If your fascinated by Turkey and have always wanted to go, but have some sort of reservation about going, your not alone. I've heard lots of people say that they've heard its not safe to travel alone, or its not safe for women to travel without men in the group, but I don't think those impressions are justified (at least for Istanbul anyway).
I think I speak for our group by saying that we've found Istanbul to be a very friendly city, and possibly one of the most hostpitable in Europe. If your going to Istanbul, here are a few things you should be sure to check out:
- Fortress of Europe
- Turkish Bath (hamam) at Süleymaniye Mosque (a must do!)
- Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque
- Paddle boat on the Golden Horn
- Basilica Cistern, Hippodrome
- Dolmabahce Palace
- Cruise on the Bosporus
- Grand Bazzar, spice market
- Walk along Istakal street (near Taksim Square)
A few great foods/snacks to try:
- Dondurma (sticky ice cream served with a sword)
- Turkish delight (stick, yet satisfying)
- Turkish tea/coffee
- Fresh fish
Prices are quite affordable in Turkey. The currency is the New Turkish Lira and prices are generally about 50% less than they are in western Europe. The bazaars are also a great place to test out your bargaining skills.
One last thing. Go to Reina! It's one of the hottest lounge/club/restaurant in Europe.