Travel like a local.


Dolmabahce Palace, Prince’s Islands & Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, Turkey

Best things to do in Istanbul Turkey - Pinar Tarhan - Interior of Hagia Sophia by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

Interior of Hagia Sophia. Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash.

I’m really excited to interview freelance writer Pinar Tarhan about Istanbul, Turkey. Pinar’s tips for the best things to do in Istanbul are awesome because she was born in Istanbul, and she loves how easy it is to cross continents between Europe and Asia to experience both sides of the city.

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Best things to do in Istanbul Turkey - Pinar Tarhan - Colorful lamps in the shops of the Old Bazaar by riddywankenobi on Unsplash

Colorful lamps in the shops of the Old Bazaar. Photo by riddywankenobi on Unsplash.

Istanbul, Turkey

We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out the Istanbul Convention & Visitors Bureau: ICVB, the local visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.

If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.

Best things to do in Istanbul Turkey - Pinar Tarhan - Historic tram lines run in each side of the city by Fatih Encan on Unsplash

Historic tram lines run on each side of the city. Photo by Fatih Encan on Unsplash.

Getting around Istanbul

The local airport is Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW), which is about a 45-minute drive to Istanbul. Use our Expedia tool below to find flight, hotel, and rental car options.

Pinar says that you shouldn’t rent a car while visiting Istanbul. The traffic is terrible, and it can be hard for people to drive under the stress. If you must rent a car, visit Avis, Budget, or Hertz for the best rental car offers.

Public transit is a good option, and IstanbulKart provides unlimited public transportation access for travelers for one flat price. However, it gets crowded, so you need to be prepared for that. Uber, Lyft, and cabs are excellent ways to get around.

The Turkish dolmush is a jitney, shared taxi or minibus that runs a predetermined route. Each passenger pays a portion of the normal fare, but you need cash since they typically don’t accept credit cards.

Best things to do in Istanbul Turkey - Pinar Tarhan - Fenerbahce Park by Hasan Şama on Unsplash

Fenerbahce Park. Photo by Hasan Şama on Unsplash.

Places we talked about on the Istanbul, Turkey podcast

Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Pinar Tarhan about Istanbul, Turkey. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.

  • Red dots = best places to eat in Istanbul, Turkey
  • Green dots = best things to do in Istanbul, Turkey
  • Yellow dots = best places to stay in Istanbul, Turkey

Who is Pinar Tarhan?

Pinar Tarhan is a freelance writer, rom-com novelist and travel enthusiast. She’s published three novels, a fun guide on how to write romance and has bylines on CNN, Thrillist, and WOW! Women on Writing, among others.

She also runs the blog Addicted to Writing, which explores the styles and concepts of creating books, blogs and other writing methods. Pinar also loves movies, rock music, (lindy) hop dancing, coffee, and beach vacations.

Best things to do in Istanbul Turkey - Pinar Tarhan with her book

Pinar with her book.

Here are a few articles that she’s written:

You can connect with Pinar on her website and social media on Twitter and Facebook. Support this podcast and our guest by buying one of her books through our Amazon affiliate links. Her latest book is titled “A Change Would Do You Better,” and it is the second in a series of rom-com books.

We Travel There - Istanbul Turkey - Pinar Tarhan - podcast one sheet

Click here to download our one-page guide of Pinar’s tips for Istanbul.

Big thanks to today’s podcast partner – Bluffworks

This episode is brought to you, in part, by Bluffworks. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, it’s important to have clothes that make me look good AND feel great. I wear Bluffworks jeans, slacks, dress shirts, and blazers because they’re wrinkle-free and are designed for the modern traveler. And if they get dirty, a quick spin in the washing machine and they’re good as new.

Go to and use the promo code from the image below to save 10% off your order. There are many styles to fit your needs so you can stay wrinkle-free when you travel.

Best things to do in Istanbul Turkey - Pinar Tarhan - Turkish delight and other treats for sale by Michael Parulava on Unsplash

Turkish delight and other treats for sale. Photo by Michael Parulava on Unsplash.

Stay tuned for our next episode

Spring Break Ideas for Families - Tim and Scarlett in Steamboat Springs March 2023

Tim & Scarlett in Steamboat Springs in 2023.

Listen to the next episode when I talk with my kids about spring break ideas for families. In this episode, we talk about different types of spring break trips, from adventures at the beach to skiing down the slopes and everything in between. We also discuss ways to save money on spring break vacations and how to get the family involved in planning the vacation. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.

What’s your favorite part of Istanbul? Send us a Tweet, let us know in the comment section below, or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!

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To see which cities we’ve interviewed and scheduled, please visit If you’d like to be a guest on the show, please submit an application at

Related episodes for Istanbul

To learn more about Istanbul and the surrounding area, check out our episodes below:


  1. Alisha

    Your life looks so fun and interesting!

    • Comment by post author


      Thank you, Alisha. I wish that I could travel to all of the wonderful places I hear about from our guests. My bucket list of where I want to travel is constantly being updated with each interview.

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