My Korean classmate and I hopped on a plane to Turkey because we wanted to explore this beautiful country. My classmate DH turned out to be the one of the nicest and smartest and most resourceful travel partners I have ever traveled with. She booked all the hotels, she researched every destination we were traveling to. We arrived to Istanbul after a quiet long flight and the trip started with sightseeing. Where is Istanbul? Some of you may ask me. Istanbul is the capital of Turkey. it is a trans-continental city in Eurasia between the Sea or Marmara and the Black Sea. it is surrounded by countries such as Bulgaria, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Istanbul is a fascinating city. There so many things to do in Istanbul. Here are some of the top tourist activities in Istanbul.
Read about how Solo Females Can Travel to Turkey.
Best Tourist Activities in Istanbul
We checked out the city center and some mosques. These beautiful historical mosques are some of the main Istanbul points of interest.
We had dinner at a random Turkish restaurant. It was a complete tourist trap and they tried to rip us off, so I had to negotiate hard. DH was impressed by my negotiation skills. In the end, we paid much less than they would have liked us to pay. You have to know the rules in these countries otherwise you will be paying the “white men tax” I call it. White men always pay extra in the Third World. We visited the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. This mosque is one of the most important places to visit in Istanbul.
It was beautiful and huge inside, all decorated with gold. It was impressive. The garden around the Haga Sophia was also very beautiful. We also visited the Blue Mosque, which was an enormous mosque in the middle of Istanbul.
You could see it from anywhere in the city. fter we visited all the main sites of the city, I started wondering what to do in Istanbul next. We continued the journey to the underground World of Basilica Cistern. It was a large bath under the ground with massive columns and statues. It was dark and humid down there, but it was nice to see what was built a 1000 years ago.
We continued our journey to the Grand Bazaar for some shopping. As you know, girls love shopping…. You could buy lots of beautiful stuff there everything was made of gold to ceramics. You could also bargain. It was great fun! Shopping in the Grand Bazaar was certainly one of the best things to do in Turkey.
The next day, we continued our journey to the Asian side of Istanbul. We hopped on a train to Eminonu and then on a boat to the Asian side. We found a large market and lots of shops on the Asian side. We weren’t too impressed. After that, we visited the Bosphorus Bridge. Bridge was a beautiful long bridge. It was certainly one of the more interesting Turkey tourist attractions. We found a beautiful garden right near the bridge. It was a garden of an old palace that served as a museum today. We hang out there for the afternoon. After seeing enough of Istanbul, we continued our trip to Cappadocia and Pamukkale.
Return to Istanbul
After a big journey all around Turkey, we went back to Istanbul for two more nights. We stayed in Taksim this time.
It was the center of the modern district with a mall and all the trendy shops. It was one of the main Istanbul tourist attractions with lots of people on the street everywhere. Taksim Square in Istanbul is one of the most important squares of this giant town. If you are wondering what to see in Istanbul, you should definitely check out this vibrant neighbourhood. Many sights were within walking distance. We spent our last days shopping in the Grand Bazaar again. If you are wondering where to go in Istanbul, just head to the Grand Bazaar. You will love it! My friend bought so much Turkish delight that she could barely take all that home. We stuffed ourselves with Turkish delight. I also bought some as souvenirs. My friend was slightly addicted to them. On our last day, we wanted to visit the Topkapi Palace. The palace was one of the most interesting things to see in Istanbul. The palace was the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for 400 years. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace was luxurious with all the expensive furniture and chandeliers that you can think of. What I found most fascinating about the palace was that it had a separate part for the harem. It was called Imperial Harem with about 400 rooms. It was one of the most fun tourist attractions in Istanbul.
The palace was overdecorated and beautiful, but we did not have too much time to explore it as we had to rush back to the airport and fly back to London. We almost missed our flights again. I would have loved to stay longer in this fascinating city as there were so many places to see in Istanbul and it was so rich in history.
The trip around Turkey was very rewarding overall, but tiring at the same time. I was ready to return back to my comfort zone.
What other city do you think we should have visited in Turkey? Leave a comment below with your suggestion.
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