Istanbul: Bebek

The first thing I’d mention about Bebek is that it is not a touristic place. Visit only if you like to blend into locals. It is very popular (hence crowded) especially on weekends and when the weather is nice.

Istanbul Bebek - Map

Bebek is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Istanbul. It is located on the west bank of the Bosphorus. Expensive apartments by the Bosphorus, yatches on the bay, hip cafés and restaurants can be seen all along. Besides, Turkey’s one of the most prestigious universities -Bosphorus University- is located on the hills of Bebek. If you have the energy to climb all the way up, the view from the top is spectacular.

Istanbul Bebek View

The Bebek district starts with the big, white Art Nouveau building, Egyptian Consulate, also known as the “Valide Paşa Mansion”. Next to it, is the Bebek Park, a magnet for families and dog lovers, just by the Bebek Mosque and the famous bohemian café, Bebek Kahve, which is mainly preferred by intellectuals, writers and actors. If you are looking for a nice and rich breakfast, from traditional Turkish, French to American; inluding pancakes, granola or omelets, you should stop by at Happily Ever After. Besides, they have the best cupcakes in the neighborhood. Another alternative for a good breakfast or cocktails in the afternoon, with a view of Bebek Bay, is Mangerie. It’s a small restaurant with white decor, a lovely terrace, and a delicious menu.

Istanbul Bebek

Just accross Bebek Park, on the corner you can find the most trendy cocktail bar-resto in Istanbul: Lucca. It is popular among celebrities and high-society, and can easily be located by the sports and luxurious cars and the crowd in front.

Istanbul Bebek Lucca

Bebek is an ideal place to spend a lovely day. I’d recommend a walk from Bebek Park to Rumeli Fortress (Rumeli Hisarı), and taking a rest in one the cafés along the seaside.

Kas

Kas Turkey Map

Kas (Kaş in Turkish. Pronounced ‘Kash’ in British English, where ‘a’ is as in ‘car’) is located about 170 kilometers (105 miles) to the west of the city of Antalya, in the south Mediterranean region. Kas was a simple fishing village, but over the years has developed into a main tourist attraction and has become the region’s one of the main and special resorts. Flying to Dalaman -rather than Antalya- is the best and the easiest way to get to Kas. From the airport, you can either take Havaş (coach) or a taxi. By taxi, you can travel directly to Kas, or to Fethiye bus terminal for a bus to Kas.

Kas Map

What makes Kas so special is that it offers a variety of water sports. Kas is Turkey’s best diving location and one of the best possible places to start diving. You can choose diving sites according to your taste from shipwrecks to caves, drop-offs, underwater canyons, unusual underwater landscapes and ancient amphorae. Crystal-clear water and warm sea-temperature make diving a beautiful experience. There are over 20 sites close to Kas for divers all around the world. Canoeing and Paragliding are the other water sports activities that you would like to do.

Kas Water Sports

Located not too far from Kas, you can see one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, Xanthos, and ancient Lycia. Although most of the findings had been carried away to the British Museum, many interesting monuments and structures remain, including the Neried Monument, the Lion tomb and the Tomb of Payava. Other structures in Xanthos include the Xanthian Obelisk, the Amphitheater, and a recently excavated Roman Byzantium street.

From Kas, it is easy to take one of the daily trips to see ruins belong to Sunken City, the island of Kekova. During the second century, an earthquake struck the island and left many of the buildings underwater. If you prefer to sail with glass-bottom boats, you can easily see the ruins at the bottom of the sea. Daily boat trips start from the village of Üçağız, visit Kekova, and stop several times for swimming and cave visits till the evening.

Kekova Island

Just 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) off-shore from Kas, there stands the Greek island, Meis. It just takes 20 minutes to get there by boat. From the harbor, you can easily find a daily boat trip.

Another amazing place you should definitely visit near Kas is Saklıkent, which literally means “Hidden City”. It is located 60 kilometers from Kas and can be reached by hourly mini-buses to Saklıkent. This is also a great place for canoeing and rafting. Later you can walk through the canyon and try your hand at rock climbing.

Kaputas Beach is a long, sandy beach between Kas and Kalkan. It is situated at a distance of 20 kilometers from Kas and 7 kilometers from Kalkan, at a point where an extremely narrow valley towered by steep cliffs, and forests join the sea shore in the cove of the same name as the beach (Kaputas). The beach is quite popular among visitors and photographers due to its untouched natural beauty commanded by a view from the heights traversed by Kas-Kalkan road. Especially the color of the sea (turquoise-blue) is just amazing.

Patara Beach is also not to be missed. It is 18 kilometers long, white-sand beach. You can get there in half an hour by taking mini-buses from Kas. Patara Beach is part of a national park; it is a key biodiversity area, rich in bird life and the breeding ground of the endangered loggerhead turtle (caretta caretta). The beach is closed after sunset from May to October, to give turtles space to lay their eggs as it is the second most important turtle nesting beach in Turkey.

Kaputas Beach

If you want to stay at the center of the town, you can either prefer Kucuk Cakil (Küçük Çakıl – Small Pebble) or Buyuk Cakil (Büyük Çakıl – Big Pebble) Beaches. Kucuk Cakil is a very comfortable base for a day of sunbathing and swimming. It is arranged in the form of a sea park. It has small beach and cafe/restaurants, situated on well-maintained paved terracing. Comfortable sun beds, umbrellas, music and service for drinks and snacks, etc. are provided. The sun beds and umbrellas are free of charge, provided that you buy something to eat or drink. On the other hand, Buyuk Cakil is a public beach located in a calm and modest cove. It is just 1.3 kilometers from the town center. Although it is largely pebble-based, there are a few meters of sand at one end and offers free use of umbrellas and sun beds, as well as a shaded café. Both beaches are delightful to spend an evening, eating seafood in the restaurants, which is located on the beach, under the stars.
For accommodation, you can stay either at the center of the town or Cukurbag (Çukurbağ) Peninsula. Varieties of boutique hotels are situated in Cukurbag area. It takes only 15-20 minutes by mini buses from center to the furthest corner of the peninsula. At the center, many reasonable small hotels and pensions will be waiting to take your attention.

Baklava

BaklavaBaklava is the Turks’ most important contribution to the world of desserts. It is made with flaky phyllo dough, layered with a pistachio or cinnamon-spiced walnut filling, and bathed in sweet syrup. It is crunchy, rich and very sweet. Well made baklava practically melts in your mouth and finishes with a crave for another one.

The best baklava is made in south-eastern Turkey, especially in Gaziantep -city famous for kebabs and pistachio related desserts. You may not easily find authentic Gaziantep baklava in western cities. I’d recommend you to try several alternatives, but “Güllüoğlu” in Karaköy İstanbul would be the best shot. Also “Mado” -a widespread chain of cafés- would worth a try.

Manti

MantiTurkish Cuisine is best known with kebabs abroad, but one of my favorite dishes is manti. I strongly recommend you to taste it during your visit.

Little information on manti: Specially treated chopped meat is divided into pieces as big as a pea, and each one is wrapped with a small and very thin dough. They are boiled and served with yoghurt (with garlic if desired) and tomato sauce. The best spice to be added is sumac. I also prefer dried peppermint and red pepper along with it.

Istanbul: Ortakoy

Ortakoy (Ortaköy) is an authentic neighborhood on the European bank of Bosphorus. It is famous with open-air handcraft bazaar; as well as cafes, bars and restaurants with reasonable prices. I’d recommend you to take a tour in the bazaar, then have a seat in a cafe by the sea. You may try hookah (nargile) if you are interested. Afterwards, if the weather is nice, I’d also recommend you to take a walk by Bosphorus heading north towards Bebek.

Ortakoy Map
Ortakoy
Ortakoy