Istanbul Budget Holiday
Even if your Istanbul budget is not coming from the pasha’s purse, the city will still dazzle the senses and make for an unforgettable low budget vacation. If you’re heading to Istanbul, I'm sure you have already heard of the Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sofia, the underground Cisterns, as well as the Galata tower. These are of course an absolute must for any itinerary. But there is much more to see!
One of the finest things about Istanbul is that even on a low budget you will find yourself dining like royalty. Street food in Istanbul is among the choicest in the world, from the ubiquitous kebabs and tavuks, to the gozleme and lahmacun, and the delicious fried mussels. But you simply must sample the Balik ekmek or fried fish sandwich at the corner of Galata Bridge, it is simple but truly divine. If you’re looking for a sumptuous meal or two, and have only little money to spend, we highly recommend Hamdi or the Haci Baba restaurant for delectable Turkish fare, and Asitane, where meals from the imperial Ottoman kitchen are recreated!
There is simply no end to things to see and do in Istanbul, so you’ll really have to pick and choose. For the romantically inclined, a cruise down the Bosporus and a trip to Princes Island may be in order. Or you might want to inspect the spectacular Dohlmabahce Palace. Then again, you may fall in love with the vitality and spirit of Taksim square. However, your visit to Istanbul is incomplete without an afternoon at the Grand Bazaar and the Spices Bazaar. It may seem all too touristic and chaotic at first, but don’t rush into a purchase -- just slowly savor the atmosphere. And if you’re feeling adventurous, perhaps try to bargain!
If the day has done you in, head straight to a Hamam for some pampering. Among the many options in Istanbul, Cemberlitas or Cagaloglu are highly recommended. For an evening about town, unquestionably head to Taksim square, and walk down İstiklal Caddesi, a pedestrian zone! Babylon and Club Reina (down at the Boporus) are always fun. Or head to the amazing Pierre Loti, which has a panoramic view of the city.And finally, if you’re looking for accommodation on your budget trip to Istanbul, check into the Villa Rifat or the Ipek Palas Hotel. If you’d like to spend a bit more, we suggest the Bebek Hotel for a wonderful Istanbul budget experience.