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Very few countries in the world offer all themes of travel: nature, beaches, hiking, skiing, climbing, diving, snorkeling, food, shopping, history, culture, fun & going out, relaxing…you pick a theme and you will for sure find a destination in Turkey to match the theme you are looking for, the theme you need for your next holiday.

The Blacksea coast (Doğu Karadeniz) of Turkey is a true paradise: so many shades of green, berries, nuts, all kinds of fruits everywhere on the roadside, waterfalls, virgin forests, steep mountains welcoming you together with its warm hearted people.

September 2017

The city I was born and raised, the city I lived in, the city I did not want to live in, the city I miss, the city that has changed so much, the city that is always the same, the city that’s the most melancholically beautiful, the city that has been in a lot of pain, the city its pain causes me pain, the city I left, the city that will never leave me… Istanbul….

January 2017
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Istanbul

The only way from the airport is taxi…no other way (no train etc.) and yes you will need Turkish lira. You can take it with you or take from the ATMs in Istanbul airport or do currency exchange there but have the Turkish lira with you before getting in the taxi.
Historical center is ” Sultanahmet” where you can see Topkapi Palace, Agia Sophia, Yerebat (basilica), the blue mosque and grand bazaar. They are all close to each other and can be done in half a day or a full day if you want to spend more time inside the Palace and Grand Bazaar and have lunch in that area.
Not fancy but famous “turkish meatballs” place is called ‘Sultanahmet koftecisi”.
Make sure you ask (to one of the museum ticket guys for example, as they are in the same area, they will know to point out) the original one, as there are others with same name, pretend to be the one 😉
For a fancy lunch or drinks and to rest a bit, go to the Four Seasons hotel in that area (it was a prison in the past, now a fancy hotel).

Go to Ortakoy for a couple of hours, for brunch for example, you can try House Cafe or any of the more local cafes by the water, there are street arts crafts, jewellery, art galleries, bars, and so many food stands to try different food.
You can also go around lunch or afternoon snack time. On the way to Ortakoy, you can stop by Ciragan Palace (a real palace turned into a hotel) to have drink or just to see (very nice, by the water).
Stroll on Istiklal Caddesi (pedestrian street) where Leb-i Derya is also located – but no need to spend too much time here. I have seen some tourists spend the full time on this street but there is so much more to see.
Take a local ferry from Besiktas to Kadikoy (NOT to Uskudar!!) and (Asian side) to see a bit of other side…you can go to “Badgat Caddesi” which is very nice with cafes and shopping. Or take a taksi from Kadikoy to Kalamis Marina (if you want to also see the Asian side, most people miss this part).

Go to Nisantasi to have a flavor of shopping area and cafes. Experience the local living in this nice neighbourhood.

My favourite place to have beer “lebi derya” at the rooftop; and nice views and very cozy http://www.lebiderya.com/en/

At night:

– Reina – for a nice fancy dinner (more impressive, popular music, a must see in Istanbul if you like clubbing, outdoor bar, restaurant, clubs and also an indoor part) http://www.reina.com.tr/en/
– Anjelique (cozier and better music according to me)
– Suada

– Ulus 29 – one of the most famous restaurant + bars in Istanbul, beautiful views http://ulus29.com/
– 360 Istanbul  (good location, also a bar and 360 views of Istanbul) http://www.360istanbul.com/
– Sunset – similar to Ulus 29 http://www.sunsetgrillbar.com/
– Feriye lokantasi – beautiful location by Bosphorus and great food http://www.feriye.com/

* Another area “Karakoy” for nighlife: This area is “in” nowadays with so many bars in narrow streets / popular bars in the area.
* For bar hopping:
Zelda Zonk (rooftop), Colonie, Mitte, Gaspar (while you are in the area, you can simply ask anyone and they point out)

– To eat meze and seafood in this area:
Liman Lokantasi, Karakoy  or Karakoy Lokantasi, Karakoy.
Close to Galata tower:
Nardis bar with live music
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[av_iconlist_item title=’ Blue Tour with a Gulet boat’ link=” linktarget=” linkelement=” icon=’ue837′ font=’entypo-fontello’]

Cruise the Mediterranean coast (Turkey has 4400 km of coast line in Aegean and Mediterranean)

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Fly with hot air balloon over the rock formations known as ‘fairy chimneys’ (peri bacalari). Stay in Goreme or Urgup town.

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Macahel, Sumela Monastry.

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One of the most complete, still standing Roman cities in the Mediterranean.

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Mammoth statues on the mountain summit.

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5137 m high mountain where Noah’s Arc supposed to be, according to the legend).

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Along the 4400 km coastline: Ayvalik, Izmir, Cesme, Alacati, Kusadasi, Bodrum, Datca, Marmaris, Fethiye, Oludeniz, Kas, Kalkan, Kemer, Antalya, Alanya, Olympos are some of the most famous beach towns, to name a few..

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Dolma, Midye tava, Ciger tava, Kebap, kuzu tandir, grilled fish, Karides (shrimp) guvec, borek, lahmacun, pide, all sorts of mezes..deserts: baklava, kadayif, kazandibi, keskul, asure..

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