Istanbul Travel Diary !
Last December I was invited to be a part of the INFLOW Global Summit 2017 in Istanbul. The INFLOW Global Summit is the one of the largest influencer events in the world and I was honored to be chosen to represent my country India on such a phenomenal global platform. At the Summit there were more than 200 worldwide famous influencers in Istanbul engaging with leading brands and we participated in several interesting activities including, keynotes, panels, networking get-togethers and structured ‘INFLOWBridge’ for influencers to share ideas, collaborate and engage with global brands. It was a really novel and fabulous experience for me meeting fellow influencers from all across the globe, engaging with world-class brands and of course exploring the beautiful city of Istanbul.
While I was in Istanbul for the Summit, I managed to still explore the city as much as I could. This beautiful transcontinental city – with one leg in Europe and the other in Asia has so many beautiful places to visit and I had already made my wish list prior to departing.
Istanbul has a great amalgamation of East and West that makes it a very unique place indeed. Istanbul’s long and fascinating history, which reverberates throughout the city, somehow blends seamlessly with its modern persona, trendsetting locals, chic coffeehouses, cool bars and flashy shopping malls. The old with the new just works here so perfectly well. So I’m sharing my photo diary of my Istanbul trip with you today, I hope you fall in love with the city the way I did.
Taksim Square & İstiklal Caddesi
On the first day in Istanbul I headed straight to the famous Taksim square. I absolutely loved the bustling energy and vibe of this place,that is considered the heart of modern Istanbul. Taksim Square is a major tourist and leisure district famed for its restaurants, shops, and hotels. The most important monument in Taksim Square is the Independence Monument standing at the beginning of Istiklal pedestrian street.
I loved strolling down the pedestrian street of İstiklal Caddesi, that is the heart of Beyoğlu, the more modern district of Istanbul. One of my favourite districts of Istanbul is Beyoğlu, and I enjoyed exploring the lanes and eating some fantastic Turkish food.
It is the city’s most popular strolling, shopping and snacking street, lined with some charming boutiques, cafes, restaurants, galleries, cinemas. I did most of my shopping here from local turkish brands, as well as popular high street brands and also got my fair share of the famous baklava from the shops here.
The Istiklal pedestrian street has a plethora of bars, night clubs and movie theaters and so is always bustling with young people almost for 24 hours a day
Next I headed to the city’s most striking landmarks – the Galata Tower. The Galata Tower is one of Istanbul’s most iconic visuals, overlooking Beyoğlu and Karaköy from its perched position, and it made for a stunning sight by night with its while the colorful lights.
The next day I visited the most lavish, intriguing and opulent buildings in the city the Dolmabahçe Palace.This opulent palace took 13 years to build and was completed in 1856, and served as the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire until 1922.
The palace was commissioned by Sultan Abdülmecid and designed by Armenian architect Karabet Balian and his son Nikoğos Balian. It is an ostentatious blend of architectural styles including Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassical and modern Ottoman, dripping in luxury.
I marveled at the sheer grandeur of this beautiful palace, as I wandered through its majestic gardens and architectural delights.
On my last day in the city I headed to the Ortaköy Mosque that has one of the most picturesque settings of all of the Istanbul mosques. It is located just before the Bosphorus Bridge. The Ortaköy Mosque photos, with the bridge in the background demonstrate that particular Istanbul juxtaposition of traditional and modern. At the end of the mosque there is a pretty open air square, with some of Istanbul’s best nightlife and dining options.
I also managed to visit the historic Kamondo Stairs in Karaköy. It was built at the end of the 19th century by the influential Sephardic banker family, the house of Camondo. Legend has it that the family had the stairs built so that their kids could take a shortcut on their way to school. No matter what its intention, this art-nouveau piece contributes greatly to the urban fabric of Karaköy, and provides a stylish hike up towards the Galata Tower as well as a great set for your Istanbul photos.
I also headed to Nişantaşı to indulge in some luxury retail therapy. This is Istanbul’s most fashionable shopping and residential area. Besides great shopping, there are some interesting art galleries, fun cafes and restaurants. Here you will find international labels including Gucci, Prada, Cartier,Louis Vuitton.
I also enjoyed chilling by the Bosphorus strait. Bosphorus is the strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara and separates Europe from Asia.
I absolutely loved the quaint little cafes in Istanbul. Apart from the famous Turkish baklava, I also enjoyed some crispy Simit – Turkish Bagel- a circular bread encrusted with sesame seeds Simit is Turkey’s most popular and famous fast food and is best enjoyed with some freshly brewed Turkish Tea.
I also gorged on famous Ortakoy waffles – officially the yummiest Nutella waffles I have ever had.
I absolutely fell in love with Istanbul, I loved the perfect blend of old and new, the traditional and the trendy. I look forward to visiting the city again to explore so many new places I didn’t get a chance to see on this short trip. I am really grateful to INFLOW Summit for hosting me in Istanbul, it was such a wonderful experience.
I hope you have enjoyed my Istanbul travel diary, as much as I enjoyed exploring this beautiful city. Have you visited Istanbul? What are some of your favourite spots in Istanbul?