As a traveling couple, we have a suitcase of romantic memories from around the world, many from one of Turkey’s most fascinating cities – Istanbul.
As we age and our travels expand, we are still called back to city formerly known as Constantinople (that’s Istanbul). We’ve been back three times in the last year alone, and we will return as a traveling couple.
First time in Istanbul can be a dizzying array for human senses. The Silk Road brought the beauties and exoticism of the entire world right through Istanbul, and the history, art, riches, and spices can still be found everywhere today. Istanbul is where the East meets the West, quite literally since it straddles the European and Asian continents. Here all sorts of delights can be found from tranquil hammams, art galleries, fine dining, lavish history, and friendly locals with a truly wonderful culture.
After all, our visits to Istanbul here are a collection of moments that are both romantic and a suggested must-dos as a couple in the city.
A traditional Turkish hammam is an absolute must for everyone in his or her lives. A hammam allows visitors to get right down to their birthday suit, relax in steam to loosen the pores, followed by a vigorous scrubbing and massage by an attendant, and then finished off in a thick lather of bubbles. Anyone that goes to a hammam will walk out feeling like a new person. While it is traditional to have men and women separated the new modern hammams offer packages for couples looking to have a more romantic time in Istanbul.
![Princes islands areial shot. Top 5 Romantic Things to Do in Istanbul](https://db82kmzzne7f2.cloudfront.net/ghost-blog/2016/08/Princes-Islands.jpg)Photo source: http://moris.com/
The Prince Islands are a lovely archipelago just outside of Istanbul. Getting there is easy and can be reached by taking a ferry down the Bosporus and out to the islands. Prince Islands have historically served as getaway for the rich and many beautiful ottoman homes can be found here. With no traffic the primary way of getting around the island is horse and buggy or by bike. Renting a bike and exploring the island for the day will cost all of 20 TL (Turkish Lira) and allows for stop offs at a few idealistic cafes.
3. Afternoon Tea in Chiangir
![Turkish tea with a view of the sea. Top 5 Romantic Things to Do in Istanbul](https://db82kmzzne7f2.cloudfront.net/ghost-blog/2016/08/turkish-tea-on-the-black-sea-lou-ann-bagnall.jpg)Image source: zubitravel.com
Chiangir is THE neighborhood for expats. It’s one of our favorites in Istanbul and definitely not on the traditional tourist route. The streets here are littered with vintage antique shops, bistros, art galleries, and cafes. For the strong stuff head to Brew Lab, some of the best baristas in Turkey call this place home. Afterward, head down the hill to some of the viewpoints over the Bosporus where there are local families serving up tea. For 2TL a tea locals and tourists alike can sit and watch the sun set over a beautiful city.
4. Dinner and Drinks in Kadikoy
[![A man enjoying the view in Turkey. Top 5 Romantic Things to Do in Istanbul](https://db82kmzzne7f2.cloudfront.net/ghost-blog/2016/08/Cay-with-a-view-1.jpg)](http://theworldpursuit.com/)Image source: [http://theworldpursuit.com](http://theworldpursuit.com)/
The Turkish love to drink and dine outdoors, but this can’t be seen at the traditional tourist haunts. For a more genuine look into life in Istanbul we advise to cross continents and head to the Asian side in the neighborhood of Kadikoy. Streets here are lined with tables of Turkish locals, enjoying Raki, music, meze, and hookah. It’s a true experience and insight of what it is to be a Turk in Istanbul, and makes for a fun night out.
5. Explore Sultanahmet
![Sultanahmet neighborhood. Top 5 Romantic Things to Do in Istanbul](https://db82kmzzne7f2.cloudfront.net/ghost-blog/2016/08/sultanahmet-cami1-1.jpg)Photo source: http://howtoistanbul.com/
It may be the touristy thing to do in Istanbul. However, the first time seeing the Hagia Sofia, Spice Market, or Grand Bazaar are magical moments that live up to all the hype. Just be prepared to fight through the crowds. Make sure to bring some extra cash -it’s hard to resist some of the items and food that can be found in the markets and bazaar.
[![Istanbul sunset. Top 5 Romantic Things to Do in Istanbul](https://db82kmzzne7f2.cloudfront.net/ghost-blog/2016/08/Istanbul-at-Sunset.jpg)](http://theworldpursuit.com/)Image source: [http://theworldpursuit.com/](http://theworldpursuit.com)