Istanbul is a beautiful city situated between two continents and with a great contrast of cultures. The city offers options for every budget. If you don’t want to spend too much, we propose you some cheap things to do in this amazing destination; so you can save some money to get the most out of the bazaars.
- Turkish Baths: They are divided for men and women. You can enjoy baths, massages, exfolation and steam. We reccomend the The Çemberlitas Bath which is situated in the midst of some of Istanbul’s greatest monuments.
- Boat trip: There are guided tours for less of 10€ lasting about two hours (20 lire) but if don’t have much time, you can take the urban boat, that it is cheaper and faster. Don’t miss the sight of the strait that separates Asia and Europe.
- Shisha or Nargile: one of the best ways to relax is to enjoy the Shisha. You can choose from many differents fruity flavours and add a good cup of tea. You can spend here a couple of hours for only 14 lire (about 6 € ).
- Night life: Istanbul is an open city where young people go out almost all nights, so, there are many bars or clubs. The best choices are: 360, a bar-restaurant and club located in a penthouse of an historic building on Istikal Avenue and it counts with a huge terrace. If you prefer to listen good music, your bar is Babylon, the center of live music.
- Food: You can survive by eating cheap kebabs or lahmacun (a kind of pizza) on the street. There are some Kurd locals where you can enjoy fresh products.
- Blue Mosque: The courtyard of the Blue Mosque is the largest in Turkey and it has six minarets. You can not enter with shoes and women must dress respectfully.
- Hagia Sophia: It was an Orthodox basilica, later a mosque and now a museum. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture.
- Museum of Contemporary Arts: The museum is housed in a warehouse on the dock in Karaköy. Some permanent works include the glass staircase suspended by steel chains.
- Grand Bazaar: It is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 60 streets and over 4,000 shops. You will find carpets, antiques, jewlery, leather and imitations. But take care, prices are sometimes 40-100% higher.
- Visit Kuzguncuk: It is a jewish neighborhood in the Üküsdar district on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. The neighborhood is centered on a valley opening to the Bosphorus and is somewhat isolated from the rest of the city, being surrounded by nature preserves, cemeteries, and a military installation. It is a quiet neighborhood with streets lined with antique wooden houses.
One tip: Avoid Kumkapi (the seafood restaurant district) located at the southwest of Sultanahmet, just off Kennedy Caddesi. This area is a huge disappointment. All the restaurants offer almost exactly the same menu, with little individual character, in adittion, none of the food looks particularly appetising.
Thanks to Hostelbookers for their recommendations!