Europe, Food, Istanbul, Museums, Travel

Beautiful Istanbul!

July 7, 2014
Weekend Escapes from Qatar

Beautiful Istanbul! Where to begin?!?  There is so much to see in Istanbul, and my friend Kate, and I were there for a short time. We stayed in a very centrally located hotel, which enabled us to see everything we wanted to see in a short time.  The Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the Arasta Bazaar, the Mosaic Museum and the Basilica Cistern were all less than a five-minute walk.  The Grand Bazaar and the Topkapi Palace were about 10 minutes away.

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 I highly recommend getting the Muze, the museum pass.  The price when we went in June was 85 Turkish Lira, which was about $43 at the time.  This gets you in for free for three days, and you get to skip the lines. You can get into the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, and the Harem, the Mosaic Museum, the Archaeological Museums, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, and the Museum of Science and Technology in Islam.  We did all of these except for the last two.  

I see tons of Islamic Arts in Qatar, and Kate had just been to the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha as well.  Since the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia are so beautiful, I will post some pictures and not talk about them.  Just remember that you must be dressed appropriately to get in; this applies to men and women.  Women must have their heads, knees and shoulders covered and men should have their shoulders and knees covered.  They will give you a shawl if you need one.  You will also have to remove your shoes, and I would make sure you have socks with you because it is carpeted inside and seemed damp and slightly gross to walk around on carpet that hundreds of people walk on each day!

Beautiful Istanbul
Beautiful Istanbul
Beautiful Istanbul

So in past blog posts, I have talked about briefly about where I have stayed, but I liked this hotel so much I am going to review it here.  We stayed at the Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel.  Like I said early, it was centrally located to most of the Sultanahmet area attractions.  The hotel was beautiful.  The room we stayed in was at the end of the hall and was larger than the other rooms I snuck a peak at during the daily cleaning of the rooms.  

The beds were fluffy and very comfortable.  The bathroom wasn’t large, but it didn’t bother me.  That was mostly because the shower was to die for! It was huge, and it had a rainfall showerhead as well as a regular shower head. It is also the most beautiful shower I have ever seen.  The Turkish tile in the shower was amazing! (see below) The cool thing was that the walls of the bathroom inside and out were mirrored so I could get ready in the room while Kate was in the bathroom.  

The buffet breakfast was great!  European buffet breakfasts at hotels are 100x better than American buffet breakfasts.  They even had watermelon!  The only catch to the hotel is that it probably caters to Muslims as there was no bar and no minibar. It didn’t bother me because it meant there were no drunk people coming home at 2 am!  Here are some pictures of the hotel and the room. If you need more hotel recommendations, Traveling King has some great Istanbul hotel ideas!

Beautiful Istanbul
Beautiful Istanbul
Beautiful Istanbul
Beautiful Istanbul
Beautiful Istanbul

Since there was no bar in our hotel, we decided to find a bar close to the hotel.  The travel guide I brought suggested the Hotel Nomade rooftop bar.  It had a wonderful view of the Blue Mosque from the roof.  And it was a minute down the road from our hotel.  

We were there for the call to prayer, and it was an unforgettable experience. Both nights we spoke with fellow travelers, which is one of my favorite things to do. The beer was cheap, and the food was great.  We went two nights in a row and both nights I had the Chicken with Pineapple (there was a Turkish name for it, but I don’t remember it!).  There were figs in this dish, and I usually don’t like figs, but it was probably the best chicken dish I have ever had in my life.  Here is a picture of the view!

Beautiful Istanbul

Looking for more Istanbul ideas, here is a great 3 Day Itinerary. Have you been to Istanbul? What were your favorite places?

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  • Reply Jackie Garbarino July 7, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    You are a wonderful tour guide. It is obvious you enjoy traveling and you make us want to get on the road. Thank you for taking us along.

    Jackie & Alessio

  • Reply Tiffany July 7, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Thanks! I am glad you are enjoying it. You guys are on my visit list. Next trip is Ireland at the end of July.

  • Reply Angeluna July 9, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Istanbul is one of my very favorite cities. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • Reply Tiffany July 10, 2014 at 11:17 am

      I am already plotting my return! Especially since it is a four hour plane ride away.

  • Reply vinneve September 25, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    I like to go there but a bit afraid at the moment with the problems ongoing…

    • Reply Tiffany September 26, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Yes, right now might be a bit unsettling. But I know a person who was there when it happened and she was fine. She stay for a while after as well. It seems to be mostly affecting the Turkish people only.

  • Reply Parul Thakur May 31, 2018 at 9:23 am

    The last picture is beautiful. I totally loved it. Istanbul is beautiful and I am glad you shared this post. Someday I would love to travel there.

    • Reply Tiffany May 31, 2018 at 9:38 am

      Thank you! I loved it and hope to go back one day.

  • Reply Fancy May 31, 2018 at 9:43 am

    A place I would love to see

    • Reply Tiffany May 31, 2018 at 9:44 am

      It was great and I want to go back one day.

  • Reply Josy A May 31, 2018 at 11:40 am

    How gooorgeous. I’d love to visit Istanbul one day and you’re right. That hotel does look perfect!

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