I have been traveling to Istanbul, Turkiye twice and in both trips I learned alot that I wanted to share with everyone. My purpose of my trip was to see a dentist in the city but through that I learned alot about Istanbul. On both trips I stayed in different areas and had to experience things for myself. There was alot of eye opening moments, and this has given me the chance to help you travel better.
Istanbul is a beautiful city and there is so much to do. As some may know when I travel I dont always follow the trend of where to go or whats popular. On my first trip I went with my mother, who knew more about the city then I do due to her traveling there several times. We always tend to do one thing when we visit, go on the red tour bus. There is a reason for that which I will explain later on. I will be talking about location, accomadation, food and transport around the city.
Location & Accomdation
These are both linked and are vital when choosing the right place to stay in the city. On my first trip, I stay in Yanikapi at a hotel. The hotel I wouldnt highly recommend as I had a bad experience at it. The location on the other hand was nice just not right for me. Yanikapi is very south of the Fatih area, its noisy and crowded area. There are part in the area you dont see in showing Istanbul on tourist attraction and I understand. I liked wondering through the areas because it showed me a different side to the city. Yanikapi has the metro which gets you to all sides of the city from European to Asian, and alot of buses go through the area.
On my 2nd trip to Istanbul, I stayed in Taksim at an Airbnb. Taksim is very touristy and is a prime location. It can be noisey but there is alot in the area. The airbnb was spacious and the host was lovely and helpful. There were places to see and it was near a shopping area. In terms of transporation, food and atmosphere- Taksim is the best area to stay in.
As some of you who read this blog, I promote plant based food only. Istanbul is a city thats growing and the plant based options area growing with it. Over the 2 trips I managed to try soo much. They have a mixture of options from traditional turkish food, modern twist on turkish food, as well as new concepts to food. Karakoy , Besiktas and Kadikoy have the best plant based options in the city. I felt spoilt for choice at times and wanted to eat everything. There was even a few days I thought I would have gone into a food coma. On my previous trip I tried a lovely little place called Sanki Atolye which blew me away with their food. I love going to Vegan Masa, Vegan Dukkan, Vegan Food Cartel , KafeNaSanat, Ethique , Kem Kum and more.
There are some places where you can find both planet based and non vegan but you need to look around. A few things you need to be careful with in the city. The lentil soups, rice and bread you need to ask if its vegan. I learnt my lesson a few times and ended up sick as I have an very bad intolerance to dairy. The lentil soups that are in non vegan places are usually made with beef or chicken broth so you need to ask.
Istanbul tranporation is pretty good as they have bus, metro, tram , boat and taxi. All you need to do when going to the city is to get the Istanbul Transport card ( IstanbulKart). The card can be bought at a machine called Biletmatik ( go to 2 floors down at the airport which is the public tranportation arrival). The card can be used on all transportations apart from taxi. In order to add money to it, you will be able to find machines all over the city near the tranportations from metro, tram and buses. *Warning : if anyone approaches you and says your card is wrong, they are scammers . You also need to watch out that in crowded places when trying to top off your card, that no one tries to steal it.
When it comes to taxis especially to and from the airport, you need to ask them and try to negitate a price. The boats that travel through the Asian and European side are lovely if you do not get sea sick, the views are beautiful.