Getting to know the city in a short time is near impossible so we’ve enlisted the help of local and Travel Talk tour guide, Mustafa Kurt, to share his favourite hangouts and hidden gems.
Çamlica Hill – As the highest point in the city, Çamlica Hill has some incredible views of the Bosphorus River, Golden Horn, and minarets poking through the skyline. It’s a hot spot for locals to have a picnic, check out the gardens or enjoy a Turkish tea in the Çamlica restaurant. Best of all, entry is free.
Üsküdar antique market – Located on the suburban Asian side of Istanbul, this 90-year-old undercover flea houses ornate Ottoman and unique European antiques. There are around 40 stalls, some of which offer restoration services too.
Pierre Loti Café – Named after the French naval officer and novelist, this authentic tea house is a little off the beaten track but well worth the trek for views of the Golden Horn. It’s accessible by funicular/cable car, or you can walk up the cemetery-lined hill from the Eyüp Sultan Mosque.
Yedikule Fortress (Fortress of the Seven Towers) – This fortress was originally the ‘Golden Gate’ used as the entrance for the emperor after victorious sieges. Historically, it’s also served as an imperial treasury, prison and place of execution – check out the dungeons if you dare.
Maidens Tower – For a meal with a difference, take a boat to this 2500-year old tower which stands in the middle of the Bosphorus. There are many myths associated with the tower though one legend says it was built for a princess after her early death was predicted by snakebite. Her doting father insisted she remain there for protection though unfortunately, the prophecy came true.
Travel Talk offer Turkey and Anzac Day tours from 2-12 days starting at £149. For more information and to book now see traveltalktours.com.