- Stay at Hotel Empress Zoe
This is a lovely little boutique hotel in the heart of the historic district of Sultanahmet. So there are several reasons to stay here. First is the fabulous location – it is easy to walk to the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya and the Grand Bazaar. Second is it is a lovely stylish boutique hotel at a very reasonable price. Third is the incredibly lovely staff. And fourth is the breakfast! Yum! Fabulous fresh treats and make sure you’re there when the warm savoury pastries come out!
- Eat Seafood
Seafood didn’t really pop into my mind when I thought of Istanbul. I was so wrong!!! There is fabulous seafood galore here and so many restaurants! If you’re in Sultanahmet then there is an entire area of seafood restaurants. If you can’t be bothered hoping in a cab then just ask the hotel as I did and walked about 3 minutes up the road for a delicious and reasonably priced seafood extravaganza!
3. Focussed shopping Grand BazaarStop one is the Grand Bazaar Ok so of course you don’t have to be focussed – if you have never been to a souq or bazaar type set up then of course wander and photograph and check it all out. I’m assuming you don’t have much time for this trip – as I didn’t – but us boutique adventurers always love a stylish souvenir! So I have 2 suggestions for you. The first is softly coloured and soft feeling hamam towels. The place to go at the moment is Jennifer’s Hamam. The second is a leather jacket – or some type of leather purchase. There is a leather area with several stores clustered together. The biggest issue is finding a nice style. They obviously have a rather broad range of designs! I ended up buying from Koc. I actually think this is the same place I went 10 years ago where I bought a brown leather classic cut jacket that I have worn and worn. This time I went with a tan leather parka style with a hood and a fur trim.
So maybe your focus isn’t leather and hamam towels. In which case I would recommend doing some googling before you go around what you’re after and using some of the local expat’s blogs to find some good stores. Just google say best perfume shopping turkey and you’ll find one of the local expat blogs and this is a great place to find some interesting shops which are more likely to feature styles you might like. Here are some good local blogs I found:
- Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya
These two amazing Istanbul sights are located so conveniently very close together! But are must sees. And they are SO photogenic. Try capturing the ceilings of both of them – particularly on an angle. And they are also fabulous to photograph in silhouette style so hop up on a roof terrace with a view as the sunsets. I’m not going to bother writing more about these as so much has been written but if you have 24 hours these are your must do tourist activities!
Travelling to Turkey? Why not read some of my other posts on Turkey: