An Istanbul Summer
July 27, 2013 - August 03, 2013
The heart of the summer, slightly off the main tourist season, is an exciting time to visit Istanbul: we got our imagination fed with images, smells, tastes and impressions we never thought possible. We did our fair share of Istanbul’s magnificent historical sites and museums, but that’s not all at offer here: in recent years Istanbul has become the place to be for arts, design, partying and food culture. The balmy summer nights offer a perfect backdrop especially for the latter two and we feasted on amazing food. We spent a perfect summer day on the nearby Princes’ Islands, sailed up the beautiful Bosphorus and rented bicycles on the island, where there is no traffic. What an amazing picnic spot the island offers!
This was my first time in Istanbul and the first time with 1001Worlds – both exceeded my expectations. It was a perfect week!
I want to share one image: One evening, after a day full of new experiences we found (or of course our guide knew!) this cool small rooftop restaurant on a side street in Beyoğlu. We sat down for drinks and enjoyed the spectacular view. A beautiful sunset, the sea, the buzzing city somewhere below us. There were groups of people gathered on their rooftops in the neighboring buildings, waiting for the beginning of iftar. Everybody was enjoying a soft evening after a hot day. Magical.
Sorry there is no Playground for this trip: we introduced this feature after the trip.
Keep in mind that this is just a proposal, as you will get to decide about daily activities with your group. The tour leader is there to propose and come up with ideas and suggestions if needed. 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 cool contemporary scene and inhabitants.
Please note that some activities in the program below, such as workshops and renting a boat, have to be booked a few days in advance. But those decisions can be made by the group on the Playground.
SAT Day 1
Arrival at the stylish apartments 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 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 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. We'll explain you the do's and dont's from buying in the souks. 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.
TUE Day 4
A free day: Those who want can join us to 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 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.
WED Day 5
Time to visit the fabulous Topkapi Palace and afterwards take the boat to Kadikoy on the Asian Side with it's 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
Today we'll have a leisurely pace and explore more of Beyoglu with its pretty churches, small boutiques, great musea, and lively bars. Everyone can do it at his own pace and indulge in some shopping, too. Consider it a day off, but your tourleader is of course there if you need suggestions or rather do a guided tour. Fans of history shouldn't miss out the lavishly renovated Pera Palace, where Agatha Christie wrote 'Murder on the Orient Express'. In the evening we can attend a Sufi performance of the Whirling Dervices or go listen to some live music. Turkish jazz anyone?
FRI Day 7
After a lovely regional breakfast, it’s time to visit things we've missed out on in the past week or just to do some shopping. What about having a cooking class with a great chef or in an Istanbul home? Or meeting up with some Turkish friends we made during the week? Or we can take the boat to Balat and Fener, the new counter culture haven for artists up the Golden Horn. This is your last night, and it’s a Friday, so the options of where to dance or people watch the night away are endless.
SAT Day 8
We’ll have a huge hangover breakfast in one of the famous places in Cihangir and say goodbye. Unless you don’t want to leave, a likely effect Istanbul can have on you. In this case, let us know and we can negotiate a deal for you with our hotel or one of the apartments we’re staying in.
Please note that we keep updating this program based on the already signed up nomads’ wishes, and the group’s interactions on the Playground.