My actual home sweet home! I was born in the capital of Turkey, Ankara and spent many years growing up spending time there and in Istanbul where my dad’s side of the family is from. I moved to the states when I was one but my family would always go to Turkey for most of the summer and my first language is actually Turkish. I still speak it fluently as my parents have thankfully continued to speak it to me throughout the years. With my job in Travel it sometimes makes it hard to always go back to Turkey but I feel I need to make an effort now to go at least once every other year. That said, I feel very fortunate to have such incredible family and friends in Turkey! I think about if all my family lived close by how incredible it would be. They are such warm hearted, fun, loving people and I miss them dearly.
Now, on to the travel guide stuff! Below I have listed some of the MUST see attractions, restaurants, bars in Istanbul as well as some destinations close by that I love to go to! If you or anyone you know is traveling to Turkey, definitely reach out as I have got you covered from start to finish!
Four Seasons Bosphorus and Sultanahmet – If you have a longer stay I would do both. They are in two totally different parts of the city with great attractions near both. It will give you a nice balance of the city.
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Boat tour of the Bosphorus is a must
Lacivert: fish & seafood, right by the sea on the Anatolian side, has its own shuttle boat from to European side
Murver: At Karakoy, a trendy neighboorhood with cafes and bars, rooftop restaurant, food and cocktails.
Cecconi’s at Soho Istanbul
29: Great view & food, also becomes a night club after dinner
Sunset: A classic
Lucca: Restaurant/bar/night club always best
Neolokal: Chef restaurant, very good ambience and viewAdana Il Siniri at Nisantasi: Upscale Turkish kebap and bbq, also has a nice garden sitting
Bebek Hotel: Great spot on the water. I went for happy hour and loved it.
House Cafe: Good spot for lunch. Get their steak salad and mint lemonade!
Oligark (previous Reina, also has some restaurants in it)
Les Ottomans Bar
I hope this helps and look forward to helping you plan your next getaway in Turkey!