Istanbul, Turkey
Hilal, 26
Works for an NGO
see her Istanbul city guide

ask Hilal about

Art Coffee food

a bit about Hilal

What do you do and why do you do it?

I work for an NGO and I love it. I would love to see civil society get more recognition and appreciation where I live so I work toward that cause. I hope I will have some part in making the world a better place to live - where human rights are respected to their fullest extent.

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

Alabama Shakes - Don't Wanna Fight

What are the best TV shows of all time?

Friends (never gets old), Gilmore Girls (no shame), Sherlock (duh.), Skins, The Fall

Name some spots in Istanbul that are good for a Tinder date.

Beerhall for the beer lovers, Sensus Wine for the fancy ones, Moro for the ones craving great tapas and cocktails

Who’s your hero and where in Istanbul would you take them out for a serious hang?

Having a cup of black coffee and a long chat with Patti Smith would be...wow.

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

Mainstream stores mostly but my favorite shirts come from grandma's closet.

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

Approaching a bench in the park with a good book and coffee in my hands, and just spend the day like that. You never seem to have those days in a crazy city like this.

Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in Istanbul that you particularly like?

Not that hidden of a gem but Arkaoda is the perfect place to hide away from all the fuss in the city, have coffee or nice cocktails, and listen to some live tunes.

What’s the most expensive restaurant / spa / hotel you’ve ever been to in Istanbul? How much did it cost and what did you get there?

I never seem to have that much money to go to such fancy places! If anyone does, please do let me know. (I heard the restaurant Spago at St. Regis is pretty good.)

Where can you get the best cocktail in Istanbul? Which one do you like?

Alexandra Cocktail Bar, 5 Cocktails & More, Moro. I particularly love the Lime & Ginger cocktail at Moro.

Where would you take your partner in Istanbul if you wanted to really pamper them?

A Turkish bath experience would be great so Kilic Ali Pasa Hamam it is.

Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?

Head down to Spice Bazaar where you can find all sorts of snacks and spices.

What’s the one place you think is overrated in Istanbul?

Ortaköy. I never seem to understand the hype about it.

What are the Istanbul spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

Oh my, so many. Galata Tower, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul Modern, Dolmabahce Palace, Moda Beach in Kadikoy, Balat as a whole neighbourhood

Tomorrow’s your last day in Istanbul. How do you spend it?

I'd have a full on Turkish breakfast, never without 'simit' and Turkish tea, head to Galata to stroll around the old streets, climb the Galata Tower to breathe in the panoramic Istanbul, take the ferry to Kadikoy to enjoy a nice walk along the coast in Moda and Caddebostan, grab a cold beer with friends and finish the day off with a concert of some band I've never heard of.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

London. Can't help it, I'm a city gal.

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