While Ortakoy is often overrun by tourists, there is a reason it is so popular. Situated along the Bosphorus, it offers a magnificent view of the city and no shortage of cafes and shops to spend your time and money. There are numerous cobblestone streets and tables full of jewelry arranged in the most meticulous of ways. There is a beautiful old mosque situated below the magnificent bridge that connects Istanbul’s European side of the city to the Asian side of the city (For locals, the bridge simply connects to ‘the other side’ ).
I met my friend yesterday and we hopped on the one-hour Bosphorus boat tour surrounded by giddy tourists. We bought beers and moved to the roof of the boat. We enjoyed the views of our marvelous city and exchanged stories and updates. It was a perfect afternoon.
Directions for the Perfect Ortakoy Experience:
1.) Wander through the shops to collect some special trinkets. Perhaps some olive oil soap or a special piece of jewelry ?!
2.) Find the row of potato and waffle vendors. The majority of these shops are all on the same loud, busy cobblestone street that leads to the waterfront departure site of the boat tour. Any Turkish local will insist you buy a ‘Kumpir’, a baked potato with every possible topping imaginable. Select the least annoying vendor and point to any topping that appeals to you. Warning: ketchup and mayonnaise are seen as essential toppings. Be prepared to stop this from happening if it disgusts you as much as it disgusts me!
3.) Jump on a Bosphorus Boat Tour. For 10 lira (7 dollars), it takes you along the European and Asian shores of Istanbul. You can admire ornate Ottoman Palaces, glamorous nightclubs and beautiful Ottoman homes. The sun will be out. Waiters will offer you numerous drink options and you are bound to fall in love with Istanbul (if you have not already)
4.) End your night on the terrace of one of the numerous waterfront restaurants that line the waterfront. The food is not always spectacular, but the ambience, people watching and water traffic will make it well worth your time.