Every city claims to be unique, but Istanbul is truly one-of-a-kind. There is no other city in the world that spans two continents, after all! Istanbul sprawls over seven hills and is split by the mighty Bosphorus River: Europe on one side of the water and Asia on the other.
1. Take a Free Walking Tour of Istanbul
Ever since our amazing walking tour in Medellin, one of the first things we do in a new city is take a free walking tour. Usually these excursions are led by young locals who can give you great insight to their city and the life its people lead.
2. Picnic at Gulhane Park
This one may not be in your guidebook, but our picnic at Gulhane Park was once of our favorite afternoons in Istanbul. Pick up some fruit, wine and cheese from a local market, then buy a Turkish towel (great souvenir alert!) and head to park.
3. Explore Different Neighborhoods
Istanbul is a sprawling city and it can seem overwhelming at times, but think of it as a compilation of many smaller cities. Each neighborhood in this metropolis has a distinctly different feel, and attracts people for different reasons. Spend an afternoon getting lost in narrow cobbled streets of Beyoglu, or window-shopping and people watching in Taksim.
4. Stroll Istiklal Avenue
Istiklal Avenue is both the local and tourist center of Istanbul in the heart of the city. Would you believe this single avenue is visited by nearly 3 million people every single day? The nearly mile-long stretch of pedestrian walkway is home to restaurants, boutiques and even nightclubs. However, even with the chain restaurants creeping in, there is still a feel of old Istanbul here.
5. Catch the Sunset on the Galata Bridge
Istanbul has some killer sunsets, so be sure to catch at least one. Whether you’re on a rooftop or near the water, you’ll be enchanted by the orange sky and flapping seagulls.