Istanbul is a tremendously busy city where the Bosporus doesn’t only divide the city in two, the sea street is also the border between Europe and Asia. When you get to visit Istanbul through Corendon you see the different cultures in the street by the way people behave, their clothes and traditions. I was quite overwhelmed, and at a certain point just stood there taking it all in. The view from the Orka Royal rooftop terrace is magical as you can see.
Things to do:
Eventhough Karaköy is one of Istanbul’s hippest and most historical neighborhood to hang out in the borouh Sultanahmet & the Bazaar area you’ll find the biggest attractions of the city. The impressive blue mosque thanks it’s name to the color of the thousands of tiles on the inside of the building.
Straight accross the Blue Mosque you’ll find Hagia Sophia, a cathedral and mosque in one. A true go see due to the beautiful mosaic displayed on the wall. When taking a coffee break, ask the waiter if there is a rooftop bar. Most restaurants have one. For the best baklava: Karaköy Güllüoğ (Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mh. Mumhane Cd. 34425 Beyoğlu İstanbul) or go to the famous Ottoman.
Dinner with a view:
Maiden Tower dates from Fifth century BC. and was build as watchtower. The tower was also used as a light house and from there on known for several legendary stories and featured in the 1999 James Bond movie “The world is not enough”. An absolute go see for a drink or to enjoy a typical dinner.
One of the other attractions is the Galata bridge. The bridge is packed with fisherman patiently trying to fish Hamsi (ansjovis). From this bridge the view is just breathtaking. Under the bridge you can having a drink or dinner at the many (fish) restaurants here. I loved having dinner here.
Next to taking a cab, that is reasonably priced but please let the cab driver put the meter on, the ferry is the most convenient way of traveling in such a grand city.
Places to stay:
We stayed at the Orka Royal Hotel, a renewed four star hotel in the heart of the old city with a rooftop bar and a swimming pool that was empty in november making it an perfect spot to enjoy the view and intensely sunny weather. The first and last photo are actually shot on the rooftop which such a fabulous view!! I could sit here all day….
From a make-up artist point of view it’s nice to see so many woman “facially” dressed for the occasion. Heaps of kohl and mascara, fierce brows and something that holds between blush and bronzer. The things you discover while watching people over coffee break.
While having a stroll downtown I discovered Golden Rose. A very affordable yet promising make-up brand that is manufactured in Turkey and sells everything from foundation, and highlighter to nailpolish and lipstick. The pigments are great and I am reviewing some items as we speak.
KANYON is an architectural curiosity, shaped like a steel-and-glass canyon, this indoor- outdoor mall houses Turkish designer brands as well as Istanbul’s Harvey Nichols. When you’re passing through, just like I did, do keep in mind that the prices at Harvey Nichols could be higher (in my case it was at least 10%) than in Europe depending on het currency exchange rate.
Cevahir is one of the largest malls in Europe. Beyoglu’s main street is the place to go for high-street fashion or head to the chique neighborhood of Nisantasi for Chanel, Dior, Gucci & Prada.
Don’t leave Istanbul without shopping at the Grand Bazaar- Kapali Carsi. All roads practically lead there. In this labyrinth with thousands of shops you’ll find everything from flying handmade carpets to luxurious fabrics and a lots of gold. Pots, pans, bracelets, you name it. And let’s not forget Turkish Delight, sweet pastry in all flavors and shapes that can be found everywhere throughout Instanbul and is likely to be served with the famous slightly bitter Turkish tea or coffee. Grateful that I was able to spend some time in this amazing city thanks to Corendon. I will surely be back on another occasion.
I would love to go back as there is much more to exploring to do. Many thanks to Corendon for giving us the opportunity to visit. Corendon offers three day trips from Schiphol or Eindhoven airport starting from €199. From the four star Orka Royal Hotel to the five star Titanic City hotel close to Taksim Square. This includes the flight, transfer and stay at one the hotels and breakfast. Check it out: CORENDON you rock!