The Selfish Guide to Istanbul

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.

Park Hyatt Istanbul 005

You have to visit the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Both are magnificent and directly across from one another. You can sit at the one of the benches in between them and marvel at the views.

Hagia Sophia 001Blue Mosque 003

You must enjoy the delightful Turkish food. Who doesn’t love well-priced and ridiculously delicious food?

Aside from just wandering around and enjoying the cheap and amazing street food, I highly recommend Sultanahmet Köftecisi for some of the best köfte ever (minced lamb meatballs).

Cheap Eats 14

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.

Casita 008

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.

Zubeyir 013

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.

Grand Bazaar 008

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.

Day Trip to Asia 037

Lastly, if you’re flying Turkish Airlines, try to get into the lounge at the airport. The food is unbelievably fresh, abundant, and delicious.

Lounge Deathmatch 030

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.]

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