3, 2, 1 – Happy New year!! Welcome in 2018! Everyone is hugging each other, Champaign bottles are popping, it’s the beginning of a new year – all my friends are around me, our location is just fabulous, and I got all these things planned for 2018, especially my WorldTravel – It just has to be a good year. At that moment I got goosebumps all over my body and enjoyed the amazing view over Istanbul. Just a perfect start in a new year.
Flight and location:
We flew with Turkish airline and got a free upgrade to the business class. A fantastic experience since I’m used to these small and uncomfortable seats. Arriving in Istanbul, we took a taxi to our Hotel – it was on the European side of Istanbul, located in a district called Fatih. This district is full of life, small and big shops and much to eat. For lunch, we had a traditional Kebab, that means it is a big plate with a lot of meat and rice from which everybody could take what he wanted – so delicious. And after that, we had some tea and shisha in a small bar.
Day 2: Mosques and the great Bazar
The next day we decided to do some sightseeing and to visit some of the Mosques. I’ve never seen a mosque, but Istanbul is full of them. We even entered one of them – The name was “Prince Mosque,” and it is located next to the “Sarachane Parki.” We asked a police officer if we could enter and he told us that we are welcome but have to put off our shoes, and the girls had to cover their heads. Inside the Mosque where a lot of small lights and a very high roof, everything was decorated beautifully.
The next station was the so-called great Bazar – a must. There are hundreds of small shops selling everything, from food to decoration and flowers. However, prices are much higher than outside the Bazar, so we went outside to eat something. This time we ate another Kebab, but one of them sold on the streets. It only costs about 1.5 Euro, and it is so delicious. The meat is better than every Kebab meat I ever ate in Germany or Luxembourg. Is was so good that I ate one every day we were there. And you can find them literally on every corner in the whole city.
Day 3: Blue Mosque and Taksim Square
The last mosque we visited was the Blue Mosque – It’s a giant Mosque with a blue roof where you can enter as well. However, I decided to stay outside because the queue was too long; instead we took a walk around in the park around the mosque.
In the evening we went to the area of the Taksim Square to have some drinks. There are hundreds of Bars, and in the evening the streets are full of people. Another must is to visit the area next to the Bosporus Bridge in the evening. The bars are more exclusive and sometimes a little bit expensive but the view of the bridge is impressive, and the atmosphere is lovely.
Day 4: The Asian side of Istanbul
On our last day, we went to the other side of the river to visit the Asian side of Istanbul. From there you can have a great view over the city. The best way to cross the river is with a ferry. It will take you about 20 minutes in which you see the skyline of Istanbul – otherwise, you can take an underground train which is faster and goes under the river.
The Highlight: Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Istanbul
After a rest in our Hotel, we prepared ourselves for the big evening. We bought tickets in advance for one of the best locations in the city. At first, we had dinner in the main street near the Taksim square. After that, we went to our location – 360Restaurant Istanbul – located on the 9th floor with a view over all of Istanbul. When I stepped out on the balcony I got goosebumps all over my body – The view was just stunning. We paid a lot for the tickets, but it was definitely worth the price – Free drinks, fruits and other snacks, shows and a DJ flown in from London – just a perfect night. We partied until 4 am and had another Kebab on the way home. To get back, we took a taxi – 7 people in one regular Taxi and we were all drunk, you can’t imagine the fun we had. It was an evening to be remembered!
Additional tips for your next Istanbul trip:
- The best way to get from A to B in Istanbul is with a taxi, especially if you’re in a group. Taxis are so cheap, and there are nearly more taxis then standard cars. But don’t fix prices in advance, insist on driving with the taximeter. Only in rush hour most of the driver want a fixed fee because traffic is horrible and you can barely find a driver who doesn’t want a fixed price. The best thing is to avoid rush hours to take a taxi at all.
- Hotels are cheap, but a four-star Hotel in Istanbul is not a four-star Hotel in Germany or Ireland. Keep that in mind – standards are different.
- Street food – especially these Kebabs – are cheap and super tasty.
- Because of very high taxes – Alcohol is very expensive, and you can end up paying 4 to 5 Euros for a regular beer. But food and Shishas are very cheap.
Istanbul is definitely worth visiting for some days. It is cheap, has a fantastic culture and a crazy night-life. So if you haven’t planned something for this New Year’s Eve, go and see it for yourself.
30 Days to go!
All photos were taken with my Camera Sony DSC-HX60