Istanbul in the Heat of the Summer
July 19, 2014 - July 25, 2014
The heart of the summer, slightly off the main tourist season, is an exciting time to visit Istanbul: your imagination will be fed with images, smells, tastes and impressions you never thought possible. We'll do our fair share of Istanbul’s magnificent historical sites and museums, but that’s not all that's at offer: in recent years Istanbul has become the place to be for arts, design, partying and foodie culture. The balmy summer nights offer a perfect backdrop especially for the latter two and we'll dance and feast on amazing food for sure. One day we'll make a trip to Princes’ Islands: sail up the beautiful Bosphorus and rent bicycles on the island. You'll find it's one of the most amazing picnic spots you've ever been to.
Included in the price: Airport Transportation, Accommodation, Tour Leading and 1001Worlds Services. (The price is based on two people in a twin room, or on occasion, three people in a dublex. If you’d like a single room, let us know and we can organize it for you for extra fee. Couples can of course request a double room.)
Not included: Plane Ticket, Mandatory Travel Insurance, Meals and Activities.
Istanbul was fascinating and full of amazing energy - feel like we just saw a fraction of it in the week we were there. Hotel was great, with a killer view of the city from the roof. We had a wonderful guide for our big sightseeing day - took a tour of the old Jewish neighborhood that was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Also really loved our trip to the Asian side to a a restaurant that was written up in the New York Times - amazing food.
This was my first trip to Istanbul (and Asia, if only for a few hours!). I don't know what I was expecting but this certainly surpassed it. From fantastic food to a beautiful boutique hotel (with a rooftop deck with a stunning view of the Golden Horn and Bosporus) to an incredible guide, the trip included both must-see sites (Hagia Sofia, the Grand Bazaar,İstiklal, Taksim Square, etc.) and some really nice off-the-beaten-path discoveries that were suggested by the group (Chora Church, etc.).
What made this experience especially wonderful was the flexibility. One example: We took a side trip to Bodrum and, among other activities, chartered a boat for a swim in a secluded cove. This was the perfect end to a perfect trip.
Trip was a blast. 1001worlds had arranged ride to and from the airport, and a very cool hotel in a perfect location close to Istikal, Galata tower, walking distance from the Old City, and Golden Horn. We only took a guide for one day since we chose to explore more on our own, but the guide was well worth it even just for that one day. Could have stayed another week!
Keep in mind that this is just a proposal, as you will get to decide about daily activities with your group. Piia is there to propose and come up with ideas and suggestions as you go along. We do our best to keep you far away from the tourist crowds and get you in touch both with the city’s history and its contemporary scene and cool inhabitants. Be ready to meet some fun locals!
Please note that some activities in the program below, such as workshops and renting a boat, have to be booked in advance.
SAT Day 1
Arrival at the stylish hotel in Galata with its lovely cafes, Ottoman architecture and art galleries: plenty of amazing things to take in, taste and experience on your first day. In the evening, you'll get an introduction to regional Turkish cuisine in one of the hip restaurants and a chance to meet some cool locals as you bar or cafe hop afterwards.
SUN Day 2
No 7am breakfast here. Instead we'll meet for lunch or brunch in a lovely organic cafe near the Galata Tower. We spend the afternoon at a leisurely pace in Beyoglu with its great selection of art galleries, outdoor cafés and vintage stores. If it’s too hot, we can take a boat up the Bosphorus to see some of the beautiful wooden houses along the waterfront. We might have dinner in a traditional meyhane (a Turkish tavern) with live music or go for one of the more fashionable roof top restaurants, depending on the group’s taste.
MON Day 3
Today some of the group members have opted for a full day Turkish cooking course on the Asian side together with a spice store session. They'll return with enough to impress friends back at home for sure. Others might explore more of Beyoglu with its pretty churches, small boutiques, great museums, and lively bars. Everyone can do it at his own pace and indulge in some shopping, too. Fans of history shouldn't miss out the lavishly renovated Pera Palace, where Agatha Christie wrote 'Murder on the Orient Express' and fans of literature will want to visit Orhan Pamuk's Museum of Innocence. Or the rest of the group can take the boat to Balat and Fener, the new counter culture haven for artists up the Golden Horn.
TUE Day 4
Today we have a fun professional guide with us the whole day, full of historical knowledge. With her we cross the Galata bridge to visit the world famous Aya Sophia, previously a cathedral and a mosque. From there, it's not far to the Basilica Cisterns and the Blue Mosque. After that, we'll get lost on purpose in the labyrinth of the age old souks and bazaars full of colors and fragrances, selling spices, gold, textiles, and pottery. Our guide will explain you the do's and dont's from buying in the bazaar: it's an art form in itself. In the evening we'll relax with some good wine or we go for a steam bath in one of the hammams. A must experience in Istanbul.
WED Day 5
Time to visit the fabulous Topkapi Palace and afterwards take the boat to Kadikoy on the Asian Side with its upcoming foodie scene. We'll explore the waterfront, the car free streets, lively bars and the Moda Terras with its pretty views. At night we’ll go to one of our favorite clubs and take the most out of the “Little Saturday,” i.e. Wednesday night.
THU Day 6
A free day: We'll head out to relax in the Princes’ Islands, for centuries a refuge for Armenians, Greeks, Jews and even for Leon Trotski after he was deported from Soviet Union. We'll pack a picnic lunch with us before boarding the ferry from our favorite gourmet deli. Once in our destination, we'll rent bikes and climb to one of the ancient churches on a hilltop and spend some relaxed time at the beach. In the evening we can meet with some local artists or for example take a street food tour. Turkish jazz anyone? Or perhaps an electronic dance party or a local rock band? Choices are endless in Istanbul.
FRI Day 7
After a lovely regional breakfast, it’s time to pack our bags and leave for Bodrum. We usually spend a whole 7 days in Istanbul, but this group, coming all the way from the US, wanted to include another stop in Turkey. So we organized a cheap flight and extra two nights in the Turkish nightlife and summer fun haven of Bodrum. If you want to join the Istanbul trip and would also like to go to Bodrum, just let us know and we'll organize it for you.