1. DH and I are in Turkey and Greece the first two weeks of May and I'm so excited to be going back to two countries I loved visiting the first time years ago - we're visiting friends who are living in Turkey now so have built in tour guides which is always a plus! Does anyone have any jewelry shop recommendations for either Istanbul or Ankara? I'm looking for good quality and maybe something a bit more on the modern side. We're also going to Greece - Thessaloniki (not sure I spelled that right) for a few days to visit other friends and I understand the gold in Greece is also amazing and the prices are very good - any recommendations there as well would be appreciated!
  2. ^ Because the price of Turkish lira has dropped so much lately, I 'd buy gold from Turkey not Greece at the moment. However the Turkish jewelery is pretty much your standard "heavy" eastern design, and I don't know if you are a fan of that.
    In Thessaloniki (which as you know is so much smaller city than Istanbul, and easier to walk around the shops) there are many many shops small and bigger ones with nice western style jewelery. I'd go to Ermou str, Tsimiski str, and Agias Sofias str. My favorite shop is Vildiridis at Tsimiski 31.

    Have fun!
  3. ^^Vildiridis has some gorgeous pieces!
  4. Thee is a great article in the new edition of Conde Nast Traveler about Istanbul.
    There lira has dropped & its a great time to be shopping there.
    Hope it stays down, DH & I are looking into a trip next spring. We'll stay there 2 weeks & stay in both Asia & Europe.
  5. OMG, I was so excited to see your post. Istanbul was my most favorite place I have ever been. Everything about it was so surreal and beautiful. The people were friendly, the food was delicious, the gold and the rugs unbelievable... My favorite part was the same one someone else mentioned. It was the ambiance of the city when they call out for prayer. I have never experienced anything like it. It's so memorable and amazing... Also, I have to agree with how beautiful the people were. I think Turkey and Iran have the most beautiful people I have ever seen.

    Thanks for posting. It was wonderful to remember.:girlsigh:
  6. I love istanbul ! the color.. the people ! i went during winter and i hate hate hate the winter there.

    but the people are amazingly friendly and yes, bargain, bargain, bargain !
  7. I will go to Istanbul in June with a friend. Do you have any good shopping advice?

    We also need a nice hotel
  8. ^^^I will look this weekend for the business cards I picked up there.
    They will ask you how you are paying. Tell them you will pay in their currnecy, even if you using a cc. Their currency is down right now.
  9. We spent a week at the Four Seasons in Istanbul during Ramazan and it was amazing. Simply amazing.

    It's right in front of Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace, just steps from the Blue Mosque, too. It was to die for. The hotel was outstanding in every way. In fact, although all Four Seasons are spectacular, this one is supposedly the second best hotel in Europe! The thing with Istanbul is that there is the old city and the new - and the traffic between the two was horrendous, and most of the cool stuff is on the old side, so I would advise staying there as we did. We talked to a ton of people staying at hotels on the new side (like the Ritz) and they were really bummed about having to deal with the traffic. But, obviously, the location all depends on your budget. :smile:

    We were there only 4 days (we could've stayed for 4 weeks!), and had a private guide and driver all four days who picked us up from the airport and drove us around the city. The guide was a young Turkish man who went to Robert College in Istanbul and then to UVA here in the states, so he spoke great english. If you get a guide, make sure you get a licensed one, as the guides in Turkey are required to be licensed. He arranged the private car and the driver, and helped plan the itineraries, and ate lunch with us. He became like a friend! (In fact, I really need to email him!!) But, he was amenable to doing whatever we wanted, when we wanted.

    We did all the normal stuff - The Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Cistern, Galata Tower, Dolmabache Palace. We also took a private boat ride up the Bosphorous, and that was a blast and just beautiful. Istanbul is a city surrounded by water, so to go there and NOT be on the water seemed like a crime! We also did the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaars and bought a rug!

    The food in Istanbul is awesome! We ate at the Four Seasons for dinner one night and it was incredible, as were the breakfasts we had each morning. We ate lunch at a kafteh place in Sultanahmet, too, and that was great. Hamdi Restaurant was great food and service and the view is stunning! You must go for lunch to take full advantage! We also ate baklava at Haci Bekir and had the freshest seafood you can imagine at Balikçi Sabahattin, near out hotel. Soooo good!!!

    We also did a lot of non-touristy things, like visit Bagdat Street for coffee and shopping. This was on the Asian side, and it was cool to go to that side of town and see the area. We also hung out at the area known as Beyoglu and
    Istiklal Caddesi. I highly recommend that area - lots of cool shops, bars and restaurants. Very hip.

    I just so enjoyed the atmosphere of the city that I could stay forever!!
  10. Sharkbait, your tour was awesome! I am a Turk and I live in Istanbul. That's one of the greatest small tours for the city. I also highly recommend Nisantasi area fro shopping and posh shopping malls (For example Kanyon with Harvey Nichols and Istinye Park with sophisticated international labels). These are not tourist destinations and usually for only Turks.
    PS: Another great hotel is Four Seasın Bosphorus with an amazing view.
    If you ask for any destination in Turkey, I would vote for Cappodocia (unique and extraordinary).
  11. I have no idea the names of all the places I went, but Nu Terrace bar has a gorgeous view, on the top floor, outside.

    360 seems to be an extremely popular nightspot. I thought it was ok, but definitely got better as the evening progressed, with the live performances.

    Lucca is the most popular place Monday-Tuesdays. Everyone calls it a cafe, but it's more like a bar/lounge.

    The Asian side is calmer. I liked walking along the coast in the evening.

    I like the Grand Bazaar, but can be so frustrating when you just want to browse. I think you can definitely get better bargains there than the surrounding the shops.

    Watch out for "tourist" taxis. Taxis are inexpensive. I accidentally took one from right outside the Grand Bazaar. His meter jumped really fast. For a 4 lira ride, his meter stated 23. I was only going down the street. For 23 you can cross all the way to the Asian side and beyond.
  12. I stayed with a friend who lived in the suburbs. However, I was there at the tail end of several months of being abroad, so I didn't have a ton of money to throw around. My friend showed me all the usual sights: Blue Mosque, Topkapi, Galata Tower, etc. There was a Picasso exhibit while I was there, which was amazing. I remember it rained a couple of times. I remember the Grand Bazaar -- I picked up some Turkish delight to bring home, as well as pillow covers and other trinkets for gifts. My friend was amazed at what prices they were offering -- they were VERY inflated. I was glad that she was there to do the bargaining for me.
  13. Bumping this thread. Anyone else have anything to share about this most beautiful city?

    I was there in '89 - am wondering how much it's changed since I last saw it...
  14. Thaks for bumping. I'm going back in Sept. for a whole week!
  15. Great thread! Vegas - please report back...planning on going to Istanbul for my honeymoon next year!