Welcome to another post of Behind The Lens! In this section I will be writing a little guide about the places we visit. We travel with a tight budget so that means we have to prepare quite a lot before hand, and that also means that we are able to get to know quite a lot about the countries we visit so I thought that would be a nice idea to share it so you can benefit of it and hopefully save you time. I will include images, tips, hotels, restaurants, routes and many more. Also make sure you check the bold words together with the Tips section to get key information about your trip.
I really hope you enjoy it and find it useful!
The camera I used was the Pentax K-500 with many vintage lenses such as pentax 28mm or 50mm 1.8. Not sure about flying drones in Turkey but if you were to fly I would suggest the DJI Mavic Air as it is quite small and really good drone.
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Around 5 years ago I visited this city as a stopover to another amazing country, Israel. But what was meant to be a short stopover turned out to be my favourite city so far. Are you planning to visit Istanbul? Where should you go?
Bear in mind that Istanbul is a very cheap city so you won’t need to spend a lot to get a glimpse of the Turkish culture. We stayed at Mavi Guesthouse, a humble and cheap accommodation that apparently has closed recently. The location was great as most of the stuff to visit is in the EMINONU area (south of the city).
Where to go?
- Blue Mosque. If you visit Istanbul this is a must see.A breathtaking mosque, the icon of the city, you can walk around the area as it is surrounded by gardens.You will feel like you are being part of Aladdin’s film set.
- Grand Bazaar. Get lost in it, yes… wander around and feel free to buy anything from this iconic bazaar, one of the oldest of the country. You will need to bargain to get the best prices so be brave and enjoy it, is part of the experience. Bear in mind that you can get cheaper stuff in other smaller and less touristic bazaars.
- Galata Bridge. The riverside is really nice, so you can spend time walking around it and discovering places. Also in this bridge you will find hundreds of fishermen fishing from it, they will sell the fish to the boats and one of the boats sells fish sandwich! I really recommend to try this sandwich as it is very tasty! You will find it next to the bridge on the south of the bridge, it is a floating food stand and there are many peoplebuying so you won’t miss it.
- Yerebatan Cisterns. Basically an underwater palace, just amazing. This and the next one are the only places in this article that you will need to pay to actually see it, but it is worth it.
- Football match. Not sure if you are a football fan, but if you are you MUST go to a footy match there. We watched the Galatasaray vs Besiktas (Yes we were lucky) and it is one of the best experiences you can enjoy. I would not recommend it if you are not comfy with large groups of people or with strong noises; they get absolutely insane and can get dangerous so it is not for everyone, maybe because it was a derby but if you watch any other match you should be fine. The tickets were quite cheap, around £30, but you need to get a league pass that costs around £10 per year. called Passolig. We were lucky cause somebody helped us but you should do it in advance to avoid any issues.
Not recommended at all for kids or small group of women.
- Kubbe-i ASK. This is just a coffee shop, but we had some of the best time there. You need to go there just before sunset, you will have the sunset on one side and the city on the other with the river in the middle. The views are amazing and the Turkish coffee as well.
- Suleymaniye Mosque. Also a great place to walk around with amazing views of the city.
- Boat Ride. In the galata bridge you will find many people selling boat trips to the asian part of Istanbul, you can find it very cheap and is nice to see the city from the other side.
As you can see, all of the places above are on the south of the bridge, that is because that’s the old city, the north of the bridge looks much more like a european city so in my opinion is not worth visiting if you go for 4 or less days. Also is where most of the crimes and terrorist attacks have happened (Taksim square), from there the transport link is great but there’s not much to see. So my advice would be to find a nice accommodation near the Fatih area. There is a lot of people that work hard to cheat tourists, we saw a few, so be aware that they will trick you so you have to pay them for a service you did not ask for, in any case if you give them some money should be fine. In terms of food, as you can imagine, kebabs, coffee and tea are a must.
Also I would recommend to walk from place to place as you can get to the places quite quickly and you will enjoy the culture and people of Istanbul. The people is quite used to tourism so there are no strict rules about clothing but there are rules for the mosques.
Make sure you go to the right airport, there are 2 airports so if you are on a stopover you can get the airport wrong. It happened to us, and we had to book a taxi to take us from airport to airport and we made it just in time.
Food places and bazaars etc don’t accept cards so make sure you bring enough turkish Liras with you.
Do you have any questions? Drop a comment or contact me directly.