Dublin, the capital of Ireland is a small city with an energy rivaling one of a titan. It’s a perfect getaway for literary buffs and beer devotees. Dublin has a…
Category: Cities & Culture
This fascinating city has it all. History, architecture, art scene, green areas, awesome bars and cafes, food and many other things to keep you around the clock. It’s not the…
This fascinating city has it all. History, architecture, art scene, green areas, awesome bars and cafes, food and many other things to keep you around the clock. It’s not the prettiest but it’s energetic and that’s what makes it so special and interesting. Therefore, if you’re planning a visit to German capital be sure to bookmark this Berlin Travel Guide 2017 edition.
Berlin WelcomeCard – Berlin is huge and spread out city so public transportation will be a necessity. With the Berlin WelcomeCard you’ll also get a city map, a guide and 200 discount deals. On offer are 48h and 72 hours but also 4,5 and 6 days passes. You can also read my review of the pass.
Alexander Platz and the TV tower – Berlin’s most famous square is a crossing point in the city. You can visit the TV tower and enjoy the panoramic views of the city.
Nikolai Quarter – the oldest historic area of Berlin with medieval lanes and many restaurants and cafes.
Hackesche Höfe – Berlin’s courtyards designed in Art Nouveau style. Lots of nice bars and restaurants in this area.
Berlin Cathedral – The largest church in the city. And also one of the most photographed places.
Unter den Linden – A very long boulevard in the Mitte district with many attractions along the way. Leads all the way to Brandenburger Tor.
Brandenburg Gate – The symbol of the city.
Reichstag – You can visit the German Bundestag and its dome which offers a great panorama of Berlin. However, you need to register your visit and the best way to do it is online by clicking here. Make sure to also snap a photo or two at the Platz der Republic – the huge lawn in front of the Reichstag.
Holocaust Memorial – This monument that consists of 2,711 concrete slabs is dedicated to the Jewish victims of Holocaust.
Potsdamer Platz – Urban architecture.
Berlin Wall Memorial – Visit this central memorial site of German division which is located in Bernauer Strasse. There’s an outdoor exhibition and the Documentation Center with rich material and an observation tower. The entrance is free of charge and the listening stations are spread along the former border.
East Side Gallery – The longest section of the Berlin Wall with 105 paintings from the artists around the world.
Checkpoint Charlie – The most famous border crossing point between East and West Berlin.
Museum Island – An island on the Spree river which is a home to five world class museums.
Charlottenburg Palace – The largest palace in Berlin.
Kurfürstendamm – the Champs-Élysées of Berlin. Filled with shops, houses, restaurants and hotels. Especially nice and atmospheric in the evening.
Friedrichstrasse – Another legendary street of Berlin. Home to exclusive offices, coffee shops, restaurants, shops and Dussmann 😀
Friedrichshain – Berlin’s artsy hub and a very popular place for nightlife.
Museum Pass – For 24 EUR you get a free entrance to 50 museums for 3 consecutive days. I recommend this pass if you’re making a second visit to Berlin or if you’re staying for more than a week. Otherwise, it’s better buying a separate ticket.
Pergamon Museum – Berlin’s most famous museum and a new home to the Ishtar Gate and other Babylonian treasures. Pergamon is under renovations until 2019 and the waiting hours are long so you may want to get a time slot ticket.
Neues Museum – My favorite museum. Very rich exhibition of Egyptian culture and the Early History. Museum’s most famous treasure is the Nefertiti Bust. Besides exhibitions, the building itself is a beautiful piece of art.
Bode Museum – This beautiful museum at the Museum Island offers rich Sculpture and Numismatic collection.
DDR Museum – An interactive museum which showcases life in East Germany. Great for history buffs!
The Natural History Museum – The world’s largest dinosaur skeleton, found in Tanzania in 1909 is exhibited here.
Berlinische Galerie – Museum of modern art, photography and architecture. Must see!
Deutsches Historiches Museum
The Jewish Museum
Topographie des Terrors
Where To Stay
I use Booking.com to search for accommodation across Europe. Through their website you can find hotels, apartments, hostels etc.
Hotel Mani – I absolutely love this place! Hotel Mani has an awesome decor and it’s one of the better boutique hotels in Berlin.
Berlin’s cuisine is rich and has an incredible international offer as people from all over the world made this city their home. For more detailed info check out this post on where to eat in Berlin on a budget.
Curry 36 – A place to try currywurst.
Matreshka – Russian/Ukrainian cuisine.
Mustafa’s Kebab – Be ready for a long long wait!
Dada Falafel – Middle Eastern restaurant in Mitte district.
Veganz – Vegan store with a small bakery and a cafe.
Marheineke Markthalle – Located in Kreuzbeurg neighborhood this market offers meat, cheese, fish, fruits, vegetables etc.
Burgermeister – The iconic burger joint.
Babel – One of the best Lebanese restaurants. Big portions, tasty food and a great value for money.
Drinking & Nightlife
KASCHK – This is my favorite place at the moment. Great for coffee during the day. Awesome selection of craft beers. Cool vibe at night. Shuffleboard. Love love love!
GROSZ – If you want to have a drink or two in an elegant and historic setting come here.
Eschenbräu – A popular beer garden in Wedding famous for producing its own beer. There are 21 types of seasonal beer. Try Rauchbier or Black Mamba.
Vagabund bar – Small and artsy bar with great selection of beers.
Weinerei – An interesting place to hang out. Good place for wine but they also serve coffee, tea and a vegetarian lunch menu.
Mein Haus Am See – Popular among hipsters and freelancers who come here to listen to good music and socialize.
House of Weekend – Techno club with a rooftop terrace that offers an amazing view of Alexanderplatz.
Kantine am Berghain – Everyone has heard about Berghain, Berlin’s legendary club. Kantine am Berghain is a smaller club which hosts many cool musical events. You can check their FB page for a list of events.
Cassiopeia – An alternative club with a big garden in the summer. There are parties for everyone’s taste – from hip/hop, reggae to pop, indie to rock.
Berlin Philharmonie – One of the best orchestras in the world. And not only is this a musical venue but also an architectural highlight. You can even go on a guided tour of the place.
KulturForum – A collection of cultural buildings including the Berlin State Library and the New National Gallery.
The State Opera – Another famous cultural institution on the Unter den Linden boulevard. Guided tours are on offer as well.
Intimes Cinema – One of the best art-house cinemas in Berlin. Program also includes new releases and foreign language films.
Zukunft am Ostkreuz – An open-air indie cinema.
Bookshops – Berlin has many fantastic second hand bookshops selling English and French titles.
Parks & Recreation
Tiergarten Park – One of Berlin’s biggest parks/forests. Very popular among tourists, joggers and cyclists.
Schlahtensee – Berlin has many lakes and this one is especially visited at Summer.
Tempelhofer Feld – A public park at the old Tempelhof airport. Tempelhof Airport is one of the largest buildings in the world and there’s a 6 km long trail ideal for walking and cycling. Locals love to hang out here and there’s even BBQ space.
Grunewald and Teufelsberg – This forest in the southwest Berlin is great for hiking.
The Botanical Garden – With more than 22,000 types of plants, Berlin’s botanical garden is one of the most important in the world.
Treptower Park – One of the biggest parks in the city and also a home to the Soviet War Memorial.
Strandbad Wannsee – The largest inland lido in Europe with many recreational activities on offer.
Mauer Park – Famous for its flea market and outdoors karaoke.
Badeschiff – Swimming pool on a river Spree.
Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism – You’ll find this monument at the entrance of Tiergarten park.
Schwules Museum – A museum exhibiting LGBT life in Berlin.
Christopher Street Day – Germany’s largest gay festival.
SchwuZ – Great partying place with 3 different dancefloors.
Queer Couchsurfing Berlin Meetups – Well, the name says it all.
The Club – A gay bar in Neukolln.
Silver Future – Kings and Queens and Criminal Queers 😀
Travels of Adam Berlin Guide – Adam is a travel writer based in Berlin. I totally recommend his website if you’re into alternative culture and if you want to find out more about LGBT travel tips in Europe.
KaDeWe – A well known department store. It mostly caters to luxury shoppers and it has a nice gourmet area.
Mauer Park – Hosts weekly flea market.
Mall of Berlin – A shopping mall with 270 stores.
Berlin Story – A souvenir shop on Unter den Linden.
Dussman – A heaven for book lovers and geeks. You’ll also find movies, CD’s and games. My favorite store in Berlin. I know, I’m a geek 😀
Galeria Kaufhof – Another regular department store.
Berlinale – One of the world’s leading film festivals.
Pop-Kultur – An international cultural festival.
Christopher Street Day – Berlin Pride festival.
Festival of Lights – The city and its landmarks get transformed during this annual festival.
ITB – The world’s largest and most respected tourism convention.
Potsdam – If you have some days to spare go to Potsdam and see amazing palace of Sanssouci and its stunning gardens.
Sofia is a regular stop for many travelers discovering the Balkans. It offers many cultural activities, has a big mountain in its vicinity ideal for hiking and on top of…
Sofia is a regular stop for many travelers discovering the Balkans. It offers many cultural activities, has a big mountain in its vicinity ideal for hiking and on top of it all – it’s a budget friendly destination.
In this Sofia travel guide you’ll find a list of top things to do in the city including the sights, tours, eating and drinking section etc.
Sofia Travel Guide
Sofia has many sacral objects and they are some of city’s most notable attractions. So don’t be surprised with the list below. It also has a mix of European and Communist style architecture which makes it a regular stop on many Balkan tours.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral – Sofia’s most impressive church
Boyana Church – One of Bulgaria’s most beloved medieval churches. Listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List
St. Sofia Church – The second oldest church in the city. Very close to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Banya Bashi Mosque – The only working mosque in the city
Sv. Nedelya Church – Beautiful church at the beginning of Vitosha street. In 1925 the church was blown up by the communists in an attempt to assassinate Tsar Boris III.
Sofia Synagogue – The third largest synagogue in Europe
Sveti Nikolai Russian Church – Beautiful architecture!
National Theatre Ivan Vazov – One of the nicest architectural gems
Narodno Sabranie – The National Assembly designed in Neo-Renaissance style
Monument to the Soviet Army – Popular place where many young people gather
NDK (National Palace of Culture) – Major venue for concerts and other events, famous for its unique architectural style
Sofia Monument – A monumental sculpture in the city centre. Stands in the place where Lenin’s statue once used to be.
The Mineral Baths Building – An interesting building in Bulgarian and Byzantine architectural styles
Royal Palace – Now home to the National Art Gallery and the Etnographic Museum
Presidency – Don’t miss the changing of the guard ceremony
Sofia has a plenty green areas and here are some of its best parks;
Yuzhen Park – Possibly the most photogenic park
Borisova Gradina – Home of the Monument to the Soviet Army and great place for strolling and having a picnic. Also home to Vasil Levski stadium and CSKA stadium
Sofia City Garden – Beautiful park with several cafes around
Sofia University Botanic Garden – For the more extreme nature fans 🙂
Doctor’s Garden – Small park with historical significance
Archeological Museum – One of the best museums in the city
National Art Gallery – Must see for culture buffs!
National Gallery for Foreign Art – This gallery hosts European, Asian (mostly Buddhist and Japanese art) and African art.
National Museum of Military History – It has one of the best presented exhibitions in the city. You can follow Bulgarian history from the Thracian period until the WW2 and Communist times.
Vitosha Street – main pedestrian street with lots of shops, restaurants and cafes. Always alive!
Plac Slaveikov – I love this square as there’s an open-air book market. Most books are Bulgarian novels but there are English language books too and some in French.
Eating & Drinking
Manastirska Magernitsa – Authentic Bulgarian restaurant with rich selection of foods from all over the country
Dream House – An awesome vegetarian and vegan restaurant. There’s also an ‘all you can eat buffet’ on Sundays.
Cafe Theatre – A very nice cafe in a great setting just next to the Ivan Vazov Theatre
Loving Hut – Another vegan budget friendly place
Central Hali Shopping Center – This is a big market complex with a food court on the top
Fantastico Supermarket – Great place to stock up on groceries
Supa Star – Delicious soups! Good offer of sandwiches and salads too. Nice atmosphere. A must visit when in town.
Skaptobara – Burgers and beers! Great place for a chit chat with friends
There are also many fast food stalls where you can buy food such as banitsa (cheese pastry), pancakes and burgers.
J.J. Murphy’s Sofia – A famous Irish pub
E.W. Studio – One of the better clubs in the city
Culture Beat – This bar/club has a nice terrace with the view of Sofia. Hosts DJ sessions at night.
One More Bar – Hip, nice garden to sit outside, ideal for summers drinks
Dada Cultural Bar – Chilling and cozy place, ideal for drinking wine
Vitamin B – Great selection of beers. Yes, beers!
Cinema City – Modern, multi screen cinema in the Mall of Sofia
Arena Cinema Sofia – Another good cinema located in the Business Park district
Sofia Opera – Hosts artists from around the world. You can see the full calendar here
National Palace of Culture – One of the largest cultural centers in the country. Hosts all kinds of events.
Bulgaria Hall – If you want to hear the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra come here
Boulevard Vitosha – Main pedestrian and shopping street with international boutiques, souvenir shops and restaurants
Mall of Sofia – Biggest shopping centre in the city
Sofia has a wide range of accommodation options. However, after visiting the city for the third time I have to say that finding a budget and good quality hotel at the same time is a bit difficult. Apartments or private rooms could be a good option.
Boyana – This is Sofia’s peaceful and elite suburb, located 8 km from the city centre. It’s home to the National Museum of History and Boyana Church which is on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The easiest way to come here is by taxi which is affordable.
Vitosha Mountain – The oldest natural park in the Balkans is located in the vicinity of Sofia. This gives the city a big advantage compared to other European capitals. The best hiking trails are: Aleko Hut – Cherni Vrah peak; Boyana Church – Boyana Waterfall and Vladaya – Golden Bridges.
In this post I will do a review of Budapest Card which is the official city card. The cards are sold for 24, 48 and 72 hours. I’ve used the…
In this post I will do a review of Budapest Card which is the official city card. The cards are sold for 24, 48 and 72 hours. I’ve used the 72h card because I stayed in the city for a week.
The card is valid once you fill in the dates and the signature field. Each card offers all of the benefits (mentioned below), the only difference is the length of validity. If you register your card online which you can do here, you can get your card replaced for free in case it gets stolen, damaged or lost. You can only replace the card in the main tourist office in Sütő street.
24h card – 4900 HUF / 15 EUR
48h card – 7900 HUF / 25 EUR
72h card – 9900 HUF / 31 EUR
Free public transportation
Free entrance to Lukács Baths
Free entrance to one of these 10 museums: Budapest History Museum; Aquincum Museum; Kiscelli Museum; Vasarely Museum; Hungarian National Gallery; Hungarian National Museum and more
Free mobile application
Free two guided walking tours (one is in Buda and one in Pest)
10-50% discounts for other services. Noticeable discounts include: Hop On Hop Off buses (20-30%); Riverride (10%); Budapest Tuk Tuk tours (20%); many restaurants and bars; Rudas Bath (20%); Memento Park (FREE) and many more.
Is Budapest Card Worth Buying?
Single ticket for transportation costs 350 HUF. Transfer ticket is 530 HUF. 24h ticket is 1,650 HUF (5 EUR) and the 72h ticket is 4,150 HUF (13 EUR). Two mentioned tours cost 10 EUR each. So in case you wanna buy a daily transportation ticket and do a walking tour that’s already 15 EUR which is a price of the 24h Budapest Card. If you wanna visit one of the museums eg. Hungarian National Museum (entrance is 5 EUR) and Lukács Baths (entrance 10 EUR) you already made some savings.
However, these cards don’t always bring value. This totally depends on you and your traveling style. A lot of attractions in Budapest are at a walking distance so you might not need the transportation ticket at all. This also applies to cyclists. If you are in Budapest for only a day and you would like to attend the walking tour and then mix some sightseeing by yourself with a visit to a museum I think getting the card is a good idea. You may also try some Hungarian foods or visit bars so you will get more savings.
I think the cards give a good value for money especially the 48h and 72h ones. That’s because you’ll spend more time in the city and you’ll be able to visit some attractions which you probably couldn’t visit during 1 day time in Budapest. Lukács Baths are a good example because the entry ticket is 10 EUR. Add a walking tour to that, a visit to a museum and some shopping and you already saved yourself some money. 🙂
You can buy the card at any info point centers, MAV ticket offices, travel agencies, hotels and online. You get a 5% discount when you buy it online.
Budapest is an amazing destination popular throughout the year with plenty of attractions. Cultural activities, thermal baths, nightlife and great food make it one of the best cities in Europe…
Budapest is an amazing destination popular throughout the year with plenty of attractions. Cultural activities, thermal baths, nightlife and great food make it one of the best cities in Europe and for a reason! Here you’ll find a list of my suggestions with 25 interesting things to see and do in Budapest.
Visit the Night of the Museums
The Night of the Museums is an event famous across Europe. In Budapest, museums are open until 2:30 am during this annual event. For the price of 1,500 HUF (4.75 EUR) there are more than 1000 programs on offer and this also includes the bus transfer between main points of interest.
Visit Hungarian National Gallery
If you are fan of art and culture visit this gallery which is located inside the Buda Castle. Permanent exhibitions include Gothic art, Art in the 19th century, Modern Times – Hungarian art between the 1986 and World War II. There are some great temporary exhibitions too. For example gallery is housing an exhibition of Picasso’s works called Transfigurations 1895-1972.
Prices are different for permanent and temporary exhibitions. You can see the full details here.
Go to Memento Park
If you are interested in history and the Cold War visit Memento Park which is home to the biggest statues of the communist dictatorship. You’ll see the icons of the communist regime: Stalin’s Boots, the sculptures of Marx and Engels, the Red Army soldiers etc. You can sit in a real Trabant car and see a screening of “The life of an agent” film which depicts the secret police training methods in Communist Hungary. The park has a gift shop too where you can buy various souvenirs from that era.
Tickets: 1500 HUF; students: 1000 HUF
Free with Budapest Card
Visit New Budapest Gallery
This gallery is located in an amazing building called Balna. Here you can enjoy the contemporary art and have a drink in one of many bars and cafes.
Free with Budapest Card
House of Terror
This is a museum located at Andrassy avenue – one of Budapest’s biggest attractions. House of Terror is a memorial dedicated to the victims of the fascist and communist regimes in 20th-century Hungary. If you are coming as an individual visitor get an audio guide because the info sheets are not that effective and they lack information.
Have a picnic in the City Park
This park is great for relaxing and having a picnic and it’s one of Budapest’s main attractions. It’s a home to a few museums, the zoo and the Szechenyi Thermal Bath. Vajdahunyad Castle is the most beautiful and enchanting building in the park. If you happen to be in Budapest during winter you can also visit the Ice Ring or even better the Szechenyi Thermal Bath. The relaxation pools have the temperature between 32-34 degrees Celsius and the complex also houses saunas and steam rooms.
Daytrip to Szentendre
If your stay in Budapest is a long one and you’d like to leave the city for a short daily trip consider Szentendre. It’s a small town with Mediterranean atmosphere and it’s known for its museums and galleries. Szentendre is also home to Hungary’s biggest Open Air Museum which showcases architecture, traditions and way of life of different Hungarian regions.
Attend the Budapest Spring and the Budapest Summer Festival
Budapest Spring Festival has a rich program and events that are held across the city. This festival showcases some fantastic Hungarian talents but it’s also open to other cultures. Budapest Summer festival also has some events on the Margaret Island. On July 1st Shakespeare’s Globe will present The Two Gentleman of Verona. The festival has its free app that you can download.
Ride a Bike
Riding a bike is a nice way to get around Budapest. The city has many bicycle lanes and the most beautiful route is by the river as you get to see those amazing bridges!
Party at Sziget Festival
Sziget is one of the world’s most famous festival held annually in August. With more than 1000 performances you’ll be sorry to miss this one. Daily tickets start from 59 EUR.
Budapest is famous for its ruin pubs. They got this name because they are located in former abandoned buildings and have a unique interior which consists of retro pieces, old furniture etc. There are no rules, each place has its own distinctive aura and attracts a wide crowd.
Here are some good ruin pubs:
Skal – not a ruin pub but a great pub I had to mention
One of the Danube islands is also one of the nicest city parks. It has a small zoo, a Japanese garden, a swimming pool, running track and an amazing view of the city! If you drop by the Water Tower on the island you will get a fantastic 360 degrees panorama of Budapest.
Visit Botanical Garden
Budapest’s Botanical Garden called Füvészkert is home to more than 200 endangered plants, a palm house and a Japanese garden, making it one of the nicest green oasis in the city.
Entrance fee: 850 HUF
Fekete coffee shop is a sweet place for coffee fanatics. According to some they serve the best coffee in the city.
Other good cafes are:
Massolit Books & Cafe – Second-hand books, good coffee and tea
Yes, a floating bus. Budapest is the only city in Europe that has a bus which floats on water. It’s a really cool and insightful tour. First you are being shown the city’s best attractions on land and then the most interesting part occurs – the bus splashes into Danube river. 😀 I have to say this part really cracked me up because they made it really cool. I won’t reveal any details, check it out for yourself!
Go to Turkish Bath
Rudas Bath is the most famous Turkish bath in Budapest located near the Danube River. There are six thermal baths with different temperatures but also saunas and salt chambers. I’ve been to Women’s Day which is every Tuesday and it was a memorable experience. It can get a bit crowded and it’s definitely not for everyone’s taste but you don’t get to relax in a spa which was built 500 years ago every day. The bath also has a pool on the rooftop which gives you a fantastic view of the city and the river. Worth visiting for the experience.
Go to Gellert Spa
This spa is located inside the Gellert Hotel and is another fantastic place for relaxation in the city. It boasts with wonderful architecture and historical significance and spending time here is one of the best decisions you can make. The baths are great including saunas and steam rooms. There’s a fantastic indoor pool which is well maintained. It’s a little bit more on the expensive side than the other spas but definitely for good reason.
Shop at the Central Market Hall
This is city’s most famous market and it’s great for doing some shopping. Here you can find souvenirs, Hungarian food and beverages, jewelry and various trinkets. The most famous Hungarian souvenirs include Rubik’s Cube, paprika powder and goose liver. According to CNN this is one of the most beautiful markets in the world.
Take the Tram #2
This is one of the cheapest sightseeing tours you can do in Budapest as the tram stops at numerous important sights in both Buda and Pest. All this for the price of 350 HUF.
Stroll down the Andrassy Avenue
I suggest taking at least half a day to explore this lovely avenue. There are many attractions on the way, great eateries and shopping places. The avenue ends at Hero’s square which is another famous attraction. One of the best walks in the city – no wonder why it’s recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO!
Balna is a modern cultural and entertainment center of the city. It’s filled with restaurants, cafes, shops and art galleries. New Budapest Gallery (mentioned above) is located here.
Go To An Escape Room
Escape rooms are a growing trend in Budapest and a popular activity among locals and tourists. The city has more than 100 escape rooms with more appearing all the time.
See Karoly Park
Karoly Park is a small but beautiful green oasis in the center of Budapest. It has a lovely garden, it’s a good resting stop and a great photo opp too.
Eat in Karavan
Karavan is an open-air street food court located on Kazinczy Street. There are 10 kiosks with different and interesting options and many places for sitting. There are also options for vegetarians, I loved my “real cheeseburger” – burger’s main protein was breaded cheese. None of the kiosks are vegan friendly but some can make alterations to their standard dishes e.g. the pasta kiosk offers plain pasta with primavera sauce.
Check out the Christmas Markets
The Christmas market at Vorosmarty Square is one of the most beautiful in Europe. There are more than 100 vendors and here you can try traditional Hungarian dishes such as goulash soup. If you are craving sugar you can try chimney cake, roasted chestnuts or strudel. The winter festival also has numerous programs including musical and dance performances.
What are your favorite things and activities in Budapest. Feel free to comment below.
On my third visit to Istanbul I’ve stayed in Besiktas on the European side of the city. It’s a great area close to many attractions and museums. It also has…
On my third visit to Istanbul I’ve stayed in Besiktas on the European side of the city. It’s a great area close to many attractions and museums. It also has a nice restaurant and bar scene and there is always something interesting happening here. This travel guide to Besiktas should hopefully help you find unique and interesting things to do in the area;
One of the most grandiose palaces in the world, Dolmabahce was an administrative center of Ottoman Empire. The palace and the gardens are huge so plan to spend at least 4 hours here. It’s one of the most beautiful attractions in Istanbul, not only because of its beauty and historical significance but an amazing location too. Tickets for Selamlik (official part) and Harem can be bought as one or separately. Common ticket is 40 TL. It’s also possible to book a guided tour.
Rainbow stairs became a local phenomena. At first, this was thought to be an act by gay rights groups, however the initiative started by a local resident who wanted to beautify the surroundings. Few days later municipality workers painted them back to grey. This lead to protests after which stairs got their rainbow colors again.
If you love art you have to visit this museum! In my opinion it’s one of the best in Europe. The artistic collection is very rich and there are numerous exhibitions of modern art and photography. You’ll be rewarded with some lovely views of the city too, as Istanbul Modern is located by the water. The museum also has a nice cafe where you can snack and grab coffee after your visit.
Parks in Istanbul are rare and most often small in size like this one called Findikli. Now, some people wouldn’t even call this a park but the only reason I’m recommending it is because of the view. You get some fantastic views of the Asian side and bridges.
Le Fumoir at Ciragan Palace Kempinski
If you don’t mind to splurge for an amazing view and an atmosphere that will be unforgettable come here. Surroundings are beautiful, at both day and night. Beautiful palace, amazing water scenery and a lit up bridge – what more can you ask for? With an amazing view like this and a great service comes the price though. It’s a luxury brand and definitely not budget friendly but you only live once so why not? After all, Istanbul is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Address: Çırağan Cad. No:32, Beşiktaş
I liked this place a lot and have visited it more than once during my last trip to Istanbul. It attracts young and hip crowd and it’s ideal for a night out with friends. There’s a great selection of alcohol especially fancy craft beer. Joker also has an open front kitchen and seafood and sandwiches seem to be the most popular. However, most people come here for drinks and a chit/chat before heading to a club. Oh, and try their potatoes. They are great! 🙂
Address: Sinanpaşa, Beşiktaş Cd. No:19
Quite similar establishment to Joker no 19. Large interior packed with good music and rich selection of beers and food. They also give a free popcorn. The only downside is that the place is packed and you’ll have a problem finding free seat. It’s worth trying though!
Address: Vişnezade Mh., Süleyman Seba Cd. No:46
This bar has a really warm atmosphere and it’s great for a night of entertainment. You can play table football or enjoy one of their live music nights. Turkish coffee is really good here.
Address: Cihannüma, Barbaros Blv. No:61, Beşiktaş
Highly rated place by burger fans. It’s good for groups as it’s set in a small street full of cafes and bars.
This place is buzzing with locals and visitors. If you love street life you should put it on your to-do list. Dining here is an interesting experience at night but you can also just look around and feel the vibe of the place.
Where to stay
I’ve stayed in W hotel as part of the World Tourism Forum event. The hotel is very trendy and is quite popular in the neighborhood, but far from budget friendly! Besides fantastic location it has a very modern design, awesome breakfast, gym and you get an Android phone free of charge. You can take it out of your room and use it while sightseeing. It has free internet and unlimited calls. Great idea! If you want to look for something that won’t break the bank head to Booking.com. Don’t forget to check HotelsCombined too as this site will search for the best price across top travel platforms.
This travel guide to Besiktas will be updated regularly so feel free to give your tips in the comments section below.