas
If you will stay in sultanahmet ( Oldcity ) You can take tram from sultanahmet tram station and the
direction is KABATAŞ which is last tram station, then take a 10 mins walk.
Selamlık (Official part) 30 TL
Harem (Privy Chambers) 20 TL
Common Ticket for both 40 TL
Be sure to get there just before it opens (9 am). After you buy your ticket (20 tl for both - Selamlik
and Harem) go to the main entrance and wait for your guide to "pick you up". This part was rather
painless as we waited no longer than 15 minutes. The groups form very quickly. After you're done
with Selamlik you will have a short pause until your new guide comes to pick you up for the Harem
part. I wouldn't know anything about the cafes as we spent our free time walking in garden which is
Spice Bazaar (Misir Carsisi)
Tram: Eminonu, opposite Galata Bridge, Closed Sundays, seems like open on Sundays according
Dried fruit from Malatya Pazari
Yeni Cami Mosque
Beautiful 17th century mosque situated in Eminönü district near the Egyptian Spice Bazaar next to
the Golden Horn. The doves flocking its compounds in large numbers provide a sight worth seeing.
The interior of the mosque have great examples of Ottoman tile work
If lunch near Yerebatan Sarnici
suggest the Mosaik which is about a 3 min walk away. Walk up Divan Yolu following the tram
tracks. Just before the tram stop on the right hand side, there is a road going to the right (there is a
gift shop on one corner and a kebab shop on the other) and the Mosaik is just round that corner.
Çiçek Pasajı on İstiklal Avenue
The 19th century Çiçek Pasajı can be described as a miniature version of the famous Galleria in
Milan, Italy, and has rows of historic pubs, winehouses and restaurants.
Meze tasting here?
The avenue, surrounded by late Ottoman era buildings (mostly from the 19th and early 20th
centuries) that were designed with the Neo-Classical, Neo-Gothic, Beaux-Arts, Art Nouveau and
First Turkish National Architecture (Birinci Millî Mimarî Akımı) styles; as well as a few Art Deco style
buildings from the early years of the Turkish Republic, and a number of more recent examples of
modern architecture; starts from the medieval Genoese neighbourhood around Galata Tower and
ultimately leads up to Taksim Square.
- Fish sandwiches (At the Golden Horn side of Galata Bridge at Eminonu)
- Bosphorus Cruise
- Gulluoglu sweet shop – best borek and baklava
St Savior in Chora Church – Byzantine mosiacs (closed Wed) 15TL
Take a bus from Eminonu and get off the bus at Edirnekapi stop. Chora museum is 5 minutes walk
from the bus stop. Any of the bus No.’s 31E, 37E, 38E or 36KE will do. The fare is 1.5 TL/person
only. Open from 09.00 and 19.00 during summer season. (Last admission at 18.00) from April 15th.
- Asitane restaurant
- Head to Pierre Loti for tea overlooking storied Golden Horn
- Ottoman cemetery & Eyup
Best on Sundays, popular craft market, closed 10pm
Ortakoy Square (Iskele Meydani) open air cafes and restaurants
Eyup Sultan Mosque
Get off the tram at Eminonu. At Eminonu, on the Golden Horn side of Galata Bridge, the Golden
Horn ferries leave for Eyup: http://www.sehirhatlari.com.tr/en/2010_2011_Kis_Tarifesi-content-m-
Eyup is the last stop of the ferry and get off there. Eyup Sultan Mosque is right across from you.
Visit Pierre Lito Cafe after that
Can take a cable car to Pierre Lito Cafe
The ferry stop in Eminönü is tricky to find. You keep to the left of the fried fish boats and walk through the bus
stop area until you find the big jewelry store on the other side. Walk down a road where you will see a fenced
parking lot on either side. Keep walking to the water and you will see the ferry building around the corner on
the left. I forget the times of departure, but it is only once per hour, I believe at X:45.
Took the ferry up to the Eyup stop, walked up to the tram and went to the top at Pierre Loti's for Turksih
coffee. We then walked down through the cemetery to the mosque and then to the neighboring bazaar which
has some really great deals. This is a pretty conservative area and you'll find it noticeably so in the dress in
and around the mosque.
Go with an empty stomach
Which one?? Cemberlitas touristy, over-rated? Cagaloglu has better reviews?
Open every day from 6 in the morning until 12 midnight for both men and women
Self-service-45 tl: You can stay inside the bath as long as you wish and after perspiring you can
scrub and wash yourself using the taps around the hot marble or inside one of the rooms
Traditional style-69 tl: After lying down on the hot marble platform and perspiring for a while, one of
the attendants will scrub your body and give you a bubble wash (approx. 15 mins). This scrubbing
and bubble wash take off the dead skin from your body thus helping your skin breathe, cleaning
your pores and also regulating the blood circulation. After the scrubbing, your attendant will wash
you in one of the rooms around the central marble platform.
At the entrance to the bath, you will be asked to select and pay for one of the bathing options and
will be given tokens and directions.
After undressing in the dressing room area, you will wrap your body in a peştamal, a traditional
cotton body wrap. After locking all your belongings in the locker provided (remembering to keep the
key with you at all times), you will pass into the hot area that includes the heated marble platform in
the center. This area, called the sıcaklık, consists of the large, hot marble platform which is
surrounded by bathing basins (kurna) and private bathing cubicles (halvet).
You should first get your body to perspire, either by lying or sitting on the hot marble or pouring hot
water on your body by sitting next to one of the basins. If you have chosen the second option, your
attendant will give you an exfoliating scrub and a bubble wash as you lie on the hot platform. You
will then move to one of the basins and the attendant will wash you there.
Then if you prefer, you may remain lying on the platform to perspire more and relax, and then when
you wish, you may move to one of the basins to wash your body. The scrub and bubble wash by
the attendant lasts for approximately fifteen minutes, while the whole bathing process of resting,
perspiring and washing takes about one to one and a half hours, but there is never a time limit.
If you have chosen the self-service option at the entrance, you will perspire and relax on the hot
platform and then wash yourself at one of the basins. When you feel ready to leave the bath, you
will be given towels to dry your body. After leaving the bath, you may sit and relax in the cooler
area of the hamam, perhaps enjoying a drink as well.
Open every day from 8am - 8pm
Emin Sinan Mh., Neviye Sokak 21, Istanbul, Turkey
+90 212 516 8753
What to know about the Turkish Bath? Here's a list, I hope you'll find it useful:
1.You do not need to book, they are open until midnight (for Cemberlitas Hamams)
2.I recommend that you go last thing in a day and with an en empty stomach. It's not as hot as a
sauna so you can stay longer. It's a comfortably warm temperature inside.
3. You pay at the cashier just after the main entrance. There are two separate sections: one for
men, one for women.
4. After you pay, you walk to the area where there are lockers. You will be helped with lots of other
women who work there. They are aware you are tourists so they help you a lot.
5. Women who work in the bath speak very basic English which you might find quite direct at
times: Sit, walk, there, come!
6. Full nudity is not the norm. You will be asked to keep your underwear and will be given a cotton
wrap to cover.
7.You are given a small soap and a loofa in a box. Please keep your tip in this box also, you are
expected to tip the ladies who work there. It's difficult to keep the money dry.
8. Your glasses will get steamy so will your camera. Leave them in the lockers
9. Now it's time to walk into the wet room. Once you open the doors ......the rest is the experience
itself...so I will not get into more details.
First, talk to the receptionist (most of them speak English) and decide on the level of treatment you
want. DIY wash? Wash with attendant? Oil massage with that? You’ll pay the receptionist and they’ll
take you to a change area, usually your own lockable room, where you’ll undress and leave your
‘Undress’ means pretty much what you want it to mean. Most hamams have separate steam rooms
for men and women. In this situation, men are expected to maintain a certain loin-clothy level of
coverage, but women can throw caution, as it were, to the winds. Most Turkish women subtly drape
themselves with their cloth when they’re not actually bathing, but if you prefer to bask nude no-one
will bat much of an eyelid. If you’re feeling shy, part or all of a swimsuit is acceptable; if you find
yourself in the kind of hamam that has mixed-sex steam rooms and male attendants, it’s usual to
keep on at least the bottom half of a swimsuit.
The attendants will give you a cloth (resembling, in most establishments, an over-sized red gingham
tea towel). You’ll keep this on to travel from the change rooms to the hamam.
You’ll be given some shoes by your attendant – either traditional wooden clogs or fluorescent flip-
flops. Stick with ‘em. As a surface for pratfalls, only banana skins beat out wet marble.
Once you’ve been shepherded into the hamam you’ll be left to lounge on the heated marble. In most
cases, there’ll be a göbektaşı (belly stone), a round central platform where you can loll around like a
sunning python. If not, take a seat and lean against the walls. The idea is to sweat, loosening dirt
and toxins in preparation for your wash.
If you’re going self-service, follow this up with a loofah-and-soap rub-down and douse yourself with
water from the marble basins. If you’ve forked out for an attendant, they’ll catch up with you after
you’ve had a good, 15-minute sweat. You’ll be laid down on the edge of the göbektaşı and sluiced
with tepid water, then your attendant will take you in hand.
First up is a dry massage with a kese (rough mitt). Depending on your attendant, this experience can
be delicious (a little like being washed by a giant cat) or tumultuous (picture a tornado made of
sandpaper). If you get to feeling like a flayed deer, use the international language of charade to bring
it down a notch or two.
Next will be the soap. The attendant will work up an almighty lather with an enormous sponge and
squeeze it all over you: it’s a bit like taking a bubble bath without the bath. The foam (attar of roses?
Asses’ milk? Sorry, it’s most likely good ole Head ‘n’ Shoulders) will be worked into every inch of you.
Next, more sluicing, followed by a shampoo, and voila, you’re clean as a whistle. The shiny kind.
If you’ve ordered an oil massage, you’ll be ushered into another room for it. Unless you’re particularly
flush, it’s probably best to skip this bit: the massages are brief and often lack finesse, and the oils are
After the massage, either soap or oil, you’re on your own. Many tourists splash-and-dash their way
through the hamam experience, leaving immediately after their treatment. Don’t be one of them.
Hang around. Overheat, cool down with a dousing, and repeat to fade. Let your muscles turn to
toffee and your mind go pleasantly elastic. This is what the hamam is really all about.
Eyup Sultan Mosque
- Ottoman Mehter Band on Fridays at noon
The Galata Mevlevihanesi, or tekke, is a undoubtedly the most famous Mevlevi Whirling Dervish
hall. It is located on Galipdede Caddesi, not far from Tünel at the end of Istiklal Caddesi.
Luckily the Rumi Mevlevi still perform in two different locations: the Press Museum (Basın Müzesi)
close to the Çemberlitaş Hamam and the Grand Bazaar in Sultanahmet, and the event hall of the
Sirkeci train station. The performance in the train station’s hall is to be avoided because of the
lousy acoustics and obviously noisy surroundings.
Whirling Dervishes ceremonies (semas) can be witnessed every day at 19:30, except on Mondays.
Tickets are normally 35 TL, but on Saturday 45 TL. Keep in mind though that semas are popular
among tourists, so buy your tickets well in advance. For more information or how to order ticket,
Everyday except Monday, 19:30
More expensive on Sats
e-mail : email@example.com
1-The days of sema peformances (Whirling Dervishes Ritual ) : Everyday, hour: 19: 30 (In addition,
groups Monday, Wednesday and Fridays off ceremony is scheduled.Those days are not taken
2-Ticket fare : 50 TL ( 1 person ), Saturday: ( Sema Performance (Whirling Dervishes Ritual : 50 TL
+ Folk Dance: 20 TL = 70 TL ) Folk Dance is not obligatory to follow.
3-The places of sema peformances(Whirling Dervishes Ritual ) SultanAhmet Cankurtaran Mevlevi
Ismail Dede Efendi Housearound and Cemberlitas Firat Culture Center, Sirkeci Train Station Event
Hall, (Galata Mevlevi House - Closed until December 2012, Press(Basin Müzesi) Museum- -
Closed until December 2015) In addition, groups Monday, Wednesday and Fridays off ceremony is
scheduled. Those days are not taken individual person.
Leaves Tues, Thurs, Sun. Sat most ex
e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Ticket Reservation Call Center (08:00 - 21:00): +90 505 678 06 18 +90 535 210 45 65
TA reported bad reviews for Dede Efendi
Hodjapasha Art & Culture Center
Mevlevi dervishes perform the whirling sema ceremony in the Hodjapasha Art & Culture Center
near Sirkeci Station (map), just down the hill from Sultanahmet, each evening at 19:30 (7:30 pm),
except Tuesday and Thursday.
Go early and not leave to last day as tickets may be sold out.
Bosphorus Cruise (avoid weekends)
Istanbul.html#26232809 => 15 TYL
Where to buy this? IDO?
It really is not a cruise. You use a public ferry, and all you need to do is purchase your ticket prior to
boarding the ferry. I generally try to get to the ferry terminal about 30 minutes before departure
time, but I never travel to Istanbul during high season. You might want to arrive a bit earlier to
insure that you get your choice of seats. I also advise against taking this trip on the week-ends
when it is very popular with residents of Istanbul.
Turyol company is the one offering a 90 minute Bosphorus cruise. They leave from the Golden
Horn side of Galata Bridge at Eminonu. This trip costs 12 TL/person. They have boats every hour
on the hour. The first one leaves at 11.00 AM:
If you want an evening cruise from Eminonu to sariyer for only 1.75 TL (1.10 USD), here2s the
The 18.10 from Eminonu ferry gets to Sariyer at 19.30, good time for fish dinner at one of those
wonderful sea food restaurants at Sariyer. Afterwards you can return with the No.25E bus to
Kabatas, and take a tram from there to Tophane to the docks, or to Sultanahmet where the
historical attractions are. This way you can see the Bosphorus from the sea and the land, for only a
couple of dollars spent on transport.
Turyol and IDO are two separate companies. Turyol docks are to the left of the Galata Bridge at
the Eminonu side of the Bridge. IDO docks are on the right side of the Bridge. Turyol has much
smaller boats and is owned by boat owners cooperative. Here's more on Bosphorus cruises and a
map of IDO cruises:
The Turyol boats leave every hour from their own pier at the Golden Horn side of the Galata Bridge
Sehir Hatlari has taken over from IDO doing the Bosphorus cruises.
Sehir hatlari offers a two hour cruise at 2.30 PM.
It leaves from the pier that is closest to Galata Bridge at Eminonu. When you come out of the
Spice Bazaar at Eminonu, take the underground passageway (full of shops) all the way across to
the other end and the docks are there. It is the closest dock to the Galata bridge and there are
signs that says Bosphorus cruise.
If you miss this ferry, you can always take the 1.5 hour Turyol cruise from the their docks, at the
Golden Horn side of Galata Bridge, right after the fish sandwich restaurants. Sehir Hatlari costs 15
TL/person and the Turyol cruise costs 12 TL/person.
There is one regular municipal ferry cruise at 10.35 from Eminonu and it goes to Anadolu Kavagi.
However you can get off at Sariyer at the European side of Bosphorus (buy one way ticket on
cruise) discover Sariyer and have a nice fish lunch there and finally return to Kabatas with 25E
bus. If you get off the ferry at any place, you have to buy another ticket to get on another
ferry.Here's the cruise schedule:
You can get tickets for both "sehir hatlari" or "Turyol" ferries 15 minutes before departure. Turyol
ferries leave the pier when they are full.
I recommend the municipal short circle cruise for two hours between 14.30 and 16.30. Here is the
Unfortunately no English explanations are provided so you may want a good guidebook. The
highlight are explained at the above link.
However, Turyol cruises for 1.5 hours provide an audio explanation in English, if you want to. They
leave from the Golden Horn side of the Galata Bridge at Eminonu. They have smaller and noisier
boats but leave every hour between 10.00 and 21.00. The last two are made after sunset. Short
circle cruises cost 10 TL/person and Turyol cruises 12 TL/person.
TURYOL cruises leave every hour between 10.00 AM and 7.00 PM every day, from its own Turyol
pier, on the Golden Horn side of the Galata Bridge at Eminonu. So there are lots of cruises by
Turyol every day.(1.5 hours for 12 TL)
The short Bosphorus cruise by Sehir Hatlari leaves at 14.30 in the afternoon. Currently Sundays
only but starting April 1 st, every day of the week. It lasts 2 hours.
Sunday in Ortakoy
Ortakoy would be wonderful in the evening. The market continues til 10.00 PM at least so there is no
problem in going around 5.00-6.00 PM.
There are many ways to go to Ortakoy. The best is by municipal ferry. Here are the winter schedules:
(summer schedules will be published in a couple of days, at the same link). From Eminonu, you can take the
ferries at 17.50, 18.30 and 18.50. To go to Eminonu from Taksim, simply take the funicular to Kabatas and
the tram from Kabatas to Eminonu.
You can also go to Ortakoy by taking the bus No.25E from Kabatas to Ortakoy (this is Kabatas-Sariyer bus).
Finally, you can always take a taxi to Ortakoy from Kabatas. I would prefer the municipal ferry and enjoy the
ferry ride along the European coast of Bosphorus.
Banyan Restaurant or Feriye Restaurant are two of the better restaurants at Ortakoy. See their reviews at the
forum by using forum search.
Easy way to get from Taksim to Ortaköy was with bus as the service is very frequent. in the evening there is
horrendous rush hour traffic on the coastal road to Ortakoy and the easy way becomes the difficult way. If my
schedules match, I rather take the evening ferries from Eminonu to Ortakoy. Much more scenic, faster and
more comfortable. Istanbul is the city of ferries and whenever you have the opportunity, board on one.
a friend of mine advised me to visit ortakoy either for lunch on a bosphorous view at ortakoy or at night for
dinner or drink, or at least for a cup of coffee. Best is evening or night with lights twinkling beneath
=> Ortakoy square is not big and surrounded by many cafes. For a good scenery and italian food, you can
prefer House Cafe in the opposite direction of mosque.
If you go to the Sunday market, you will find a whole square in the market (near the ferry terminal) selling
Kumpir (stuffed potatoes)
Tulips in Istanbul
Long ignored for their bad connotation with the Tulip era of 1700s, a period of ostentation and costly parties
conducted by state elite amidst large gardens full of tulips (and also when the first bulbs were introduced to
the Netherlands from Istanbul, by the way), which was later accused of economic destruction and the
eventual dissolution of Ottoman Empire, tulips have regained much of their former popularity in the last
decade and now serve as some sort of symbol of both Istanbul and the whole Turkey. They bloom from late
March to early May (best bet is early to mid April) and while they can be seen on many avenues of the
city wherever there is enough space for planting at the sides and the central strip of the road, if you are after
admiring and/or photographing large patches of tulips with relatively exotic varieties, head to Sultanahmet
Park and Gülhane Park in Sultanahmet; Emirgan Park near the northern Bosphorus neighbourhood of
Emirgan; or Çamlıca Hill in Asian Side.
Museum Pass Istanbul Card (72TL)
The Museum Pass İstanbul Card allow anyone to enter into Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture
and Tourism -owned museums in İstanbul. It costs 72 Turkish Liras and permits a single entrance
to the museums for a maximum of three days or 72 hours.
This is a great solution for tourists who want to see the masterpieces of İstanbul that everyone
No more standing in queue, this pass allows you to go straight to the turnstile and save time.
There are 6 museums which you can enter easily with this card. The museums are as follows
Hagia Sophia Museum 20TL
Topkapı Palace Museum (except Harem Apartments) 20TL
Chora Museum 15TL
İstanbul Archaeological Museums 10TL
(Group of three archeological museums located in the Eminönü district of Istanbul, Turkey, near
Gülhane Park and Topkapı Palace.)
Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts 10TL
Sultanahmet Square in Eminonu
İstanbul Mosaic Museum 8 TL
Located close to Sultanahmet Square at Arasta Bazaar
The holders of the Museum Pass İstanbul will be able to visit the following museums, free of
charge and without having to queue: the Chora and Hagia Sophia Museums, which bring the
magnificence of the Eastern Roman Empire to the present; Topkapı Palace Museum and Harem
Apartments exhibiting the grandeur of the Ottoman Empire; İstanbul Archaeological Museums
housing the most important cultural heritage of the Hittite, Assyrian, Lydian, Phrygian and
Hellenistic civilizations; the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts bringing together the most
elegant examples of Islamic art; and the İstanbul Mosaic Museum presenting splendid examples
of ancient mosaic art.
Chora Museum 15TL
Hagia Sophia Museums 20TL
Topkapı Palace Museum and Harem Apartments 20TL +15TL
İstanbul Archaeological Museums 10TL
Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts 10TL
İstanbul Mosaic Museum 8TL
The Museum Pass İstanbul costs 72 TL and is valid for 72 hours, beginning with your first museum
visit. What’s more, advantages offered to holders of the Museum Pass İstanbul aren’t just limited to
this. Attractive discounts await the holders of the Museum Pass İstanbul at the city’s elite private
museums, together with arts and entertainment venues too.
(Only in Turkish)
The public transport (except ferries) usually runs between 06.00-24.00. The exception is Metrobus
which runs 24/7. Akbil is very difficult to find and is being phased out and replaced by Istanbul card.
Get an Istanbul card which does the job of an Akbil and more. If you can find an Akbil, then each
time you punch in at the bus, ferry, metro, etc. the screen shows you how much credit you have left
in the Akbil.
In a kiosk by the tramstop, left side when you walk up, 30 m after the stop
You can also purchase Akbil at Sirkeci tram stop, Eminonu and Taksim bus stops, and at Kadikoy
pier at Kadikoy.
The booth in Sultanahmet often seems to be closed. If you don't succeed there, the one at Sirkeci
is more reliably open.
Shops/kiosks near tramstops
Istanbulkart - You can buy it at the tram stops or main bus stops at Sirkeci, Eminonu, Taksim etc. It
is also sold at newspaper or sandwich stands at central locations. You can top up the credit on this
card at all places that sell it.
Kadiköy (Asian side)
Tuesdays market (sali pazari) should not be missed also and once you come to Kadikoy by ferry,
simply take a short taxi ride to the market at Hasanpasa.
From Sultanahmet, simply take the tram to Eminonu and from Eminonu the frequent ferry to
Kadikoy. This whole trip cost 3.50 TL. Once at Kadikoy first explore the Kadikoy market, have lunch
or dinner at Ciya restaurant (my favorite) and then do all the rest of the activities like visiting the
Tuesday Market and the Daily market at Kadikoy
The Tuesdays market is entirely different. ıt is in Hasanpasa, adjacent to Kadikoy area and is held
only once a week. What is called kadikoy market place is the area where Ciya restaurant and all
other food stores, fish markets, candy stores, delis, bakeries, bookstores, etc. are located.
Kadikoy market is open Tuesdays and Fridays. It is in its new location at Hasanpasha/Kadikoy.
Just take a taxi from the pier.
Tuesdays market is open from 9.00 AM till 7.00 PM. You can go any time. Taxi from Kadikoy will
cost around 10-12 TL. Last ferry from Kadikoy to Karakoy is at 12.00 Midnight.h
Kadiköy is lovely, İ really like to stroll in the area around the daily market, just up from the jetty.
They sell vegetables, nuts, fish mainly. İt is very lively.
And İ like to have lunch in Otantik (Anatolian food), they have the best Keskül İ have every had,
and İ go especially there to eat it together with the meatballs covered with bulgur called İçli köfte.
The restaurant might look a bit touristy with the woman baking bread in the window, but İ never see
tourists there, only locals.
The walking up to Moda is very nice.
The Tuesday market was close to the Fenerbahce stadium, but İ have read it moving around a bit,
so İ am not sure where it is now, could be still there though. The market is huge!
Daily market at Kadikoy + Ciya
The butchers, bakers, spice shops, and fish market, etc. are all on the same street that Ciya
restaurant is on. Walk to Eminonu from your hotel, and take a ferry to Kadikoy. Once at the pier,
find the Central Post Office (PTT) behind the Kadikoy square and walk up the street that Starbucks
is on. Ciya restaurant street is the second one on the right after Starbucks. It is called
Guneslibahce street. Here's the main website and a map: "http://www.ciya.com.tr/index_en.php",
and "http://www.ciya.com.tr/index_en.php?contact"(click on map). There are three Ciya restaurants
and the one you want is "Ciya Sofrasi".
Bagdat Street (Bagdat caddesi)
Bagdat street is most fun between 5.00-8.00 PM. It is not really that long, the relevant stretch
between Suadiye (Zara store) and Caddebostan (Mado cafe). About 40 minute walk at a leisurely
At Kadikoy get on the Bostanci Dolmush (shared van) to Suadiye stop. There walk on the street
in front of the entrance of Suadiye hotel towards Bagdat Avenue and make a left when you hit the
avenue. It is along avenue and you can walk (in the same direction of the one way traffic) the
Bagdat street all the way to Mado ice cream cafe at Caddebostan. There will be lots of stores,
cafes, restaurants, etc. along the way. You can get a Dolmush back to Kadikoy from Caddebostan
Bagdat street can be visited by taking a dolmush to Suadiye, getting to the Vakko store on Bagdat
street and then walking in the direction of traffic flow till Mado Ice cream shop at Caddebostan, and
have a great ice cream there. Here's a map
From European to Asian side
there are very frequent ferry services between the European side and the Asian side, almost every
15-20 minmutes. These ferries are between Karakoy and Kadikoy, Eminonu and Kadikoy, Besiktas
and Kadikoy, Kabatas and Kadikoy (seabus by IDO), and Eminonu and Uskudar. Here are the ferry
schedules of municipal ferry administration:
The last ferry from Kadikoy to Karakoy (accross Eminonu) is at midnight
Istikial Caddesi (Look at the various food options)
Let's have a walk on Istiklal (pedestrian only) from Taksim to Tunel. At Taksim you will see on your left the
most famous burger place Kızılkayalar (open 24/7) and then the ubiquitous Burger King, and many other
steam table restaurants. On your right there will be a small but historic water fountain, but again on your left
there will be the Aya Triada Orthodox Church (entrance from Meselik street). Make sure to visit this place by
giving a tip to the man at the gate otherwise you may not be able to get in. It is a grand church built in the
last century. Back to Istiklal, continuing down on your walk, again on your left there is the famous Haci Bekir
candy and desert shop (although Cafer Erol Sweets at Kadikoy is my favorite). On your right there will be
Rumeli Han, and it is basically a shopping arcade, but still very interesting. On your left again there is the
electronics store called Teknosa, a chain that belongs to one of the richest families of Turkey, but there is
much better and bigger electronics giant called Saturn down the road so you can ignore this one. Going
down further you will come to Aga Mosque on your right and the Sakizagaci street in front of the mosque.
Over here there is one of my favorite Turkish/Ottoman restaurants in Istanbul called Haci Abdullah. You can
have lunch or dinner there: http://www.haciabdullah.com.tr/wp-content/English/contact.html
Walking down further on Istiklal, you will see a beautifully restored (except the balcony glass panels) large
new building on your right and that is the Demiroren-Istiklal mall, and the only mall on Istiklal. You must enter
this mall, have a look around the Virgin Megastore (bookstore) for all your book, guide and map needs:
Now more importantly, at the bottom of this mall, on three separate floors, there is the giant Saturn Elctronics
Megastore where you can satisfy all your electronics needs. Recently, my cousin visiting from US, could find
exactly the i-phone protective cover he liked in this store whereas he could not find it in US. There were
hundreds of choices.
Now as you come out of the Demiroren-Istiklal mall, make sure you enter Saray Muhallebicisi desert
(sweets) shop right across the street. This is a mega chain, owned by the family of the mayor of Istanbul, but
this particular store is the flagship and the oldest. Have some asure, kazandibi, tavuk gosu with ice cream,
gullac, etc. and you will love it. Not expensive at all. "www.saraymuhallebicisi.com/english/index.htm". This is
also my favorite place. Walking down further on Istiklal, you will see Cetinkaya Discount department store
on your left: "http://www.cetinkaya.com.tr/". This place is always crowded by people looking for fantastic
bargains. If you want shirts for 6 USD, pants for 7 USD, this is the place to be.
Walking down further on Istiklal street, you come to Mado Cafe, Flower Passage, and a restaurant called
"Otantik Anadolu Yemekleri". These are all must sees. Mado here almost always puts on an ice cream show,
have a look: "www.youtube.com/watch…". Mado is my favorite ice cream in Turkey and it has an excellent
thick texture. Get one. Now if you wish you can enter "Otantik Anadolu Yemekleri" restaurant an order
yourself a "gozleme". You can have ground beef, different kinds of cheese, etc. inside. Here is how it is
made, authentically: "www.youtube.com/watch…". It makes a good snack, with ayran. Now is the time to
enter Cicek Pasaji (Flower passage). It is really a historic building, restored in the 70's, and now huses
several similiar meyhane type fish restaurants. This place has a lot of atmosphere. You can also discover
next alley that leads into Balik Pazari (Fish Market). Sampiyon Kokorech is very well known here. If it is
evening or night time, you can have a fantastic dinner at a meyhane at Nevizade street, off from fish market
alley. My favorite is Boncuk restaurant, however you can do what Anthony Bourdain did and eat at Kalamar
restaurant at Nevizade: "www.youtube.com/watch…".
Now if you continue walking down further on Istiklal street, you will come across lots of interesting stores and
buildings. First on the left would be St. Anthony Padua catholic church (largest catholic church in Istanbul)
and on the right Pasabahce Glassware and Giftware store. Excellent Pera Museum, off Istiklal street near
Odakule is also there on the right. On the left there is the Istanbul Bookstore, owned by the municipality,
where all the books are about Istanbul, mostly in English. A very good place to visit. Walking further down
you come to Dutch Consulate where there is the Union Church and every Sunday the services are in
English. Finally there is the Ada Cafe on the right, which is an excellent cafe which also contains a
bookstore. This is a nice place to visit.
Finally we arrive at Tunel (one stop metro to Karakoy), but instead of taking this metro, I suggest you go
down the street on the left called Galip Dede Street which is full of interesting musical instrument shops. After
7-10 minutes walk on that street, make a right and you arrive at Galata Tower, another magnificent historic
attraction you must visit.
Nisantasi is one of the best shopping districts of Istanbul. It contains designer label stores, very nice
restaurants and cafes, a beautiful mall, and a few outstanding hotels. Otherwise it is mainly a posh
residential district. Now we will discover this area. There are basically 5 main streets that we will discover
there and they are Rumeli, Vali Konagi, Abdi İpekçi, Atiye and Tesvikiye streets. I sometimes visit Nisantasi
for shopping and for its restaurants. Here’s a rough sketch for you:
The best way to discover Nisantasi is to start from the Rumeli Street at Osmanbey. First take the metro from
Taksim and the first stop is Osmanbey. When you come out of the metro station simply make a left turn into
Rumeli Street and walk towards Nisantasi. On your left at the corner you will see a great neighborhood spice
store called Zencefil Aktar. This store has great spices. On your right you will see one of the very few
Chinese fast food restaurants in Istanbul, called Cin Lee. It is run by a great Chinese lady and has very
inexpensive prices. On your left you will see a good mens clothing brand in Turkey, called Sarar and right
after that a few good jewelery stores and the excellent Pull & Bear sportswear store. On your right you will
see the well known Bagzibagli clothing materials store where men can have custom made shirts and suits
made rather fast. figenbagzibagli.com/hakkimizda/nisantasi.htm… On your left again there is a very good
bookstore called Remzi, which is one of my favorites. It has a lot of books in English, art boks, tourist
guidebooks, and a lot of books on Istanbul. On your left again there is Faik Sonmez Outlet store for excellent
ladies clothing. http://www.faiksonmez.com/english/index.html. They have great prices. Following Faik
Sonmez, there is the excellent ladieswear wholesale boutique called Adil Isık. http://www.adilisik.com/. All our
visitors interested in wholesale purchases can go in there. On the right there is HSBC bank, Turkcell stores
that some visitors may use, followed by ladies large size clothing store called Maxim.
http://www.maximod.com.tr/en/index.asp. They have excellent selections. Finally we have the ubiquitous
McDonalds on the right and Burger King on the left, facing each other. The last store on Rumeli street is
Stefanel, a well known chain.
Now we are at Nisantasi intersection. We will cross street here and make a right into Vali Konagi Street for a
short walk. First on our left is the excellent Yargici brand name clothing store, which is one of my favorites. I
always make a point of entering this store and look for exciting items of the season. Across from Yargici there
is nice cafe called Zamane Kahvesi, but just after Yargici there are also two well known cafes, Starbucks and
Cafe Nero. I like them both. After Cafe Nero there is the brand name jeans store called Mavi. Now is the time
to make a left turn into the famous Abdi Ipekçi street.
Abdi Ipekçi street is the equivalent of famous Rodeo Drive at Beverly Hills, California. It is lined with some of
the worlds famous designer and brand name stores. First on your left there is an excellent Burberry store
that we all know, followed by the excellent Turkish leather store (leatherwear and bags) called DESA. Across
from these stores on your right are Topshop and Marks & Spencer Stores, followed by excellent gold jewelery
brand name store called Altınbas. Following Altinbas you will see the Godiva Chocolatier, a well known
Turkish chain. (Turkish food giant Ulker bought this chain recently, lock, stock, and barrel). They indeed have
the most heavenly chocolates in Istanbul. On your left again there is the Lacoste sportswear chain followed
by Mama Bar. It is a small basement bar and pizzeria but on the sidewalk it also has open air seating.
www.mamapizzeria.com/en/restaurants.asp… It also has excellent pizzas. Following Mama bar and pizzeria,
we have the well known Roberto Cavalli and Ermenegildo Zegna designer label stores, full of beautiful
merchandise for women and men. After Zegna there is another nice restaurant followed by Alexander
McQueen store. After that there is the wonderful Grissini Italian Restaurant:
www.istanbulrestaurants.com/detail.php… Following Grissini, there is the largest store on Abdi Ipekçi, called
Beymen. http://www.beymen.com/magazalar. It also has a very nice brasserie in front of it called Beymen
Brasserie. 360cities.net/image/…70.0 It is an excellent place to relax after walking and shopping and to have
a couple of drinks. Across from Beymen on the right side of Abdi Ipekci street, we have the famous Zilli
men’s store, followed by even better known Vacheron Constantine watches. However the most interesting
store here is the Urart jewelery store, which makes excellent jewelery after original Urartian designs.
http://jump.dexigner.com/directory/4373. Urart is followed by Cengiz Abazoglu, a well known Turkish
designer. Cartier jewellers are right here also. Here is a 360 degree view of Abdi Ipekci street (click on full
Returning to the left bank of Abdi Ipekci street, we have the ever popular Louis Vuitton and Bang Olufsen
stores: global-blue.com/destinations/…. No need to talk about these famous brand name ladies bag and
brand name musical equipment stores. They are followed by a well known local designer store Vakko and its
youth branch, Vakkorama. You should always try to see the beautiful merchandise at Vakko if you are in
Istanbul. Across from these stores on the right side, you will see Guiseppe Zanetti ladies shoes and the well
known Kırıntı restaurant on two floors, where you can get excellent country steaks and New York steaks.
http://www.kirinti.com.tr/. Kırıntı branch at Bagdat street is one of my favorites. Prada shoes are right here
also, followed by the best hotel on this street, The House Hotel, tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g293974-
d185896… And finally on the right side again you will find the new Italian restaurant, Cento Percento.
www.centopercento.com.tr/menu/menu.html#6. This restaurant came in place of the old Mezzaluna, my
favorite here. We need a review for this one, as I have heard good things about “Cento percento”.
On the left side of Abdi Ipekci after Vakko, we have Tiffany’s Jewelers, Midpoint Cafe (another favorite of
mine from Bagdat street), http://www.midpoint.com.tr/eng/index.html and three great designer stores,
Salvatore Ferragamo, Brandroom and Micheal Kors. Right next to Mid Point restaurant, there is an entrance
to Milli Reasurans Passage, where thare are two great cafes, Assk Cafe and Cafe Wien. Cafe Wien has
great mouth watering Austrian cakes and deserts and is always worth a visit. Here is a nice map of
surrounding neighborhood: http://www.cafewien.com.tr/wien_mekan.htm.
At the corner of Tiffany’s you would be making a left into the wonderful street called Atiye. Atiye is a short
street that used to house Cafe Wien and dolmushes for Taksim, but now it has become a concentration area
of nice cafes and restaurants. On the left of Atiye street you will first find Kav Wine Boutique, where you can
have a good selection wines. www.kavbutik.com/butik/shopcontent.asp… The Kav Wine Boutique is followed
by the well known House Cafe: thehousecafe.com/web/…locations. The cafe here is where it all started. Now
the company owns the House Hotels also and it is a local brand. I often visit the one at Caddebostan, my
home neighborhood. After House Cafe you will see Salon Salomanje, another meeting place for the beautiful
people of Nisantasi. http://www.salomanje.com.tr/. On your right at Atiye street, there is the boutique of Arzu
Kaprol, a well known Turkish designer. You need to check her Fall-Winter collection: arzukaprol.com.tr/#/….
Hardal Cafe, Quick China Restaurant and Casita Manti (Turkish ravioli) follow Arzu Kaprol’s boutique.
Once we arrive at Tesvikiye street, you should be turning left, unless you want to visit Emporio Armani or
Gucci stores and the great hotel Park Hyatt Istanbul on Tesvikiye street. Park Hyatt, The House Hotel
Nisantasi and The Sofa Hotel Istanbul are the three wonderful hotels at Nisantasi area. Across the street you
will see Tesvikiye Mosque, …googleapis.com/static.panoramio.com/… a mosque that has a unique
architecture in baroque style designed by Balyan brothers who designed Dolmabahce palace. Teşvikiye cafe
is right next to Tesvikiye Mosque. On your left you will see Max Mara designer boutique and Bahar patisserie
for nice cakes. Sutte Deli and Mothercare stores will follow. Finally we arrive at the large Saray Muhallebicisi
restaurant/cafe and desert shop, a very successful chain owned by the mayor of Istanbul. This place is one
of my favorites for its excellent Turkish sweets and deserts. saraymuhallebicisi.com/english/index.htm.
Walking towards Rumeli street, Sofa Hotel is on your left, followed by Massimo Dutti and Zara stores. You
will also see Pasabahce boutique glassware store here. I suggest you have a look at its magnificent
glassware. They make great gifts. The Spanish Zara chain store comes next. Good clothing and prices for all
tastes. Right across on Tesvikiye street on the right is Istanbul Fashion Academy,
www.istanbulmodaakademisi.com/en/index.html. Right next door we have the American chains Banana
Republic and Gap Stores. Banana Republic used to be one of my favorites from US. Right in between these
stores we have the large entrance to City’s Nisantasi Mall. It is not a big mall but lots of interesting stores,
restaurants and movie theatres here. http://www.citysnisantasi.com/eng/. Definitely worth seeing. The final
noteworthy store on your left is a Mudo chain store, again one of my favorites. I suggest that you spend a
little time in this store. They have very reasonable prices. http://www.mudo.com.tr/Store/.
Now we are back at the beginning of Rumeli street. You can cross the street and walk back this street for
about 500 meters back to Osmanbey metro station where you can take the metro back to Taksim. If you are
a wholesale shopper (buyer for your stores), then take the next street called Sair Nigar parallel to Rumeli
street, where all the wholesale and manufacturer showrooms for ladies and mens clothing and accessories
This completes our Nisantasi walks
Estimated time, minimum 2-3 hours – more is better
Not to miss: the Treasury (“Hazna”); the Harem; the Throne Room; the fourth court with the beautiful kiosks
overlooking the Bosporus and the basins (“havuz”).
Tip: nice restaurant with a splendid view to the Bosporus inside
Estimated time 2 hours
Not to miss: the “Alexander sarcophagus” (some figures in the bass-relief adornments are identified as
Alexander the Great, Hephaestion and Perdiccas); the Babylonian bull ornamental tiles; the peace treaty of
Kaddesh, signed between Ramses II and the Hittite king Hattusilis III after the battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC.
Estimated time – 2-3+ hours (depends on interests and pace)
Estimated time: 1 hour
Not to miss: the exquisite marble mihrab; the school (“madrasah”);
Yerebatan Saray (cistern)
Estimated time: 1-1 ½ hours
Not to miss: the “Medusa” column (has an upside down Medusa head for a postament); the “teardrops”
column (is adorned with drop-like reliefs).
Tip: café inside
Hagia Sophia (“Ayasofia”)
Estimated time: 3 hours
Not to miss: The splendid mosaics (in the apse, Southern Gallery, above the Imperial Gate, S-W Gate); the
(“omphalion”) Egyptian porphyry circle on the floor, where Byzantine Emperors would stand during the
coronation ceremony (the larger circle was reserved for the Imperial family); the (empty) tomb of Venetian
Doge Enrico Dandolo (tombstone marked “Enricus Dandolo” the informal leader of the IVth Crusade and
largely responsible for the sack of Constantinople in 1204 by the crusaders); the “sweating column”; the
The Byzantium Hippodrome (Sultan Ahmet Square)
Estimated time: ½-1 hour
This is (to me) one of the most fascinating sites of the city and frequently one of the less understood and
appreciated. I’d throw in a couple of hints, hoping that they will help form a clearer picture of what we are
1. The granite obelisk of Thutmosis III, brought from Luxor by Emperor Theodosius the Great in the 4th
century AD to adorn the (“spina”) middle spine of the racetrack. The most noteworthy part of it IMO is the
marble pedestal: it represents the Emperor handing out a crown or laurel to the winner of the race. But its
allegorical significance is much wider: effectively, it identifies Theodosius with God, presiding over Heaven
and Earth. The composition bears a striking resemblance to “pantocrator” scenes in churches all over
Europe. The Emperor (God) sits in a kiosk, surrounded by 6 family members (Apostles). To the right and let
of the kiosk, on the same level, are other prominent figures (Saints, Prophets). Below them, on the lower
level, are three rows of smaller figure (the believers).
2. The Serpentine Column
Was initially donated by the Greek city of Plataea to the Oracle in Delphi to celebrate Greek victory in the
Persian wars (5th century BC). It represented 3 serpents, twisted together, holding a golden bowl on their
heads. The symbolism is not fully clarified. One interpretation I’ve come across, is that the 3 serpents
represented Sparta, Athens and the Other Greek nations united against the Persian threat. Sometime in the
4-5th century AD, it was brought to Byzantium and installed on the Spina of the hippodrome. The serpent’s
heads probably remained in place until the 17 century (pieces can be seen at the Archeology museum).
3. The walled obelisk
Was built in the 10th century AD by Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenetus. It used to be plated with gilded
bronze plates, all of which were stolen as part of the booty taken by the Crusaders after the sack of the city
4. to complete the image of the Byzantium Hippodrome: at the North end of its racetrack, it was dominated
by the 4 splendid bronze statues of horses, in classic Greek style, which now stand above the entrance of
the San Marco Basilica in Venice (also taken by the Venetians as part of the said booty of 1204)
Egyptian Bazaar (Misir Carsisi)
Estimated time: 1 hour
Not to miss: the architecture (17th century); dried fruit balls, coated in pistachios
Estimated time: 1hour
Estimated time: 15 minutes for visiting, 1 ½-2 hours for dinner
Not to miss: dinner in Cicek pasaji should be experienced at least once IMO; the Turkish appetizers (“meze”)
are presented on a large tray, to choose from. Waiter will provide explanations on each dish.
Tip: one can easily compose a dinner out of appetizers and skip the main course altogether. If dining in 2 or
more, select 6-7 or more mezes (whether vegetables, meat, humus, yoghourt based etc.) and share them.
Estimated time: 1-1 ½ hours
Note: please be aware of nincedogan’s warning posted on May 1 2008 regarding restoration works at the
Not to miss: in the garden, the tombs of Sultan Soliman I the Magnificent and his famous wife Roxellana.
The Mosaic Museum
Estimated time: 1 hour
(below Arasta Bazaar, very close to Sultanahmet Square)
This was a huge mosaic covering a peristyle courtyard of the Byzantine imperial palace of Constantine. The
scenes are very lively, colorful and fresh – definitely worth a visit.
With the exception of the Galata Tower and Cicek pasaji, they are all rather nicely grouped in the old city. I'd
advise you to get a map of the city in advance, orientation will help save time.
The six best malls (and I have not seen all of the 100) in my judgement are Istinye Park, Kanyon, Cevahir,
Optimum, Viaport, and Forum Istanbul.
The best shopping areas for clothing are all the malls (Istinye Park, Cevahir, Kanyon and Akmerkez are the
majors), Nisantasi Abdi Ipekci and Rumeli streets, Bagdat street at Kadikoy(the Asian side) and Istiklal street.
These areas are for good brands (Turkish and non Turkish).
C&A in Malls
Go to cevahir mallk, 2 stops by metro from Taksim. It is at Sisli station of the metro. There is a large C&A
store at Cevahir. Metro stop "Mecidiyeköy"
Both in Nisantasi City's and İstinye Park they're large.
Koton (Turkish version of H&M/Uniqlo/Zara)
This is the newest edition to Istanbul's trendy modern shopping malls. It is a very interesting place, quite
different to the other malls, I can describe it as Kanyon plus Metro city plus Akmerkez plus a modern spice
bazaar all in one. You can find anything from Gucci to Beymen to Boyner to the cheapest brands and there is
a Spice Bazaar style marketplace complete with fruit/veg, spices, organic honey, olive oil, soaps etc.
There is an outside entrance on the top floor like a round piazza and this is where the most expensive
international brands are. Then you go inside and the lower you go the cheaper it gets and at the lowest level
you find the bazaar. Great food options, Borsa is very good for traditional Turkish cuisine, at the top floor
outside, placed next to YSL, Chloe, Gucci, etc, very similar in look and style to Konyali in Kanyon, I would
There is a big food hall as well as other cafes including the lovely House Café.
Here is the rail systems map of Istanbul http://www.istanbul-ulasim.com.tr/images/RayliSistemler.jpg
Take tram to Taksim Metro
From Taksim: Take the M-2 metro line. Metro stop: 4.Levent. From there you need to take the bus number
29N ( 4.Levent Metro-FSM), 29P (4.Levent Metro-Poligon Mah.) or 42 (4.Levent Metro-Bahcekoy). Bus stop:
Kanyon is one of the very few open air malls. So is the excellent Viaport Outlet Center near Sabiha Gokcen
Airport on the Asian side, which I also like very much. That is what I like about Kanyon. Another advantage is
ease of access to it. It is right at the Levent metro stop, for metro starting from Taksim. The six best malls
(and I have not seen all of the 100) in my judgement are Istinye Park, Kanyon, Cevahir, Optimum, Viaport,
and Forum Istanbul.
Kanyon is great, the shops in Kanyon are also more unique and is home to Harvey Nicols. İ love the small
sized shops in Kanyon, not sure if it is stikk around but there should be a shop with flock prints t -shirt with
very pretty Ottoman designs, nothing like the souvenir kind of t-shirts in the Grand Bazar. There is also a
shop with things from the İstanbul Modern Museum. Last but not least there is a Konyalı restaurant, the
quality of the food and the service is very very good here!
But if you go to a mall for basically lots of shopping then İ would suggest İstinye Park, simply everything is
there. The normal shops, a food floor, upmarket restaurants, haut couture, a bazar...
(Forum Shopping Mall)
Bayrampaşa – Istanbul
Earth Cafe or Cook Shop on the ground floor for Turkish fast food in Forum Mall
I can recommend three discount outlet malls for you. They are the Optimum and Viaport malls at Kadikoy
and Olivium mall at Zeytinburnu.
To go to Viaport, simply take the ferry to Kadikoy and take the bus No. 4 to Bostanci. From Bostanci there is
a free shuttle bus belonging to Viaport that will pick you up. Schedule is on Viaport website.You can come
back to Kadikoy the same way.
To go to Optimum Outlet Mall, take the ferry to Kadikoy an there take a taxi to the mall.
Finally to go to Olivium Outlet Mall, take the suburban train from Sirkeci or Cankurtaran(Sultanahmet)
stations and get off the train at Zeytinburnu stop and walk to Olivium Mall from there.
* Seems Optimum has better brand mix??
Take a funicular from Taksim to Kabatas and take the fast ferry (working days) from Kabatas to Bostanci:
From Bostanci take the free shuttle bus of the Viaport Mall to Viaport. They leave in front of the seabus pier.
Return same way. Shuttle bus one each hour??
To Optimum mall
Take the funicular from Taksim to Kabatas, the tram from Kabatas to Karakoy, and a ferry from Karakoy to
Kadikoy, and a taxi from Kadikoy to the mall.
To Viaport (seems outdated directions?)
Simply take the municipal bus E-10 from Kadikoy, just by the pier all the way to Sabiha Gokcen Airport. This
is the Kadikoy-Kurtkoy bus. From the Airport just grab a taxi for a very short ride to Viaport. Only 7 minutes
taxi ride. Bus: 3 TL, Taxi about 10-15 TL. You can return the same way. As a very expensive alternative you
can take a taxi from Kadikoy pier all the way to Viaport. Cost: Around: 60-65 TL. Hey Viaport is a great mall
that I visit now and then and shop there. They have great sportswear outlets. Here is a nice website:
Outlet (discount and/or offseason merchandise) malls also offer very good bargains. Optimum mall in the
Asian side has a very good brand mix for upscale brands like Gucci, Prada, Ferre, D&G, Jimmy Chooh, etc.
There is also Harvey Nichols (Demstock) outlet store there. The outlet of Beymen (turkish version of Harvey
Nicks) namely BSSD, Vakko (the upscale turkish brand) and some decent middle class brands like Tommy
Hilfiger, Energy Jeans, Levi's, Nike, Adidas, etc are avaliable along with mid-class turkish brands.
Turkish version of H&M/Zara/Uniqlo/Topshop
Among them are Vakko, Ipekyol, Park Bravo, Polo Garage, LC Waikiki, Faik Sonmez, Colin's, Mavi Jeans,
Derimod, Koton, etc. You can find these stores at Cevahir, Akmerkez, Istinye Park and Kanyon malls besides
60 other malls currently in Istanbul.
Koton and LCWaikiki fits best in the line of the brands you mention
Vakko outlet near Spice Market
Addres: Sultanhamam Cad. No:24 Bahçekapı
To get there you ahve to walk to the back entry of the Spice market, and sort of walk straight ahead in the
Büyük Postane street, immeiately your first street on your right side is Sultan Hamamı Cad.
Do not pass the post office on your right hand side, then you have walked too far
For cheaper clothing, you can shop at Laleli, Aksaray, Beyazit, Tahtakale(Eminonu), Mercan, Mahmutpasa
(behind Grand bazaar), Zeytinburnu, Olivium Mall at Zeytinburnu, Airport Outlet Center at Yeni Bosna.
Istiklal street actually has a number of cheaper clothes shops, it is not a smart shopping area with high end
brands like Nisantasi anyway. You would be pleasantly surprised how cheap some nice Turkish brands can
be, especially at sales times and usually during the season they have mid-season sales in addition to the big
sales periods. Check out names like Polo Garage, Park Bravo, Ipekyol, Network, Fabrika, Yargici, Mavi
Jeans and if any of these have mid season sales then you can get great fashion pieces for great prices.
Especially Polo Garage has great bargains for youthful clothes. Nearly all these shops are in Istinye park
Probably the most active street of Istanbul. The old "Grand rue de Pera" is now hosting hundreds of shops,
cafes and restaurants. Istiklal street at Beyoglu is a perfect location for shoppers.
The street lays between Taksim Square till the "Tunel" area. The street is pedestranized and only a historical
tram is running from one end to another. On the street you can find many fashion brands, famous Turkish
brands and also small shops for budget shoppers. In between houses you can spot some passages and
those passages can suddenly turned out to be a nice alternatives. Many shops on Istiklal street are open till
late hours. As the life on the street almost never stops, shops are also becoming a part of it.
The recently renovated historic Markiz arcade as well as the Atlas and the Aznavur arcades are must sees if
you are for shopping on Istiklal street. Markiz is like a trademark of Beyoglu, it is not a place for cheap crowd.
You can find variety of clothes, bags and shoe stores here. Definitely stop by Markiz, which is almost to the
end of Istiklal street near the Tunnel area, and feel the history in this futuristic arcade.
The Aznavur arcade is full of stores that sell everything from gifts to clothing, from jewellery to wooden
furniture. Those who love the south park characters should visit Aznavur passage. You will find many
affordable things for your interest and you can find many small gifts for your friends. Aznavur arcade is just in
the middle of Istiklal street near the Galatasaray.
How to get there: Istiklal street starts from Taksim Square and Taksim square is the main center of Istanbul. If
you are in the Touristy peninsula Bus "T4" directly goes to Taksim square from S.Ahmet square. An
alternative is taking a tram to Eminonu, walking the Galata Bridge, Later taking the small metro from
"Karakoy" to "Tunel". Tunel is the other end of Istiklal street, so you can walk till Taksim square from there.
The best and nearest place to shop is Istiklal street. There is a discount department store called Cetinkaya
on Istiklal street, close to Galatasaray, on your left as you walk down fro Taksim to Tunel.
Bagdat street (Asian side) from Taksim
Take the dolmush, called "Bostanci Sahilden", from Taksim to Suadiye. At Suadiye, simply walk towards
Bagdat street, passing in front of Suadiye Hotel. Once at Bagdat street, make a LEFT. The shopping area is
this stretch, on both sides of the street. You can also enjoy some of the cafes and restaurants there. Finally,
have a wonderful Maras ice cream at Mado cafe, on your left at Caddebostan. From there you can take the
Taksim dolmush (yellow vans) back to Taksim.
1) The most interesting stretch of Bagdat street is between Suadiye and Caddebostan (Mado Cafe to be
exact). You should walk, shop, and enjoy the cafes on this stretch. It is about 1.5 km. Instead of a taxi you
take a dolmush (shared taxi) from Taksim as explained in my previous post. You should get off taxi or
dolmush in front of Suadiye Hotel.
2) The best time to enjoy this place is late afternoon and early evening. I would say between 5-8 PM.
Near Ataturk Cultural Center on Taksim square, you'll notice yellow minibuses and 2 queues. They follow
dfifferent routes and you should take one following coastal road. On a piece of paper write "Caddebostan
Migros" and show it to driver. They'll help you to take right one its where you leave minibus. Remind him
again on the road, you'll leave there. Also, you'll notice large superstore on your right. Take narrow str. across
and you're on most lively part of Bagdat str. Also visit Kozano's blog for valuable information
3. Bagdat Street (Bagdat caddesi)
Shopping street in the Asian side of Istanbul. This wide boulevard style long street (once on the silk route) is
a great shopping area for all kinds of shops from reasonably priced local favourites to international brands to
high end shopping. Wonderful cafes for every budget and taste it has a very lively atmosphere and very
local, outside the usual tourist trail. It is a great day out to cross the bosphorous with ferry to Bostanci and
starting from the Bostanci end of Bagdat Caddesi all the way down to Feneryolu (a couple of miles) walking
on the wide pavements and joining the locals strolling the shops and cafes in a leasurely atmosphere. Good
Turkish Shops here are Vakko, Derishow, Mudo, Yargici, among hundreds of others.
Iznik design & Marbled Paper Bookmarks or Postcards?
For postcards and bookmarks of different kinds including Iznik tile designs, I suggest the major gift shops of
the historical attractions like Topkapi Palace, St.Sophia, Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, Basilica Cistern
and Istanbul Modern Museum.
I would also suggest looking in the Arasta Bazaar (by the Blue Mosque), the artisan's workshops at Kucuk
Ayasofia mosque (Little Hagia Sophia) (especially for marbled ones), the book bazaar (at the side of the
Grand Bazaar near Beyazit tram stop), and some of the bookshops on Istiklal Cad - but you will have no
problems finding them!
Postcards from İstanbul Mosaic Museum
* Markets usually closed on Sundays and open btw 9-5 on Mon-Sat
From Dolmabahce Palace to Ortakoy Mosque
From Dolmabahce Palace, simply walk 5 minutes to Kabatas and take the bus No. 25E (Kabatas-Sariyer)
from Kabatas to Ortakoy. You can return the same way. Here is the map for this bus:
* Take 25E further, can go to Emirgan Park
See Bosphorus: where best for a decent lunch and a stroll?
From Ortakoy to Taksim
Take the bus No. 25E (Kabatas-Sariyer) from Kabatas to Ortakoy. You can return the same way.
From Kabatas, take furnicular to Taksim
From Taksim to Istinye Park
Take Metro M2 from Taksim to the "ITU-Ayazaga" station and walk to Istinye Park from there
From Taksim: Take the M-2 metro line. Metro stop: 4.Levent. From there you need to take the bus number
29N ( 4.Levent Metro-FSM), 29P (4.Levent Metro-Poligon Mah.) or 42 (4.Levent Metro-Bahcekoy). Bus stop:
From Pierre Lito Cafe to Chora Museum
You can go to Eyup mosque and Pierre Loti Cafe (take the cable car from Eyup to the cafe) best by Golden
Horn Ferry from Eminonu. The pier for these ferries are at The Golden horn side of Galata Bridge at
Eminonu, next to Stork Building. Here are the ferry schedules
From Pierre Loti cafe, the best way to go to Chora Church is to take a taxi. You can also walk there in half an
hour (after you take the cable car down to Eyup pier). You need a good map. Taxi from Pierre Loti cafe to
Chora Church would cost about 11-12 TL.
Are Fridays a bad time to visit Eyup Mosque as I understand Friday is major praying day?
Friday prayers is just about for one hour around noon. Otherwise there is no problem at all.
"Can you tell me when to stop when the bus arrive at XX? I want to go to YY."
"XX duraginda inecegim, YY'ye gitmek istiyorum"
Bosphorus: where best for a decent lunch and a stroll?
You have some nice alternatives. You can do either Bebek or Emirgan visits to Bosphorus. Visiting Sabanci
Museum and having lunch at Muzedechanga would be great. It is a good restaurant although it has mixed
reviews. There is another major attraction right next door and it is Emirgan Park. A nice stroll at the park
would also be nice. This park is known for its gorgeous tulips that bloom in April. Also there are three
Ottoman mansions at the park and they are operated as restaurants. Have a look at my visit to Sabanci
Museum and Emirgan park http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293974-i368-k2279057-
There is also a nice coastal walk at Emirgan at the Bosphorus. You can walk towards Rumeli Fortress. A
good way to reach Emirgan is to take the bus No.25E from Kabatas to Emirgan.
The second alternative is Bebek. Again you can take the bus 25E from Kabatas to Bebek. The stretch of
Bosphorus between Bebek and Rumeli Fortress is flat and is great for walking by the Bosphorus. Or you can
walk towards Arnavutkoy from Bebek.
Here is the ferry schedule for ferries stopping at Bebek and Emirgan:
In fact you can get on this ferry at Emirgan or Bebek and either return to the same point or go to one another.
For example after visiting the museum, you can take this ferry to Bebek.
At Bebek, my classical favorite is the Bebek Hotel bar and restaurant overlooking the gorgeous bay.
"http://www.bebekhotel.com.tr/eng/index.asp". However there are other great restaurants at the area.
For your return, you can always take the coastal bus No.25E back to Kabatas and tram to Karakoy for your
Galata apartment. This would be a full day outing, enjoying the Bosphorus.