Brand New Episode! "48 Hours in Greenland 2018: Inuits, Icebergs and Insane Hikes"
48 Hours in Istanbul: Boats, Baklava, and Stunning Sunsets
Turkey is one of the historically fascinating countries in the world and a trip to spend just 48 hours in Istanbul might sound crazy, but it is definitely worth it!
Filled with endless cultural gems from nearly every corner of the globe, mixed with some of the most delicious flavors of food you could imagine, funky new neighborhoods, breathtaking islands off the coast, castle, bazaars, and mosques, 48 hours in Istanbul will be a trip you'll never forget.
Our readers have been asking us for months to film a 48 hours in Istanbul episode, so when we saw the perfectly timed flights on Turkish Airlines leaving Dubai on a Thursday evening and landing at 5:30 am Friday morning, it didn't take much convincing to book our tickets. We did this trip on a totally normal 2 day weekend and were back in our desks 8 am on Sunday morning so you have no excuse!
Now, we had a challenge on this trip because it was so short - but nothing we couldn't handle! We had a TON of stuff we wanted to see and got loads of recommendations from all of you guys so we were thrilled to come across the Conrad Bosphuros Istanbul and their amazing 1/3/5 Stay Inspired concept of 1, 3 and 5 hour tours organized and leaving directly from the hotel which are designed specifically for people like us who only have a couple days to explore a city.
We planned our stay at the Conrad and immediately started plotting all we could do in just 48 hours. Arriving at 5 am and only have two days we opted for their VIP airport service which had us from the plane to a chauffeured car in SIX minutes - no joke, it was insane. If we knew this was possible on previous trips it would have saved so many nightmares.
All checked in with the Hilton Honors app before we even stepped foot in the hotel, we were freshened up and ready to go in no time. The sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky and it was a perfect 25 degrees - could we ask for anything better? We easily linked up with Ulku, the friendly local tour guide arranged for us through the Stay Inspired tour plan and we headed out for our first of two days exploring Istanbul.
Having Ulku and the same driver with us throughout the weekend from airport pick up to drop off Saturday evening was key and saved us loads of time. No hassle with taxis, no directions on your phone, no metro or bus mix ups. We headed straight for Sultanahmet, the old city of Istanbul and what is the most important thing before any city tour? Eating!
There is no better restaurant view of the Golden Horn, Old City and Galata than Hamdi Restaurant, which started off as a simple kebab food cart in the 1960's but soon got so popular they needed a bigger space. Make sure to ask for a rooftop seat and enjoy a breathtaking view of Istanbul. For starters, order the yoğurtlu şakşuka (yogurt meze with fried eggplant, peppers, and potato), the içli köfte (meatballs rolled in bulgur) and the lahmacun (thin, meat-topped pizza), but make sure to leave room for plenty of kebabs! Order any meat and you'll leave fat and happy.
Once we were totally stuffed we headed with Ulku next door to the amazing Spice Bazaar and explored the rows and rows of shops sampling everything from Baklava, Turkish delight, apple tea, cheeses, smelling all the spices and nearly bought everything in sights - but alas we had to go - on off to the boat terminal!
Heading back to the busy ferry terminal in Ortekoy we jumped on a 90-minute boat ride to one of the Princes Islands, the biggest of them all, for what proved to be one of our biggest surprises on any recent trip. No 48 hours in Istanbul is complete without visiting these islands and the Stay Inspired 5-hour tour of the island the perfect way to fit it into our schedule.
Welcomed with a fresh breeze, seagulls cawing, and endless rows of ocean front seafood restaurants, we got lost down the quaint alleyways, only filled with horse-drawn carriages as cars are not allowed, and were absolutely shocked at how incredible this little island we'd never heard of before was. We felt torn between thinking we were in California or the south of France.
After hours of wandering around, exploring the island on horseback and getting our fill of grilled shrimps, octopus and a few local beers we jumped back on the boat with Ulku to make sure we were back at the Conrad for sunset as we'd heard rumors their rooftop lounge was one of the best places in all of Istanbul to watch the sunset.
Read the rest of our complete guide at: https://whatdoesntsuck.com/48-hours-in-istanbul
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