Istanbul, Turkey

Travel Guide: Istanbul part 2

Part two of my Istanbul Diaries is finally up yay! This post will contain my adventures on the Taksim side of Istanbul. The city is big and is divided into two parts European and Asian side. I spent my trip on the European side. The European side is split up by the golden horn which separates the historic center of Istanbul from the rest of the city by 5 bridges.

I purposely chose to stay in the Sultanahmet neighbourhood, as most of the historic tourist sites that I wanted to visit were located on this side. I would then travel to the Taksim side of Istanbul by crossing the bridge, by tram. Walking on the Galata Bridge is an option, you can spot many locals fishing on the bridge.

My favourite part of the Galata Bridge was the floating fish sandwich restaurants at the end of the bridge close to the spice bazaar. It gets extremely busy but has a joyful vibe. It is street food at its best, and seeing the fishing restaurants floating on the river is something else.

The tourist activities that I visited in the Taksim side of Istanbul is Galata Tower, Taksim Square, and Dolmabahce Palace, Dolmabahce Mosque.

The Galata tower was one of the main sites that I was extremely excited to visit. However, it was far from my Airbnb. so it was important to plan an early start so that I could visit it without it being busy.
One thing I get really impatient with is queues and I heard that the queue for the tower is famously long, and it gets packed at the top of the tower. That is a definite no for me.
So I left early in morning hopped onto a tram, which you can buy the tram card at the tram station which is close to the Hagia Sophia. 
What I found efficient was that more than one person can use the tram cards for each ride, which is completely different than the London oyster cards which you have to buy one for each person. I always travel with a travel buddy and this time was no different so it was helpful for us to all buy 1 tram card and share it, also cost-effective.
The tram ride is simple quick ride and stops on the other side of the Istanbul past the Galata Bridge. Once on the other side, it is simple but a long walk to get to the Galata Tower.

Once in the tower, you can purchase your ticket and are usher into a stylish lift which will take you part way up to where you then walk up a spiral staircase past the restaurant to the top of the tower. The space on the top of the tower is quite small. But it gives you a magnificent panoramic view of Istanbul. It really is serene and gives a beautiful quiet view of the busy city.

Dolmabahce Palace is a lavish Palace that was built right on the shores of the Bosphorus. Unlike the Topkapi Palace (find it in my previous post) this palace was built in a European design with neo-baroque style.
The Palace was the most expensive tourist activity in my itinerary. But it is well worth it. There is a fee of 60 TL to visit the Dolmabahce Palace and office rooms, and an additional fee to visit the Harem and clock museum and glass pavilion. I visited the Palace and office rooms as well as the Harem. You can not take a private tour inside of the palace and have to wait to join one of the group scheduled tours that operate separately for the palace and the harem.

There are not a lot of pictures of the Palace online, and few that are do not do it any justice. The reason why you won't find a lot of pictures is that photography is not permitted inside the Palace. I am always fascinated by architecture and Dolmabahce Palace does not disappoint with 285 rooms, 44 halls, 68 toilets and 6 Turkish baths, and the most amazing view of the sea. The Palace is must visit.

I wouldn't advise visiting the inside of the palace with a pram as there are a lot of going up and down stairs during the tour.

Dolmabahce Palace Mosque was not in my itinerary, I actually wanted to visit Ortakoy Mosque, however after my visit to Dolmabahce Palace it was prayer time and Dolmabahce Palace Mosque was the closest mosque to pray in. The Mosque itself is outside of the Palace and is a good 10-15 minute walk. What I didn't expect was the mosque to be soo pretty and pink. I have visited some grand Mosques before but this one was just gorgeous. The style of the mosque is Baroque style and has modern ornaments. The interior is pink, that enough should be a reason to visit it. The windows in the Mosque were low and huge which brought in amazing sunlight, and I loved that the chandelier hung low in the ceiling. I am quite short so it was nice to see it up close and admire in when taking the above picture.

The Mosque is small, compared to the other historical Mosques. I think it deserves more recognition than it gets, it is my favourite mosque in the city and found it quite peaceful. Because the Mosque is not so well know, there wasn't the hustle and bustle of tourists like you would find in the more grand Mosques in the city.
I would say you haven't truly experienced Istanbul without tasting Turkish tea! It is sold almost everywhere as you can see in the picture I drank it on a ferry ride to Anadolu Kavagi which is a peaceful seaside village at the end of the European side Istanbul. 

The ferry ride is part of the  Bosphorus ferry cruise which costs 25TL, it takes you on a relaxing tour through the Bospherous and ends at Anadolu Kavagi. The Village is the perfect escape from the busy Istanbul. And is great to walk around and take in the scenery for a few hours before heading back to Istanbul on a ferry. I walked up to Yoros Castle and was greeted with a stunning view of the sea. I finished my trip with some fresh fish whilst soaking in the sun and sea. 

I hope you enjoyed my Istanbul diaries, you can find the first part here


  1. Interesting post! I DO love travel blog, would you like to follow each other?:)

  2. Loved reading this post. So many useful tips. Im planning to visit soon, so I'm glad I got to read your post. X


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