Monday 11 March 2019


Accomodation in Istanbul, Turkey

Where to stay in Istanbul?

Choosing where to stay was possibly the most time consuming decision I had to make when planning the trip. I took about 2 hours to plan the itinerary and yet I spent weeks deciding where to stay! There are lots of options for accommodation and many are similar however choosing an area to stay in can be difficult.

So basically it comes down to 2 options Sultanahmet (the old city) and Beyoglu (modern Istanbul). EminönĂ¼ and Fatih fall under the old city while Beyoglu consists of Taksim, Sisli, Besiktas etc. The two areas are actually neighboring, divided only by the Golden Horn body of water and Galata bridge.

Staying in Sultanahmet has the benefit of being near most of the historical sites such as Hagia Sophia,  Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar etc. while Beyoglu is the 24hr heart of the city with its cozy neighborhoods, restaurants, cafes and nightlife. While no trip to the city if complete without visiting both, I suggest choosing where you stay based on what your personal preference is. If your main reason to visit Istanbul is to see the historical attraction, stay in Sultanahmet, and if it's to enjoy the nightlife and shop, stay in Beyoglu.

Istiklal Street in Taksim

I stayed in Fahih in the Sultanahmet area at Hotel Queens Land. It had a 9.0 rating on so I figured it was a decent option, having booked it from home 2 weeks before the trip. The room was small but very cozy and I thoroughly enjoyed the Turkish breakfasts. The room had all the facilities you would want like a TV, WiFi etc. The staff at the hotel were kind and helpful, always offering us tea and water. On our last night one of the staff even gave us a few slices of the cake he had proudly baked (Awww). I highly recommend this hotel as it was also located in the perfect area, close to all the attractions and a train station.

Hotel Queens Land

The receptionist baked us this on our last day!

Just some final tips for choosing accommodation - Make sure your hotel includes breakfast, has an elevator (Many hotels in the city don't), has air conditioning and check the size of the room as the rooms in Istanbul tend to be very small.

Food in Turkey

It's no secret that Turkish food is AMAZING. There are loads of delicacies to be found in the region and the best part is that it won't break the bank. I won't give any specific restaurant suggestions because most of the restaurants I tried out just came from me taking a walk and going to any random place to eat when I'm hungry. But I will say that some of the best places I've been to weren't 5 star tourist places and just merely street food cafes

Turkish Breakfast

Turkish breakfast, or kahvalti, ended up being very similar wherever I went - and on that note very different to the English breakfasts I'm used to. The biggest difference you'll notice is the selection of cheeses. There are so many cheeses to choose from! Something else I noticed in the hotels I stayed at is that the breakfast only consisted of "cold" options so no warm omelet or sausage (Not sure if that's the norm?). It also consists of lots of different bread options. I found the breakfast to be way "healthier" than I expected and wasn't sure if it would fill me up. It's safe to say it kept me full all day and I actually had more energy than normal! You end it off with either some Turkish coffee (Which is way stronger than the coffee I'm used to) or traditional Turkish tea. Damn, I miss Turkish breakfasts...


Kebap - One of the most popular street foods. First you'll smell it then you'll see the street vendor slicing razor thin slices of lamb and smothering it in a selection of slices, yoghurt, sauces and butter. There are different varieties wherever you go and you can get it for just a few lira at a street vendor. 

Dolma and Sarma - these consist of different things rolled up in vine or cabbage leaves. Peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, dried egg plant, you name it. While this might sound like a totally weird combination, it's actually delicious!

Pide - Pide is Turkish flat bread baked in a wood-fire oven. Basically Turkish pizza - need I say more.

Turkish Desserts:

Baklava - Who doesn't love baklava?! It's a dessert popular throughout Asia and Turkish Baklava is some of the best I've had.

Dondurma - You can't go wrong with ice cream! The difference because normal ice cream and Turkish dondurma ice cream is that it's far chewier and has a more "natural" and not so sweet taste compared to Italian ice cream. When you order it in a cone at tourist places expected a show!

Kunefe - My favorite dessert of all is Kunefe. It's made of sweet cheese pastry wrapped in shredded phyllo dough, baked and soaked with a delicious sauce. Turkish Kunefe is crispy and delicious and I just couldn't get enough of it.


Turkish tea - Turkish black tea is such a staple in the area and you can expect to be offered tea multiple times in a single day. Also people can be so kind and usually offer it to you for free!

Turkish coffee - It's sooo strong bru! 

Wine - While Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country, it's often a surprising fact that they produce some amazing wines! Although wine consumption in the country is by far beat by beer (And as a wine person myself), I thought it was pretty cool that they produce some great wines there.




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