A Weekend in Istanbul

Vibrant, friendly, eclectic and beautiful - these are the words to describe Istanbul. Blix has spent 48 hours in Istanbul. Read more here.Photo: Guardian

Vibrant, friendly, eclectic and beautiful – these are the words to describe Istanbul.

The city has it all. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, a birthday weekend or a cultural city trip Istanbul has everything that you need for a memorable and exhilarating experience.

Istanbul is a unique city that spans two continents and combines the best of East and West. Its exotic cultural melting pot that effortlessly blends old world charm with cosmopolitan modernity. Historical buildings, parks, bazaars, mosques, churches, delicious Turkish cuisine; Istanbul has something for everyone. Even if you happened to be there for just a weekend, it’s entirely possible to get the best of the city in such a short time. We visited this beautiful city just recently and shortlisted a few activities to do there over the weekend.

Wander around Sultanahmet

This is a historical heart of Istanbul that you shouldn’t miss off your list. Sultanahmet was the heart of 3 great empires: Byzantine, Constantine and Ottoman. By just wandering around this area you will see at least 3 famous and unmissable historical sites that Istanbul is famous for; the truly breathtaking Hagia Sophia, exquisitely beautiful Blue Mosque and fabulous Topkapi Museum once served as a residential palace of one of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire. Take your time, explore hundreds of cafes and restaurants and enjoy Turkish atmosphere.

Visit Beyoglu district

This is one of the most popular tourist points in the city, centered around the long promenade that leads to Taksim square. The district is the home of the city’s smartest shops, exquisite boutiques, numerous hotels, restaurants and pubs, art galleries, cinemas, various embassies and churches  as well as fashionable tea and coffee houses.

Ferry around the Bosphorus

Another must-do on any trip to Istanbul is to take a boat ride on the River Bosphorus. This is going to be a very relaxing and enjoyable experience and you will get to see many interesting palaces, traditional Ottoman homes and the bridges that link two continents.

Hang out under the Galata bridge

Another recommended activity during your short-break in Istanbul is visiting Galata bridge and the surrounding areas. The bridge itself forms the vital link between the two sides of European Istanbul, while its lower deck – directly under the walkway – is home to restaurants, bars and tea-houses with ringside waterfront seating for boat watching and cheap beers.

Escape to Princes Islands

These  group of 9 islands are located within an hour of a ferry ride from Istanbul, in the Marmara sea. The biggest island of the group is called Buyukada which literally means ‘a big island’ in Turkish. Very logical – as this is the biggest island of the nine princes’ islands. However, in the past the island was called Prinkipo after the Greek word for prince. The islands are balmy, stress-free and car-free. Greek-style wooden mansions, horse-drawn carriages will take your mind off absurdly crowded, mad and melancholic Istanbul.

To find the best accommodation in Istanbul, click here