Turkey Travels Day 7 : Istanbul’s Camlica Hill, Grand Bazaar, Taksim Square and Istiklal Shopping Street!

As we wind down towards the end of our Turkey travels, we headed back from Bolu to Istanbul on Day 7 of our travels. But before we left Bolu’s Koru Hotel, we took the opportunity to capture many snow covered scenes around the hotel!

Koru Hotel Bolu to Istanbul Turkey Travel Day 7

Facade of Koru Hotel Bolu with snow from the previous night
Facade of Koru Hotel Bolu with snow from the previous night
Breakfast buffet area of Koru Hotel Bolu
Breakfast buffet area of Koru Hotel Bolu
What we had for breakfast @ Koru Hotel Bolu
What we had for breakfast @ Koru Hotel Bolu
Snow covered driveway of Koru Hotel Bolu
Snow covered driveway of Koru Hotel Bolu
Snow man made by members of the tour group
Snow man made by members of the tour group
Arty shot of snow and pine tree
Arty shot of snow and pine tree
Kate enjoying the snow
Kate enjoying the snow
Arty shot from window of our hotel room
Arty shot from window of our hotel room
Icicle formation at Koru Hotel Bolu
Icicle formation at Koru Hotel Bolu

When we arrived at the Koru Hotel Bolu the previous night, though we could see some of the snow, it was already too dark to take any good shots. So we woke up early this morning and warmed ourselves up with a hearty breakfast before heading out to take these photos.

The awesome thing about Koru Hotel is that its vicinity is covered with pine trees. This means that as the snow covered the pine trees, a beautiful snowy scene is presented before you…Ahh…

Then it was a 3 hours drive back to Istanbul where our first stop was Camlica Hill.

Top Attractions in Istanbul Turkey Travel Day 7

Sunrise with snowy landscape enroute from Bolu to Istanbul
Sunrise with snowy landscape enroute from Bolu to Istanbul
Tunnels that cut through the mountains
Tunnels that cut through the mountains
Sunny snowy landscape after the tunnel
Sunny snowy landscape after the tunnel
Camlica hill free toilet next to the restaurant
Camlica hill free toilet next to the restaurant
Bosphorus strait and Bosphorus bridge seen from Camlica Hill
Bosphorus strait and Bosphorus bridge seen from Camlica Hill
Tom overlooking Bosphorus strait
Tom overlooking Bosphorus strait
Nuruosmaniye gate or gate 1 of grand bazaar
Nuruosmaniye gate or gate 1 of grand bazaar
Tom at Grand Bazaar Istanbul
Tom at Grand Bazaar Istanbul
Turkish lamps at Grand Bazaar Istanbul for 30TL (inclusive of lamp stand)
Turkish lamps at Grand Bazaar Istanbul for 30TL (inclusive of lamp stand)

Turkey is the only country in the world that borders between continental Europe and continental Asia. From Camlica hill, you can see views over the Asia part of Turkey as well as the Bosphorus Strait. The Bosphorus strait connects 2 bodies of water; Sea of Marmara to the south and Black Sea to the north. Views over Bosphorus strait is simply breath-taking…

Tip: At Camlica Hill, there’s actually a free toilet next to the atas (high class) restaurant.

Next, we headed to one of Istanbul’s biggest attraction – The Grand Bazaar! You will first be taken to the Nuruosmaniye Gate or gate number 1 (of the 21 gates in Grand Bazaar). If you’re lost, simply ask for the direction back to Nuruosmaniye Gate and some the friendly stall owners will give you the general direction.

Tip : While shopping at the Grand Bazaar, you should always ALWAYS ALWAYS bargain. Secondly, you should also compare prices because there will always be more than 1 shop selling the product that you want to buy. As a reference, we bought our small Turkish lamp with a lamp stand (bulb not included) at 30TL (about $16.50SGD).

We were given 2.5 hours which we initially thought was too long. But with all the bargaining and endless shopping options (scarves, lamps, turkish delights, souvenirs etc), the 2.5 hours flew past really quickly. We also left with a box of Turkish Delights (and a packet of walnuts) for 42TL after bargaining (yes, you can even bargain for Turkish delights after they weighed and calculated the price). Expensive but the Turkish Delights were full of ingredients. Best Turkish Delights we’ve tasted. Sample more to make your $$’s worth! 😉

We then gathered back at Nuruosmaniye Gate before heading to Taksim Square and Istiklal Shopping Street!

Bargaining at Turkish Delight Shop
Bargaining at Turkish Delight Shop
Istiklal shopping street next to Taksim Square
Istiklal shopping street next to Taksim Square
Doner Wrap for 9TL (More expensive for Beef - Go for the Chicken!)
Doner Wrap for 9TL (More expensive for Beef – Go for the Chicken!)
Roadside mussel stores at istiklal shopping street
Roadside mussel stores at istiklal shopping street
Night view of Taksim Square
Night view of Taksim Square
2bearbear and Taksim Square taken from burger king
2bearbear and Taksim Square taken from burger king
Restaurants at kumkapi
Restaurants at kumkapi
Inside kumkapi ege - Restaurant where we had our dinner with live music
Inside kumkapi ege – Restaurant where we had our dinner with live music
Room at Wyndham Hotel Petek Istanbul
Room at Wyndham Hotel Petek Istanbul

Our last attraction in Istanbul for the evening is Taksim Square and Istiklal Shopping Street. The Istiklal Shopping Street is located next to Taksim Square and is usually very crowded in the evenings. You’ll be given about an hour to shop and purchase some souvenirs. While you’re here, visit the Hafiz Mustafa Turkish Delight to bring home some beautifully packed delights for friends and relatives (prices are also cheaper here than at the Grand Bazaar). Kate and I also went to the top of Burger King and chilled there as we enjoyed the night views over Istiklal and Taksim Square. Of course, Kate got to do some shopping therapy at Mango and Zara first!

Finally, to end off the evening, we had dinner at Kumkapi Ege restaurant where there was live music. Dinner was “so so” but the atmosphere was great. The Kumkapi area can be somewhat compared to Clarke Quay in Singapore with lots of dining options to choose from.

After an eventful (and packed) day in Istanbul, we finally headed back to our hotel – Wyndham Hotel Petek Istanbul. This was the only international 5 star hotel (there were a couple of local 5 stars during the trip) during our visit to Turkey. We also found out from our travel companions that if you pay about $400 more per person, there’s another group that does the same itinerary, staying at international 5 stars every night. Well, that’s $800 bucks saved right? More Turkish Delights please!

Itinerary of Turkey Travel Day 7: Istanbul Attractions of Camlica Hill, Grand Bazaar, Istiklal Shopping Street, Taksim Square and Kumkapi

0845 : Depart from Koru Hotel Bolu
1015 : Rest stop
1145 : Arrival at Camlica Hill Istanbul
1300 : Lunch at Great Wall Restaurant (worst meal of the trip therefore not mentioned at all)
1430 : Departure to Grand Bazaar Istanbul
1500 : Arrival at Grand Bazaar
1730 : Departure from Grand Bazaar to Taksim Square
1830 : Arrival at Taksim Square / Istiklal Shopping Street (1 hour)
2015 : Arrival at Kumkapi Ege Restaurant (1 hour)
2145 : Arrival at Wyndham Petek Hotel Istanbul

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Related posts

This post is part of our 10 Days 7 Nights Turkey travel with Chan Brothers. Below, you can find other relevant posts covered during this trip.

Turkey Trip Day 1 : Singapore to Istanbul and Ferry to Canakkale
Turkey Travel Day 2 : Visiting the Trojan Horse of Troy and Ancient City of Pergamon
Turkey Travel Day 3 : Visit to Ephesus / Turkish Bath and Hot Springs of Lycus River Hotel Pamukkale
Turkey Trip Day 4 : Pamukkale Cotton Castle and Journey to Cappadocia!
Turkey Trip Day 5 : Cappadocia, Kaymakli Underground City, Goreme Open Air Museum and Turkish Night Celebrations!
Hot Air Balloon Flight in Cappadocia with Royal Balloon : Turkey Travel Day 6!
Turkey Travels Day 7 : Istanbul’s Camlica Hill, Grand Bazaar, Taksim Square and Istiklal Shopping Street!
Mall of Istanbul (MOI) : Shopping Eating and Relaxing on Day 8 of Turkey Trip!

We hope you have enjoyed our coverage of the attractions and things to do in Istanbul during day 7 of our Turkey Trip. On the last day, its essentially free and easy for us because we wanted to have a good rest before we headed back to Singapore.

We’ll also tell you why its better (and cheaper) to do so in our last post – day 8 of our Turkey Trip! 😉

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