Last summer, I had the opportunity to work in the surreal city that is Istanbul, and with 2 months to explore this city there was no way I was going to let this time go to waste.
Istanbul’s rich cultural heritage and outstanding geographical location mean that it is a city like no other; there is something in Istanbul to satisfy every type of traveller. With an exchange rate that means even places only the elite of Istanbul go can be within an English student’s budget, and with many roof-top bars where table dancing is just about allowed, it is actually a perhaps surprising party city.
There are many amazing things to get up to in Istanbul, but here are a few of my favourites. Istanbul is situated on the Bospurus as well as the Mamara sea, giving thousands of breath-taking views. Head to the most northern tip of the Asian side at sunset, with a pint, and stare across the dark sapphire-blue Mamara sea as the sun sets in an orange glow behind the European side of the city. A Turkish man once told me that drinking at the beach is a tradition for the Turks, and with drinking locations like this you can really understand why.
The hustle and bustle of the giant organism that is Istanbul can often be overwhelming, although the sweet scent of nargile draws you in as as you wonder the city, allowing for quiet chilling away from the crowds. The famous Tophane, a perfect location situated right by the Bosporus, allows for hours of smoking under the clear summer sky. The club scene in Istanbul is very much alive. Central Istanbul is becoming ever more cosmopolitan, and along with this the club scene continues to develop. Clubbing at top places in London can of course cost a small fortune, but doing the same in Istanbul may perhaps come within a student budget. At Reina you can party with investment bankers while staring at the 180o views of the Boshorus. Beer comes in steep at around £6 and vodka and coke may break the bank at £10, but free entry is pretty easy to find.
A visit to Istanbul is nothing without a tour of the old town. Head across the city to Eminonu, where you can explore the spice bizaar and eventually head to Topkapi palace with beautiful views across the Bosphorus. In all, Istanbul is not a city to be missed and I, like many others, am in love with this city.