You can’t help but pause when you first see Istanbul’s narrow minarets and domed mosques poking out of the sky. Like a strong rip current, this intercontinental metropolis captivates you with its mysticism and fascination. Istanbul, a city with a rich history spanning more than 1,700 years, attracts tourists with a captivating blend of Eastern and Western elements. The city’s soul urges you to become gloriously twisted and lost amid its complex web of turmoil and beauty because it is a continual crossroads of cultures, faiths, and civilisations.

The sheer size of Istanbul might be intimidating to visitors coming right out of Pegasus Airlines. With fifteen million people living in thirty-nine different neighbourhoods, how can one ever begin to grasp the renowned cuisine, iconic landmarks, and pulsating energy of this timeless metropolis? With the help of this beginner’s guide, you can fully enjoy Istanbul’s alluring attractions.

The Iconic Sights

Image Resource :

  • Istanbul’s ancient skyline is a memorable ensemble of figures. Before being converted into an imperial mosque, the Hagia Sophia was the grandest basilica in Christendom, with its massive brick domes and minarets. Entering the now-museum to take in the magnificent interiors, with its gilded prayer niches, hierarchical stone arches, and colourful mosaics and paintings, elicits a mystical experience.
  • Across the street, the Blue Mosque, with its six thin minarets and interior decorated with tens of thousands of blue Iznik tiles, creates an equally captivating spell. A deep sensation of calm descended over me as I kicked off my shoes and felt the cold stone under my feet. The quiet, softly illuminated interior creates the illusion that you are submerged and softly floating over a sea of blue.
  • It takes at least two hours to really explore Topkapi Palace, the opulent pleasure palace of the Ottoman sultans, which is a labyrinth of gardens, treasury chambers, and harems. The thought of the sultans surrounded by such magnificence is mind-boggling: gilded everything, towering book cabinets, jewel thrones, and garments made of tiger silk.
  • Don’t miss a sunset visit to the historic stone Galata Tower for an unrivalled city perspective. I leaned over the railing to take in the breathtaking view of the nightly call to prayer resounding over the Golden Horn: the spires and domes that represent Istanbul itself, standing tall and proud against a flaming orange sky.

The Authentic Bites

Image Resource :

  • Enjoying the delectable tastes of Istanbul is a must-do throughout every trip. I was ecstatic every time I bit into the rich meat-filled mussels from a little hole-in-the-wall during a beachside street food crawl in Kadıköy. The sound of sizzling grilled pork kebabs awakens my senses at a steaming Lokanta lunch stand. A forkful of golden olive oil-drenched, smoky eggplant salad brought back floods of taste memories of summers spent as a youngster in Greece.
  • The famous Turkish breakfast is something to be enjoyed leisurely and should not be hurried. I let out an audible scream when platters of shimmering tomatoes, crispy-seared sujuk sausages, rich honey, and infinite little dishes were paraded out. I lingered over this brilliant spread of kahvaltı for a whole morning, drinking little tumblers of Turkish coffee till they were cold and thick as gravy.2
  • And of course, no culinary crawl across Istanbul would be complete without finishing with a piece of baklava, dripping with butter. This rich delight, designed to be gently consumed in a sweet, blissful haze, tastes like absolute luxury. It is sticky, syrupy, and nutty.

The Neighborhood Vibes

  • Istanbul’s backstreet communities hold the actual essence of the city, even if Instagram feeds are usually dominated by big mosques and palaces. Every unique neighbourhood contains hidden treasures that are just waiting to be uncovered.
  • A calmer pace of everyday routines replaces the cacophony of people in Sultanahmet’s history. Vendors of kebabs slice aromatic donors from a rotating spit, wandering peddlers balance countless platters of roasted chicken, and old men in knitted hats maintain watch over their corner bakery.
  • The Fatih area is alive with the aromas of spices, chaiwallas, and the ceaseless shuffle of people making their way through the chaos of the Eminönü Bazaars. The scuttle of hawkers, the sparkle of gold bracelets, and the distinct thock of carpet beaters, deeper inside the enclosed warrens, add vitality to the air itself.


Istanbul is indeed a location to deliberately detach from reality, disengage the senses, and truly enjoy the uncontrollably vibrant spirit of the city. Lose yourself in its whirlwind of sights, sounds, and fascinating cultural mingling. It’s quite likely that you may discover your own timeless ties in this magnificent, timeless, and hypnotising city.

Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!

I use HeyMondo. You get INSTANT quotes. Super cheap, they actually pay out, AND they cover almost everywhere, where most insurance companies don't (even places like Central African Republic etc!). You can sign-up here. PS You even get 5% off if you use MY LINK! You can even sign up if you're already overseas and traveling, pretty cool.

Also, if you want to start a blog...I CAN HELP YOU!

Also, if you want to start a blog, and start to change your life, I'd love to help you! Email me on In the meantime, check out my super easy blog post on how to start a travel blog in under 30 minutes, here! And if you just want to get cracking, use BlueHost at a discount, through me.

Also, (if you're like me, and awful with tech-stuff) email me and my team can get a blog up and running for you, designed and everything, for $699 - email to get started.

Do you work remotely? Are you a digital nomad/blogger etc? You need to be insured too.

I use SafetyWing for my digital nomad insurance. It covers me while I live overseas. It's just $10 a week, and it's amazing! No upfront fees, you just pay week by week, and you can sign up just for a week if you want, then switch it off and on whenever. You can read my review here, and you can sign-up here!


So if you’re ready to…..

1) Change your life
2) Travel the world
3) Get paid to travel
4) Create a positive influence on others
5) Be free of offices and ‘real world’ rubbish

Then Sign Up Below and Let’s Get Started!

Follow me on Instagram @onestep4ward