Hg2 : The Hedonist

A Hedonist’s guide to…

Istanbul

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.
Galatasaray
Arguably the biggest side in Turkey, Galatasaray hold the record of Turkish League titles and Cups. Locked in an intense city rivalry, they now play home games at the Turk Telecom Arena.
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.
Carnival
Good for breakfast and healthy lunches, refuel here before heading back onto the main thoroughfare to shop for sunglasses, denim and cheap and cheerful clothing.
Kahve Dunyasi
If the Modern's cafe doesn't appeal, pop into the charming bustling Kahve Dunyasi for a chocolate fix.
The House Apart
Chic and cheap serviced apartments dotted around the city, the brain child of a slick chain of Istanbul cafes.
Whirling Dervishes
Undeniably uber-touristy, we nevertheless recommend that you give in to your urges to watch the Dervishes whirl away... 
The Kilisli Palace
Emirgan might be quite a trek out of the central pleasures of Beyoglu and Sulanahmet, but it's home to an increasing number of travel-worthy venues, including the wonderful Kilisli Palace.
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.
Approach to the city by water
Approach Old Istanbul as visitors over the millenia would have done and feel the years roll away...
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).
Zarifi
More of a restaurant than a club, join large groups of Istanbullis for a raucous night of unashamed Turkish fun. As the meze get cleared away and the raki goes down the volume goes up and the dancing starts. =d"
Underground Cistern
Not the most important of cultural attractions, the Underground Cistern nevertheless has a rather zen charm...
Badehane
Located in lively Asmalimescit just off Istiklal Caddesi, Badehane offers simple often raucous fun. Join the studenty 20-something crowd of Istanbullis for beers and a spot of spontaneous dancing.di
Dulcinea
Sleek, cool decor attracts sleek cool customers to this popular bar just off the Taksim end of Istiklal Caddesi. To keep with the stylish set, head over to nearby fusion-restaurant Changa for dinner.
Galata House
A former prison Galata House may not have the happiest history, but homely furniture and some comfort food from the Crimea have long dispelled any negative vibes.
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.
Taps
Located just a few streets away from the fabulous shopping on Abdi Ipecki Caddesi, men might like to retreat to Taps to sample their seven beers leaving wives and girlfriends to the chic boutiques.
Islamic Arts Museum
Turkish carpets, illuminated Korans, calligraphy wood carvings, porcelain and much much more is on show in this house-Museum. Located in the HippodRome just opposite the Blue Mosque.
5 Kat
Tucked away on the fifth floor and roof-terrace near Taksim Square, this slightly-out-of-the-way bar is a real find. The plush and eccentric furnishings make 5 Kat perfect for drinks all year round.
Isis
Isis is located in Kadiköy on the Asian shore and is perfect for a break from super-smart cocktail bars...
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.
Aga Hamam
Dating back to the 16th century, Aga offers a simple yet satisfying bath and scrub treatment in an atmospheric and authentic setting.
Karga
Under the radar yet full of originality, Karga's subversive yet creative atmosphere is just the thing for an art-inspired, laid-back crowd. 
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"
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"
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.
SuAda Swimming
Su Ada (it translates as ‘water island’) is a swish open-air swimming and general loafing joint housed on a pontoon floating in the Bosphorus.     
Yakup 2
One of the most authentic of Asmalimescit's meyhanes, Yakup 2 has a traditional earthly feel reminiscent of days gone by. Nightclub Babylon is just round the corner to dance off the meze.
Belgrad Forest
With 13 million people crammed onto both banks of the Bosphorus, every Istanbul experience is inescapably rich and intense. Which is why Belgrad’s 5,000 hectares of lush green forest is a particularly refreshing prospect.
Beyoglu Pub
A real insiders' find. Despite an unprepossessing location in a run-down shopping arcade, the Beyoglu Pub is a popular relaxed spot for a drink. =display:"
Archaeology Museum
For swift immersion in Istanbul's intriguing history, spend a day visiting the 20 gallery archaeology museum and the neighbouring Topkapi Palace.
Kino Garden
This tiny, trendy Asmalimescit bar attracts a different cool crowd to the glamorati that frequent Leb-i-Derya and 360o - Kino is popular with younger creative types with slightly less cash.
Nevizade Sokak
A stroll down Nevizade Sokak is instant immersion into the colour and energy of Istanbul: a great antidote to the 'high-street' feel of the nearby Istiklal Caddesi.
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.
Swimming
Kösk Hamam
A men's only hammam, it's a straightforward and no-frills venue attracting a gay crowd during its opening hours.
Çukurcuma Hamam
A go-to hammam for the gay crowd in Istanbul.
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.
MiniaTürk
Perfect if you have the kids in tow, tick off all the major sites with a quick trip to the MiniaTurk park on the Golden Horn.

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