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New Year's Eve and New Year day in Istanbul

We'll be in Istanbul for this upcoming New Year"s. We are a couple in our fifties traveling wiht our daughter and her husband and our son (in their twenties). We'll be staying in the old district.
Traditionally for us New Year's Eve has been a nice dinner (live music or dance a plus, but not necessary) where we can have a toast for the New Year at midnight.
Any recomendation of where we could go? I've found nice restaurants, but everything seems to close at midnight. Any place with nice views of the Bosphorous?
What Turks do on New year's eve and day? For January 1st, anything open? or should we expect stores, atractions, etc. to be closed? Suggestions for what to do?
On a separate matter, is it true that you can't drink Istanbul's water (even to brush your teeth?).
Thank you!

Posted by
16894 posts

You can drink tap water in the other towns on our Turkey tour, for instance, but our guides caution against drinking it in Istanbul. They say that the rapid growth of that city has outstripped its resources. Bottled water will be easy to find. I don't think that brushing your teeth with bottled water is as important in Istanbul as it is in Morocco, but it is cheap insurance.

Posted by
4174 posts

To start, Istanbul is a city of 17 million people. We did the RS Istanbul tour 5-11 October.

The hotel we stayed in, the Sumengen in the old district, had a warning sign in the bathroom that the water was not potable. We were advised to not use it to brush our teeth and to do our best to not take in any while showering. We used bottled water for teeth brushing and didn't have any issues.

We had views of the Golden Horn and the Blue Mosque. A number of good restaurants as well as some of the major sites were within a few blocks.

No matter where you stay, you will find a Koran in your room and you will hear each call to prayer, starting at 06:00.

My husband was able to get wine with dinner, but fell in love with the hot apple tea. We had the best profiteroles we have ever had at a place called Saray in the new district. There are branches around town.

In case you are not aware, you cannot flush anything but human waste down the toilets anywhere. All toilets we used had what I called "butt washers." You use that before using toilet paper and put the used TP in the trash can that is always close to the toilet. You will probably first see this setup in the WCs in the airport.

In my experience, the cleanest toilets are near mosques. Most toilet facilities have both western and squat fixtures.

The cobblestone streets and many of the sidewalks are the roughest I have ever walked on in a city. Some are very steep. Forget any kind of dressy shoes while you are there and wear shoes that are comfortable and supportive.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you all ! Everything you've said is very useful!