Istanbul is a modern Islamic city, with a population of around 14.7 million people. It is the only city in the world, that lies between two continents, Asian and Europe.
Our hotel was located in the Old City. It is one of the best places to stay. It took us about 30 minutes, from the airport to get there.
We arrived in Istanbul late in the evening. We decided just go out for dinner, around the Old City. There are many restaurants, and bars in every corner. Don’t be surprise, when the waiters start following you, inviting you to go eat in their restaurants.
What to do and see in Istanbul on a layover?
Visit the Blue Mosque:
It is a historical mosque built between 1609 and1616. The mosque is known as the Blue Mosque, because the walls are decorated with blues tiles.
It closes during the five daily prayers, for 90 minutes for each pray of the day. The line to get inside was long, but it moved fast. There is no charge to enter in the Blue Mosque.
Go on a Ferry tour on Bosphorus :
It is a 2 hours tour. From the ferry, we could see Mosques, luxury houses and some parts of Asia. We bougth the tour at the pier, we didn’t need to make reservations. (make sure to negotiate the price).
Check out the Grand bazar:
This huge complex, is a real”shopping mall”, wich has existed for at least 500 years and has about 4000 stores. This place is an explosion of colors and smells. While we were there we tried Kebabs, baklava, Turkish delights, and turkish coffee. Tips: Try to negotiate before buying the products.
Visit Hagia Sophia: Hagia Sophia is one of the largest Mosques in the world, and the most famous landmark of Istanbul.
Mosques dress code: First everybody need to take off their shoes, and women need to wear a scarf covering their heat, scarfs are available for free in the entrance. You have to return it, when you finish the tour.
Men wearing shorts are not allowed inside of the Mosques.
The entrance is free but donations are encouraged.
Istanbul is one of the most interesting places we’ve ever visited. It is old, but modern, at the same time. We had a great experience, visiting this dynamic city!
Best time to visit Istanbul: