Anybody wanting to visit Istanbul even for a couple of days has got to stay in the Galata area for it is absolutely charming. After visiting the tower you will be able to admire the awesome city scenario.

The range of accommodation available is there for any type of budget (big and small).

If you are an animal lover you will feel confortable in a city where the free roaming cats are treated like the sacred cows of India! Even though they are only street cats they are well regarded, fed and watered by all (including shopkeepers). The felines are clean, playful and charming towards foreigners and the native population alike.

The cosmopolitan people there are friendly, helpful and some even well versed in French, German, Spanish and English languages (great for getting directions!). Even during rush hour on the tram and metro you wil rarely see aggressive and hostile confrontations for the commuters are very civilised and orderly.

The city streets are amazingly clean and even the police officers are polite, helpful and well spoken towards foreigners and tourists.

The best resting place for a tourist is definitely the mosque, any mosque will do for that matter! All of them are amazing works of art to be admired in silence. Here you will realise there are always 2 cops monitoring  the space and reinforcing the religious strict dressing and behaviour code.

Here you can check your city map and plan your next steps unafraid of being approached by dodgy strangers and getting unwanted attention ( great for solo female travellers). Nevertheless, outside the mosque it is a whole different business. You will realise it is surrounded by all sorts of  street vendors and sinisters characters looking for a chance to reap tourists off and sexually starving young men.

Even in autumn/winter time if there is no point in doing the Bosphorous cruise do take a ferry to the other side – Kadikoy (Asian city part) where there are awesome pituresque areas to explore, charming markets, freshly cooked fish, delightful trendy and delicatessen shops. The ferry trip is an experience itself that enables you to witness seagulls chasing ferrys along the entire journey in order to get free food from passengers aboard (reminder of the Hitchcock film “Birds”) and admire the beautiful landscape of Istanbul and its monuments at the distance. Do take the ferry journey at day and/or night time for it is worth the atmosphere.

Even though there is a special museum card that allows tourists to visit all sorts of national monuments throughout the country some are not included by the scheme at all and you will have to pay extra (inspite of having that card).

The street food may satisfy you temporarily but it is not really substancial for very dynamic tourists. So if you plan on walking long hours exploring the city beauties do stay away from the fried junk food and try the traditional locandas and proper sit down meals. Natural freshly made juice is found in almost every corner of the city but other than that just buy bottled water.

Shopping is very entertaining as you bargain for basically everything but do remember to be polite and firm towards shop keepers.

The best advice to enjoy the city is to use common sense and personal safety caution to avoid problems and stressful situations.