I love traveling and as you probably know from my blog I am also obsessed with books and art. So whenever I travel I try and look for ways to satisfy my other loves.
I recently went to Istanbul and found some really unusual places and experiences that I hadn’t read about on any popular travel blogs. So I decided I would compile a list of all the unexpected and unusual things you can do in this glorious city.
So read on and comment below if you have any unusual travel destinations and things to try in Istanbul!
1. Visit Bookstores and Stationery Stores – I always check out the local bookstores and stationery stores. Sometimes I find beautiful and unusual journals. Other times I find a pen I like or some paper that I can’t resist. All of these souvenirs are unusual and suited to my love of stationery and books. Visiting the bookstores in a city will also give you a glimpse into the culture of the place you’re visiting!
2. Check out the local Apparel Stores – I love shopping when I travel and I always check out the fast fashion stores. I was pleasantly surprised in Istanbul and stocked up on some gorgeous chunky sweaters! The wonderful thing about them was their length. Usually in western countries the tops and sweaters are too short for my liking. They were perfect here and so so reasonably priced!
3. Go to an Art Gallery – I always like to check out local artists and their work. If you’re lucky you can find a reasonably priced painting that will fit your suitcase and your budget. You get an unusual souvenir while supporting local artists. Win-win!
4. Check out the Islamic Science Museum – Yes! Check out the Science Museum! It is beautifully curated and will walk you through science history. Through various exhibits you will learn about Islamic contributions to modern scientific fields. I loved going there!
5. Try a Cooking Class – I always look for classes when I travel. I like to meet local artisans and learn something from them. The cooking class I tried was amazing. My husband and I both went and we loved it! We chose the Istanbul Cooking School and I highly recommend it.
6. Take an Ebru Marbeling Class – Another amazing experience. Ebru marbling is uniquely Turkish and I finally got to learn all about this marbling technique and the supplies I needed to take back home to recreate the magic!
7. Discover Treasures at Vintage Supply Stores on Istiklal – Istiklal was probably my favorite place to go at night. We used to walk up and down and every time I would discover something different. On one of our trips I found some vintage supply and ephemera stores tucked away in a building. My joy upon seeing these goodies is not something that can be conveyed in words! I found old photographs and letters from the Istanbul Hilton. My mind was so busy picking up these treasures and making up the stories behind them that I totally lost track of time!
8. Visit an Old Candy Store close to Istiklal – Another reason I loved Oguz’s cooking class was his tour at the beginning. He took us to some wonderful shops where we could see Turkish ingredients up close. My favorite on this tour was a very old candy shop. An adorable old man was running it and his was the third generation! They had all the usual Turkish sweets and they had orange peel covered in chocolate! Divine!
9. Try Turkish Pickles with Hummus – Another stop on our tour was a shop full of pickles of all kinds! I didn’t know that pickles and hummus were so good together on some rustic bread!
10. Visit an Art Supply Store – This place was a dream! All the art supplies you could wish for. The paper I found here and the Ebru supplies were just amazing. My only regret was my luggage weight limit!
I hope this list has given you a few unusual things to try on your first or your next trip to Istanbul! If you have any Istanbul favorites that are off the beaten path please share them in the comments below!