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naddy74 Mar 4th, 2011 04:13 AM

Help on Istanbul
We are a group of 4 adults and 2 children visiting Istanbul in May 1st week. Have booked ourselves in to a hotel on Divan Yolu.

Needed some advice -
a) What are the better options for having lunch and dinner in this area? Given that I am travelling with Children, will not like to travel very far from the Hotel.

b) I saw some online advertisements for Private Yatch Tours on the Bosphorus - Euro 400 for 2 hours. How are these tours? Are they worth spending this kind of money?

c) What will be a good place to watch an evening Belly Dance show?


Michael Mar 4th, 2011 08:56 AM

You might want to read my trip report; just click on my name to find it. The accompanying pictures are geo-tagged, which might help.

I do not think that you need a private tour of the Bosphorus. Take the ferry to the mouth of the Black Sea and back. The children might even enjoy the more local crowd that uses that mode of transportation.

Get the Rick Steves book on Istanbul. It is excellent for the self-guided tours it suggests.

suec1 Mar 4th, 2011 09:04 AM

Street food and cafeteria-like restaurants are everywhere! there should be plenty of food options. Ditto the advice about the Bosphoros ferry and the Rick Steves Istanbul guide. Have a wonderful time in a fascinating city.

otherchelebi Mar 4th, 2011 09:19 AM


a) Divan yolu and the surrounding area abounds in touristic restaurants and street food and fast food, some of which appear among the "best?" restaurants in istanbul on Trip Advisor, which caters to the palate of the standard tourist tourist.
b) The yatch tours depend on your objectives. If you're out to impress some one, to show off or if that is the sort of thing you're used to then by all means you should.
If you do not own a yatch or take a yatch cruise whenever one is available where you are vacationing, then it will be sill to spend that amount of money when you can take a perfectly good Sehir Hatlari or Turyol or Sehir Hatlari + Dentur public cruise for a tiny fraction of the cost and enjoy the same view. (you can find info and schedules about all three on the web)

Another option would be to make a lunch or dinner reservation at a seaside restaurant on the Bosphorus (i.e. Mia Mensa, Sunanin Yeri, Aleko, Assk Kahvesi) and take a sea taxi there and back for about 50 Euros each way from the ferry landing at Eminonu near the Galata Bridge. (check Ido or Sehir hatlari taxi and Jeff Taxi for phone numbers, which you can also have the hotel call for you.)

c) I do not advise the touristic shows. The only non-touristic location is Al Jamal, an interesting restaurant with Lebanese cuisine and both female and male dancers.

It is usually a fixed menu including local drinks with aperitives and cognac, etc. extra. The pris fixe was $110/person last summer, plus the usual 10% tip.

naddy74 Mar 5th, 2011 12:18 AM

Hi everyone
thanks a lot for the suggestions. i browsed the Rick's guide. definitely looks very informative. will read through it over the next few days.

with respect to the Bosphorus cruise, while all of you are suggesting against the private yatch - i have never had the chance to be on a private yatch before and hence kicked by the idea. will it be any cheaper if instead of booking from the travel websites i went to eminonu directly and negotiated a rate there? Are the yatches available at the ferry landing?


otherchelebi Mar 5th, 2011 02:03 AM

naddy, there are no yatches at Eminonu ferry landing.

most of the yatches are moored at Arnavutkoy and bebek sea coast. I will collect some telephone numbers as i do one of my daily walks in the area of nice looking but not too large ones and even ask prices and give you the telephones so that you can negotiate further, possibly when you arrive.

The reason they are so expensive is that fuel is extremely expensive in Turkey.

Would you like any refreshments added to the cost? a bottle of Turkish Champagne?

You can also be taken to a restaurant in style and brought back as i arranged as a surprise for my wife (with champagne) on our 25th wedding anniversary?

naddy74 Mar 5th, 2011 06:29 PM

thanks a lot. that is very nice of you. if you can help me with some contact details, it will be very very helpful. I will prefer not to add refreshments to the cost (not sure how that will impact the cost)

Yes, the idea of going to a dinner in style is very appealing. Can you please suggest something that is on the Bosphorus shore?

Thanks a lot.

Aduchamp1 Mar 5th, 2011 06:33 PM

Listen to Other, he truly wants every visitor to enjoy their stay in Istanbul and Turkey.

ellen75005 Mar 6th, 2011 04:16 PM


May I ask where you're staying on Divan Yolu? We also stayed there, at the Faros. It was an ideal location for us and the room was excellent. There were lots of restaurants in the immediate area, so you won't have a problem. You'll love Istanbul!


worldinabag Mar 6th, 2011 05:29 PM


For a "kid friendly meal" try the lovely Green Corner Cafe opposite the Basilica Cistern. Great burger and fries in an atmospheric and shady setting.

naddy74 Mar 6th, 2011 05:58 PM

ellen i have also booked myself at the faros. earlier i was looking at hotels behind blue mosque but then i thought it will be better to be close to the tram line as i have two children in the group who might not want to walk for long distances + my mother who also has a problem walking.
Since you stayed as faros, you can probably tell me - how long a walk is it from faros to gulhane, topkapi etc.

naddy74 Mar 8th, 2011 11:16 PM

Hi Everyone - I read Rick Steves book on Istanbul. It's very informative and helpful. Thanks for the advice.

ebacher Mar 9th, 2011 03:55 PM

I find the Rick Steves book to be very informative about practical matters but not as good when it comes to restaurant recommendations. He recommends very touristy places. Time out had a better grasp restaurant-wise.

otherchelebi Mar 12th, 2011 06:19 AM

Hi naddy, i finally have some figures, names, websites, phone numbers for yatchs on the Bosphorus.

My wife being the slave driver that she is, made me walk over 45 minutes on the shore and we were actually approached by some of the crew when they saw us taking down names and phone numbers, so we could ask some questions.

1. the going rate seems to be 200TL/hour (about $126 at current exchange rates, and current petrol prices)
2. you can get different size and different level of upkeep motor yatches and even a Bodrum type large gulet for this price. (we were given this same price by a large but not so nice one a huge gulet and a largish nicer one)
3. We remembered to ask at one of the motor yatchs and they said coffee, tea and water would be included in the price and they would serve liqueur if you brought it on board.
4. Derin said that they would give a discount for more than a few hours.
5. Akdogan, the gulet can take up to 20 and can be hired for the day at cheaper rates for swimming near the Black Sea coves. They can also serve lunch and/or dinner on board.
6. Edo was the smallest but looked the cutest.

- +90 532 5032364
- +90 212 236 7713 0r +90 533 417 1551
- Derin Yatcilik +90 532 203 3922 Captain Ali
- +90 535 456 1210
- akdogan yatch +90 541 378 1487 (the gulet)

otherchelebi Mar 12th, 2011 06:24 AM

sorry about the spelling mistakes. please move all the "t" s, and especially the "t" on the web address: and


otherchelebi Mar 12th, 2011 06:32 AM

I may also need to clear one other thing, the figure of TL200 applies to your private rental and does not involve anyone else on the boat unless you invite them (i would not say no!)

Although they can pick you up at the Eminonu ferry landing, it may be a waste of valuable yatch time. I recommend that they pick you up at Kabatas, behind the petrol station which is just after the last tram stop, just 100 feet to your left after you cross the traffic lights.

And, there is a speed limit on the Bosphorus and two hours will not get you all the way to the end of the Bosphorus and back.

Just imagine boarding your luxury yatch while the rifraff are running to catch their commuter boats! Of'course you should bring aboard a picnic basket from Fortnum Masons with caviar and blinis and some quality bubbly.

ellen75005 Mar 14th, 2011 03:21 AM

naddy, Topkapi is only about a 5-10 minute walk at the most from the Faros. That was one of the things we liked about it; it is just down the street from Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, etc., and on the tram line. You could also walk to the Grand Bazaar, but that's a little farther.

naddy74 Mar 15th, 2011 12:42 AM

thanks a lot for all this. it's really very nice of you to take so much pain.
And thanks for your suggestions - I will definitely take the boat from Kabastas.

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