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Locals Share Their Istanbul Experiences – Volkan Çobanoğlu

Every month we ask an Istanbul local the same ten questions. This way you can hear firsthand what they love and hate about the city, and learn about the best places to wine, dine and shop in town.

Today Volkan Çobanoğlu, aged between 26-35 and active in the hospitality sector, shares his Istanbul secrets.

1. Where do you live, and what makes your neighborhood special?

I live in Bomonti, Şişli. It’s an old neighborhood in the center of Istanbul with nice and large apartments. It’s very close to down town Istanbul too.

2. What does a perfect day in Istanbul look like for you?

The perfect day should start early, with nice weather – not too cold and not too hot. I don’t have a fixed pattern. One of my favorite things is strolling in the small Beyoğlu streets, followed by a nice cruise on the Bosphorus [1]. Alternatively, I also love to travel to the Princes’ Islands [2], rent a bike and enjoy a nice dinner with sea food on the shores before heading back. Another one of my favorites is riding my Vespa to the north side of the city for trekking in the Belgrade forests, or just relax on the beaches of Kilyos.

3. Where would you take first time Istanbul visitors to?

Beyoğlu (Galata, Cihangir), Sultanahmet, Bebek, Teşvikiye, Kadıköy (Moda, Caddebostan) [3] , Princes’ Islands, Bosphorus (Kanlıca, Çengelköy, Kuzguncuk), and Balat.

Small streets leading to Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey. [4]

Small streets leading to Galata Tower.

4. Do you have any shopping preferences and/or secrets?

Galata (down the hill at the end of Istiklal Caddesi) is my favorite spot, with many nice and small boutiques.

5. What is according to you the best souvenir people should take back home?

I think the best souvenirs [5] are pictures of the magnificent views Istanbul has to offer. You can find very nice ones in the various gift shops.

6. What is your favorite restaurant, and why?

I’ll share two if you don’t mind. The first is İkinci Bahar in Kanlica, a small and cozy place with delicious kebabs. Secondly, there is Hayat in Cihangir, a very chic restaurant with delicious sea food & mezes.

7. What Turkish dish should visitors really try out?

The huge variety of mezes [6], there’s something for everybody.

8. What is your favorite drink, and the best place to order it?

I’m caught in the middle between a mojito at Bird, and Lynchburg lemonade at Otto.

9. What is your favorite bar or night club?

My favorite places are Bird, Otto, and Smyrna (Cihangir).

10. What do you love and/or hate about Istanbul?

I love the calm times of the city, e.g. breakfast on weekday mornings by the Bosphorus. And of course the various views and belonging to the different periods of time. I hate the traffic, and the fact that it’s so crowded all the time.

Photo Source [7]

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