Hg2 : The Hedonist

A Hedonist’s guide to…

Istanbul

Taxiis Istanbul
Turkish Grand Prix
First held in 2005, the Turkish Grand Prix is one of the largest sporting events of the year, often noted as one of the more exciting races on the calendar.
Galatasaray Basketball
Founded in 1929, Galatasaray Cafe Crown lays their home games in the 12,000-seat Adbi Ipecki Arena. 
Mars Athletic Club
Most hotels have great workout spaces, with the more expensive options boasting cutting-edge gym facilities. Gyms are otherwise rare in Istanbul but this is one that's tip-top.  
Fenerbahce Ulker Basketball
Though a firm second to football, basketball is still largely popular in Istanbul and Fenerbahce, similar to the rest of the 'The Big Three' compete for honours on the court as well as the pitch.
Flash Gym
This quiet modest gym can be found on the 4th floor in Aznavur Passage and is moderately priced. Rates can be paid hourly, daily and monthly.
Dreamlands Spa
A traditional western-inspired spa, this luxe venue promises to spoil and indulge you.
Efes Basketball
With a name that is probably not as recognisable as that of the other Istanbul teams, Efes are surprisingly the most successful club in the history of the Turkish Basketball League.
Cagaloglu Hamam
A historical hammam that's had a bevy of royals and celebrities dropping in for a visit.
Besiktas
Established during the late Ottoman period, Karakartallar (The Black Eagles) were founded in 1903 and play their home games at the 32,000 seater BKJ Inonu Stadium.
Aquarius Sauna
A gay-only venue, this hammam is open 24 hours a day. A perfect venue if you happen to be sleepless in Istanbul.
Grand Bazaar
To really do justice to the extreme shopping experience of the Grand Bazaar, allow at least half a day - if not more. With antiques, leather, jewellery, fabric, clothes and much more, there's a lot to take in.
Istiklal Caddesi
Long and highstreety shopping on Istiklal Caddesi lacks the charm of the Old Town Bazaars and the style of Nisantasti's chic boutiques, but nevertheless there are some interesting shops.
Egyptian Bazaar
Located just over Galata Bridge near the New Mosque, the Egyptian Bazaar encourages you to wander and soak up the sights and smells of the weird and wonderful spices.
Faik Pasa Yokusu
Antiques and goodies abound for those who don't mind a rummage.
Arasta Bazaar
A single row of shops running along the eastern wall of the Blue Mosque, Arasta Bazaar is a great interlude in the sightseeing for a quick shop.
Bagdat Caddesi
South of Kadiköy and Moda on Istanbul’s Asian shores, Badat Caddesi is leafy, lined with lovely high-end boutiques and definitively off the tourist radar. 
Topkapi Palace Museum
Sited on a promontory overlooking the confluence of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus, the Topkapi is within walking distance of Sultanahmet's other cultural treasures.
Traditional Music Clubs
Book ahead to secure a table at Kallavi 20, one of the best meyhanes to hear traditional Turkish folk music. Knock back enough raki and you'll soon feel Turkish enough to join them on the dance floor.
Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque
Located opposite the Hagia Sophia in Sultanahmet, the Blue Mosque was built to prove (unsuccessfully) that Islamic architects could build a structure as wonderful. Nevertheless, it's a must-see.
The Bosphorus Tour
Whether by ferry, boat tour or private water taxi, a trip on the Bosphorus is an essential part of any trip to Istanbul. The full cruise is a 6 hour tour from Eminonu to the mouth of the Black Sea.d
Sakirin Mosque
Beautiful contemporary mosque, designed by an avant-garde female architect...
St Stephen’s Cathedral
Still used by the Bulgarian community for whom it was originally built in 1871, St Stephen's Cathedral is located on the short of the Golden Horn.
Mosaic Museum
Tucked away by the Blue Mosque, this unprepossessing building houses a mosaic floor depicting bucolic and mythological scenes. Afterward invest in more modern artefacts in the Arasta Bazaar.
Rumeli Hisari
Built by Mehmet II in 1452 as part of his conquest of Byzantium, the castle played a pivotal role in the campaign. In its most recent incarnation, it is now an open air theatre.
Sakip Sabanci Museum
Past temporary shows have included Dali and Picasso, this Istanbul gallery is fast becoming an institution...
Kallavi
A fasil music bar that really gets the locals jigging about in an orgy of delight...
Kiz Kulesi
An immensely popular landmark despite its lack of historical or architectural significance, the Maiden's Tower is located just off the Asian Shore on a rocky outcrop.
Galata Tower
This 14th-century tower was converted by the Ottomans into a prison with one hell of a view over the city...
Hagia Sophia
Built by Justinian in AD537, the Hagia Sophia was the largest building on earth for a millennium. With its absolutely stunning interior, if you see one thing in Istanbul, see the Hagia Sophia.
Istanbul Modern
Housed in a former warehouse in Karaköy, Istanbul Modern is one of the few places in the city to see Turkey's more recent artistic achievements.
City Walls
Walk the length of the wall from the Yedikule Fortress on the Sea of Marmara or the ruined Byzantine Blachernae palace on the Golden Horn.
Calligraphy Museum
Well worth a detour from the nearby Grand Bazaar, the Calligraphy Museum houses a beautiful if fragmented collection of Korans, tugras, seals and calligraphic writing.
Adali Meyhane
Live Turkish music on the 8th floor of a hotel...
Arter
The most striking of the many appearing contemporary art spaces appearing in Istanbul...
Vefa Bozacisi
From boza (a fermented millet drink unchanged since Turkic pre-history) to sira (a fermented grape juice), a host of traditional pleasures are on offer at the pretty Vefa Bozacisi.
Smyrna
Fashionable and relaxed, Smyrma hits all the right notes. Designed with lounging in mind you might go for breakfast and find yourself still there for sundowners.
Mesale Cay Bahcesi
Although long on cultural splendour, Sultanamet is short on great places to stop for a snack - places that aren't uber-touristy that is. Despite a prime location next to the Blue Mosque, Mesale retains a local flavour. styl
Nature and Peace
Spiritual home to the doner kebab and lamb köfte, Istanbul has been slow to embrace vegetarianism. Nature and Peace is one of the few places with a meat-free ethos.
Mavra
Galata's hippest hangout comes equipped with free WiFi, funky tunes and delicious cake...

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