Tour of Istanbul (Europe Side) 🇹🇷

Join me on a tour of Istanbul’s European side. Would you rather see this city with the help of a knowledgeable local guide, or would you rather stumble your way around this city with yer man?

I think we know the answer to that, so let’s go for a wee explore.

I started off in my Airbnb apartment in the Beyoğlu area and took a stroll through the backstreets where there are ancient hamamis (Turkish baths), antique shops, hip cafes and stunning classic architecture.

I followed those streets up to Taksim Square which is a major landmark in Istanbul and has many nice hotels, kebab shops and tricky ice cream sellers.

From Taksim Square I took the vintage local tram. Most of the trams in Istanbul are the new, fancy modern ones but they’ve kept one line in operation for the classic trams. It’s a bit slow but you must take a ride on it at least once when visiting Istanbul.

The tram took me to near Galata Tower, which was Constantinople’s tallest tower when it was erected in 1348. The view from the top is amazing and you can walk around and get a full 360 degrees panoramic look at this huge city from above.

I had a further wander around the backstreets and a lovely cup of fresh fruit juice from one of the local street vendors before making my way to the bridge to cross the Golden Horn.

Just before the bridge I saw a vendor selling Simit, a traditional Turkish bread. I kept seeing those vendors everywhere and had been meaning to try it for so long. I finally did and had mine with Nutella spread all over it, which I’m sure is the traditional way it was eaten hundreds of years ago by the Ottoman people.

After crossing the bridge I went on a Turkish Delight hunt. I wanted to visit the original turkish delight shop, Ali Muhiddin Haci Bekir, which was established in 1777. I bought some of their sweet treats on a short stopover in Istanbul 6 years earlier and they were indeed Turkish delightful.

Unfortunately it seems that Haci Bekir, like many independent shops in Istanbul, are closed on Sundays. Instead I went for Plan B and visited Koska, which has a bunch of branches all around Istanbul and seems to be popular.

I took a selection of their premium lokum and found a place to sit down outside and give them the taste test for you guys.

After so much sugar I was full of energy to go on a bargaining spree in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. Unfortunately it too is closed on Sunday’s, so I had to come up with a plan B to keep the vlog going. One hour isn’t enough.

I walked all the way from the Grand Bazaar to the Blue Mosque, which was also closed. Well, it was closed to anyone who wasn’t there to pray.

Somehow I came up with a plan C, which was to visit the Topkapi Palace. It was the home to the sultans of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years and is incredibly beautiful. Unfortunately they don’t allow cameras in many of the interesting rooms, which is annoying. If they are opening the place up to mass tourism they should expect that people will want to take photos and videos there.

After spending at least an hour in the palace I re-visited the Blue Mosque, which was open to the general public again after prayer time finished. Unfortunately it was a waste of time because it was under renovations and the entire ceiling was covered, so there was nothing to see there.


00:00 Beyoglu Backstreets
05:56 Taksim Square
08:04 Vintage Tram
22:00 History of Istanbul
24:20 Galata Tower
35:09 Backstreets
40:45 Fruit Juice Vendor
44:44 Nutella Simit
55:59 Luxury Turkish Delight
1:08:57 Grand Bazaar
1:13:13 Blue Mosque (Outside)
1:17:50 Topkapi Palace
1:32:05 Pomegranate Slushy
1:33:47 Blue Mosque (Inside)

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