Saturday, September 12, 2015

Istanbul too busy and loud? Escape in two hours to heaven!

Istanbul is one of the culture-richest cities in the world, and for us Lebanese people, it's the perfect quick destination that requires no visa, direct flight, currently very affordable and a place that resonates with our own tradition and culture.

But!

Either you've already been there, or have more than a week and think it's too much for one city (which I agree with); so here's a solution I highly recommend because I did that last week and really enjoyed it:

"Rent a car and drive out of Istanbul for few hours."

Our ride!


Mode of transport
We rented the car from Budget Car Rental at Taksim square, and if I am guessing right, you're going to be staying close to that already, so few minutes walk and you get to it and rent the car! (Make sure you have an international driver's license, as well as your local one on you).

Where to escape to?
After doing a bit of research, we found that the black sea is less than 2 hours away, and if you're like me and want to swim in as many seas as possible, then you're in for a good ride. We looked up the directions on Google maps, and straight forward from there.

Where to stay?
Finally, we aimed for a town called Ağva, and stayed in "Kapim Otel", which is right by the river that flows into the black sea. There are several hotels there that are either by the river side or the sea side. We thought we'd go for the river, as you have the option to rent a pedalo and peddle your way into the sea. The sea was also 3 minutes drive from our hotel and 15 minutes walk. You can also go and camp in a camp site in Ağva.

Kapim Otel - Ağva (Turkey)
What to do there?
Things you can do in Ağva are limited, but again, you're not there for the adventure, but more for the chill part. You can definitely rent a pedalo or kayak, read a book on a hammock, walk by the small port, swim in the black sea, check out the local market and souvenir shops, rent a bicycle, play with the very friendly street dogs and cats...  and eat "Gozleme" because you must!

Local lady in Ağva (Turkey) making Gozleme.
Local lady in Ağva (Turkey) making Gozleme.
Posted by From Beirut with Funk on Saturday, September 12, 2015

Gozleme (minced meat and cheese)

Again, why rent a car and not go by train or bus?
Why renting a car and not public transport? Well because in such cases, it's more practical to have a car, throw your stuff in, bring snacks and most importantly stop wherever you like for break, or food or even swimming! As you can see in the photo below, we were driving back and saw this bay, we turned around and drove there, put on our swim suits and dipped in the chill super clear water. Totally worth it!

Bay in Ağva (Turkey)
On our way back, of course we got hungry, then saw this very nice large in the midst of nature like restaurant, stopped and had food there. Place is called Akkaya Çiftliği, had good food, hammocks and ducks to feed! Also the Ayran was delicious.

Akkaya Çiftliği - Ağva (Turkey)
Explore some more!
On the way back from Ağva, another very close by town is "Sile". Next time I go, I will definitely aim to stay in Sile, as it looked very pretty and fun. Not sure if it's visible in this photo, but some people actually hiked down the cliff and are staying on the white rocks (left top of photo), where they have their own mats and umbrellas.

What's nice about Turkey beaches is that you can go there and not pay a dime, just bring your own comfort and you're good. (hint to Lebanon beaches!)

Sile Sahil (Turkey)
Back to Istanbul
As Istanbul is a busy city, and by busy I mean super duper freaking crazy busy city that has a lot of noise pollution if you're staying close to Istiklal street. It's always nice to explore more than the areas filled with tourists where you get to get to know the real character of a country and its different towns.

Having said that, Istanbul is quite a great city, I won't leave you without few recommendations as I know everyone knows everything about Istanbul. I have been there a few times, and those 3 things were new to me, so here you go:


Head to Saint Regis hotel, and have drinks (or dinner) in Spago for a nice sunset view
Very close to Istiklal street, is Soho House (Hotel), very nice place for breakfast and lunch
Head to the Asian side, take the metro to Kadakoy. Facing the stadium, there is Nur Manti for some Turkish style Manti
Let me know if you have any questions, happy to recommend more things!

FROM TURKEY WITH FUNK.

2 comments:

  1. Your article impressived us! We'd like to have an author like you.

    Regards,
    We Love Istanbul

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  2. One can get an easy guidance to have a trip to Instanbul, after getting through this post. Anyone moving to a city for the first time will surely want to know more about the city to have a great vacation there. Yeah, transportation is an important part that need to have some idea about. Renting a car or having a rental transportation service is a good solution to it. Then after it comes about the lodging and the food. These things need to be perfect. Thanks Liliane for your complete guidance to Instanbul.

    ReplyDelete