5 Must Visit Romantic Places of Istanbul
Historical architectures, breath-taking scenic views and lovely shopping opportunities have turned Istanbul to a Mecca for travelers. The Turkish hospitality, vibrant night-life and amazing food & drinks ensures no one leaves this city unsatisfied. With a literal fusion of east with west, the city charts as one of the top destinations of Europe.
If you are visiting Istanbul as a couple, here are the five must-see’s and must-do’s for both of you in the order of Romantic Quotient (RQ). Interestingly, this to-do list covers all three surrounding water bodies of Istanbul that is, Bosphorus, Golden Horn and Sea of Marmara.
Number One – Pierre Loti
Piere Loti cafe and restaurant over a hilltop, provides perfect setting for a romantic evening. Hold hands with your partner in the garden over the cliff and enjoy cool breeze overlooking all of Istanbul and the Golden Horn. You can spend countless time mesmerizing the ambiance of the place and when you do come back, I am sure you will cherish those times forever.
How to Reach
Use your public transportation card (Istanbul Kart) to reach Ayvansaray Tram station. From there, you may take a taxi to Eyup cable car station. The have-money guys can directly take a taxi to Eyup from wherever they are. Thereafter, use your TravelKart to take a one way cable car from Eyup to Pierre Loti (3TL per person).
While coming back, I suggest you to take a walk down the path through cemetery (an easy to find path from hilltop) to reach Eyup ferry point. The downhill walk is really enjoyable and gives you time to absorb the Pierre Loti experience.
Number Two – Boat Ride of Golden Horn
Nothing beats a romantic boat ride with just two of you, sailing in the calmness of night and stillness of water. Additionally, the shining Istanbul around the Golden Horn make this boat ride even more picturesque. The spectacular night views of various mosques, churches and towers on either side of Golden Horn will keep you dazzled throughout the trip. You will feel the entire city of Istanbul slowly emerging around you as the boat passes underneath the Golden Horn bridge as well as Ataturk bridge.
How to Reach
You may combine this trip while returning from Pierre loti and hire a private boat taxi at Eyup ferry station at 30-40 TL (negotiable) to Eminonu ferry station. For these 45 minutes in Golden Horn, it would be just two of you and your taxi driver in the boat. If you are thinking about proposing your love, that’s the best place as she can’t leave the boat.
Number Three – Dinner at Galata Tower
A 4-course dinner with unlimited Turkish wines and drinks at the Istanbul’s oldest Tower with fascinating performances of belly dances and folk dancing would surely satiate the royalty in you. The historical Galata tower, built-in the year 1384, presents 360 degrees views of Istanbul from its top. The restaurant at its top floor offer a really entertaining Night Show along with meals and drinks. The restaurant owners are thoughtful enough to place your country’s flag at your table, while you are having dinner. I felt really proud when they had put the Indian flag on my dining table.
How to Reach
Use your public transportation card (Istanbul Kart) to reach Karakoy Tram station and walk the stairs up to Galata Tower. The show starts at 2000 hrs and lasts for 3 hours and costs 150 TL for a couple (that’s the price our hotel booked for us).
Number Four – Princes Island
Be driven around in horse drawn carriages with your love at an island, where Princes spent their exile. Both of you will surely flash back to history and have a feel of royalty in this place. “Buyukada”, biggest of the Princes Islands open to visitors, is about 100 minutes ferry ride away from Istanbul. The island is eternally peaceful due to ban on motorized vehicles. It looks like as if time has frozen here, from past 200 years.
How to Reach
Take a tram to reach Kabatas Tram station and walk to the ferry point. The government boat operators and private operators offer one-way tickets to prince’s Island (Buyukada) at 3 Tl and 5 TL respectively. You may return from the island in a similar way. I advice you to hire a horse drawn carriage (60 TL) and ride past wooden Victorian cottages and untouched Pine forests. From my personal experience, I truly felt as if I time-traveled to the 18th century.
Number Five – Bosphorus Cruise
“Cruises are always romantic and so is the Bosphorus one”. Actually, it’s not a cruise but, a short ferry ride along the Bosphorus strait which divides the Asian and the European side of the Istanbul. This ride is the best way to clearly see the contrast between the two sides of Istanbul and yet, fall in love with them. While you snuggle up and enjoy the attractive architecture on both sides, think about this – ” The two sides of Istanbul have a clear contrast as well as fantastic fusion. Both the sides are equally beautiful and coexist lovingly. Shouldn’t two of you aspire to have similar relationship.”
How to Reach
Use your Istanbul Kart to reach Eminonu tram station and walk to the nearby Kadikoy Pier. There were government as well as private boat operators offering Bosphorus rides for 5 TL. I suggest you to grab a seat toward left-side for the best views during this two and half hours trip. The ferry covers the European side (left-side) first, takes a U-turn after crossing the Bosphorus bridge and then, covers the Asian side.
There’s more to this list – But, that’s for you to tell me
Did this post inspire you to travel to Istanbul? Are you planning your Honeymoon at Istanbul and found this post helpful? Do tell me your views and leave comments.
Have you been to any of these places? Please let me know your experiences. If you wish to add other places to this must-see list, please leave a comment.
Check out notes on Istanbul travel by Nomadic Notes here.