Walk through the ornate lobby of the Seven Hills hotel in Sultanahmet, and take the lift to the rooftop bar for the best view in Istanbul. Sip a Turkish beer or wine while drinking in the 360 degree panorama, including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the ships on the Bosphorus. Swap seats each round for a different but equally stunning view!
Istanbul is all about roof top views and one of the best is from the 5 Kat. Located in a non descript building on a quiet side street, after a ride in a shaky old lift you step out onto a beautiful outdoor terrace with a breathtaking view over the Bosphorus. Get there early evening to grab a bar stool and a cocktail and watch the sun go down and the lights go up. Great view of the light show on the Bosphorus bridge.
Built in the 14th century, the 67m high, nine storey Galata Tower dominates the Istanbul skyline and has recently been completely refurbished to include a bar/restaurant and viewing balcony on its top storey. It was the tallest structure in Istanbul at the time, and now you can see the city that straddles two continents in a 360-degree panorama from the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace to the Bosphorus and Sea of Marmara. Enjoy a cappuccino and quick snack throughout the day, or book a table for a lively evening of fine international cuisine, great beers and wines and exotic but tasteful belly-dancing.
Tektekci is the best shot bar I've ever seen.
Located in Beyoglu - Taksim area, next to Galatasaray, the bar serves over 100 homemade cocktail shots and offers really good music.
Tomtom Mahallesi Akarsu Sokak No.2/1, 34433, Beyoglu
+90(0)533 774 74 60
The price of alcohol is very high, with an average bottle of Turkish wine costing about 32 lira or £14.
The imported vodka, whiskey, wine etc is equally exorbitant in price due to high taxes.
Just a word of warning in case people think Istanbul is like one of the resorts!
Any restaurant in Kumkapi is great: a network of pedestrian streets and nothing but tens of restaurants. On hot nights, it’s almost impossible to walk around, with pavements full of tables of happy diners and small groups of musicians travelling from one restaurant to another.
There is no global pop there, but lots of Turkish songs sang along by all encouraged by copious amounts of raki flowing around.
Restaurants offer great selections of mezzes and main courses. Last time I was there, a friend wanted to eat a dish the restaurant we were in didn’t serve, so the waiter ordered it from the restaurant opposite. How‘s that for hospitality?
Down from Sultan Ahmet towards the Sea of Marmara coast
No matter how little time you have for visiting Istanbul, you have to take a boat trip along the Bosphorus. All boats zigzag the Bosporus stopping alternately at a European and an Asian port. The best time to take the boat is on a warm summer’s evening so that you get to see the sunset and, if lucky, full moon over the city.
There is a public service ferry that does the full length or privately run boats that also offer shorter routes
Interesting authentic recipes from the Ottoman period - located next to St Chora (must see Byzantine mosaics and frescos).
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