No matter how much research you do, finding the right accommodation in a new city is often a hit and miss affair. We were so lucky that our accommodation in Istanbul was right near a very central tram stop and super close to the Galata Tower and Karaköy which turned out to be my favourite area!
One of the elements I loved most about our trip to Turkey, was that the interior design was so diverse. None of the cafes or eateries that we went to had the same look or feel. Here in Cape Town, I’m afraid everyone has sold out to the same hipster/industrial look. It was so refreshing to see a mix and even a clash at times and yet it all worked.
I loved all the Turkish cheeses especially Çeçil Peyniri, a very stringy, salty cheese. This was a breakfast at Cafe Arada, such a cute spot.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Istiklal Avenue was a bit too mainstream for me but still nice to have a wander down. I prefered the shops nearer to the Galata Tower which were a mix of local brands and touristy shops selling knick knacks, Turkish towels and all things hamam related. If you’re heading down Galip Dede Street from Istiklal, be sure to take a left down Serdar-i Ekrem Street. This street is full of awesome little boutiques and cafés.
Look out for Snarl dükkan, a cute gift shop and café.
And Lunapark is a must! Such an awesome shop stocking a selection of beautiful locally made goods from more than 100 turkish designers. Further down this road you’ll find NYKS who make the most stunning candles. Sadly they were closed on the day I visited, I’ve been dying to get my hands on some of their candles.
You’ll find the hip Karaköy neighbourhood south of Kemeralti Street towards the Bosphorus. This is one of the oldest areas in Istanbul and used to be a thriving port. Nowadays you’ll find chic boutiques, studios, restaurants and galleries sitting along side hardware stores and run down buildings. The maze of streets is full of interesting places to discover.
Perhaps the most famous spot in this up and coming area is Karaköy Gulluoglu, the best and oldest Baklava makers in Turkey. This place is loved by locals and is really a must visit. Istanbul Modern art museum is also a recommended stop.
Karabatak is a popular spot with its tables flowing out in the street.
Do look out for Mae Zae, a fantastic lifestyle store stocking great locally made goods from different designers as well as vintage pieces and jewellery made in their own studio. They also gave me an amazing map which lists their fave spots in and around the area. Nothing better than insider tips from a local! Nice to Have was another lovely gift shop I came across.
Visit Fil Books for coffee and books. They have a tiny but great selection of coffee table books and reads. How lovely is the fresh yellow and turquoise colour palette?
Lastly look out for Bey for their beautiful merchandising and hip men’s fashion.
All photography: Lana Kenney ©