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Young couple - first time in Istanbul


Mar 6th, 2013, 06:47 AM
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Young couple - first time in Istanbul

Hi everyone!

We're a young(ish) couple - 27 and 29, and we're going to Istanbul for 4 full days at the end of the month (flight dates 29 March - 4 April). We've never been to Turkey before and would love some recommendations of things to see and do. Obviously, we'd like to do all the big tourist sites, but would also love recommendations for street markets, little cafes or other gems.

Would anyone be able to recommend a Kindle guide book, suitable for our age group and low(ish) budget? We's also love any restaurant/cafe/bar recommendations. We don't mind splashing out on one or two meals, but the rest of the time, we're looking for something reasonably priced and quick (but good quality/clean!)

Any no-go areas or things we need to watch out for? Any common problems with taxis? Would we be better taking the metro?

Any advice greatly appreciated!
mariposa85 is offline  
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Mar 6th, 2013, 07:22 AM
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Well my very favorite was the Topkapki Palace, including the harem. It will be a bit pricey but it takes quite a bit of time to do it thoroughly. I would have to say it gives more "bang for the buck" than Aya Sophia even tho in some ways that is perhaps the most iconic sight in Istanbul. I think the mosques and markets are free as would be a walk across the Galata bridge. We really enjoyed one of the smaller mosques, Rustam Pascha (something like that) near the spice market I think. Also very unique was the Cistern but not free. We did not do a Bosphorus cruise - hopefully we will have an opportunity to do this on a return to Istanbul in the future.

Food is everywhere so eating should be tasty and cheap. The taxi we took to the airport was honest, not scary and cheap - an unusual trifecta of taxi experiences. We used the tram alot, very convenient.

Not sure about guidebooks for a Kindle - we always travel with Rick Steves and he has a book just for Istanbul. It has a very good guide to the Topkapi Palace included - it may be available as download for ipod.

Enjoy Istanbul - maybe you will be there for the tulips - it is a wonderful city.
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Mar 6th, 2013, 08:07 AM
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You can do pdf files on Kindle. (The directions should be available on amazon.com.) You can make your own pdf files "printing" internet pages to pdf or with a scanner copying from books based on your own interests.

Or consider to buy the pdf chapter of Lonely Planet for Istanbul. You can buy these on line at www.lonelyplanet.com.

www.timeout.com/istanbul is a good website.

Newspaper travel sections are also good resources. For example here is an article from New York Times about new wine bars there.


Use the "print" icon and the print to pdf.

Istanbul is of course very historic but there are some great youthful hip areas too. Don't miss them.
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Mar 6th, 2013, 10:58 AM
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We're going to be in Istanbul in June with our 28 and 27 year old son and daughter-in-law, so this is super-relevant!

I just wanted to say a 25-year old family friend recently told me her favorite of the mosques was actually Sulymaniye. She said it also has some pretty gardens, and a great view:

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Mar 6th, 2013, 02:05 PM
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We liked the Rick Steves book on Istanbul. We stayed at the Hotel Hali. You might want to take a look at my trip report; click on my name to find it.
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Mar 6th, 2013, 06:02 PM
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You might check out the Lonely Planet and Rough Guide to Turkey and/or Istanbul - both are good, comprehensive guides with information that is helpful to those traveling with a low budget, and I suspect both are available in Kindle version. I strongly encourage you to get at least one good guidebook - you'll learn about things you didn't even know to ask!

You might find some helpful information in my trip report - just click on my name to find it and then search it for "Istanbul".

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Mar 6th, 2013, 06:31 PM
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We visited Istanbul for the first time last fall and loved it. We used the Rick Steves guidebook (not usually a fan, but I did like this one) -- has lots of detailed walking tours and do-it-yourself museum tours. It is also available on Kindle.

Istanbul is very easy to get around -- we did most of our touring on foot.

If you like wine, the Sensus Wine bar (near Galata Tower) is fun -- I had no idea there were so many Turkish wines.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 02:39 PM
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Thanks for the advice - I've taken it all on board and have started to draw up an itinerary!

What can I expect the weather to be like? I've googled and people seem to be saying it's likely to be cold and wet. That's a bit depressing - I'd assumed we'd at least get dry weather!
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Mar 7th, 2013, 03:09 PM
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It rained a lot on my trip, but no matter, there is just so much to see. One of my favorite cities by far. I either check out guidebooks online (preview with amazon or google books) or the library or bookstore to pick my favorite.
You can fill twice the time just doing the most obvious stuff, but things I was glad I did include going over to the Asian side, visiting a smaller mosque, and exploring the "new" side of Istanbul (where I happened upon the best restaurants). Don't miss the archaeological museum or underground cistern.
You can walk from Sultanahmet to Taksim if you want, but the tram is great.
There is a taxi scam--a driver will give you the wrong change claiming you gave him a smaller bill. If you have to take a taxi, pay special attention when you pay.
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Mar 7th, 2013, 04:00 PM
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Take good shoes. You will spend a lot of time walking up & down. If a major site has a major lineup, go back late in the day.

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Mar 7th, 2013, 04:16 PM
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Take an evening ferry to Ortakoy and try the delicious Kumpir or stuffed potato - http://istanbuleats.com/2009/12/ista...4-maya-kumpir/.

Opposite the Basilica Cistern is a picturesque and inexpensive cafe called the Green Corner. Here's a photo - http://s62.beta.photobucket.com/user...ml?sort=4&o=28
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