Looking for some cool adventure in Istanbul? I found out where to go to enjoy an amazing sunset over Istanbul. A place that you for sure wont find in your guidebook. Somewhere on the rooftops of an old deserted shopping mall you will find one of the best views over the city.
Old city Istanbul
My plan was to cross the Galata Bridge into the old city of Istanbul. According to what I was told I would able to find the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Market and many other points of interest on this side of the river. Through Instagram I also stumbled upon a place that was well worth a visit and also in the Old City: Buyuk Valide Han!
Roaming the streets of the old town I tried to get lost as much as possible. At some point I actually thought I was running in the Grand Bazaar already, but it seemed to be just one of the few bazaars. I have no clue how many shops I passed, but it was interesting to see. I don’t know if they link, but at a sudden point I was in the mattress street and turning left I ended up in the lingerie street. LOL! It seemed that every street had its own theme!
Roaming through old City of Istanbul you can't miss this mosque!
Finding Buyuk Valide Han
After snacking around at several stalls it was time to head to the place I was looking for, so I showed random people pictures of the place I was heading to. Some knew, some did not! Eventually I was ordered in the right direction and I was standing in front of a very old building called Buyuk Valide Han. Apparently this was it. This was where I had to be. I entered and walked around a bit lost until I saw two Western girls coming down a dark staircase. Of course I had to go up, so I assumed this was the way to go. The girls nodded confirming which seemed I was on the right track towards Buyuk Valide Han. Upstairs the place was completely run down and totally deserted.
Though at the end of the dark hallway I saw an old man and headed in his direction. He friendly smiled and said 1 Lira please. Behind him there was an old iron door, which he opened for me with pleasure. A couple dodgy stairs later I was standing on top of this building and an unrivalled view was unfolding in front of me!
There is no sign saying 'this way to Buyuk Valide Han Istanbul' so you have to find it yourself. But isn't the destination all about the journey? As you have read it is an adventure to find it and so much worth it! Plus up there on the rooftop you will meet more adventurous tourists and travellers. Bring some drinks and for sure you make new friends to enjoy the sunset together!
Watch this video from my last visit to Istanbul and Buyuk Valide Han. In February 2017 I was in Istanbul for the third time because I was invited to the World Tourism Forum, which was my first Travel Blogger Event.
View from Buyuk Valide Han Istanbul
Surprisingly I was not the only tourist who heard about the place and I had to get in line to get my picture taken! I showed a friendly Turkish guy how I wanted him to take the picture and told him to take about 20 of them. He friendly obeyed and the picture above is the result! I was happy I paid the $0,40 to the old man and stayed up here to watch the sunset over Istanbul. The main picture of this article is showing you the view at sunset, but I lately I went back to Istanbul and because I love this place so much I also went back to Buyuk Valide Han of course. This time I was still drunk from the party the night before that literally died a couple hours before I stood on top of a freezing rooftop to shoot some sunrise pictures! I just cant get enough of this place. Dont show up to early the guy who is in charge shuts the door so if he is not around you cant enter! I was lucky someone called him to open the door. He was not happy I can tell you. Looking for more Unique Things To Do in Istanbul? Click on the link.
Looking for accommodation in Istanbul? Find the best deals on Agoda! Did you know that luxury is very affordable in Istanbul? Check out my article: Best Luxury Hotels in Besiktas, a lively neighbourhood on the Bosphorus.
In this light I would also like to tell you about the amazing neighborhood of Fener - Balat. Once a dodgy area, but now a residential and traditional part of the city where you will find the traditional Istanbul life untouched by modern society! I really recommend you taking a walking tour in Balat, sure thing it will be an epic adventure. Be prepared to have your phone out and snap all the beautiful colored houses. Need a way to stay online in Turkey. When you arrive you can buy a Turkey sim card at the airport in Istanbul, but some are way more expensive than other. I also tried one time to buy a sim card with data in the city, but due to the lack of English it was a real adventure, not a funny one I can tell you! ;)
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