It was the 24th of Feb 2019 when I committed to exploring Istanbul with my friend, Faisal Iqbal. We desired a last-minute getaway and finally decided that Istanbul would be the destination of choice for us both. We noted the weather wasn’t predicted to be particularly great, but we resolved to remain undeterred and would endeavour to see as much of the wonderful city as we could, no matter what the elements threw at us.

We flew with Turkish Airlines who did a great job and stayed at Oba Hotel in central Istanbul, approximately a 5-minute walk from the Blue Mosque. Istanbul was an incredible city with deep rooted Ottoman culture. The people were polite and friendly, happy to help with directions and gracious enough to allow haggling when shopping which is always fun for someone like me.

This was my first trip away with my good friend, Faisal. It was nice to have someone with a sense of humour along for the ride. Solo travel will never cease to be special to me but having a companion there for even more laughs always adds to the experience!

Istanbul is definitely a destination for you if you wish to experience an eclectic mix of European and Islamic culture. The architecture is comparable to Rome in places and the atmosphere is warm and inviting in general. The history vast and saturates the city.

My only complaint was the volume of people. Therefore, I would suggest going to Istanbul during the off season to avoid the crowds and to allow yourself to be fully immersed in the experience of such a vibrant Middle Eastern city.