Istanbul Travel Guide

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Should You Forget About Traveling to Istanbul This Summer?

June 3, 2013 at 4:07 PM | by | Comments (0)

2013 really seemed like it would be the year for Istanbul tourism. International flights from the US to Istanbul have been extra cheap ($500-700 roundtrip!), and—perhaps most importantly—the majority of our friends either have just returned or are preparing to leave for a quick visit to the city, so a cloud of Istanbul chatter on social media is influencing vacation decisions. Or was.

Protests, rioting and the threat of a "Turkish Spring" are quickly chipping away at the tourist desire to visit Istanbul in 2013. To be clear, the protests, which began with the aim of opposing development of the beloved Gezi Park but quickly developed a broader focus against the current Turkish government, are dangerous; this is no Occupy Wall Street situation with drum circles and damp sleeping bags.

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What Everyone's Buying in Istanbul: Türk Kahvesi Cup Set

May 16, 2013 at 1:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.

Yes, Istanbul has Starbucks. Inside those Starbucks, as in every other cafe in the city, you'll be able to order the thick, deep umber of Türk kahvesi, or Turkish coffee. Starbucks won't offer it in anything more than a plan white espresso mug, but elsewhere you'll likely lift exquisitely styled cups decorated in copper or even more precious metals, each with its own lid.

The bazaars of Istanbul offer sets of these mugs, often with a matching sugar bowl or carrying tray. They're beautiful and make excellent hostess gifts, but resist the urge to keep them away in a curio cabinet; they're best appreciated in use!

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The Adventures of Travel Cat: At an Istanbul Mosque

April 10, 2013 at 6:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

Kitty cats. They rule the internet and, whether we realize it or not, pretty much the world too. Ever noticed how cats sometimes stake out the coolest spots in a city? This new feature—Travel Cat—focuses on exactly that. Submit a photo to be featured by tweeting or Instagramming it to us (details below).

Travel Cat spotted in: Istanbul, Turkey.

This week's Travel Cat is from Instagrammer @aksakosha, who shares a very different perspective of a local cat in what we're coming to realize is like cat-city, Istanbul. His comment, "Доброе утро, сказал рыжий турецкий котик," translates to the very cute little message of, "'Good Morning,' said Turkish red cat."

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Foreign Grocery Friday: The Simit Bread of Turkey

February 22, 2013 at 12:57 PM | by | Comments (0)

When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!

Forget bagels. Let's talk about the Simit. These baked rounds of dough are covered in molasses and sesame seeds and, though they look more than a little bit like pretzels, have a flavor all their own. First-time visitors will be dazzled by the Simit vendor balancing act of navigating crowded streets with a tower of Simits atop their head, while seasoned Istanbul travelers are like, "whatever."

The utility of the Simit in Turkey is similar to that of Chile's Hallulla bread. It's the cheapest of the cheap, you-can-count-on-it carbohydrate beloved by all walks of life, for meals at all times of the day. We've had it cut into bite-size pieces for breakfast nibbles, slathered with Nutella as an after dinner street snack, and wholly plain during a fit of hungry stomach grumbles.

The Simit may not be a exclusive to Turkey, but the use of molasses sets Turkish Simits apart from those of the Balkans and Middle East.

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Wish You Were Here: A Ferry Boat on the Bosphorus

February 21, 2013 at 8:44 PM | by | Comments (0)

New York has its Staten Island Ferry, Venice the Vaporetto and Bangkok the Chao Phraya River Bus, but no city ferry line seems quite as regal as that of Istanbul.

Last night, we hopped a Vapur (the name for these old ferries) for the first time, traveling from the docks at Eminönü near the Spice Market to about 25 minutes up the Bosphorus to Ortaköy, a neighborhood just before the towering Bosphorus Bridge. Though a private water taxi charges 120 Lira ($67 USD) for a one-way ride between these points, sharing the ferry means a far budget friendlier cost of only 3 Lira ($1.67) each way.

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Our Favorite New Inspirational Travel Quote is...

February 20, 2013 at 1:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

There's no shortage of excellent inspiration travel quotations, that's for sure. We have a few well-known favorites ourselves. Here's a few:

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." -Robert Louis Stevenson

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been; travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

All these you've probably already heard more than enough to cause them to lose the strength of message. However, we've got one to add, and it's simple and sweet and packs such a punch that it approaches tattoo-worthiness. Ready?

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24 Hours in Istanbul: Hang with the Cool Kids at Suada Club

Where: Suada Club - Galatasaray Adasi, Istanbul, Kuruçeşme, Turkey
January 25, 2013 at 4:48 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you're super-short on time in buzzing Istanbul (which is something that frequently happens with long layovers), we've "been there done that" so here are the things that’ll let you experience the modern side of Istanbul in a rush.

If you want to see how the beautiful people live in Istanbul, head down to the Kurucesme Park pier and wait to board the complimentary boat that will take you to the privately-owned island home to Istanbul’s Suada Club. Or, as some do, take your own yacht and cross the Bosphorus on your own time.

Suada Club was created in 2006 by the club mogul who owns the wildly popular celebrity hangout nightclub, Reina. Although the original vision was for a club catering to the wealthy who are far too busy to go away on a well-deserved vacation, even commoners such as we are let in and allowed to get a taste of the good life.

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24 Hours in Istanbul: A Cultural Initiation at the City's Modern Art Museum

Where: Meclis-i Mebusan Cad. Liman İşletmeleri Sahası Antrepo 4, Istanbul, Karaköy , Turkey, 34433
January 24, 2013 at 11:49 AM | by | Comments (0)

If you're super-short on time in buzzing Istanbul (which is something that frequently happens with long layovers), we've "been there done that" so here are the things that’ll let you experience the modern side of Istanbul in a rush.

When you think of Istanbul we can’t blame you for thinking “ancient city,” “old ruins” and “archaeological treasures" (or singing "Istanbul, not Constantinople" to yourself). You’re absolutely right to, and if you haven’t yet had the chance to see the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet) and Topkapi Palace you should definitely go. But, if you’re ready for something new and especially if contemporary history is more your thing, don’t skip the Istanbul Modern.

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24 Hours in Istanbul: Getting Legally Naked at the Ayasofya Hamam

Where: Cankurtaran Mahallesi Bab-ı Hümayun No:1 Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Caddesi, Turkey, 34122
January 23, 2013 at 2:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you're super-short on time in buzzing Istanbul (which is something that frequently happens with long layovers), we've "been there done that" so here are the things that’ll let you experience the modern side of Istanbul in a rush.

So, you’re in Istanbul and you think to yourself that you should really suck it up (and in) and go to an authentic Turkish hamam, because when in Rome…

We understand you may be feeling a bit unsure about hamam etiquette, not to mention a bit squeamish about disrobing in the wrong hamam. We’re here for you. If you want an authentic hamam experience, but appreciate five-star treatment, go to the Ayasofya Hamam (also known by the rather cumbersome name Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamami).

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The Adventures of Travel Cat: All Over Istanbul

November 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM | by | Comment (1)

Kitty cats. They rule the internet and, whether we realize it or not, pretty much the world too. Ever noticed how cats sometimes stake out the coolest spots in a city? This new feature—Travel Cat—focuses on exactly that. Submit a photo to be featured by tweeting or Instagramming it to us (details below).

Travel Cat spotted in: Istanbul, Turkey

This week's Travel Cat comes from Billie Cohen, Editor over at CNTraveler.com, who shares some shots of the stray, friendly cats she found all over the city of Istanbul. Here, a few of the ones trying to take transportation into their own hands:

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The Adventures of Travel Cat: Inside the Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

October 24, 2012 at 4:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

Kitty cats. They rule the internet and, whether we realize it or not, pretty much the world too. Ever noticed how cats sometimes stake out the coolest spots in a city? This new feature—Travel Cat—focuses on exactly that. Submit a photo to be featured by tweeting or Instagramming it to us (details below).

Travel Cat spotted in: Istanbul, Turkey's Hagia Sophia

This week's Travel Cat comes from Jaunted reader and Instagrammer Matt Hibbard (@gomatt on Instagram), who says: "Here is a pic I took of a cat in Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul last Thanksgiving. He was baking in front of the light!"

Matt snapped not one, but three photos of this fluffy feline and you'll see why below...

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The Adventures of Travel Cat: Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

July 3, 2012 at 4:20 PM | by | Comments (0)

Kitty cats. They rule the internet and, whether we realize it or not, pretty much the world too. Ever noticed how cats sometimes stake out the coolest spots in a city? This new feature—Travel Cat—focuses on exactly that. Submit a photo to be featured by tweeting or Instagramming it to us (details below).

Travel Cat spotted in: Istanbul, Turkey near the Hagia Sophia.

This week's Travel Cat is from Jaunted instagram fan screamingsonic, who spotted (and sat with) these two fluffballs on a bench in the vicinity of the famous Hagia Sophia basilica. That's one of the things we love best about travel—the making new friends, two-legged or four.

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