We are a couple of seniors visiting Istanbul in April 2022. We are interested in culture, food, music, and sights. Museums and ruins are not our thing. We do want to see a couple of the famous buildings. We hope to travel north from Istanbul and visit some Eastern European countries; Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, and finally Prague. Are trains still not running between countries? Also, what area of Istanbul is best to get a hotel if you don’t want to climb hills?
Sultanahmet is flatter than most of the rest of the city. But when you stay up in the hills you have beautiful views of the Bosporus and it is less touristy than Sultanahmet.
Another vote for Sultanahamet. We liked the hotel www.thegoldenhorn.com. It was adjacent to the tram line but we always walked down to the Golden Horn, just a few blocks. We easily walked to Topkapi and the Hagia Sophia. We ferried up the Bosphorous to near the Black Sea as well as taking the ferry across the Bosphorous to Uskudar, the Asian side of Istanbul. Istanbul is one of the most welcoming cities we've visited. You might go to the Istanbul forum on Trip Advisor which has many topics and advice from Istanbul locals as well as from other travelers with Istanbul knowledge. Good luck.
Yet another vote for staying in the Sultanahamet. It's the old center of the old center, it's what you're going to Istanbul for. We loved stepping outside our hotel and being right there. We stayed at the Hotel Historia, and liked it (teeny tiny rooms though). Istanbul is amazing, you will have a great time.
Then Sultanahamet it is! Thank you fellow travelers for the much needed advise!
Any recommendations on going north across international lines? I want to go by train but it appears you can only leave Turkey at night. I want to see the countryside and the various cities. Nerd by nature, what can I say….