Istanbul, where East meets West
As our Grantourismo team had been to Istanbul before, they were quite happy to find themselves in the local neighbourhood of Beyoglu, rather than in the super-touristy Sultanahmet, or 'old town', although this is where you'll find all the main 'tourist' sites so it's definitely still worth a look. From their penthouse apartment
just one block from the main shopping street and a stone's throw from Taksim Square, they discover the daily ebb and flow of this multicultural city through the Oriental style alleyways and elegant Parisian-style passages that perfectly reflect the city's image as a gateway between Europe and Asia. Read all Lara and Terry's posts on their trip to Istanbul
A multicultural stroll, mini-markets and cats!
One of the first things Lara and Terry did in Istanbul was a guided walk, 'Cosmopolis - Istiklal Street', run by specialist walking tour provider Context
, in order to discover more about the history of their local 'hood. This took them on a fascinating meander through the multicultural history of the city as well as giving them a taste of the plethora of shops, restaurants, rooftop bars and jazz clubs that were in striking distance of their home for the next two weeks.
And although they found the city is no longer the amazing budget destination it was five years ago, it is still more affordable than most European cities... if you know where to look. Venture beyond the tourist traps and head to local haunts
and you'll find terrific value and brilliant service. Our intrepid duo recommend you go a few blocks further from the more well-publicised markets to seek out neighbourhood cafés, supermarkets and mini-markets for the best value produce.
To really get a taste of life in this vibrant city though, as well as helping to look after your local neighbourhood cats
, one of the best things you can do is simply go with the flow
, following the stream of locals from Taksim Square, all the way down to Galata Bridge. If you don't fancy walking the whole way you can jump on the charming old tram from Taksim to Tunel Square, then the underground funicular on to Galata Bridge. Finish your day off with some raki or narghile at one of the many bars or live music venues
- you won't be hard pressed to find a buzzing nightlife in this 24-hour city, that's for sure!
Aysel Istanbul Apartments
- Lara and Terry's 'HomeAway from home'
in Istanbul was 'Aysel Four', a minimalist-style penthouse in a historic building just one block from Istiklal Caddesi, the main shopping street in Beyoglu and one block from Taksim Square. This spacious two-bedroom flat can accommodate up to five guests comfortably and all apartments on this listing are of a very high quality with high ceilings, hardwood floors and original plaster moulding.
The penthouse and other Aysel Istanbul Apartments are available to rent on HomeAway.co.uk (Property 422984). Read Lara and Terry's full review of the property in Istanbul
Next stop ... Hungary, stay tuned!
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