I want to talk about the negative points. I note here that my daughter and I travel on our own and do not take excursions, therefore, what I write will be useful for independent and budget travelers.

We lived in the Fatih area. We got there from the new Istanbul Airport on a HAVAIST-12 pullman. The final stop of Aksaray metro station. I’ll note right away that the metro map is complicated and we didn’t figure it out right away: lines and transfers are indicated for the metro, trams, teleferiks, all together. See where the metro lines are, for example, there is an Aksaray metro stop, and an Aksaray tram stop, and they are not nearby. Pullman from the airport stops at Aksaray metro station. I am writing about this in detail, because instead of the metro we took the tram and we had to walk with bags to the metro for 15-20 minutes, the sidewalks are uncomfortable.

Be sure to buy a card for travel by transport, the card itself costs 50 lira, plus you need to pay the amount for tickets, 50-60 lira is enough for a start, then you replenish this card in vending machines. The cost of the card seems to be refundable, but we did not bother about this.

Very good trams, they run often, we used the T1 tram, it will take you to Sultanahmet Square (this is Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque – everything is being restored inside, there is nothing to look at – Arasta market, Topkapi Palace, etc.) Grand Bazaar – T1 stop Bayezid Square. To the Galata Tower, Egyptian Bazaar, Eminenu Pier – stop. T1 Eminonu. Well, in general, you understand me.

In the old city, this is the Fatih area, you have to go uphill a lot, keep this in mind, the same is in the area where the Galata Tower is.

Now about the museum card. We bought cards, the cost is 700 lira. To be honest, you could not buy. Firstly, to enter, you still stand in line. Secondly, of those attractions that are on the list, only Topkapi and the Museum of Islamic Art are worth seeing. I already wrote about the Blue Mosque, the Church of St. Irene has bare walls inside, the Cistern is also under restoration, Hagia Sophia is not included in the list, this is a mosque and admission is free, but the queues are huge, it’s better to come there at 9 am, see also the prayer schedule , otherwise you will stand in line and then you will have to wait until the prayer is over. Hagia Sophia was not particularly impressed with us inside, but this is purely subjective.

The hotel where we lived, I do not advise, is called Orkide, located in the Fatih area, read the review on booking and on Google, because the hotel has a rating of 9 on booking, but it does not correspond to reality.

Bargain at the bazaars, and in private shops too, get a lot of pleasure.

I advise you to take a ferry on the Bosphorus or on your own, or buy an excursion. We ordered a tour, which we rarely do, so as not to look for where, what, how, you arrive at the appointed place at the pier, you are met, taken to the right place and put on the ferry. The cost is 10€ per person.

Now about shopping. We didn’t really go anywhere and didn’t look, but … There are retail outlets on Bayazid Square (we get to T1), there are good prices, bargain, then if you go along the tram line in any direction from the square, you will find many shops with souvenirs, not buy in the first available, prices even in neighboring stores can vary greatly. Spices and souvenirs too, and things, porcelain are worth buying at the Egyptian Bazaar. For example, I wanted to buy porcelain saucers for tea cups of tulips, I looked from different sellers, as a result I found a piece for 25 lire, and someone had it for 85 lire. Not bad, right?

And finally, a few places where we liked the food (and prices).
Ortaklar, this is a typical kebab place, it’s tasty and inexpensive, but there are a lot of people, there are three floors, there is no elevator, the stairs are narrow, that is, if anyone has problems, it’s better not to go. Address Peykhane str., 27/A.

Tatseven kebab, stop. Eminenu on T1, right next to the marina. Try lahmadzun there, this is a flatbread with minced meat on top, amazing deliciousness.

And another restaurant-cafe, it’s more expensive, but very good service and quality food, located near Ayasofya. Three partners, address Küçük Ayasofya Mahallesi, Kaleci Sk., 5.

Useful links for Istanbul travel