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July 21, 2015 3:09 PM   Subscribe

I'll be spending 2 full days in Istanbul at the end of this month. It's my 5th time in this city; I think I've done all the touristy, central Istanbul things over the past three years. So what have I missed? What's worth a visit out in the suburbs? What about a day trip somewhere by train/coach?

I'm a solo British female traveller in my mid-30s, I love old things, museums (the more esoteric the better) ancient sites, industrial heritage, live traditional music, transportation, beautiful views and scenery; but I am open to all ideas!
posted by sarahdal to Travel & Transportation around Istanbul, Turkey (13 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you haven't been already, then from what you describe as interests you need to get yourself to the Rahmi M. Koc Museum a short cab ride out in the 'burbs.

Cars, trains, boats, computers, satellites, planes, even a frikkin' ex-WW2 submarine with a little old dude who used to be a sailor on it giving tours.

Oh and did I mention the working steam railway? No? Okay then: it has a steam railway!

Seriously. I'm an absolute sucker for weird / little known museums and Rahmi M. Koc is well up there on my list of favourites.
posted by garius at 3:33 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Have you been to the Asian side? It's a pretty interesting place to wander around--especially Kadikoy in some of the markets and whatnot around Hydarpasa station. Bagdat Cad, down south near Bostanci, anyway, is interesting to walk around, if you find shopping streets interesting to walk around.

Have you been to the Princes islands? Chora church? The walls? I know none of those are obscure but they are also easily overlooked, even after multiple visits.

How do you like Turkish food? Namli Gurme, by the Karakoy ferry, is a cool delicatessen with great breakfast food (Turkish omelets, kaymak with honey, etc.), and Karakoy Golluoglu, right next door, has just sensational baklava.
posted by pdq at 3:48 PM on July 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Maybe check out some of the restaurants in this New Yorker article?
posted by brookeb at 3:54 PM on July 21, 2015

Response by poster: garius - yes yes! that sounds perfect! thank you!

pdq - I have indeed been to Chora and the walls (They're fantastic!), and although I've not been to the Princes Islands I wasn't planning to this trip because I'll be visiting in high season. I'll definitely be back to Istanbul, so thought I'd save them for when it's a bit quieter. Kadikoy is somewhere I've not been but I think it'll be on my list this trip - if you have any more recommendations for that area? Namli Gurme sounds DELICIOUS!
posted by sarahdal at 3:59 PM on July 21, 2015

I came in here to tell you how much we loved the Rahmi M. Koc Museum but I see my husband has already done it .... I agree it's great (and I am not nearly as passionate as he is about transport).

Haydarpaşa station is also spectacular, visually stunning and I loved the idea of feeling you could get on a train right across Asia (sadly no longer the case but once upon a time).
posted by *becca* at 4:52 PM on July 21, 2015

Best answer: I've always wanted to go to Santral Istanbul but I've never made it.

If you haven't been in a couple of years, I'd walk around Karakoy/Galata as it's become very hip in the last couple of years. Lots of amazing graffiti & coffeeshops. Also the two SALT museums are great there.

I find the Bazaar area always enlightening, and this book helped me seek out all the little hans even tho I had been there before and walked right by!
posted by jennybento at 5:27 PM on July 21, 2015

oh and always van kahvalti evi for brunch :)
posted by jennybento at 5:28 PM on July 21, 2015

Response by poster: *becca* - Haydarpaşa station is gorgeous! I took a trip out to the Asian side on my last visit, as I was taking the train to Ankara (from Pendik) so thought I'd stop in and have a look. It's going to be incredible if/when they finish the Bosphorus tunnel; a few years ago I took trains from Edinburgh in the UK to Istanbul, I love the idea that soon you'd be able to travel across the globe without ever stepping outside of a train station!
posted by sarahdal at 2:13 AM on July 22, 2015

Santral Istanbul and the SALT museums are great, but I came in here to recommend the Jewish museum (although depending on what you consider mainstream central city tourism, you might already have done it? I can never predict who knows about it and who doesn't).
posted by obliquicity at 2:29 AM on July 22, 2015

It's totally possible to do a day trip from Istanbul to Bursa, via the ferry. It would be a long day, but quite possibly interesting. I liked Bursa quite a bit, though that may be because the day I spent there was my only day traveling alone (while my buddies had stomach upset). I saw a few of the sights, took the cable car up the mountain, ate a good meal, did some shopping - it wasn't a drama-filled day of wonder, but it was definitely a different city from Istanbul, different feeling, and I think my trip was richer for it.
posted by aimedwander at 9:26 AM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: thanks aimedwander - that sounds wonderful too!
posted by sarahdal at 12:01 PM on July 22, 2015

Istanbul Eats walking tour?
posted by jindc at 12:06 PM on July 22, 2015

I came in (late i guess) to recommend the Istanbul Eats tour mentioned by jindc. We did the Two Markets, Two Continents Tour with them a couple years ago and it was fantastic. the guide was american but had been living in turkey working on a phd for a decade and the combination of fantastic food with her really knowledgeable discussion of agricultural, political, and social issues tied to food was great. we had breakfast at a place that is only normally open for lunch but they put out a staggering spread and that was just on the first stop. we took a boat across to the asian side for tantuni, a regional specialty that was kind of like amazing turkish burritos.

also, their book and websites are amazing (some of the posts are old though its updated regularly) and we had great food everywhere we went on their recommendation.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:44 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

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