You may be living in Istanbul for as long as you can remember but haven’t seen any of its actual beauty yet. Every year, thousands of tourists come to Istanbul to explore this beautiful city, so here is a guide for Istanbulites to feel like a tourist in the city!
First step is to go to Kuzguncuk for breakfast. From its genuine and warm people to its beautiful small-town architecture, Kuzguncuk is a hidden gem in Istanbul. I recommend you stop by “Angie Kuzguncuk” for a delicious breakfast. From hot oven Turkish breakfast to croissant breakfasts to granola bowls, Angie Kuzguncuk has a wide selection of breakfast options. Besides, you can drink one of the best coffees in Istanbul there. I personally recommend their filter coffee which they prepare in a special way called “Chemex”. Additionally, you could hear some great music while having a feast, this cafe is also known for its good taste in music. From rock to pop, or jazz to blues, you could experience a wonderful morning journey.
After getting your delicious breakfast, you go to Üsküdar for a ferry ride. You could take the bus for a 10-minute trip from Kuzguncuk to Üsküdar or you could walk which lasts around 20 minutes. In Üsküdar, take the hop onto the ferry that goes to Eminönü and Karaköy. The ferry lasts around 20 minutes with an amazing view of the two bridges and the Bosphorus.
In Karaköy, I recommend you to go to Pera where you can see an interesting art museum called Pera Museum. In Pera Museum there is the top floor where the art gallery frequently changes and you can experience different types of art every time you go. Other floors of the museum stay constant but still are interesting and beautiful.
You get out of the museum and the gorgeous Pera Palace Hotel is right in front of you. Pera Palace Hotel is one of the most prestigious hotels in Europe and was built in 1895 for Orient Express passengers to stay in Istanbul. Even the well-known writer Agatha Christie is said to have stayed in this hotel. My personal favorite in this hotel is the ancient elevator that is no longer used but gives a remarkable internal design to the whole hotel.
With a 5-minute walk, you could see a place called “Mornings in Pera”. Where you can eat desserts and drink some coffee or tea of your choice. The aesthetic view of this cafe will make you feel like you are living on a Pinterest board.
You had your fuel from the cafe and you are ready to see the Kamondo Stairs. The beautiful architecture of these stairs mesmerizes the tourists and in this case, you! These stairs were first built by Abrahan Kamondo for his grandchildren to reach their Austrian High School in an easier way. But as time passed, these stairs started to be called “Lovers’ Staircase”.
Then, you could see the amazing Galata Tower and recall Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi who attempted to fly from the top of the Galata Tower to Üsküdar with his own invented wings. Once you get on top of the tower, you can see one of the most beautiful views of Istanbul. Also, there is a restaurant in the tower where you could enjoy a meal with people who also share the same curiosity as you do. However, if you don’t like to eat in the building, you could also have a meal right next to the tower in a restaurant called “Güney Restaurant”. The vibe of the tables and the view makes you feel like you are living in the 20th century.
I also recommend you take the ferry if you are living on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. The sun setting behind the bridge is mesmerizing to watch from a ferry. You could take some beautiful pictures and remember the amazing day you spent as a curious tourist in Istanbul. Maybe it could help you relive and repeat this remarkable day.
We came to an end on our Istanbul trip. This mini-guide of Istanbul from a local should help you feel Istanbul’s magic and remember why it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. If you ask me, it is the number one! Keep us updated for more recommendations and reviews!
Burda, Doğan. "Karaköy Kamondo Merdivenleri’nin İlginç Hikayesi." Hürriyet Gazetesi, 8 Feb. 2018.