Get to know the contrasting sides of Istanbul in the Old and New Istanbul City Tour. To meet your English-speaking guide you should make your way to Entrance to Spice bazaar (main entrance facing the port area marked ‘Fish Market gate’, in Turkish ‘Balik pazari kapisi’).
Your adventure begins with a stroll through exciting Taksim, the heart of modern Istanbul, home to businessmen, artists and the young and hip.
Next is Beyoglu, an area alive with fashion, art, restaurants and night clubs. Zigzag across the Istiklal Caddesi (the Grande Rue), a popular pedestrian boulevard affectionately known as Paris of the East. This was the final destination for passengers on the Orient Express and the architecture is reminiscent of 19th century Europe.
Explore the back streets and see a variety of funky cafes before stopping to enjoy a traditional Turkish coffee and have your fortune told. The coffee beans are double roasted and the actual coffee is brewed three times before being served. A local fortune teller will turn your cup over on to the saucer and tell your fortune from the murky remains.
With a caffeine boost under your belt, keep exploring on foot. Take in the European architecture, see 19th century cinemas, still in use, and peek in the many pasajis (passages) which lead to secret courtyards. Due to the European influence and presence, there are many churches of various faiths to explore.
Visit Galatasaray Square, site of the first European inspired high school, and Cicek Pasaji (Flower Passage), a shrine to the Turks’ love of leisurely dining. Stop by Balik Bazaar, a local market specializing in seafood, and perhaps try some fresh battered and fried mussels. Finish with a ride on the Tunel funicular, enjoy a stroll through Karakoy and catch a tram back to Sultanahmet.
Your guide can give you directions to return to your hotel, or you may wish to continue your personal exploration of Istanbul.