Hg2 : The Hedonist

A Hedonist’s guide to…

Istanbul

2C Club Inn
Located near the unlovely Taksim square, 2C offers a taste of the down and dirty side of Istanbul nightlife. With banging techno and house tunes, a night here is unashamedly good fun.
Aga Hamam
Dating back to the 16th century, Aga offers a simple yet satisfying bath and scrub treatment in an atmospheric and authentic setting.
Approach to the city by water
Approach Old Istanbul as visitors over the millenia would have done and feel the years roll away...
Archaeology Museum
For swift immersion in Istanbul's intriguing history, spend a day visiting the 20 gallery archaeology museum and the neighbouring Topkapi Palace.
Arnavut Köfte
Small, simple and anonymous, Arnavut Köfte serves up uncomplicated köfte with side orders of rice salad and ayran - this is fast food in Istanbul. Located in the Old City, head here after a morning in the Egyptian Bazaar.yEventWat
Atatürk Museum
The three floors of the Atatürk Museum are filled with memorabilia that gives an insight into the man behind the reinvention of the Turkish identity.
Balikci Sabahattin
Some of the best fish in Istanbul is served in this charming simple restaurant in the Old Town. Balikci Sabahattin is particularly recommended in summer for its pretty outdoor dining.
Belly Dancing
Head to (where else?) Beyoglu for belly-dancing shows. If they prove inspirational, there are plenty of clubbing venues nearby for you to try out some belly moves of your own on the dance floor.
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.
Beyti
Although located a substantial taxi ride from the centre, meat lovers should follow in the footsteps of Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon and make a pilgrimage to Beyti.
Büyük Hamam
Treat yourself to an indulgent afternoon of blissful relaxation and get your culture-fix at the same time.
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.
Church of Christ in the Chora
A must for lovers of Byzantine art, this 14th-century Museum formerly a church and mosque is in itself a popped lesson in Istanbul's complex history.
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.
Çiya
A local favourite, Istanbulis frequently cross continents to visit Çiya for a taste of its sophisticated Anatolian cuisine. A must if you are staying on the Asian Shore at A'jia or Sumahan on the Water.
Crystal
A good deal more casual than neighbours Reina and Anjelique, Crystal's clientele are more focused on the music than each other. Wander over here later and be prepared to dance.
Çukurcuma Hamam
A go-to hammam for the gay crowd in Istanbul.
Dolmabahçe Palace
The superbly self-important ornate baroque style of the Dolmabahçe Palace speaks of a building designed to impress...
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.
Empress Zoe
Stylish in its simplicity and located in the heart of Sultanahmet, the Empress Zoe takes some beating for cultural visitors. Relax with a drink in the garden or on the roof terrace and soak up the atmosphere of Old Istanbul.yEventWatcherDiv
Fenerbahce
Fenerbahçe, on the Asian side of Turkey, were founded in 1907 and were Atatürk's and, traditionally, the army's team. 'Sari Kanaryalar' (The Yellow Canaries) are Turkey's most successful club.=display"
Galata Bridge Bars
The many indistinguishable Galata Bridge bars, though tacky, present beautiful views of the Bosphorus if you're looking in the right direction (away from the bridge), especially at dusk.
Galata Tower
This 14th-century tower was converted by the Ottomans into a prison with one hell of a view over the city...
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.
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
Seat of the eastern branch of the Greek Orthodox Church; sit (or stand) and stare in wonder.
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.
Kahve Dunyasi
If the Modern's cafe doesn't appeal, pop into the charming bustling Kahve Dunyasi for a chocolate fix.
Kösk Hamam
A men's only hammam, it's a straightforward and no-frills venue attracting a gay crowd during its opening hours.
Mado Ice Cream
Carrot, pumpkin or fig? Ice-cream fans probably think they've experience pretty much ever flavour under the sun, but Ben & Jerry's and Haagen Dazs certainly can't rival Mado for range and diversity. =display:none"
Mangerie
Home to some of the world's best marzipan, there are many reasons to visit the smart Bosphorus village Bebek. High up that list is this lovely cafe-restaurant.
Milion
Not exactly a destination but a point of interest as you walk past on your way to the Hagia Sophia, this broken column is a swift reminder of Constantinople's importance in the Roman Empire.
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.
Refik
To dine at Refik is to tap into the traditional tavern scene. Join Istanbul's political intellectuals for some top quality meze and put the world to rights (if you're Turkish is up to scratch).
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.
Süleymaniye Mosque
One of the three buildings that define Istanbul's skyline, the stunning Suleymaniye Mosque was built in the 16th-century as an Ottoman riposte to the Hagia Sophia.
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.
Tarihi Selim Usta
Another meatball specialist (that sounds much better in Turkish), this elaborately named restaurant is one of the best places in town to experience köfte at their zenith.
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.
Underground Cistern
Not the most important of cultural attractions, the Underground Cistern nevertheless has a rather zen charm...
Whirling Dervishes
Undeniably uber-touristy, we nevertheless recommend that you give in to your urges to watch the Dervishes whirl away... 

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