The Selfish Guide to Istanbul
Mr. Selfish and I spent five days in Istanbul but could have spent many more. The sights are breathtakingly beautiful. The food is marvelous. And the people are super nice. I highly recommend visiting Istanbul if you get the chance.
Also, for those worried about any demonstrations or protests in Istanbul, they are regularly planned and scheduled, so it is quite easy to avoid these areas. We just checked with our hotel and they told us precisely the places to avoid during specific times.
As for accommodations, we stayed at the lovely Park Hyatt Istanbul. Although it is a little far from the Old City, it is worth the travel time. Not only are the rooms and bathrooms beautiful, but the breakfast is quite yummy.
You must enjoy the delightful Turkish food. Who doesn’t love well-priced and ridiculously delicious food?
I was also obsessed with manti (small Turkish ravioli in a yogurt garlic sauce) while in Istanbul. I found the sampler manti dish, including the deep fried varietal, at Casita to be outstanding.
If you’re a fan of adana kebabs, you have to go to Zubeyir. The kebabs were grilled to perfection right before our very eyes. Pro tip: go for lunch since dinner can get quite crowded.
Mr. Selfish and I found the hammam experience to be quite worthwhile. We chose a mixed gender hammam, Suleymaniye Hamami, so me and Mr. Selfish could experience it together. After sweating it out on a hot marble stone, you can experience utter bliss as burly Turkish men give you a rough scrub and wash, followed by a bubble bath massage.
If you’re looking for souvenirs, you can stop by the Grand Bazaar and/or the Spice Bazaar. Although Mr. Selfish and I aren’t generally into tchotchkes, we couldn’t resist and purchased some spices and a spice grinder.
If you have the time, I would recommend a day trip to the Asian side of Istanbul. You just cross the Bosphorous Strait and bam, you’re in another continent.
Lastly, if you’re flying Turkish Airlines, try to get into the lounge at the airport. The food is unbelievably fresh, abundant, and delicious.
Here’s our Google map for Istanbul:
[Disclaimer: This is our personal Google map for Istanbul. It is possible that not all of the pins are accurate since we did not visit all of them.]