Istanbul Turkey – One of My Favorite Cities

Istanbul, Turkey is on my list of favorite cities for solo travelers. Istanbul is a fascinating mix of ancient and modern. The first time I visited I stayed in the Sultanahmet district due to the abundance of historic sites within walking distance and the availability of cheap accommodation. If luxury is more your style try the Four Seasons in Sultanahmet – it used to be a prison a century or so ago.

Sites in Sultanahmet historic district:

  • Hagia Sophia
  • Sultanahmet Mosque – known as the Blue Mosque
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Archaeological Museum
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art
  • Great Palace Mosaic Museum
  • Hippodrome of Constantinople
  • Arasta Bazaar
Meze platter - Istanbul Turkey

Meze is a must try food in Istanbul

When you’ve seen all the sites or just need a break you can spend some time eating, drinking, and shopping your way through Sultanahmet. I have visited Istanbul in spring, summer, and autumn with my favorite being the summer visit in late June 2008 during the International Istanbul Music Festival. That year Turkey qualified in the UEFA Euro 2008 and I became a football fan (soccer in US & Canada). The outdoor restaurants were packed with locals and tourists cheering exuberantly. People are extremely friendly in Istanbul – for such a big city I was really surprised how warm and welcoming people were – it is the Turkish culture and it’s also a tourist destination so they cater to tourists.

Turkish flag in Istanbul

Turkish flag

I also felt very safe walking alone daytime or night. I’m  sure there are neighborhoods that one shouldn’t be walking around at night alone, particularly a lone female but I spent my time in the Sultanahmet and Taksim districts without any problems whatsoever. Taxis are readily available if you don’t feel like walking. Writing this has started me daydreaming about my next trip to Istanbul – it’s been too long! Sultanahmet Mosque, known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles on the walls of the mosque, is a place of worship as well as being a popular tourist attraction. A design of tulips adorns the carpet of the Blue Mosque.

Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Mosque) Istanbul Turkey

Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Mosque – known as the Blue Mosque

Hagia Sophia is an extraordinary architectural wonder. Originally a Greek Orthodox church, later transformed into a Mosque in the 1400’s, and since 1935 Hagia Sophia has been a museum.

Hagia Sophia - Mosaic - Istanbul Turkey

Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia – Mosaic

The Archaeology Museum is full of interesting artifacts including the first love poem, written in cuneiform script.

Ancient doors - Archaeological Museum

Ancient door with copper repousse – Archaeology Museum in Istanbul Turkey

There are dozens of shops selling beautifully hand-crafted Turkish rugs in Istanbul.

Weaving Silk - Istanbul Turkey Sultanahmet historical district

A woman weaving silk in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul Turkey

Istanbul is truly rich with history – the New Mosque is only 400 years old.

New Mosque and tulip sculpture - Istanbul Turkey

New Mosque and tulip sculpture – Istanbul Turkey

The colorful tile work on the walls of the New Mosque

Tiles at New Mosque - Istanbul Turkey

Tiles at New Mosque in Istanbul – it is over 400 years old!

There are little markets along the street with assorted fresh vegetables.

Fresh vegetables - Istanbul Turkey

Fresh vegetables at a neighborhood market in Istanbul Turkey

Tired of walking the streets? Just hop on one of the many ferry boats and take a break – you can skip over to the Asian side of Istanbul for a change of scene or tour the Bosphorus to the Black Sea.

Bosphorus ferry to Black Sea

Take a ferry up the Bosphorus for a magnificent view of the Black Sea

April is tulip season in Istanbul – gorgeous blooms are everywhere along the roadways and in raised planters around the city.

Tulips - Istanbul Turkey

Tulips blooming in April – Istanbul Turkey

 

A journey through the alphabet with ABC Wednesday Project where people from around the world create a weekly post – honoring the letter I this week.

I hope you enjoyed this post and please share a bit of Istanbul with others especially anyone looking for a great solo trip!

About the Author

Susan Moore's first solo travel experience was traveling around SE Asia for 7 months in 1993. It was life changing and extraordinary. Currently Susan is living a nomadic life, working and roadtripping around the USA and Canada. You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter

15 Comments

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  1. Leovi says:

    Wonderful, I love susfotos Istanbul, gorgeous tulips!

  2. The blue mosque , its coloured tile-work, the tulips etc are so beautiful. Istanbul is unique.

  3. Photo Cache says:

    oh my goodness. turkey is still on my bucket list even though i’ve seen a little part of it. i haven’t been to istanbul and i’m dreaming of visiting.

  4. Roger Green says:

    MORE delicious food! And other pretty pics.
    Istanbul! (NOT Constantinople?)

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  5. salma says:

    Who doesn’t love Turkey. Would love to visit someday.
    I love your photos and the idea of you travelling solo :)

    Thanks for your visit to my blog Susan!

  6. Leslie says:

    Oh my goodness! Now you’ve made me add this to my bucket list! Gorgeous photos and intriguing places to visit.

    Leslie
    abcw team

  7. Shelley says:

    Thanks for the article and great pics! I’m visiting Istanbul for the first time in October and just starting to investigate for the trip.

  8. eric says:

    Hi Susan, I’m a native New Yorker and I tell you, after 2 trips to Istanbul, I wish I had the bucks and language skills to live there. It’s just breathtaking !

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