Irresistible Istanbul

May 12, 2011 · 2 comments

This is a guest post from Jade Eva. Jade is an English Literature student who has read books based in all the corners of the world. But now she wants to see it for herself.

I’ll be honest. On my backpacking tour of Europe, Istanbul was not one of the places that I was really that bothered about visiting. Friends had told me it was way too expensive for a gap year visit. However, I found myself with a bit of spare cash and decided: what have I got to lose? So off I went Istanbul.

As my darling Mum used to say, good things come in threes (I think). So get ready for my top three highlights of Istanbul! Exciting, no?

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sofia

Got to love a bit of history, and boy is this place old! Built around 400AD, this building is lined with some of the most intricate mosaic artwork I have ever seen. Sadly, there is an entrance fee, coming in at around the equivalent of €10. However, it was worth every penny to be inside a cathedral that was once the largest in the world for over a thousand years. Definitely worth a visit.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque (The Blue Mosque)

Another particular highlight was the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, better known as The Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles that make up the exterior of the building. I visited the Mosque around early evening: the sight of this building backlit against the deep blue of the night sky was simply breathtaking. Better still; the entrance to this building is completely free…that’s like Christmas for a backpacker.

Ortakoy

Ortakoy Mosqus

Ortakoy Mosqus

Lastly, (but not leastly) is the little town of Ortakoy. This hidden gem is fantastic for getting a real feel of Istanbul. From quaint little restaurants, to small museums, this town will keep you busy once you’ve seen the main sights of Istanbul…there’s even a boat tour! I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing quite like the experience of exploring a town from a boat. Perhaps I was a sailor in a past life…

Once you have seen these sights (plus the many more that Istanbul has to offer), chances are you will be very hungry, especially if you are mad and saw all of them in a day. There are plenty of places to eat out in Istanbul, but the prices vary hugely, so watch out! My top restaurant was the Aloran Cafe and Restaurant, a very welcoming family restaurant offering a wide range of Turkish dishes; the cheapest coming it at around the equivalent of €8.

Turkish food

Turkish food

Turkish Dessert

Turkish Dessert

So turns out that Istanbul is a pretty awesome place to visit. Great food and great sights, what more could a budgeting backpacker want? Of course it isn’t hard to lose your head (and your savings) in one fell swoop of a tourist trap, so watch out. Thrifty is as thrifty does, my friend.

Author Bio: Jade Eva

Jade Eva is an English Literature student who has read books based in all the corners of the world. But now she wants to see it for herself. From Verona to Vegas, Peru to Portugal, Jade will see it all!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Denise May 12, 2011 at 11:44 AM

You might want to fix the spelling of ‘desert’ :)
Denise´s latest blogpost – 8 Things to do in Budapest- Learn about its History

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AdventureRob May 13, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Thanks for pointing that out, done ;)

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