Status: On Travel. Destination: Istanbul

Status: On Travel. Destination: Istanbul


Status: On Travel. Destination: Istanbul
16-04-2011

Istanbul is a strange link between East and West, past and present. With its diverse history and bright past, this city offers a unique experience to its guests.
Whatever I say or write about it, will not be enough -  ancient and modern, located on both sides of the Bosporus, keeps relics left by the most powerful empires - Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman.
Before we embarked through the streets of Istanbul, let me say a few words on how to get there.
The distance from Sofia to Istanbul is about 600 km. You can travel by bus or by plane. Every day, several buses depart form Sofia Bus Station and the fare is about 50 Euro for both directions.

Since last year, there is a direct flight operated by Pegasus Airlines. In comparison to Turkish Airlines, the tickets are cheaper and if there is a promotion, you can find a ticket for less than 90 euros for both directions. The only disadvantage is that the arriving airport of Pegasus is Sabiha Gokcen Airport located at the Asian part of the city.
If you book a hotel in the Old Town, you have to predict additional money for a taxi from the airport. The price is 40 to 50 euros for one direction. You can also use the shuttles. The price is about 10 euros per person for one direction.
If you travel with little luggage and you are enthusiastic, you can use public transportation which includes bus, tram, and even ferry.
Bus company that serves the airport is HAVAS.
You should get on the bus to Taksim (this is a neighborhood in the new part of Istanbul). From there, take the so-called "Funicular" to Kabatas - this is a metro that runs underground, powered automatically. From Kabatas you can catch a tram to Sultan Ahmed - square with the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia Church. Traveling by taxi to the old town varies between 30 and 60 minutes.

This is a map of public transportation: http://www.johomaps.com/as/turkey/istanbul/istanbulmetro.html
In Istanbul you can find decent accommodation at very reasonable price between 20 and 40 euro per person with breakfast. When I want to book a hotel and I don’t know quite where to stay, I am searching in www.booking.com. A very useful site - you may search for hotels by price, location and customer feedback.
My choice leads us to Artefes, close to the Blue Mosque. A decent hotel - warm and clean, nice service, delicious breakfast, served on the terrace of the restaurant with a pleasant view to Marmara Sea.
To be fully prepared for your trip, it′s good to buy a guide in advance, to get the idea of the areas where you want to go.
My favorite guides for short trips are those that include various city tours with details of where and what and af course with a map.
Two days are not enough for Istanbul. There are so many places to be visited, but could not be otherwise - imagine a city that is situated on two continents.
Definitely it is worthy to go for more days. If you are traveling by car, try to combine it with a tour to other parts of Turkey because it is a country full of surprises and history.

 

The new European part. Galata Tower in the background and Galata bridge which  connects the two European parts.


 

Bosphorus

 

 

Marmara Sea

 

 

Taksim

 

 

 

Fish Market, near Galata Bridge

 

 

View to the Old City from Galata Bridge

 

 

The Golden Horn

 


 

 

Stay tuned. There will be more.....

 

Desi








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