Istanbul- Where Europe meets Asia

Istanbul is not only at the junction of two continents, but also a beautiful amalgamation of history, modern lifestyle and culture. Historically, an important city due to its strategic location, its been ruled by Romans and Ottamans deriving its ethnic influences. From Baklawas to grand mosques, Hamams to nightlife at Taksim - Istanbul has something to fit everyone's liking.

Day 1 Sultanhmet
I landed in Istanbul around noon and was out with a quick eVisa supported by my Schengen visa. My hotel was in old town of Sultanhmet and while there is Merto / tram connection from Attaturk airport, I generally prefer taxi on day 1 in any new country (50 Lira).

Luckily all the old town attractions were within walking distance from my hotel. Buy the tickets for Hagaia Sophia and Topkapi palace at the earliest as there is huge lines for both. Hagaia Sophia is a basilica turned mosque famous for its golden mosaic and grand interiors. Topkapi palace has been the centerpiece of great sultans, ambitious courtiers, beautiful concubines of the Ottoman empire. 

A visit to the palace's opulent pavilions, jewel-filled Treasury and sprawling Harem gives a fascinating glimpse into their lives. My last stop was the famous Blue Mosque, unfortunately it was under renovation and I could not access the main prayer room. However the exteriors with large minarets and gardens surely adds finnese to the overall Sultanhmet area.

For dinner I headed to the Kumkapi District for seafood and Armanian cuisine with Raki.

Day 2 Bazar & Bosphorous
Started early with a fresh local Turkish breakfast towards the famous Kapali Carsi or the Grand Bazar - world's oldest and largest indoor market. Filled with colorful lights souvenirs, antiques, clothing, accessories; this market is definitely worth pondering through. Make sure to bargain hard and not shy from walking away. 

Ask for the Exit Gate towards the Sulemaniya Mosque. A beautiful mosque with historic surroundings of madrassa, hamam and a breathtaking views of the city is a free attraction. 
Sulemaniya Mosque

Head towards Spice Bazar to get the taste of local spices and Baklava. Post lunch, I reached the Eminonu ferry terminal to take a small (2 hour) Bosphorous strait trip that takes you right between the continents and provides splendid views of the city.
After a long tired day, what better way than Turkish Hamam - sauna, scrub, massaged and bathed with bubbles to relax. While there are many expensive “tourist spa hammams” I found an authentic no frill called Kardiga providing full service for 53 Lira.

Day 3 Princes Island, Taksim
Last day, I wanted to get out of the town and found Prince’s Island as nice getaway. A 90 min boat trip to these small vehicle-less cluster of islands provides opportunity to ride bicycle through beautiful pine trees and mansions.

Evening, I headed to the cultural centre of Istanbul - Taksim Square. The historic tram, shops n bars and literally thousands of people streaming through Istikal Cadessi, is a perfect destination to explore the nightlife of the town.

One can never miss the variety of food that this city offers - Kebabs, Ice Cream, Baklawa, Turkish tea and much more to keep your taste buds tickling!