About Chris O
Lives in London
Since Aug. 2007
Hi. I’m Chris, an American freelance creative living in London. I keep busy working as a blogger, photojournalist, community manager, consultant, curator and more. The opportunities and challenges keep getting bigger, better and more meaningful for me every year! I’m having so much fun. Favorite destinations are many and my list of must-see places to visit seems to get longer the more I travel! I’m a huge fan of Lisbon, Istanbul and Queenstown – to name but a few preferred repeat locations. I also love heading back to the States every chance I find and cannot get enough of the Deep South – Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and the Carolinas – and Hawaii holds a particularly special place in my heart as well. And even though I’ve been based in London for years, it and the whole of Britain still yield myriad wonders for me.
Sacred & Religious Sites
Architectural Buildings, Sacred & Religious Sites, Historic Sites, History Museums
Ancient Ruins, Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites
Hammams & Turkish Baths
Flea & Street Markets
Gift & Speciality Shops
Historic Sites, Observation Decks & Towers
Points of Interest & Landmarks
The lavish seat of the Ottoman Empire for centuries, Topkapi Palace is a must-see for any first-time visitors to Istanbul, and its gardens are the perfect place to stroll hand in hand. Inside, get ready to be dazzled and amazed – not only by the array of jewels and artifacts from Topkapi's collection, but also by the panoramic views of the Bosphorus.
Dating from the early 1600s, the historic Sultan Ahmed Mosque is more commonly known as the Blue Mosque for the many blue tiles adorning its walls, as well as its giant blue stained-glass windows and blue painted ceilings. You might want to do some neck-limbering exercises before entering because you'll be looking up in awe the whole time you're there!
Once a Greek Orthodox basilica, once an imperial mosque, this architectural marvel and cultural landmark is now a museum. When you go, keep an eye out for the “Viking graffiti” that was carved into the wooden rails of the top floor.
The largest of the numerous ancient cisterns lying beneath the streets of modern Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern is one of the city's top historical attractions, and while it's just as amazing to visit as any of the others, this one is usually not nearly as crowded. That, plus its low lighting, makes the place feel like your own secret hideaway.
Affordable luxury is on offer at this historic hamam situated next to the Grand Bazaar. Dating back to 1584, it captures the true traditional Turkish Bath experience. Although the baths are divided by gender, the true relaxation you'll experience while separated will make your reunion at the end of the day that much sweeter.
With its dozens of covered streets, thousands of shops and hundreds of thousands of daily visitors, the Grand Bazaar can be a little overwhelming! Don't worry if you get a little lost while exploring though - every bit of this unparalleled shopping experience, brimming with vibrant culture and living history, is worth seeing.
Istanbul's Spice Bazaar is a centuries-old foodie wonderland that's as exciting to visit as it is budget-friendly and delectable! Whether you're foraging your way through this aromatic labyrinth of yumminess, shopping for gifts, or just 'taking it all in,' it's without doubt a delight for the senses.
A cruise on the Bosphorus is the height of romance, and Sehir Hatlari's cruises are an especially picturesque and affordable way to get a sense of just how gorgeous (and expansive) this age old city is. The “Full Bosphorus Cruise” from Eminonu to Anadolu Kavagi is ideal for seeing a good stretch of Istanbul, as well as much of the Bosphorus. It includes time to explore the 15th-century Yoros Castle (an uphill but easy hike) where you can admire the views of the Black Sea, as well as time for a seafood lunch near the base of the castle or on the waterfront.
Once upon a time (as the story goes), a princess was locked away in this small tower on a tiny islet - where the Marmara Sea meets the Bosphorus - in an attempt to thwart a prophecy suggesting she would one day be bitten by a venomous snake. These days, private boats take visitors to the islet, and the tower is home to a romantic restaurant and cafe offering an evocative atmosphere and stunning views.
The largest of the Princes' Islands, Buyukada is just a short ferry ride from Istanbul, lying about 12 miles or so away in the Sea of Marmara. As with all nine of the islands, quaint and historic Buyukada is vehicle free, making it a great place for a romantic stroll.
Take the Beyoğlu Tünel funicular and spare your legs from the steep climb to Beyoğlu Square, then take time to explore this beautiful neighborhood renowned for its many restaurants and buzzing nightlife.
There's no better place to get a sense of this massive city's diverse and cosmopolitan make-up than this short cobblestoned and pedestrianized street - it's not a bad option for a quick bite, a spot of shopping and top quality people watching (by the throngs) as well.
Located on the roof of the Marmara Pera Hotel, Mikla Restaurant offers upscale and stylish dining with a menu of contemporary dishes based on traditional Turkish cuisine. Mikla is home to an excellent al fresco bar where, come evening, guests get to enjoy one the most spectacular shows in town: sunset over the Golden Horn.