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- My Suite Istanbul – Berkay Akarsu is a really great guy and over extends his hospitality to all his guests. The apartments are in the Beyoglu district near Taksim Square and the Istiklal. The area looks like the Village of New York circa 1960. It’s a mixture of antique shops, coffee shops and bars. They are all very convenient to anywhere in the city.
- Istanbulplace.com – also in the Beyoglu and Galata neighborhoods. Beautiful apartments very close to the Galata Tower.
- Witt Istanbul – on the European side. A beautiful new boutique style hotel close to Taksim Square and the Istiklal, a perfect address
- Ansen Suites – contemporary rooms with kitchens near the Istiklal (a great area across the Bosphorus from the choas of tourism
- Hotel Niles – near the Grand Bazaar. This is a beautiful 4star hotel
- Blue Hotel – a moderate price hotel in the Sultanamet area with amazing views over the Blue Mosque.
- Sari Konak – Old Ottoman House restored to a beautiful small moderate price hotel in the Sultanamet area
- Sumahan Hotel – a beautiful hotel on the Bosphorus. It’s a little far from the central city but they offer a free boat service
- Four Seasons – What once was the old prison is now the Four Seasons. It’s location is perfect if you like being in the thick of it.
- Ciragan Palace – Live like a Sultan in this converted Royal Palace. The building alone is worth the stay. The service is amazing.
See the twi links below for an great overview. We loved everything from the Hagia Sofia to the Blue Mosque and the Sultanahmet district to the underground cistern. He walked for days exploring the Topkapi Palace and the Dolmabahçe Palace, the 5th-century city walls, the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Spice Market and just hanging out in the Pera and the Istiklal on the European side. Try to get on the boat on the Bosphorus. It’s a wonderful way to spend the day. The ferryboat departs from the Eminönü ferryboat docks (close to the Galata Bridge). It’s a ride up the river to Anadolu Hisarı on the Asian shore, a stop for lunch at a local restaurant and walk up to the old fortress and then a return trip back to Istanbul.
- All about Turkey – Burak Sansal is Turkey’s version of Greece’s Matt Barrett. Although we’ve never used Burak, we love his website. Lots of good information and tips. Highly recommended
- The Turkey Travel Planner – Tom Brosnahan is a well respected travel writer who maintains this wonderful site for all things Turkish. Highly recommended
- Turkland Travel – this is a travel tour guide company in the old Sultanahmet area. They’ve been there for years. I recommend asking for Ozden Basak at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him to set up your tour. Ozden arranged for us to have a History/Archeology Professor, Ferudun Ozgumus, for an entire day at a very reasonable price. It was one of the best tour days we’ve ever experienced.
FOOD AND RESTAURANTS
Turkish coffee is awesome and worth the wait.
- Istanbul food is by Tuba Satana, a culinary expert who has food tours and recommendations of where to eat in Istanbul.
- Istanbul Eats – is a very entertaining where to go what to buy guide
- ParlaFoods – Istanbul – I’m a big Katie Parla fan. She is an American food critic (New York Times and others) who specialized in food of Rome but she has recently branched out to Istanbul