Istanbul & Sarajevo

Booked a wee trip to both, any recommendations much appreciated.

I don’t have anything proper to recommend but Istanbul’s lovely and very hot.

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Not been to Sarajevo, but been to Istanbul and liked it A LOT. There’s pretty much a tick list of the big sites to visit - Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia, Basicilica Cistern, Galata Bridge and Tower, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque. Do you play backgammon? Most bars and cafes will have backgammon sets on the tables and it’s a great way to pass a couple of hours. Boat over to the Asian a must do as well - only went over for one night but loads of great restaurants and cafes there.

What time of year are you going? Can be surprisingly rainy and gets cold and snowy in the winter…

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One of those places in the world I’ve never been to, but would inevitably be spoiled if I did by me making mental connections to Civilization. I’d have Sean Bean commentating in my ear the whole time.

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Great destinations both, have fun!

Spent quite a bit of time in Istanbul last year, though not as a tourist.

Beşiktaş was by a margin my favourite part of town to spend time in - the streets are always rammed but the vibe is relaxed. I spent a lot of time wandering in the massive park there which overlooks the Bosporus. Being Turkey, there’s also always a cat or two to hang out with by any bench you care to sit on.

I also recommend the food market up the Bosporus at Ortaköy. Your best chance of eating somewhere nice while on the waterfront.

Speaking of the water, just use the public transport boats rather than any tours. They’re way, way cheaper and give you basically the same experience.

Galata is fun to wander, the bit immediately around the tower aside - crafty shops and tiny restaurants where you just get whatever’s being cooked that day.

Fatih is a pain, big sights aside - the only part of town I encountered where people actively hawk at you, and all the restaurants and cafes there I found unenticing.

İstiklal is also not massively worth your time as a visitor unless you’re a connoisseur of chain shops and naff street performers.

Sarajevo I visited ages ago. Best burek I’ve ever had there - much better than any in Turkey.


Film location spotting, if you’re a fan of Midnight Express (not popular in Turkey surprisingly) then the only scene actually filmed in Turkey is still a cafe (the rest of the film was shot in Malta)…

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Going in November, not bothered if the weather’s crap

Thanks for the post!

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I booked accom in Galata, good place to stay dya think? I can cancel for free if need lbe

NGL, I don’t know what any of this means :+1:

Good area :+1:

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I went in November. Weather was…ok.

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You should be good there - it’s lively but not nightclub lively, so noise at night shouldn’t be an issue. Lots of decent cafes to do you a massive Turkish breakfast, too

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But if you just googled “Civilization Hagia Sophia” then you would.

“It is a beautiful and important monument and an international, inter-cultural treasure … Unless and until it can be shared by both religions in harmony – which would be a grand idea – it should remain a secular building honoring both religions who have made it beautiful.”

I can echo that. Best burek ever, and the drinking water is the most refreshing water I’ve ever drank. Wonderful little city that is so rich in history and culture. Would highly recommend visiting what remains of the 1984 Winer Olympics facilities in the hills that surround the city, where Bosnian Serb snipers held Sarajevo hostage for 4 years.

For Istanbul, although all the main landmarks are on the European side, make sure you check out the Asian side. And if you have the time, taking a ferry up to the Black Sea is a must.

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Visited Istanbul in early Spring - late March - and it snowed! It was beautiful though. Preferred going then as supposed to the height of the summer when it can become stifflingly hot.

Out of interest, how long are you going for?

Although I personally prefer Sarajevo, you’d definitely need more time in Istanbul.

Five nights in Istanbul. Three nights in Sarajevo. Might have a wee day trip to Mostar too.

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Although set in Kars rather than Istanbul, this is a damn good read…

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Good amount of time in each. Mostar is beautiful. Well worth the train journey down there, which is equally a very beautiful train journey.

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Been to Sarajevo and Mostar a few times in the last 10ish years - as mentioned the journey between the two is lovely by train and easy to do in a day.

Did a guided tour last time from Sarajevo to Tito’s bunker (incredibly interesting, definitely worthwhile), some of the Olympic village, and the tunnel under the airport - not our usual thing to go with a group but found it really worthwhile and the guides were all locals with exceptional knowledge.

Aside from the older town bits in Sarajevo, the Skenderija centre has a few modern art galleries and sometimes has events in the evening. Climbing up the hill to near the old Jajce Barracks you’ll get an amazing view over the city. There’s some harrowing but worthwhile museums about the war in the city centre too. Gallery Boris Smoje was our favourite place for coffee / beer.

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