Istanbul with the kids
By Rowena Carr-Allinson
Istanbul, Turkey street view of the famous area of Fatih (Flickr: Moyan Brenn)
It might not seem like the obvious family friendly vacation in Turkey, but Istanbul is one of the world’s most exciting cities, and hides plenty to keep families busy – from the Bosphorus cruises to the Grand Bazaar, its luxurious pools, sweet stray cats and super kid friendly locals!
To sleep in luxury, sultan style, right on the Bosphorus, check into the Ciragan Palace Kempinski. It’s also got a beautiful pool and the best buffet breakfast around! Another five star option? The new Raffles Istanbul with its sexy spa and Arola restaurant set in the new Zorlu Center.
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Discover the Bosphorus
Bosphorus channel (Photo: Alp Ancel)
The bloodline of Istanbul, the Bosphorus is a hive of activity – from small fishing boats to giant container boats. All children enjoy a good boat ride, so hop on board a cruise, whether a full length tour heading out into the Black Sea, or simply joining in with the commuter ferries to get a good look at how locals live and commute, to the ‘Asian’ side! For the most atmospheric, head out just before sunset! It’s just another great way to see Istanbul with kids.
Head to the Rahmi M Koç Museum
Rahmi M Koç Museum (Photo: Rahmi M Koç Museum )
Right on the famous Golden Horn sits a beautiful 19th century factory that is now home to Rahmi M Koç industrial museum. Surprisingly kid friendly, this museum is really worth a look, due to its building and due to what you’ll find inside! Kids can roam free in a vintage car, climb into the pilot’s seat in a real plane’s cockpit or take a ride in a submarine. What more could you ask for? There are also hands on scientific experiment workshops and two cafes on site.
Explore the Princes’ Islands
Heybeliada in Princes’ Islands
The traffic free islands are the perfect place for a family day out. The kids will love the horse and carriages, walks through the beautiful nature. Prefer exploring on two wheels? Rent a bicycle to get around! Definitely kid-friendly and not on the obvious tourist trail, this is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul town.
A fantastic kid-friendly attraction, this open-air miniature park right on the Golden Horn has 105 scale models for the kids to wonder at! All created at 1/25th of the original size, you can marvel at the local landmarks and Ottoman structures spread over the 60.000 m². Although it’s all about being small, Miniaturk is the world’s largest miniature park! Other perks include a labyrinth, a playground and a life-sized chessboard for budding players.
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Take the tram!
Running along one of the city’s main shopping streets, on Istiklal Caddesi, this nostalgic and rather beautiful red tram carriage is just the thing to keep the kids happy after a long day’s trawling the bazaar or walking the city. A throwback to the 1900s’, the trams and ticket collector’s outfits will have them enthralled! A great way to top off your family vacation in Istanbul!
Rowena Carr-Allinson contributed this to MiniTime. Since the arrival of her son in 2011, she has taken him everywhere from Bangkok to NYC, writing family friendly articles en route.