Hey! If you’re following me on Instagram you’ve probably seen we got back from our trip from Istanbul, Turkey a couple of months ago (long overdue blog post, I know). As it was a last-minute getaway, we didn’t really get to plan our trip through, but these mistakes did give us a few insightful tips for you all. Mind you, the trip was still pretty amazing! Here’s to a few pointers your way…
Booking flights and hotels
For the flights, we booked with Turkish Airlines (no real preference here tbh) and the 4-hour flight was pretty good – the TV’s were in working order, comfy seats and food was OK too. Plus there was a very nice dedicated area in the back of the plane for praying.
Visa’s are pretty easy and fuss free to get from the airport while you’re checking in (that’s what we did anyway). It costed us £15 per person at the airport, it may be cheaper to arrange visas online though.
For hotels, I would say not to compromise as a good/bad nights sleep can determine the mood, the next day. We researched into hotels for some time and because we wanted to stay in a central location we chose ‘The Marmara – Taksim’. For anyone that has been will know that Taksim is like the Piccadilly Circus of Istanbul. Plus the local food places here were amazing. No frills Turkish food. Another good reason for choosing The Marmara was that I’d read some really good reviews of the spa and was looking forward to a great Hammam!
A lot of people do also stay in Sultanahmet – where the Blue Mosque, Aya Sophia and other great historical palaces are but both places are so close (literally a tram stop away) that it doesn’t matter if you stay in either.
Sightseeing and Shopping
THE BEST PART OF THE TRIP!!! I love seeing the culture of a place like a local instead of a tourist – you get to see the hidden gems! Places like the Blue Mosque and Aya Sophia were on my list to see before I left, but for the rest of the trip I tried to visit places that were a little less touristy and more towards the culture of Istanbul. Grand Bazaar was also high on my list to visit, although I found the areas/streets surrounding Grand Bazaar more pretty and picturesque. While we toured (aka got lost) in the streets of Sultanahmet we found some peaceful and beautiful spots to enjoy.
Although shopping in Istanbul could have been limitless we knew we had to keep a limit due to our baggage allowance. I do recommend to pack as light as possible as (like me) you will be doing a lot of shopping. I could only wish that I could bring all the Baklava and Turkish Delight my heart desired.
With food, although I’m not too fussy but I did prefer eating Turkish food out there. Although, don’t be fooled by the big restaurants where the decor is great but the food not so. We did end up finding a few really good local places towards the end of the trip though so I do suggest you check out some of the local places – one of my favourite places was a tiny takeaway around the corner from our hotel which didn’t have any space to sit down but the food was amazing!
Do let me know if you’ve been and what you thought? Or if you think I’ve missed something out 🙂
Happy reading x