Istanbul is now one of my favourite cities in the world – I absolutely fell in love with the place during my two day stay. There is something about the city that makes it somehow magical – the architecture, the atmosphere, the little cobblestone streets, the food, the people, I don’t know, but there is just something special about Istanbul. And even thought I was unwell and the weather was terrible, I still managed to fall in love with the place. I was also lucky enough to have one of my close friends and her fiancé in Istanbul during the same two days I was there, so it was great to explore the city together.
I wasn’t well at all on this first day in Istanbul, so I only managed to see the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) and the Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya), and squeeze in a bit of lunch is a cute little restaurant in Sultanahmet. I was absolutely awe-struct by the architecture and design of the two buildings – they definitely have that wow factor. Both buildings are so enormous and so spectacularly decorated, there really isn’t much like it in the world.
I would have liked to wander around Istanbul, particularly the little streets around Sultanahmet, a bit more on this first day, but the rain increased and I wasn’t well enough, so I spent the afternoon in my hostel having a good old chat with my fellow roommates.
I stayed at Cheers Lighthouse Hostel. I newly opened hostel, located in Sultanahmet, only a short walk from the Blue Mosque. The rooms were immaculately clean and the staff incredible friendly and helpful – they even made me a cup of lemon tea whenever I was in the common room, to help me get better.
There are a plethora of restaurants and take-away food options in Istanbul – the locals, and the tourist, obviously like their food. In Sultanahmet there are plenty of restaurants, and the competition is high, so I’m sure you’ll find that most places offer good food at a reasonable price. for something sweet, head to the Spice Markets for an enormous selection of pastries, turkish delight and other goodies.
Istanbul has great connections via air throughout Turkey and the rest of the world. From the airport, most hotels and hostel can arrange shuttle services, or take a taxi or a bus into the centre. Everything in Sultanahmet is within easy walking distance, but if you want to go a little further afield, such as Taksim, there is a good light rail/metro network, or as we did on day two, spend the day wandering through the streets to make the journey a little more interesting.