Istanbulites are water people and life in the city revolves around the Bosphorus. Its many attractions deserve more than one day to explore, but this itinerary will help you take advantage of its many free and inexpensive activities to get the most out of the city and your budget.
Start with a traditional breakfast at Café Mese. Less than $10 will get a full spread of cheese, meat, olives, vegetables, bread and tea.
Spend the morning exploring the Sultanahmet district. Visit the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar for free. Let yourself be talked into having tea with a carpet salesman. The Hagia Sofia, Topkapı Palace and the Basilica Cistern are all in the same district.
For lunch ,grab a çiğköfte wrap and a yogurt ayran drink ($5) and walk to the Galata Bridge, where you can eat overlooking the Golden Horn.
Catch a ferryboat ($2.50) from Eminönü to Ortaköy. Sit outside as you cruise past beautiful cityscapes. On the European shore, look for Topkapı Palace, Dolmabahçe Palace, Galata Tower and the Nusretiye Mosque. On the Asian side, Maiden’s Tower Beylerbeyi Palace is a highlight.
Enjoy strolling through quaint Ortaköy and have a Turkish coffee and baklava on the rooftop of Mado ($8).
Ask a local how to catch a shared bus to Taksim ($3). Find your way through the crowded heart of Istanbul to Zafiri. Enjoy dinner, belly-dancing and traditional music and join the locals on the dance floor for less than $35.
After eating, stroll down Istanbul’s main artery, Istiklal Avenue, where you can find bars, clubs and cafés for all tastes. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you finish the night with stuffed mussels from the street vendors that appear after dark ($3).
With more than 6,000 islands total, with 227 inhabited, in Greece, the selection is overwhelming. Which one is perfect for your next vacation?
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
Prepare your taste buds for the trip of a lifetime in Greece. About 100 Greek products — from wines, cheese and fruits to honey and oils — earned a Protected Designation of Origin from the European Union, and the country’s most beloved dishes include Greek Choriatiki salad, tzatziki, souvlaki and moussaka, with its layers of eggplant, potato, minced meat and bechamel. And those are only a few of the many highlights.
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