If you don't have time for the full day Bosphorus cruise then IDO (Istanbul Deniz Otobus) also offer a two hour trips along one of the world's greatest waterways without the lengthy (nearly three hour) stop at the north end of the Bosphorus. It is also kinder on the pocket costing 10 TL instead of 25TL for the full day tour. See the beauty of the city for less money and less time!
The ferry departs from Eminonu at 1430 returning at 1630 (it also collects from Uskudar for those staying on the Asian shore)
It is such a suitable apartment for family travellers. Location is superb just nearby Blue Mosque. We found the apartment extremely clean. Home owner Bahadir took a very good care of us during our stay in July.
We spent a wonderful week in Instanbul staying at pasha!place. The apartment is perfectly situated next to Galata Tower, restaurants and shopping areas and is walking distance to Galata bridge. The apartment is beautifully renovated and furnished with much taste. And there is an absolutely fantastic view out of the livingroom window across the water to the Topkapi, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque!
We really enjoyed Istanbul and had a beautiful time. This apartment in Cukurcuma is cozy and comfortable and the location fantastic. The area is an exciting mix of the old Ottoman tradition and new artistic trends and the Galata tower and bridge are within walking distance. We met Tarkan's family: lovely people!
Do what the Istanbullers do. Escape the heat of the city with a ferry day trip to the Princes Islands. Drink tea and eat bagels served to your seat during the 1 ½ journey as the ferry stops at four of the islands before terminating at the ornate Ottoman quay on Büyükada. Take an island tour by phaeton (no cars allowed on the islands). Stroll along the shopping streets. Marvel at the extraordinary ice cream parlours. Eat fish on the waterfront, then return to the city. For just three TL (£1.50) each way, a bargain.
Ido Ferries, regular departures from Kabatas quay, Istanbul. www.ido.com.tr/en/index.cfm
Laid-back air, quiet grace. A special seafront playground with good cafes (but 18TL for 3 coffees), Laleli shop (olives, oil & soap), patisserie, and as you walk down the coastal road towards Ortakoy, mussels stuffed with rice and a good fish shop called Adem Baba with Ottoman houses in the area.
Taxi from Besiktas. Or bus from Eminonu.
Ortaköy is an area of Istanbul on the European side of the Bosphorous just under the first bridge.
There are many cafes and little shops in which to poke around but they are a little more expensive than the norm.
Despite this you can sit with a drink, watch the boats glide past, and admire the bridge which is lovely by day or night. Heaven!
Ortaköy is very easy to get to from any central area. Buses or minibuses going up the Bosphorous coast road all pass through it and a taxi from Taksim will cost about 10 lira. Ferries go there and if you cannot get one to Ortaköy then go to Beşiktaş and get a minibus for the remaining 2 km.
Belgrade Forest (Belgrad ormanı) is a large green area to the north of the city. It has many entrances but I recommend the one at Bahçeköy which is closest to Neşet Suyu, where there is a 6km path/track around a lake. Here you can walk/run in the fresh air and then enjoy a snack at one of the little cafes near the start. The area is very busy at weekends in the summer for barbecues so I would recommend a visit in midweek or in the off peak seasons.
It is lovely to be only 20km from the centre of the city and yet only hear birds.
It is possible to explore further, but signposts tend to be Turkish only, which could be awkward! It costs 5 lira for a car to enter the forest or 1 lira for someone on foot.
Getting there is the problem!
The 42T bus from Taksim will take you to Bahçeköy and from there it is a very short walk to the entrance.
Alternatively a minibus from Beşiktaş towards Sariyer passes the Kilyos turning to Bahçeköy and people frequently pick up hitch hikers from this corner. (I must point out that this is not a good idea for women on their own).
Unfortunately from the entrance it is then a further 2 km to Neşet suyu which would tire out smaller children.
Ideally you need some sort of personal transport or a reliable taxi service to make the journey easier. A taxi from 4. Levent (the last stop on the metro from Taksim) will cost about 25 lira one-way (a tenner) which is very good for four people.
A high hill on the Asian side of the city, it's lovely to take a taxi to the park up here at sunset to watch the sun go down over the city, see the Bosphorus bridge and the city light up, and hear the prayer calls from all over the city come up from all around you - your very own surround sound system.
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