WHERE WE STAYED
Pera Palace Hotel in the Tepebaşı district of Pera, İstanbul, right near Taksim Square, is a luxury boutique hotel which is steeped in history.
The soaring lobby leads to the majestic, domed Kubbeli Saloon and Tea Lounge with its exotic ‘Arabian Nights’ ambience; the Orient Bar and the Patisserie de Pera have a nostalgic charm. A new basement level features a spa and Turkish bath, as well as the refined Agatha restaurant (named after Agatha Christie, the hotel’s most famous guest), where the menu has been designed to reflect the notable stops on the Orient-Express: Paris, Venice and Istanbul.
With boasting views over Pera and Golden Horn , it makes for a perfect place to feel like a native. Regardless of whether you choose to stay at Pera Palace hotel or not, the afternoon tea is certainly worth a try.
WHAT DID WE VISIT
With great architectural beauty , Hagia Sophia embodies in itself the grandeur of both the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire.
There is not a lot of information given inside so you need to do your homework or take an audio guide or actual guide in order to know what you are looking at.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Also known as” Blue Mosque” , this historic place was built between 1609 and 1616, making it an exceptional structure to view both from the outside and inside. While you will only need 30 minutes or so inside, the lines can also be excessively long. Arrive early and be prepared to wait.
The Grand Bazaar
A market featuring keepsakes and cultural specialties from the country of Turkey. Spices, coffee, candy, glassware and furniture all can be found within presented in visually stunning orderliness.
There are over 3,000 shops and the Bazaar attracts somewhere between 250,000 – 400,000 visitors per day. It is a true spectacle and an absolute must-see for visitors to Istanbul.
Whether you delight in a Bosphorus cruise (for a very small fee) or find yourself on the water’s edge, be sure to take some time away from the busy and bustling city to enjoy the river which separates the European side of Istanbul from the Asian side.
Galata Tower & Beyoglu District
Standing alone in a Galata quarter square is the medieval stone tower. Boasting views across Istanbul and the Bosphorus it is the perfect advantage point to put Istanbul into perspective. I didn’t get the chance but I guarantee sunset would be amazing from there.