The former home of Leon Trotsky in Istanbul has been taken over by the forces of nature. Trotsky, who was exiled from Russia, lived in a beautiful house on Büyükada between 1929 and 1933 where he wrote his autobiography and The History of the Russian Revolution.
Dating back to the reign of Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II (408-450), the remains of the former walls that protected the Empire still stand today. Start at Yedikule Fortess and follow the land walls to the city’s outer limits.
If you’re a fan of vintage motorcycles then this fantastic city tour is for you: independent tour providers Locally Istanbul will pick you up with a helmet, body armour and camera in tow and take you around the city in the sidecar of a WWII motorcycle.
The Mural Istanbul Festival has turned the Yeldeğirmeni neighbourhood of Kadıköy into one large open air art gallery. The area features street art murals by local and international artists on almost every corner. You can drop by the Hush Hostel to get a map of the neighbourhood, which highlights where the art can be found.
A visit to a hamam is definitely one of the most unusual experiences in Istanbul. Indulge in the experience of having a professional wash you thoroughly and then massage you in a cloud of soap foam. One of the best places to go is Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı.
Kemankeş Mahallesi Hamam Sokak No.1, Tophane +90 212 393 8010
Safa Meyhanesi is one of Istanbul’s oldest meyhanes (taverns). You’ll love the beautiful chandelier hanging from the ceiling, the vintage rakı bottles and the excellent menu featuring classic Turkish meze.
İlyasbey Caddesi No. 121, Zeytinburnu +90 212 585 55 94
Burgazada, one of the lesser-known of the Princes Islands, is a great place to hang out at the beach. Relax with a couple of beers or take a dip in the sea (if it’s warm enough). On the way to the beach, you can seek out the historical churches hiding in the lush greenery. Check the ferry schedule before leaving for the islands.
One of Istanbul’s most popular natural escapes, the Belgrade Forest, is also a great place to go hunting for mushrooms. Mushroom expert Jilber Barutcuyan holds regular tours in the spring, when mushrooms are in season.