Istanbul is a city of wonders; the exuberant streets of which have a life of their own, an energy that burns interminably like the sun. From the infamous to the unknown I would like to take you to the city where indulgence is inevitable, and memories are made – welcome to Istanbul.
Istanbul is (like most cities) very diverse, each area maintaining the vibrant nature of its neighbour but some with added delights. Nisantasi for example – the Sloane street of the city which not only houses the boutiques common in every capital, like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Laboutin, but also a pedestrian street named Atiye sokak which comes alive every evening. My personal favorite is the hidden garden inside House Café, where from even late afternoon the beautiful people come to sip a mojito and gossip.
Post aperitif in Ulus
But post aperitif one must hail a taxi and survive the intense journey (which will inexorably ensue) to Ulus, where the hillside restaurants Sunset or Ulus 29 offer incomparable views and exceptional gourmet food. If you are a hearty eater and not a Rockefeller I would not recommend these restaurants to you – though the fairy-lit world Istanbul becomes from up there is certainly worth it. These elite places plan to stay that way through elitist pricing.
After dinner till the next morning
Dinner finished and bill having given your date the sweats, you need to go out. New York is said to be the city which never sleeps, but that guy obviously never visited Istanbul where. The first most important name you need to learn is Lucca, the little restaurant/ bar with a lot of personality. No matter how many bars there are to choose from in this fabulous city – only one can set the tone for a wild night out. As the DJ spins an eclectic mix of old and new, and you dance on a sofa sipping a Satsuma vodka (their specialty) you know where the night is going – and that destination is also known as tomorrow morning.
Now its club time and you have a choice; will you stick to all out chic and head to Angelique in Ortakoy with an unrivalled position on the Bosphoros or will you head somewhere truly Turkish like Samdan or Sess? The former must be done at some point during your trip, however there is something magical about watching the locals in their element as by now overcome by the drinks they sing along to the country’s most popular songs.
Night and day
Obviously Istanbul is not nocturnal. With the astoundingly large jewels on display at Topkapi Palace, the beautiful Hagia Sofia and Blue Mosque and the delicious and exotic Raki culture, a visit to Istanbul will make other city breaks pale in comparison. For the young and the not so young it is a city which you can never forget.Sophia Shepodd Country Director AFA Press
*Photos by Charlotte V. Rose, Head of Human Capital AFA Press