Hipmunk City Love: Your Travel Guide for Istanbul

Travel Guide for Istanbul - Hagia Sophia

The ancient Turkish city of Istanbul is a colorful and culturally rich destination. It is often called the city where East meets West. This fascinating cultural mix attracts travelers from all over the world. Are you one of the lucky people who is going to visit this city? And do you need some guidance about what to expect and what to do? Then you will certainly like this travel guide for Istanbul.

Travel Guide for Istanbul – Public Transportation

Travelling around in Istanbul is very convenient, mainly because of the wide variety of transportation systems. Some of the options are subway trains, buses, trams, ferries, and sea-buses. Buy an ISTANBULKART as it conveniently gives you access to most of the transportation systems. You can buy this card at kiosks, ticket booths and newspaper stands. The ISTANBULKART is especially useful when you stay in the city for more than a few days.

Clubbing in Istanbul

Istanbul houses a large variety of trendy clubs. However, clubbing travelers are definitely advised to do some research on customer-friendly dancing establishments. Electronic dance music enthusiasts especially will find happiness, electrifying tunes, and a good atmosphere at the popular Indigo club in Beyoğlu. International DJ’s also know how to find this club.

Food and Restaurants

West and East mix perfectly in Istanbul’s best restaurants. Enjoy outstanding Italian food at the sizable Cipriani Istanbul restaurant in Levent Mah Büyükdere Caddesi, or satisfy your taste buds with local Anatolian and Istanbul dishes from one of the three highly respected Borsa establishments in the city. X Restaurant and Bar at Sadi Konuralp Caddesi Deniz Palas 5 also deserves a mention because it offers exquisite Mediterranean fusion and a sensational view of the city.

Lodging Options

As with restaurants, Istanbul has no shortage of amazing hotels. One charming hotel with a particularly convenient address is Hotel Amira Istanbul. This gorgeous boutique hotel occupies a spot in the old city, surrounded by world-class touristic sights like the Basilica Cistern, the Grand Bazaar, and Hagia Sophia.

Sights and Attractions

History, architecture, and water engineering enthusiasts should head over to Basilica Cistern (Sunken Palace) at Yerebatan Caddesi 1/3. There, they will learn more about Istanbul’s former Byzantine/Greek drinking water system. Vacationers should also see the Hagia Sofia at Sultanahmet Square. This impressive  building was originally a Greek Orthodox church but became a mosque in later years, and now functions as a museum. It is a marvelous architectural attraction that dates back to the sixth-century. When in Istanbul, don’t miss Topkapi Palace at Sultanahmet–this wonderful palace used to house the Sultans.

A Fascinating Mix of Cultures

Istanbul is especially fascinating for history and architecture lovers. The city is jam-packed with old buildings from ancient civilizations like the Roman, Greek, and the Byzantine empires. However, Istanbul is not only culturally and historically diverse; it is also a place where old meets modern. The city houses a large variety of vibrant clubs and bars, while various spectacular fusion restaurants add to the modern, cosmopolitan character of the city.
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Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable


Me and tiger.Why you should step outside of you comfort zone

We have been touring around Antalya for hours. The atmosphere in the bus is dull. People look bored and act grumpy. Then we reach this large dining place. Our last stop for today. During the next two hours we eat and, more importantly, we drink Turkish Raki. During the dinner we are entertained by dancers and singers, and the last act of the evening is a Turkish belly dancer.

She comes to the stage and lets her belly move. At a certain point during the act she asks if someone likes to join her. However, that will most likely not going to happen. I have been touring with these people, and I know for certain there is no one going to do that. Shyness and embarrassment vibrate in the room.

It trills me though. I know I can make a difference, if I have the courage to raise my hand. I know it will be hard to overcome my own shyness, but I also know that getting up that stage can change this dull tour and my vacation. This is my chance. I raise my hand, and then push my friend to do the same. Luckily he also shows courage by joining me

The belly dancer takes us to the stage and pulls of our shirts. There I am with my skinny white belly. I block my thoughts and go for it. The three of us manage to pull of a hilarious act. Our once so grumpy tour group, filled with alcohol and sudden excitement, cheers and claps. A day of markets, historic buildings and a Turkish sauna can not provide as much fun as we are giving.

The bus ride back to the hotel shows a big contrast with the previous rides. Everybody is cheering, singing and talking. Various people show us the pictures they took of our spontaneous act. I laugh inside, our white belly’s are probably going to be the highlight of so many vacation pictures.

Get uncomfortable and change your live

Because of stepping out of my comfort zone I created an unforgettable memory during a somewhat dull vacation. By getting up on that stage we changed the night for all those people in the tour group. It was a great feeling and I often think back about that night. Now I push myself to live outside of my comfort zone as much as possible. By doing this I create lasting memories and an exciting live.

You can’t afford to stay in your comfort zone if you want an exiting live. I encourage you to get up on that stage and live your live to the fullest. Realize that by constantly stepping out of your comfort zone you will get more confident, have more courage and change more and more uncomfortable situations into comfortable ones.

Do you often step out of your comfort zone? What kind of memorable moments did you create by taking those steps?