There is a majestic antique structure beneath Istanbul. It is Basilica Cistern, one of the coolest spots you can visit in Istanbul. It’s an underground cistern built during the reign of Emperor Justinian I in 532 to meet the water needs of the city.
Basilica Cistern is located in Sultanahmet, across the Street from Hagia Sofia. It borrowed its name from Ilıus Basilica and is 143 meters long and 65 meters wide. 336 glorious marble columns, mostly Ionic or Corinthian styles, support the roof. It could hold 80.000 cubic meters of water which was transported too the city via aqueducts.
Though it was forgotten for centuries, Basilica Cistern was rediscovered in 1545 while researching Byzantine antiquities. It was noticed that people living in the neighbourhood could get water by just lowering their buckets through holes in their basement. Some even could catch fish that way. And after being idle again for years, it was restored by Istanbul Municipality in 1987 and opened to the public.
Visitors now get to see this underground water facility on walkways and enjoy this antique piece thoroughly with atmospheric lighting. As the temperatures are cool down the facility, visiting Basilica Cistern on a hot summer day is definitely a breeze. Make sure you see the two Medusa heads. It is rumored that they were recycled from a building of the Roman period. Functioning as column bases, one is positioned upside down and the other one is tilted to the side.
It is very easy to reach Basilica Cistern from Three Apples. Metro is just 5 minutes away from the hotel. Take Taksim-Kabatas funicular line and from Kabatas get on tramway to Sultanahmet.
If you don’t want to wander far from your hotel room but wish to spend the night at a warm and friendly bar, we suggest you to visit Muaf Beyoglu. Also located in Sehit Muhtar district as Three Apples Suites & Residence, Muaf promises good music with a welcoming atmosphere.
Muaf is cozy and intimate that is small on space but very big on music. They regularly host music consept nights. Various artists play from pop, rock, hiphop and reggae to jazz and soul tunes. And other than performance nights, a DJ is spinning the set to make you dance to the beat.
Besides having a drink or two, you’re more than welcome to taste their delicious food. We loved the the appetizer platter which is zestful. Vegans will also rejoice as there’s a lot of options suited for vegans.
Art, music and joy. This is what Studio Masterpiece offers; painting pictures accompanied with good music and drinks in a joyful atmosphere. And the best thing is that you don’t need to have a painting or art background. If you haven’t hold a brush in your life that’s even more fun.
Studio Masterpiece is not a painting course. It’s a 3-hour long session where you can experience the joys of painting. At the end of the day, you will have your own masterpiece to hang on your wall or give a friend as a gift.
In the session, the artists guide you step by step through completing the painting. Some days they paint an important piece from art history, sometimes it is a beautiful piece the studio chooses. Check out their event calendar to see which picture will be painted and choose to your liking. If you want to come with a group of friends you can even schedule your own session and paint together.
Studio Masterpiece is located in Asmalımescit, Taksim and just 15 minutes walking distance from our hotel Three Apples Suites & Residence. Anyone who wants to have a good time just painting are welcomed there. All you need to grab your booze and head to the sudio. They provide everything else.
Have colorful fun!
If you come to Istanbul in winter, you’re more likely to come by rainy or even snowy days than sunny days. But Istanbul is a huge city and there’s no limit for what you can do. You can find any activity you’d enjoy. We made a list for you how to spend a cold day in Istanbul.
Drink Sahlep (Salep / Sahlap)
Sahlep is a hot Turkish winter beverage. Before the popularity of coffee and tea, Sahlep was consumed widely in Ottomon Empire. Now the tradition continues in Turkey. It’s made from the flour of orchid tubers mixed with hot milk. Usually served with cinnamon sprinkled on top, it’s a thick and silky drink with an exotic taste. You can spot the street vendors or have it on ferries and traditional dessert cafés such as Sütis, Saray Muhallebicisi and Mado.
Visit An Aquarium
If you want to dive deep into sea life, you have two options in Istanbul. One is Istanbul Sea Life in Forum Istanbul Mall and the other one is Istanbul Aquarium in Florya. Istanbul Sea Life has 43 different themed exhibits and it is the biggest underwater tunnel in Europe. Istanbul Aquarium is a two-story building with 64 tanks. It houses land creatures as well.
Explore Salt Galata
French Levantine architect Alexandre Vallauri designed the original building of SALT Galata to house the Ottoman Bank as inaugurated in 1892. The building is a landmark unique to İstanbul with surprisingly distinct architectural styles.
The redesign of the building is organized to enable a challenging, multi-layered program that includes SALT Research, which offers public access to thousands of print and digital resources; a 219-capacity Auditorium; the renovated Ottoman Bank Museum; Workshop spaces; an Open Archive where archival research projects are interpreted and discussed; a temporary exhibition space; as well as a Café, Restaurant and Bookstore.
Eat With Local Chefs
There’s no better way to learn about a culture through food. And best meals are home made. So while in Istanbul, why don’t you be a guest at a dinner party by locals. Eatwith.com provides the opportunity to dine with local chefs and allow you to enjoy local dishes at the chef’s house. On the website you can filter by city and find great hosts organizing different themed dinner events. Compare and choose after your gusto.
Have A Scrub At Hamam
Hamams are ideal relexation getaways when it’s cold outside. Getting a bubbly foam scrub in steamy hot hammam is one of the best feelings you’ll ever have. There are many options for you to live the authentic hamam experience in Istanbul. Check out our previous post about Galatasaray Hamami for more.
If you’re in Istanbul, one of the things you shouldn’t miss out on is Turkish coffee. And the other one is definitely a Turkish bath or Hammam. Being a centuries old practice, it’s the most authentic bathing experience you will ever try. Having scrubbed your whole body in foams and getting squeaky clean afterwards will make you feel wonderful.
One of the historical Turkish Baths you should pay a visit is Galatasaray Hamami. It’s located near Istiklal Street in Taksim and just 15 minutes walk from our hotel Three Apples. It was built in 1481 during the reign of Sultan Bayezit II. It’s a great way to witness history while pampering yourself in the hands of expert Turkish bathers.
After you enter hammam, you are given a thin cloth to put on. Then you are taken to that glorious marble domed room where it is very hot and steamy like a sauna. You have to sit for a while on a marble platform where you begin to sweat out the toxins and getting ready to be scrubbed. After a quick massage, your whole body is soaped up. When you’re all foamy your bather scrubs you with a bath glove until no dead cell remains.
After you’re done, you take a cold shower to increase blood flow and tighten the pores. Now you can rest for some time wrapped in dry towels sipping a cup of apple tea served hot. You will leave the hammam feeling refreshed and your skin smooth as a baby.
Turkey has a very rich cuisine and especially Istanbul is a must visit for any foodie. There’s a bit of something for every taste , even on-the-go. Whether you’re in a hurry to grab something to eat, searching food easy on your wallet or a Street food gourme, you really need to check out our best Street food list. And even better, you can find most of them at a walking distance around Taksim where our hotel Three Apples is located.
Some say it’s the Turkey’s answer to bagels, some say they are Turkish pretzels. But there is something that everyone agrees upon is that no one can resist the smell of a freshly baked simit. This sesame-crusted and molasses dipped pastry is best for breaksfast coupled with Turkish tea. And it’s good idea to grab one whenever you start to feel hungry. And make sure you save some to throw at seagulls when you’re in ferry. A flock will follow you until your cruise is over.
Midye dolma / Stuffed Mussels
These are probably the most common Street food in Istanbul. You can spot a midye dolma stall on every corner. Especially for sea food lovers you must taste these stuffed mussels. Even if you’re not, we encourage you to give it a try. They are orange mussels filled with rice, black pepper, currants and pine nuts. Vendor will crack them open for you. Just tell him how many you want. Squeeze a bit lemon and use the empty shell to scoop out deliciousness. And once you start, it’s hard to stop.
Balik Ekmek / Fish Sandwiches
As a city divided and surrounded by water, Istanbul has the best fish dishes. And fish sandwiches are simply delicious. Mostly mackerel fillets, they are grilled on stands at Eminonu and Karakoy shore. Freshly grilled, they are served hot with onions in half or quarter of a bread loaf. We recommend drinking şalgam (juice of red carrot pickles, salted, spiced, and flavoured with aromatic turnip) with balık ekmek. Vendors most likely sell that too.
Kokorec is somewhat controversial and not for everyone as it’s simply made from lamb’s intestines. But don’t skip to read just yet! It’s delicious an done of the most popular Street foods in Turkey. After cleaned thoroughly, it’s spiced and skewered, then grilled until that delicious smell attracts anyone around. Generally served in half or quarter of bread loaf with oregano and tomatoes. Don’t let the ingredients set you back. This is a must try.
Kestane Kebab / Roasted Chestnuts
Kestane kebab which are basically roasted chestnuts are the favorite Street food in winter. It’s a great snack that can be found on the streets of Istanbul (and on almost every step in Taksim). It’s the most delicious way to warm yourself up in the cold days of Istanbul. If you happen to visit Istanbul in autumn or winter you should try it. We guarantee that you’re going to love it!
Kumpir / Baked Potatoes
Kumpir is baked potatoe crowned with a wide range of toppings to choose from. Sweet corn, italian salad, peas, russian salad, pickles, jalapenos and many more. How delicious can a baked potatoe be? It totally depends on the toppings you choose to put onto it! Combinations are endless when it comes to eating kumpir. You can find the best ones in Ortakoy are in Istanbul.
It’s easy to get comfortable at this cute cafe decorated with green chairs, yellow tones, nice pictures on the wall and flowers on the tables. While you start to relax, you are given two menus; one for teas and the other for their delicious food.
At first it’s impossible not to get indecisive at Dem. You can choose between different types of teas from all around the world including white, green, red, oolong, black, smoked and herbal. It helps to read the details of every variety to see which ones matches your taste or mood at that moment. You can have your tea in stylish cups or adorable teapots.
Food menu is as much as varied as their tea menu. Omelettes, paninis, wraps, mini cheeseburgers and of course sweet cookies, scones and desserts are waiting for you to be tasted. Feel free to ask for help about which one goes best with your tea of choice.
At this time of the year we were tempted to try Christmas Tea with beckoning notes of cinnamon and orange. If you are a true tea lover, we recommend visiting Dem Cafe at Karakoy. With its attracting ambiance and different tea varieties, it’s a unique tea house.
We all got tired of our headphone or earphone wires tangling in our pockets or bags. If you agree Hoodie Buddie will be your favourite product. The sweatshirts we’ve seen on celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Ann Hathaway, Ashley Greene now sold in Turkey. In addition to being comfy and cool, the real trick of Hoodie Buddie is having a standard earphone jack in its front pocket. So you never have to carry earphones everywhere with you. Just take your MP3 Player and enjoy your playlist anywhere you want.
When plugged into your device of choice, sound travels through the cables and reaches you via earphones on sweatshirt’s drawstrings. There are different colour and model options for women, men and kids. And the good news is that it’s perfectly safe to wash your Hoodie Buddies at 30 C degrees. You can find your buddie at hbturkey.com.
Are you looking for somewhere you can have nice plate of delicious food while listening to great music? Well, we know just the right place: Nublu Istanbul. Famous jazz musician Ilhan Ersahin’s New York based club Nublu İstanbul has been a venue for ears craving for good music for a few years. Recently relocated to Sıraselviler from Karaköy, the underground music venue has become so much more. With the addition of new kitchen and decoration, the venue is now a feast for your ears, eyes and taste buds.
Just ten minute walk from our hotel 3 Apples Suites & Residence, it’s on Sıraselviler Street. It is an ideal location to spend the whole night starting from a tasty meal. The kitchen is open between 11:00 – 23:00 and the food is prepared by talented young Chef Deniz Asik. We really loved risotto balls but the menu offers many more deliciousness.
They say a hungry stomach has no ears. After dinner, now you are ready for jazz! We strongly encourage you to stay for the live performance and listen to renowned musicians both from Turkey and around the world. Who could say no to dancing to jazz, funk and soul beats. Live performance hall has a capacity for 400 people and there’s plenty of space to show off your moves.
To sum up, Nublu Istanbul is cool place with inspirational music and yummy food where you can have an awesome time with friends and romantic partner. Being very near to our hotel is another plus.
Discover the newest events at nubluistanbul.net
İf you have spare night you should definitely walk down İstiklal Street. It is just unbelievable. At least 1 million people go up and down everyday. Be sure to go to 360. 360 İstanbul is an extremely great restaurant It is a rooftop place near Taksim Square, with panoramic views of the city. This restaurant one of the best views in İstanbul overlooking the city and Bosperous. The food quality and presentation is a very nice. Also, the view of the Bosphorus from the covere rooftop dining area is breathtaking and some table with direct view Bospohorus.
During dinner the diners are entertained by wall – crawling women and Broadway inspired singers. I have to say the food meet my expectation, the kitchen knows what they are doing, you must look in advance, the entertainment is great and the view is great to, enjoy and they had lovely desserts. The service is very professional, good, simply, kind and friendly.
After dinner the restaurant turns into a high end nightclub with house mucis. 360 İstanbul, full packed on weekends and a great place and enjoy a great view. The 360 İstanbul is a denite must when you come to İstanbul.