When it comes to genuinely warm and friendly cities, very few places hold a candle to the splendor that is known as Istanbul. Formerly known as Constantinople, the former capital city of the ancient Roman Empire, Istanbul is undoubtedly the ideal location of your next vacation with your best gal pals. Not only is Istanbul a historic city that deserves at least three days for you and your besties to explore, but it also offers amazing cuisine and unmatched hospitality. If you’ve got a small window of opportunity on your schedule and you’re looking for a whirlwind destination for your next trip, why not take a closer look at Istanbul?
But wait, what should you do while you’re there?
If you have time to visit just one thing while you’re in Istanbul, then you really need to stop by the Hagia Sophia. The Hagia Sophia has seen many transformations throughout the years. For over 900 years it was a church, then it spent another 482 years as a mosque. Finally it became a museum, and now it’s one of the most popular museums in the world. As one of the most essential Byzantine buildings ever created, it’s an absolute must-see when you’re in Istanbul.
If art and history aren’t your jam, then you’ll probably feel more at home in the Grand Bazaar. When we say that you’ll do some major shopping in the Grand Bazaar, we’re not kidding – over 5,000 merchants have set up shop there, giving you a wide selection of things to choose from and buy. It’s arguably one of the largest shopping centers in the entire world. Looking for some lux fabrics to make a new dress? They have it. Some spices for dinner tonight? Look no further. The Grand Bazaar seriously has it all.
While you may think the historic Sophia Hagia or the Grand Bazaar are the biggest draws of Istanbul, you may be surprised that neither are the most visited sites in the city. The Blue Mosque (known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque) is actually the most popular tourist destination in Istanbul. Built somewhere between 1609 and 1616, this mosque is a marvel of gorgeous architecture. It’s covered in stunning blue tiles, making it a sight to behold in the heart of this city.
What is the best thing to nosh on in this incredible city?
Of course, one of the most exciting things about visiting a new country is sampling the local fare. Who wants to fill up on boring fast-food when you’re in a different locale, right? If you want to savor some of the finest food in the city, then you need to start with Ulus 29, an exquisite restaurant located at the top of a hill that overlooks the area below it. It marries local recipes with traditional cooking, providing you with a gastronomical experience that you’ll never forget.
Once you’re full to the brim with the offerings found there, it’s only logical to look for dessert next. And while Istanbul has no shortage of scrumptious dessert menus for you to peruse, you’ll want to make a beeline straight toward Hafiz Mustafa. This confectioner has a little bit of everything for you to try. Looking for sweets and pastries? They have them. Wanting hand-made candies? They got them. You’ll feed your sweet tooth in style at Hafiz Mustafa!
If you’re looking for a place to lay your head at night, look no further!
While it can be tempting to be all go-go-go while you’re in Istanbul, you’ll still need to take the occasional break to rest up so you can feel recharged the next morning. Istanbul has a wide array of hotels to choose from, ranging from high class to budget accommodations. The Old City district has its share of places where you can sleep, but if you want to get out of the heart of Istanbul, you can always check out the coastal Beyoğlu district.
As you can see, there are ample things to see and do in Istanbul. As a matter of fact, there’s just one teeny tiny thing that Istanbul is missing that could make it just a hair better…you and your best friends! What are you waiting for? Grab your passport and your girlfriends, because Istanbul awaits your arrival!