There is no other city in the world that is as culturally diverse and uniquely located as Istanbul. Situated on either side of the strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, it’s interesting location has made Istanbul a coveted destination for backpackers from across the globe.
Relive the Old World Charm of Istanbul
Thanks to its diverse cultural influences, Istanbul’s architecture and history is worth studying closely. Sultanahmet is the place to be for backpackers who want to explore the old world charm of Istanbul. While remnants of the old world can be found across the city, Sultanahmet is particularly of note because it is home to the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace – all standout attractions in their own right.
Things to do in Istanbul
A visit to Istanbul is incomplete without the experience of taking a traditional bath in a ‘Hamam’. A ‘Hamam’ is an ancient Turkish bath that built during the early 16th Century. The vast majority of these are single-sex places, although backpackers touring in mixed groups can still visit the famous Sulemaniye Bath, which is the only unisex Turkish bath in the country.
While in Istanbul, it’s imperative you don’t miss out on the famous water pipe or hooka. The hookah is available in a wide range of flavors and travelers usually make it a point to take a relaxing drag or two. Aft Backpackers should also pay a visit to the famous Grand Bazaar, which is arguably the oldest shopping mall in the world. This shopper’s paradise is filled with a myriad of things that will delight any individual. From exquisite jewelry to clothes to street food – you name it, it’s to be found in the Grand Bazaar.
What to Eat in Istanbul
The backpacker’s tour is often one that is immensely enjoyable yet hectic. To rejuvenate your batteries, then, Turkey’s national drink – tea – is heaven sent. For connoisseurs and first timers alike, the flavored tea available in Istanbul promises to be a delight, and its amorous and tastes have an instantly relaxing effect.
Understandly, backpackers tend to subsist on a diet of Doner kebabs while in Istanbul, with the Besiktas neighborhood particularly worth a visit if you’re looking for a meaty sandwich. Another delicacy that foodies must try out in Istanbul is Balik-Ekmek, a variety of fish sandwich served on boats cruising the Kadikoy Coast.
Staying in Istanbul
For backpackers looking for a good Istanbul hostel to stay in, the Metropolis Hostel in Sultanahmet is a great option. The best thing about this hostel is its location. From here, you can get to most of the city’s places of interest, from its mosques to its Turkish baths and market.
There are many other hostels in Istanbul, including the Old City Hostel, which also offer great accommodation facilities for backpackers and budget travelers. Make sure to book ahead, however, as they can get quite booked up.
Nightlife in Istanbul
Istanbul boasts of an incredibly pumping nightlife scene. The Beyoglu and Naisantasi districts are the most popular hangouts for backpackers eager to taste some late night fun, and you’ll find the bars and clubs here are social potboilers, with people from numerous countries cultures mingling together.