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Category: Cities & Culture

25 Interesting Things to See and Do in Budapest

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.

Heroes Square Budapest

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

Balna Budapest

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.

Vajdahunyad Castle Budapest - interesting things to see and do in budapest

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!

Budapest Bridges - interesting things to see and do in budapest

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.

Ruin Pubs

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:

Puder Bar

Szimpla Kert

Mazel Tov

Skal – not a ruin pub but a great pub I had to mention

Budapest Ruin Bars - interesting things to see and do in budapest

Margaret Island

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.

Margaret Island

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

Coffee culture

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

Szamos

Central

Kino

Go on a Floating Bus

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!

floating bus budapest

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.

Gellert Spa

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.

the Central Market Hall Budapest

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 Budapest

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.

Balna Budapest

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.

Karoly Park

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.

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Travel Guide To Besiktas Neighborhood, Istanbul

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;

Attractions

Dolmabahce Palace

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.

Dolmabahce palace - travel guide to besiktas

Rainbow stairs

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.

Rainbow stairs Besiktas

Istanbul Modern

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.

Istanbul Modern - travel guide to besiktas

 

Parks

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.

Findikli Parki - travel guide to besiktas

Bars

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

Joker no 19

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

Beer Hall

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

Kaset Bistro

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

Food

City Burger

Highly rated place by burger fans. It’s good for groups as it’s set in a small street full of cafes and bars.

Fish market

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.

 

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Is Budapest Card Worth Buying?

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.

Usage

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.

Prices

24h card – 4900 HUF / 15 EUR

48h card – 7900 HUF / 25 EUR

72h card – 9900 HUF / 31 EUR

Benefits

  • 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.

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5 Great Destinations In Spain For Travelers and Expats

Spain is truly one of the most fascinating countries in the world because of the diverse cultures that exist there. When visiting Spain, it is imperative that you go to…

Spain is truly one of the most fascinating countries in the world because of the diverse cultures that exist there. When visiting Spain, it is imperative that you go to the different diverse regions that the country has to offer. Here is a list of five great destinations in Spain for travelers and expats;

Granada

Granada is truly one of the most incredible cities in Spain. Granada has an impressive cultural mixture of the Spanish and Moorish culture that have influenced the city for centuries. As far as tourism, the Alhambra is one of the most sensational preserved Moorish palaces that the traveler can explore for both a day and night tour.

Additionally, Granada is the city that created the delicious Spanish Gazpacho soup, which is ideal with a glass of Cava in the summer time. Spain’s white wine Sangria and Cava also originate from cities in Andalusia, which makes this region excellent for both dining and wine tasting. Granada is a great place for an expatriate to invest in who is looking for that wonderful old world Spanish style type of life.

Granada

Santiago de Compostella

Santiago de Compostella is one of Spain’s gems. In fact, it is the ending site of the long Camino de Santiago that begins in Arles, France. Within the city, there is an impressive cathedral that the Saint Santiago is said to be buried in. What makes Santiago de Compostella so special is that is located within a part of Spain called Galicia.

In Galicia, the locals speak Gallego, which is a language that has Celtic roots and when you listen to the traditional music, you will see the locals playing bagpipes and using shells for castanets. The shells are used as castanets due to the respects from the Saint Santiago whose symbol is said to be the shell. Pertaining to cuisine, Galicia has some of the most incredible beaches in Spain and is home to one of Spain’s best tapas called Pulpo.

In Santiago de Compostella, travelers can enjoy some of the most exquisite Pulpo while sipping on the region’s local beer called Estrella de Galicia. Santiago de Compostella truly represents how diverse Spain is because it has preserved its own dialect along with speaking Spanish for centuries.

Fachada Este de la Catedral de Santiago

San Sebastian

A close neighbor to Galicia is San Sebastian, which is located in the Basque Country. San Sebastian is your ideal tranquil beach city that has exceptional food. If you want to relax for a month in the Spanish sunshine and eat well, San Sebastian is your locale of choice. What makes San Sebastian so special is that the locals still speak Euskai, which is a language that is thousands of years old that no scholar can tell where it originated.

The Basque culture is quite distinct to the Spanish culture, which is particularly reflected in their cuisine. For the ultimate night out in San Sebastian, it is recommended to go Pincho-hopping. Pinchos are the Basque version of Spanish tapas. San Sebastian has several standing Pincho bars where you can order incredible wine and go from place to place. This is particularly sensational when there is a Spanish football game happening. The fans are yelling while eating cuisine that is served in Michelin restaurants. San Sebastian has several Michelin restaurants and many of the chefs also prepare Pinchos at these tapa bars in the downtown of San Sebastian.

All in all, San Sebastian provides the traveler or expat with a culinary enclave that has excellent beaches and a view of a culture that has been preserved for thousands of years first hand.

San Sebastian, Spain

Cordoba

Cordoba makes this list because it is truly one of the most underrated cities in Spain. In fact, many travelers pass it while taking the AVE train to Seville. Historically speaking, Cordoba is exceptional because it is one of the only places in the world in which the Jews, Christians, and Muslims coexisted together peacefully for centuries.

This cultural interaction is seen in the architecture in Cordoba. The best example of this is seen in the Mesquita. Within the Mesquita, you can see a mosque, synagogue, and Catholic church combined in architecture. The Mesquita served the various religions over the ages and is a wonderful architectural sight to witness first hand. Another aspect of Cordoba that is incredible is the old Jewish quarter.

Here you can see some of Spain’s oldest synagogues. And after viewing the synagogues, you can stop by one of the Arab style tea houses where you can enjoy hookah, Arab tea or coffee, and their traditional pastries. In the evening, there is nothing like a local Flamenco show in Cordoba where you can sip on a complimentary Sangria as you listen to Spanish guitar and watch Flamenco dancing.

Cordoba, is one of the most culturally rich cities in Spain and is a wonderful place for travelers and expats to explore while they are visiting Spain.

Cordoba, Spain

Salamanca

Salamanca is a two-hour train ride from Madrid and is one of the best examples of small town Spanish life. Salamanca is also home to one of the oldest universities in Europe.

The university’s architecture is a joy to wander through and to see the libraries where some of the most intelligent scholars in Europe have studied over the ages. Salamanca has one of the best Plaza Mayor’s in Spain where one can sip on a coffee and observe the Spanish families taking their paseo (nightly stroll) in the evenings.

When sitting in Salamanca, one can truly relax while admiring fine Spanish architecture and consuming great food. Salamanca is also home to exquisite cathedrals and monasteries that the traveler or expat can explore. Salamanca is a charming smaller Spanish city to explore and to truly witness the Spanish slow paced old world way of life that is something precious that is still preserved in Spain today. Thus, if you are looking for a beautiful locale that still allows you to take a two-hour siesta during the day, Salamanca is your ideal choice!

#Salamanca, Spain

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Six Destinations In Europe I Wanna Visit Next

I’ve never liked bucket lists, to-do lists and other similar things but lately I’ve been thinking about places I’d love to visit in the future. Here are six destinations in…

I’ve never liked bucket lists, to-do lists and other similar things but lately I’ve been thinking about places I’d love to visit in the future. Here are six destinations in Europe that really sparked my interest.

Motorcycle trip around Iceland

I’ve been dreaming about motorcycle trip for a while and Iceland seems like a great place for doing that! Ring Road is a popular road trip that circles the whole country and offers many fantastic attractions. It’s a nice way to mix culture and nature because the road allows you to see the city of Reykjavik, hot springs, national parks, volcanoes but also museums and places of history and heritage. In general, tourism in Iceland offers so many opportunities especially if you are into nature and hiking. Other really great road trips in Iceland include a ‘Golden Circle’ which is famous day trip for travelers.

IJsland / Iceland

Triglav

I’ve visited Slovenia in 2014 and I’d love to revisit again but this time for the mountains. The last time I was exploring the capital Ljubljana and Skocjan caves. Triglav is the highest mountain in Slovenia and it has always attracted hikers and nature lovers. It’s a national symbol for Slovenians and it even appears on their national flag. The nearby area of this national park also includes Bled, Kranjska Gora and Bohinj which means there’s a lot to see.

triglav 18r 161

El Transcantábrico Gran Lujo: San Sebastian – Santiago de Compostela

This is one of the most famous train journeys in Europe. It travels between San Sebastian and Santiago de Compostela and stops in a famous Picos de Europa national park. Traveling and dining at the same time, while passing by beautiful landscapes of “Green Spain” should be a trip of a lifetime. 😉

El Transcantabrico crosses the bridge over the River Ebro at Arija, Burgos: Luxury Train Club

Appian Way

This is a path that in the past connected Rome to Brindisi – a port on the Adriatic sea. Romans called it the queen of all roads. Some major catacombs are located here and they are open for exploration. It’s a great place for escaping the busy city center of Rome as you can walk or bike this green area. However, the real adventure is completing the full walk from Rome to Brindisi which is 540 km in total.

Appian Way

Oktoberfest

Probably overrated for someone, and it will probably be overrated for me after visiting but I’d love to give a chance to the world’s biggest beer festival. It lasts for 16 days and it has a really long tradition in Bavaria as it started in 1810. A mixture of other attractions such as amusement rides, games and a rich selection of food and beer make it a fun place to visit.

Oktoberfest

Corsica

Okay, I have been dreaming of visiting Corsica for a couple of years already. GR20 which is the toughest long distance trail in Europe has sparked my interest for quite some time. Maybe I’m a masochist. 🙂  And it’s not just hiking that I would love to do, but also diving as this island is famous across Europe for its beautiful beaches and scenery. I also really like the fact that it’s still unknown and that tourism hasn’t done any damage so far.

IMG15469

 

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Safety Travel Tips for Istanbul

Istanbul is huge and just like in every large city you should take precautions regarding your valuables and safety. Here are some safety travel tips for Istanbul that are worth…

Istanbul is huge and just like in every large city you should take precautions regarding your valuables and safety.

Here are some safety travel tips for Istanbul that are worth knowing;

Pickpockets

Quite common, not just in Istanbul but in every other city. Be cautious especially if you’re using a backpack. For example, if you’re in a cafe keep it close to you and not on an opposing chair. It’s very easy to snatch bags like this. Also I advise against carrying a backpack on your back as you’ll likely be unaware that somebody is trailing behind you. This is how my wallet got stolen from me – in my own city nonetheless. Don’t forget to check your bag from time to time to ensure it’s safely closed. Of course the consequences are higher when you’re traveling.

Taxis

Taxis are a universal travel scam. Drivers barely speak English (or pretend they don’t) and even if you give them a card with your address the ride can take longer than the usual. Foreigners are their favorite target group to exploit. Make sure to have enough change, they’ll probably claim they don’t have any in an attempt to get a generous tip. Be wary you don’t get charged with a night rate only because you’re a foreigner. Actually if possible try to avoid taxis altogether. If you’re still keen to test your luck with taxi drivers, make sure to take a taxi from a taxi station rather than hauling one on a street.

Bagdat avenue Istanbul

 

Women travelers

I’ve been to Istanbul three times and I’ve never experienced anything bad, but sometimes Turkish men can interpret friendliness as flirtation, an invitation for much more. If you are traveling solo you should be cautious of the possible signals you might be sending or if you notice someone following you. Ask for help from the nearest person.

Bring a friend with you (if possible a male) – this will discourage men resulting in them approaching you less. There have been stories of women who got raped or molested in small shops, even in the Grand Bazaar.

Mobile phones

Beside bags, mobile phones are another popular item for thief’s shopping cart so take caution.

Traffic

Traffic in Istanbul is crazy. You need to be alert and careful at all time. Regulations are often not even respected, so green light doesn’t necessarily mean you should cross the street.

Dolmus Istanbul

Money

Be especially careful in public transport. Don’t have any valuables on you and just carry things you need for the day. You can always leave money or credit cards in your hotel safe.

Shoe polishers

This is another really famous scam in Istanbul. They drop the brush ‘accidentally’, people let them know and as gratitude they want to shine your shoes free of charge. Most of the times they’ll keep insisting and eventually you’ll give up. What happens next you’ll want to reward them with some coin money but they keep pushing for more. There are many shoe polishers in Istanbul so if you spot one who just dropped his brush, walk away.

simple man

Bar Scams

This is occurring more among guys. “Friendly” stranger will approach you and will try to recommend you a good bar where you can see a Turkish dance. You will order a drink and then a group of good looking girls will join you and order drinks. In the end your bill could be even more than 1000 USD and you won’t be able to leave the place because it’s surrounded by thugs.

Taksim

There are many bad stories surrounding Taksim square but I never had a problem there. You should definitely avoid protests though. Political rallies and demonstrations usually take place in Taksim and they are also a prime target for terrorist attacks.

Taksim square Istanbul

Terrorism

The threat from terrorism in Turkey is high at the moment. Kurdish groups, Islamic State and some other far left organizations will continue to target the state. Tourists are in high risk of an attack. In January 2016, 10 people died in a suicide bombing in Sultanahmet area. If possible tourists should avoid public transport and major touristic sights. This of course won’t be possible if you’re visiting Istanbul for the first time but you could apply some precaution measures (f.e when visiting major tourist sights, make sure to visit very early in the morning when there is a smaller crowd). Terrorists will target large groups as they want to cause pandemonium and spread panic to echo across the world.

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