Few of the tourists explore further than the Sultanahmet area, which is a real shame because Istanbul is a magical city with so much to offer. It is rich in both the eastern and western culture. I cannot cover all the beautiful corners and inspiring places in Istanbul but I will list 5 different places that I mostly enjoyed.
1. Cemberlitas Hamami
When in Istanbul it is a must to pay a visit to a Turkish hamam, it is an indulging experience. Not only is it one of the major components of the ottoman and Turkish culture but it is also a great purification for your body and skin.
If you are looking for a spacious, clean and good price place then the cemberlitas hamami is a great choice.
2. Caferaga Medressesi
In the backyard of an old medresse (Muslim theological school) you will find this hidden jewel. This restaurant is close to the Topkapi palace but very isolated from the crowd, in beautiful and peaceful surroundings.
The ingredients are fresh and the food is delicious. But don’t expect anything fancy.
3. Istiklal cadessi
This street is one of the fast moving areas of the city, with many restaurants, rooftop bars and plenty of shopping options. I call it the street that never sleeps.
4. Karaköy Güllüoglu
This coffee and sweets place has had satisfied customers since 1947. Go to the cashier and order your favorite baklavas either with pistachio, nuts or without anything. For a real treat add a cup tea to it.
If you want to try an Ottoman kitchen, Pasazade is a highly recommended restaurant. Excellent service, delicious food and perfect location.
I promised to write a section about activities for the kids/young children.
A must visit place for children is Vialand, a theme park that also includes a shopping mall a different restaurant options. It's a little outside of Istanbul and can be accessed with its own shuttle bus, but I recommend to take a taxi.
Another very nice kid friendly adventure, is a day trip to Prince's island. The ferry itself is a fun journey for them. The islands are beautiful and ideal for kids to play around, swim or take a tour around with the horse carriage.
The bosphorus ferry tour is also a great experience for both adults and children. It is as if you are sailing infront of a showcase of beautiful mosques, palaces and mansions both on the Asian and European side.