Yes it’s true – Winter is coming. This natural force is unfortunately doesn’t spare at the edge of Europe. We Istanbulians are not just recognizing this matter of fact cause of the change of light decoration at Istikal Street – the rain jacket became our closest companion (Thanks mate!). Average day temperatures between 6 C and 9 C, let’s call it mild, and rainy days, ‘least no monsoon, may not be on the wish list for a holiday destination. You will ask now what the hell should make you visit winter-wonder-Bosporus when you can go to Pataya for tons of all-you-can-papaya salad?! We have six convincing reasons for Istanbul from the back of our resident hands…
The big things in Istanbul are obvious Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace and Istanbul Modern. They occupy the pages of tourist guides and blogs but guess what – there is much more to experience if you just know which side street to take. Use rainy days at their best and visit the private art collections of Salt (Garanti Bank), Borusan and Sabanci. And if you need a shot of sub culture: In the harbour area of Karaköy, small galleries and art spaces are popping up like mushrooms. Take a look at the up to dateistanbulgallerymap.
The city of milk and honey? More of Cay and Baklava – literally falling into mouth, as there are as much vendors as people in Istanbul. Street food is not trend, it’s tradition. All around the city you’ll find Simit vendors (like bagels), guys who carry hot beverages in cupper buckets and last but not least the most popular and illegal sellers: Midye Dolma (stuffed mussels from unclear production circumstances). If you don’t like to risk a food poisoning, you should try the mouth watering “Lokantas” with mommy style buttery rice or on of the various excellent fish restaurants. Istanbul is Foodie’s paradise! Check out the hidden and famous spots here:deliciousistanbul.com
A visit at the Hammam is not just a body cleanse! Take your time and dive into another world: Steam, wellness and the best scrub you’ve ever had (word!) Traditionally a Turkish Bath starts with relaxation in a heated room. Next step is a refreshing wash with cold water from stannic bowls that is followed by the fulminat final: A full body soap massage on a hot stone. After this warming ritual pack yourself in your winter coat and wander cross the lightened evening of Istanbul back home. This is all you need. Our favourite: kilicalipasahamami.com Stay in our Apartment with your own Hamam bathroom.
There is music in the streets, on the ferry and even the drunks at nights have a voice like sweet birdies. Since Fatih Akin’s “Crossing the Bridge” it is broadly known that this city has music in its soul. To be part of it, you just have to go to the right places (note: never make the unforgivable mistake entering an arabesk club). Better take a seat in Arkaoda and listen with a glas of redwine to a experimental jazz performance or get a ticket for one of the best live clubs in Istanbul: Babylon.
7 Days of shopping? Almost like a ski holiday, you’ll be super fit afterwards. There is a district bazar everyday with cheap textiles – from time to time you can find a gold nugget in a pile of shirts ( e.g. a piece of a popular Scandinavian brand produced in Turkey) You shouldn’t also miss the Spice Bazar and the Grand Bazar: full of tourist in the high season, it is rather empty in winter! Time for bargaining… bring an empty luggage to carry all the silk scarfs, intense spices and leather shoes back.
6 View View! and view and view!
No questions, Istanbul has breathtaking ones. One of our favourites is the ferry vista. Jump on to the Asian side from Karaköy when it gets dark and take a seat close to the windows. The city is illuminated! With a hot sip of Salep (liquid pudding with cinnamon topping) and the relaxing waves you never want to reach the harbour again. Sure winter is not made for roof top terrace dinner but what about an apartment with panorama? Can there be anything better than a laid-back afternoon in a MANZARA Apartment with a view all over the Bosporus and the historic cityscape – hell no! Check out our Winter Special and save up to 70% for our MANZARA Apartments.