Istanbul

Everything you need for a kicking day or two in Istanbul...

09:00

1. Cigdem Pastanesi

An unwittingly retro 60′s style cafe serving amazingly light and fluffy cheese böreks (how do they do it?!) and good coffee. Brilliant for breakkie and when you need to refuel after tourist-blockbustering in Sultanahmet or simply can’t face another enormous Turkish-sized dinner. Hot chocolate and traditional Turkish pastry treats are also divine. …

A. Cigdem Pastanesi
Divan Yolu Caddesi 62a
Alemdar
Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 526 8859

10:00

2. Aya Sofia

Don’t miss Aya Sofia, arguably the only earthly illustration of would happen if God was an architect. Despite the tourists, the camera flashes, the odd bit of scaffolding this Byzantine church turned mosque turned museum is nothing short of jaw-dropping. Humbling, moving and inspiring all at once. Nuff said. Get in early before the crowds hit. …

B. Ayasofya Meydanı
Sultanahmet Fatih
Turkey

12:00

3. Cooking Alaturka

Do! If we were going to sign up for cooking classes in Istanbul, we’d do it here. If you’d rather just enjoy the results of other people’s labor, you can also dine in their restaurant which offers AMAZING food, albeit at somewhat painful prices.

C. Cooking Alaturka
Akbiyik Cad. 72a
Sultanahmet
Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 458 5919

13:30

4. Harem, Topkapı Palace

Sultans, concubines, eunuchs, the royal harem had it all! Istanbul’s been called the Paris of the East and the New York of it’s time – it has the equivalent in blockbusters of both! So visiting the city is as exciting as it is exhausting. If we had to narrow it down the Harem would be number 2 on our hit list. Frankly we don’t have the patience – or stamina – to navigate the whole of the Topkapi Palace, so for us this little bite was enough. Enough to marvel us with its mosaics, dazzle us with its glorious ceilings and confuse us with its winding navigation. Avoid peak times because the sheer number of visitors is decidedly irksome …

D. Topkapı Palace
Babıhümayun Caddesi
Istanbul

14:00

5. Istanbul Modern

The collection at this privately funded gallery dedicated to contemporary art, can be hit and miss, but the setting is impressive (Karaköy pier in a former naval warehouse). It is also symbol of the city’s burgeoning creative class and a barometre for just how much Istanbulites are prepared to pay for a cup of coffee. The gallery restaurant is a wonderful location for drinks or dinner priced to match the surrounds. …

E. Istanbul Museum of Modern Art,
Meclis-i Mebusan Cad. Liman İşletmeleri
Sahası Antrepo No: 4, 34433 Karaköy,
Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 334 73 00

15:00

6. KronotRop Coffee Break

“Coffee snobs are welcome.” Yes, the blackboard says it all at KronotRop, Istanbul’s first Third Wave coffee haunt – and proud of it. We can’t think of a better place for a caffeine jolt than this cute Istanbul cafe. Coffee here – organic, single origin, fair trade – does come at a price, but just pay up, inhale and enjoy knowing that if it’s good for the planet, then it’s good for you too! If you are the kind of desperado who actually needs to travel with their own brew, we recommend that you stock up on it here …

F. KronotRop
Yeniçarşı Caddesi No. 5/b Beyoğlu
Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 249 9271

16:00

7. Sentral & Golden Horn

Situated in a former powerhouse Sentral on a university campus, this contemporary art space is definitely worth the trip for it’s alternative exhibitions, interesting architecture and lively restaurants buzzing with studenty and academic types …

G. Santralistanbul
Eski Silahtarağa Elektrik Santrali
Kazım Karabekir Cad. No:2
Eyüp 34060 İstanbul

18:00

8. Istikal Cadessi

Istikal Cadessi may be Istanbul’s most buzzing shopping strip – but it’s the atmospheric laneways branching off behind it that make for the most interesting exploration …

H. Robinson Crusoe Books
İstiklâl Caddesi 195A (389)
Beyoğlu
İstanbul
Tel: +90 212 293 6968

19:00

9. Apero @ 360

Istanbul’s most fashionable roof top bar caters to the new class of Istanbulites as imagined by Wallpaper* Magazine circa 2002.  The 360 bar offers a killer view of this amazing city – sunset dipping over the Bosphorus strait and the Hagia Sophia Mosque while enjoying a glass of local wine is not to be missed. This is the original branch of 360 – they have since expanded into other nightlife concepts – see their website for details and events. In the meantime, get into the 360 spirit on their Soundcloud. …

I. Istiklal Cadessi, Mısır Apartment
8th Floor No: 163 Beyoglu
Tel: +90 212 251 10 42 - 43

20:00

10. Indie: Açık Mutfak

Esra Şener has been serving up his take on traditional, home-cooked Istanbul food in the Galata district since 2007. Decorated in a cosy, bohemian style this is a relaxed place to explore the heaven that is Turkish cooking …

J. Açık Mutfak
Galip Dede Cd.
Tımarcı Sk. No: 6b
Galata, Beyoğlu
Istanbul
Tel: + 90 212 293 7433

21:00

11. Chic: Meze by Lemon Tree

Among Istanbul’s many culinary attractions is the meyane, a tavern serving traditional food in a lively atmosphere where raki and plates of mezze are consumed with more or less wild abandon. The somewhat upmarket Meze by Lemon Tree isn’t exactly rustic, however it is said to be one of the best places for meze in the city …

K. Meze by Lemon Tree
Asmalımescit Mahallesi
Meşrutiyet Caddesi
83/B Beyoğlu
Tel: +90 212 252 83 02

22:30

12. Babylon

Babylon: there’s no better place to see live, local music in Istanbul. Turkish electronica, Gypsy fusion, the odd German performance artist… Babylon has an eclectic range of music events all year around. The Babylon family also includes a record label, fashionable dining lounge, radio stream…you name it. Book tix ahead …

L. Babylon
Șehbender Sokak 3, (Alley off Istikal Caddesi) Tünel, Beyoğlu