Im going to Istanbul shortly & just wondered if anyone suggests anywhere to go/see? Im not very knowledgeable about Istanbul so all advice is appreciated.
Also how far/easy is it to get out of the hussle and bussle of the city? Would i be able to find a quiet spots on day trips out of the city? Are there any beaches within a short distance?
U wont wanna leave the bussle of the city. Its amazing!
Well see the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bizzare. Take a walk along the Boshporous starting at the Ortakoy mosque (pics in my gallery) and walk down thru Babek. Theres a starbucks there with amazing views of the Bosphorous.
The Cistern is worth a visit as well, again in my gallery.
Take a ferry to the Asian side if you want a break from the hussle, its a bit quieter. Theres a nice street called Bagdat that is all chic shopping, nice places to eat and drink. the ferry over is cool too, good views of the city.
Definitely set aside a full day for the Topkapi palace and soak in a soap sudsies at a traditional Turkish Bath.
You can find a lot of info on Istanbul at www.turkeytravelplanner.com
Topkapi palace - absolutely a must, especially the harem. Also, if you have the time, you could see the Karye Jamii - a very beautiful church, though it's pretty far from the main tourist sites - Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia.
It is a lot of fun to sit in the evening in one of the outdoors pubs on the Galat bridge, especially this time of year, as well as taking an evening tour on a boat on the Bosphorous - the city is beautiful at night.
Also, if you have the time, you can go up to the viewpoint on the Galat Tower, which is located near the Istiklal (independence) street - a huge, amazing walkway with shops, pubs, bars, restaurants and little surprises such as beautiful churches glancing at you from the side streets. If you go to Istiklal, make sure you take the tram all the way to Istiklal - there's a steep street leading to it, not so easy to go by foot.
I envy you so much - we just got back from Istanbul a few weeks ago, it is amazing there!