How to spend a week in istanbul

Wander the cobblestone streets of Istanbul, Europe’s largest city, and you’ll see a community that cares about…cats. Food on doorsteps and makeshift homes in alleys, neighbors take care of Istanbul’s almost one million street cats.

Behind the street cat community are ancient churches-turned-mosques, spice markets, restaurants on hills, and ferries that disappear into the sunset. To see it all, spend years in Istanbul. Here’s what my wife, five-year-old daughter, and I did in seven days.



  • Bubble tea from Monster Teashop– Kadikoy, a small teashop with custom bubble tea.
  • Salep from Roots Studio Cafe, a cafe on the top floor of a building with views of Istanbul.


  • Explore the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s oldest markets, finding its side markets.
  • Find the rainbow stairs near the Findikli tram station.
  • Ride public transportation from buses to the Metro to ferries
    • It’s easy to navigate and cost-effective.
    • For one of the best sunsets in the city, ride the ferry as the sun goes down.
  • Shop for authentic Turkish towels at Pera Family, a family-owned shop near Galata Tower.
  • Take your kids to Cihangir Park, a fenced playground on a hill.


  • Cobblestone streets on hills in Balat, once known as Istanbul’s Jewish quarter.
  • Design-forward fish market at the Besiktas Fish Market.
  • Historic Ottoman houses in the Kuzguncuk neighborhood.
  • Murals throughout the city, but especially in the Kadıköy neighborhood.
  • View of the city from Kuzguncuk, a neighborhood on the Asian side.

Similar Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *