Our crazy adventure has finally begun!!! 😀
On Friday, the 31 st of August we flew from Ljubljana to Istanbul. During the flight, we were blessed with breathtaking skies and tasty food.
We arrived in Istanbul at 12. 40 Pm. At the airport, we had a hard time deciding whether to take a bus or a taxi/Uber/shuttle to our hotel, as we always do. Eventually, we decided on the latter in order to start off slowly and comfortably. It took us about half an hour to get to the hotel. The driver was really nice, he even agreed to be our first witness (in order to prove that you really visited all countries in Guinness world record time two or three different people have to confirm it).
Where to stay
We were staying at the Divas Silver hotel, a cute little place, located in the European part of the city in the Sultanahmet area (the old town), surrounded by hundreds of attractions. The city’s main landmark – Hagia Sophia (also known as Aya Sofya) is within walking distance of the hotel!! 🙂
Are you planning a trip to Istanbul? Here you can get a room in this beautiful city with a 10% discount! 🙂
Things to see and things to do
We spent two days and two nights in Istanbul and we loved it. We loved its colors, shapes, and smells, and most of all its diversity. Istanbul is known for its rich history, narrow paved streets, vibrant culture, and tasty food. We spent around 6 hours each day exploring the city. We got to see many of the city’s main attractions, including:
- Hagia Sophia
- Sultan Ahmed Mosque (aka. the Blue Mosque)
- Hagia Irene
- Hippodrome of Constantinople
- Obelisk of Theodosius
- Serpent Column
- The And hotel (which offers the best view of Hagia Sophia)
- Pierre Loti Hill (which offers one of the best views of the entire city)
- And many more along the way
A dinner for two at the And Hotel, which offers the best view of the famous Hagia Sophia costs around 20 EUR, a kebap at the main square costs 1 EUR. The prices depend on the location, but these are both very popular tourist places and as you can see the prices are rather reasonable by international standards.
Best time to visit
Weather-wise spring and autumn are the best times to visit Istanbul and the inland regions.
Romance and adventure
We haven’t had time to explore the adventures the city has to offer, but we’re sure you can find plenty. As for romance, Istanbul offers countless amazing sights, rooftop restaurants, beautiful viewpoints overlooking the entire city, and cultural experiences. A honeymoon in Istanbul? Definitely a good idea! 😉
Our main goal was to find love in Turkey and we found plenty. The love between couples, parents and children, friends. People are super friendly, respectful, and welcoming, which made us feel loved as well.
We also found love for nature. As we did our first 10-minute clean-up an elderly local woman
approached us and asked if she could join us. We said that we would be honored. After the clean-up, she got very emotional and she thanked us with tears in her eyes for trying to make her city a cleaner place and for setting an example. We must admit that at first, we had our doubts, as people usually do when starting something new, but this beautiful lady made us feel like we’re on the right track. She made our day. ♥
♦ Official language: Turkish
♦ Currency: Turkish lira (TRY)
♦ Visa or other entry requirements: All visitors to Turkey are required to have a valid travel document. Visa requirements depend on the traveler’s nationality. For more information check out their official website.
♦ Electricity standards: The power plug types in Turkey are C and F, the standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
♦ Timezone: UTC+03:00
♦ Check out the immunization recommendations and requirements for Turkey here.
♦ Health and safety tips:
There are some safety concerns in Turkey, but we have to say that we felt totally safe at all times.
You should always make sure to follow the usual travel safety precautions:
- Leave your jewelry and other valuable belongings in the hotel safe.
- Keep your emergency cash apart from the rest of your money.
- Dress comfortably and carry only the items you will need for the day.
- Don’t carry a lot of money.
- Always make sure to lock your room before leaving the hotel.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Stay in well-lit areas.
- Try to maintain a low profile and do your best to fit in.
- Carry a travel wallet/money belt/money pouch for carrying money and documents safely.
- Avoid contact with potential scam artists.
- Avoid showing off valuable belongings (like cameras) in public.
- Don’t count your money in public.
- Keep an eye on your belongings at all times.
To stay healthy while traveling, check out our health travel tips.
• Tap water in Turkey is not safe to drink. Drink boiled, bottled or filtered water instead. Buy an amazing water purifying bottle here.
* Always make sure to reuse a water bottle to cut down on waste.
• Always make sure to use (eco-friendly) sunscreen.
♦ Local Customs:
Even though it is rather difficult to generalize customs of many different Islamic nations since those differ between countries and even cities, we’ve prepared some guidelines to get you ready.
People in Islamic countries are usually polite, respectful, and very welcoming to foreigners (at least in areas that have some degree of tourism). However, as a tourist, you should prepare for the pushiness of the touts.
When meeting someone a friendly handshake is customary; greetings between men and women depend on the nature of the relationship – a bow or a nod may suffice. Revealing clothes (shorts and tank tops) and sloppy attire are frowned upon. Women are expected to dress modestly (skirts below the knees and shirts with sleeves). Of course, there are countries where women should cover their heads with scarfs. Bargaining is acceptable and sometimes even necessary. Tipping is expected and welcome in hotels, restaurants, and tour services.
In many Islamic countries left hand is considered unclean, so you should try and eat with the right hand. Moreover, pay attention to pass food and gifts with the right hand.
When stepping into ones home, you should take your shoes off at the front door unless they tell you otherwise.
Interesting fact: in Iranian culture, gifts mean a lot more than monetary compensation. Travelers are encouraged to express their appreciation at hotels with a small gift from their country.
*The photos are not edited. Check out some edited photos of Istanbul on Instagram.
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