Today I’d like to write about the place in Turkey we’ve visited with Bibi, but it’s not well known among foreigners. It’s Akçay – the little town in the Balıkesir province located at the Aegean Sea.
How is there?
It’s a nice, calm place. Don’t expect entertainment like in Istanbul or Antalya. However, you can count on natural beauties, friendly people, every needed shop in one place (with lower prices), some chamber cafes at Çarşı and clean sea. Good place for people who want to rest in nature, hike and cut off a bit from the chaos of bigger cities.
How to get there?
We got there by car. They way from Istanbul through the ferry station in Yalova took us 4 hours. It’s worthy to have a car, because I actually didn’t see any buses. Traveling from abroad you can take a flight to Istanbul or Ankara and then transfer to the domestic flight to Balıkesir Edremit (14 km away). Afterwards, you can hire a shuttle or simply rent a car.
Where did we stay?
In Akçay you can find many nice child-friendly hotels. We chose ACAR motel, because of the opinions from other travelers about the family atmosphere. It wasn’t a lie 🙂 The owners are very friendly. They like to chat with guests during breakfast, they ask if we need anything and sometimes they also bring fruits to the room. The hotel is situated close to the sea (however, the beach is stony, so I recommend to go for other ones). It’s small and cozy. They provide child facilities such as a baby bed, high chair, and outdoor toys. Typical Turkish breakfast is included in the price (before season three nights were around 400 TL per room). The only thing I can complain about was the baby bed they provided. Although our Daughter was already one year old, she got a cradle for newborns.
Where did we go?
DAY 1: Arrival and Zeus Altarı (Adatepe Köyü)
We unpacked our pieces of luggage, leaned Bibi for a day nap and after lunch we went to Zeus Altarı. It is believed, Zeus was watching from this place the soldiers fighting at the Troya war. The rock there has been identified by a German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann and recognized as an altar dedicated to this Greek god. Actually, I’m not surprised, Zeus has chosen this hill for observations because the panorama of the town is very well visible and the views are worth recommending. Generally, just in Akçay, you can see the several motives from Greek Mythology. For example, the sculpture of wolf which fed twin-brothers Romulus and Remus (the establishers of Rome).
DAY 2: Hasan Boğuldu
The second day we went to the “Hasan Boğuldu” waterfall situated in the Kaz Mountain National Park. What I like there is the beautiful territory almost untouched by tourists. That’s why the water is so fresh and clean. Afterwards, we went to the restaurant nearby. The kebabs were very well prepared and we had a very nice view of the waterfall in the front of our table. However, for those facilities, you usually have to pay extra, so the final bill was obviously more expensive than in any restaurant in the city 😉
DAY 3 and 4: Sunbath, departure and the “Hattuşa” adventure
The 3rd day was intended strictly for chill out. We went to the Orjan Bay, cause it’s one of the sandy beaches with inexpensive seats to rent and also there’s a hotel with a restaurant nearby. How was the relax there? Normal, nothing special 🙂 But in the end of our stay one mysterious man came to us and gave the invitation for the open days at Hattuşa Thermal Club. He made a reservation for us for the next day (which was the day of our departure). Our visit involved the presentation of Hattuşa, lunch and using thermal swimming pools. We were led by two friendly animators – Şüle and Beytullah. They showed us the huge complex of various swimming pools, sport facilities, exemplary rooms, shops and… olive trees growing there already hundreds of years.
In the beginning, they made a questionnaire, in my opinion, not related to the hotel. The exemplary question was: Which countries would you like to visit? Then we had a presentation of the thermal club. There was much space to walk and have fun. Hungry guests have a choice between several restaurants. Rooms were clean and in a very good standard. Each of them had a bathroom and a TV. Babies can count on a free baby bed if requested. What took my attention there was a bathtub. One tap was pouring out normal water and the other one thermal water. The other facilities of Hattuşa (for parents and children as well) are described on their official webpage (LINK). After the presentation, we went for lunch which took place in the canteen for employees. The meal (schnitzel in sauce and attachments) was quite ok and we got full 🙂 In the end, we could spend one hour at the wellness and use thermal or standard swimming pools (there’s child pool as well), gym and enjoy the view of Kaz Mountain. We had to pay extra 5TL for each swim cap which was obligatory at the pool. Before exit, I made myself mud mask (the source of mud was in the garden before pools) and then Şüle and Beytullah showed us the offers of “Hattuşa” with prices.
Two things you must pay attention to before reservation: 1) If you get to “Hattuşa” by invitation, you’ll be surely given the most common offer – signing a ten-year agreement for the specific period when the room or studio is reserved only for you. Comparing the prices it seems to be profitable, but in the end, I found it as a trap. Honestly, most people don’t like to be tied up to one place for such a long period. And it’s very difficult to cancel this agreement. Of course, you can reserve a single visit, but it will be a bit more expensive.
2) According to offer breakfast and dinner are provided. But it only concerns the main restaurant where employees use to eat as well. Other restaurants aren’t involved in the price (like many extra facilities such as massages).
To sum up: Do I recommend Akçay and Edremit to go with a baby or a small child?
Yes, if (1) you have your own car and (2) you buy a good baby carrier before. Akçay doesn’t have well-developed public transportation. Edremit is situated near Kaz Mountain and many places are simply unable to reach by a stroller. However, contact with nature and breathing much fresher air than in Istanbul or Ankara will be surely beneficial for your child. Furthermore, as I’ve said before, many hotels in the region are child-friendly. The two mentioned ones are just an example.
In the next article, I’ll do something that Poles are known about – complain 😉
Dear Parents, Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles and elder Siblings 🙂 Everyone who is going with a little one to Turkey.
Last time you had an opportunity to read a long (but needed) article baby shopping in Turkish stores. As you could see, in some cases we’d be surpised – it was the same with me, when I came to Istanbul with my Baby the first time 🙂 Another surprise was (but it’s not only the domain of Turkey), that even in cosmopolitan Istanbul many people don’t speak English. That’s why I’m presenting you a parental dictionary. You won’t need to waste your time for searching needed words in phrasebooks 😉
Why am I doing this? Well, if I already know a bit of this language, why not to share this knowledge with you? 😉
Let’s start with the pronounciation of the letters 😉
I’ll answer the question some people still ask me till today: No, Dears. Turks don’t speak Arabic and they don’t write Arabic letters. Turkish letters are written in a Latin style, but they have also some national characters 🙂 Because I’m not native English, I’ll refer this guide to you (LINK). You can also listen to them in one of the children’s songs on You Tube (LINK).
I just need to pay attention on the letter !!!Ğğ!!! – so-called „yumuşak g” (soft „g”). I’m calling it as „deaf g”, cause this mysterious letter is almost imperceptible. It’s kind of transition between vowels or an extension of the last vowel (if there’s consonant after ğ). For example, the Turkish president Erdoğan – we pronounce his surname as Erdo-an (in case of Turkish back vowels, ie. a,ı,o,u we can hear barely noticeable „h”). Another example – Eğitim (traineeship). We read it as Eyyeeteem. Did you notice, in case of Turkish front vowels (e,i,ö,ü), the sound “y” will be slightly appearing in the place of “Ğ”?
Did you learn all the letters? So, let’s start! 😉
Now let’s stop at the number „10” and see what will happen. In Turkey there’s the same rule for “ten” like for 20,30,40, 80… So there’s no accurate translation of the ending „-teen”, but we write and say like we wanted to say „ten one”, „ten two”, „ten three”, so on… Just look!
And now I’m presenting you the Turkish translation of the numbers 20-90. Here the case is more simple, because the numbers like 22 or 84 we make according to the same rules, as Turkish 11, 12… So twenty two will be translated as „yirmi iki“ and eighty four as „seksen dört“.
And we came to 100. It’s rather easy case. „One hundred” will be translated into Turkish as „yüz” (there’s no need to add „bir” before „yüz”). If we want to say two hundred or five hundred, we just add the digit according to the number before „yüz”. Just like in the picture attached:
Same rule with thousand (tr. bin), million (tr. milyon), czy billion (tr. milyar).
Note, in case of „milion” i „billion” even, when there’s just one “million” or “billion”, we add „bir” before them, so „bir milyon” and „bir milyar”.
„More complicated” numbers, we combine like in English, eg.:
125 – yüz yirmi beş
2018 – iki bin onsekiz
555 555 – beş yüz elli beş bin beş yüz elli beş 😉
82 450 999 – seksen iki milyon dört yüz elli bin dokuz yüz doksan dokuz
2) Necessary questions and answers:
It’s good to note the questions and answers you’ll be using while shopping with baby or those you can hear from shop assistants.
Merhaba! – the most popular greeting in Turkey. It can be used between friends or in the shop.
Günaydın! – Good morning! İyi günler! – this phrase has two functions. It can be Good afternoon! or the farewell like Have a nice day! İyi akşamlar! – like before. You can say Good evening! or say “bye” like Have a nice evening! Depends on context 😉
Görüşürüz!/Görüşmek üzere! – See you! İyi geceler! – Good night! Hoşçakal! – universal way to say „Goodbye!”
You can often hear from shop-assistants or owners (and it’s not fake politeness!)
-Hoş geldin! (Welcoming like: „I’m glad you came”)
In this case it’s good to answer: -Hoş bulduk! (in accurate translation: “I’m glad to find you!”)
It’s good to say hello or goodbye (but not both of them the same time ;)) to the employee saying „Kolay gelsin!”. It means something between „Have a good work!” and “Take it easy”.
b) Phrases used in shops:
Evet – yes Hayır – no
Çok –very, much (eg. Çok güzel – very beautiful)
Ucuz – cheap Pahalı – expensive
Güzel – beautiful Çirkin – ugly
Büyük – big Küçük – small
Pardon / Affedersiniz – Excuse me! Teşekkür ederim! / Teşekkürler! / Sağol! – all of them mean „Thank you!”
Bana yardım eder misiniz? – Could you help me? Yardımcı olabilir miyim? – Can I help you? Yardım ister misiniz? – Do you need help?
…………………… nerede? – Where is………………… ?
(eg. Dükkan nerede? – Where is the shop?)
……………………. ne kadar? – How much is ……………………………… ?
(eg. Şu yatak ne kadar? – How much is this bed?)
…………………….. var mı? – Is there……………………… ?
(eg. Devam sütü var mı? – Is there modificated milk?)
You can answer: – Evet, var. – Yes, there is. Or: – Hayır, yok. – No, there isn’t.
And finally (because not everyone likes to pay by cash):
Kartla ödeyebilir miyim? – May I pay by card?
It’s worthy mentioning about colors. It’s good to specify, eg. what color of t-shirt you want for your baby 😉
Ayakkabılar – shoes İlk Adım Ayakkabı – first step shoes
Sandalet – sandals
Crox Sandalet – crocs
Keten Ayakkabı – linen shoes
Spor Ayakkabı – sport shoes, trainers
Good to know: If you want to specify, whether you want to buy things for a newborn (yenidoğan), baby (bebek) or a child (çocuk), it’s good to add words from brackets before the product (usually clothing).
Erişte – noodles (we call pasta as „makarna”)
Patates – potato
Pirinç – rice
Tahıl – grain, cereal
İÇECEKLER – DRINKS
Ayran – slightly salty yoghurt drink (not necessarily for children, but it’s worth mentioning)
Çay – tea
Devam sütü – modificated milk
Malt içeceği – drink for breastfeeding women
Su – water
Süt – milk
Yoğurt – yoghurt
ET – MEAT Tavuk – chicken (the only meat in Turkish baby jars)
Hindi – turkey
Domuz eti – pork (hard to find 😉 )
Dana eti – beef
Balık – fish
Somon – salmon
Tavşan – rabbit
Koyun eti – lamb
And now let’s learn fruit and vegetables. I don’t want to prolong this entry unnecessarily, so will limit my vocabulary to the products frequently given to children or those you can find in jars.
Göğüs pompası – breast pump
Biberon – feeding bottle
Emzik – pacifier
Alıştırma bardağı – non-spill cup
It’s worth remembering one more place:
Bebek bakım odası – nursery room
Turkish vocabulary has been mentioned also in the article “Active Istanbul Mom… And Baby” 🙂 I’m recommending you to have a look at it, if you like to spend time actively with your toddler on holiday as well 😉
If you have any questions about the Turkish vocabulary, feel free to comment! In the next article I’ll write about our weekend in Akçay 🙂
Some time ago I wrote you a blogpost about the baby shopping in Malta. In Turkey it’s actually similar, but we have a few important differences here, we should mention to Parents or Guardians before holiday with Toddlers 🙂 It will be rather nice, though long.
1) First of all – water!!!
What you have to know: In Turkey we don’t drink tap water – even if it’s boiled. In Malta it would be just salty, but in Turkey it’s completely unable to drink (Cappadocia was an exception). Turks often order around 20 liters of water in carboy for 10 TL (eg. Erikli, Sırma or Pınar). In markets or children’s stores they often have special baby spring water for sale (tr. kaynak suyu) produced by Hipp.
2) Where and what?
In Turkey there’re several chain stores for children, however I’ll recommend two the most popular, inexpensive and the most widespread. They’reJoker and e-Bebek 🙂 What’s in those shops? Everything! Baby jars, drinks, modificated milks, diapers, changing pads, training pants, clothes, cosmetics, toys, accessories, and also cots (classical wooden, travel one and side sleeping cribs), cradles, diverse strollers, car seats, bed sheets, breast pumps, nursery pads… and even the mysterious drinks for breast-feeding moms, but I’ll be right back there 😉
What I like in Turkey (or at least in Istanbul) is that I can solve everything in one shop and I don’t have to run to the first one for baby clothes, to the second one for a stroller, and to the third one for modificated milk 🙂 Prices between shops are mostly similar to each other, so you don’t think like: „Ok, I can buy a modificated milk while buying cot, but in Macro it’s 15 TL cheaper, so let’s waste those 20 minutes for going to another corner of the shopping mall and three floors higher” 😉
The Joker store is often divided into two parts: Joker Baby (with clothes and equipment strictly for babies) and Joker Toys. It helps parents to discern and find the product they are looking for.
I’ll write about e-Bebek a bit more, because… Firstly, I go there more often due to its location close to our house, so I know more about this store. Secondly, it offers some interesting products and services that are worth mentioning.
If you search for a cheaper alternative to famous Pampers, e-Bebek sells its own diapers „Baby & Me”. They’re quite a good quality, they resist much and they have a stripe down the center of the diaper showing the level of wetness (like in Pampers Premium Care). Bibi didn’t complain 🙂 Furthermore, there’re added diaper bags for free (thrust me, this gratis is useful).
E-Bebek leads their own hair salons for little children in at least two locations: 1) European district Bayrampaşa in the „Forum Istanbul” shopping mall (address: Kocatepe Mahallesi, Paşa Cad. 3-5, 34-045 Bayrampaşa/İstanbul) 2) Asian district Üsküdar in the „E-Bebek Çamlıca” headquarter (address: Küçük Çamlıca Mahallesi, Çardak Sokak 2, 34-700 Üsküdar/İstanbul)
As I’ve recently gotten to know, the price for a baby haircut is 40TL. For now, we have no experience with hairdressing services in e-Bebek. But if we go there, we’ll surely let you know on blog 🙂 We had the pleasure of visiting the hair salon “Masal Çocuk Kuaförü”, as I’ve mentioned in the previous article.
E-Bebek sells also their own magazines in Turkish for a few liras. You can read there many interesting parenting articles and there’s a little gift added to each issue – sometimes it’s a diaper, sometimes drink for moms.
If you prefer online shopping, e-Bebek is one of the few Turkish children’s stores having English version of their webpage: https://www.e-bebek.com/en/
INTERESTING FACT: The seller at e-Bebek isn’t just anybody 😉 Sorry, it’s not seller, but Bebekolog. Employees at e-Bebek undergo special courses regarding the scope of responsibilities and knowledge about little children, to receive this honorable title afterwards.
4) Clothes and shoes:
I really appreciate in Turkish shops (especially in the mentioned children’s chain stores), that clothes are made in Turkey!!! They’re also inexpensive and a good quality. Usually foreign companies such as Chicco or Mothercare sell clothes other than Turkish.
For comparision: In Poland you can buy Polish baby clothes through the Internet and only in some individual stationary stores. They’re also more expensive, than other clothes. In chain stores the origin of clothes is usually China, India or Bangladesh. In my opinion, Poland should support “our” clothes more, because Poles really make nice clothing.
Some time ago Bibi somehow has lost her shoe while playing in Istanbul park. As my Mother-in-law recommended, I’ve bought for my Daughter the shoes from Nubebe in Kadıköy district (Asian side). Although these shoes aren’t the cheapest (the average price is around 100 TL, through sometimes you can find a discount where shoes are 60TL), they’re awesome – they look great, they’re made of natural materials and are well contoured.They all have stiffened heels, which is an important aspect in children’s shoes, but sometimes overlooked. Just look at them!
5) Baby jars:
In Turkey they’re produced by four companies: Hipp, Milupa, Bebelac and Hero. In most of the European countries you can buy baby meals with everything: various meats (chicken, turkey, beef, rabbit, veal or pork), fish (pollock, salmon), vegetarian and even spaghetti 🙂 They’re being sold in different age ranges. How does it look in Turkey? There’s only chicken! (tr. tavuk) For example, the dinners for infants by Hipp are: chicken with vegetables and rice (from 4th month), chicken with vegetables and potatoes (from 8th month) and chicken with vegetables and noodles (from 12th month). The similar situation is with Milupa and Bebelac. The meals are intended for infants aged 5 to 8 monthsand contain chicken and various vegetables (beans, tomatoes, carrots or leek) with rice or potatoes. There’re also soups without meat. I didn’t find any baby jars with pumpkin, Bibi really likes.
So what can we do, if we want to give something more to our baby than just chicken and vege soups?
1) Take so many baby jars in checked baggage that it will last until the end of the trip (the luggage will be heavy, but I was doing this recently).
2) Go in the middle of holiday to Bulgaria and Greece for one day for shopping (not the most reasonable solution, if you go only for this).
3) Cook by yourself (some wives of Turks are lucky to have culinary talented mothers-in-law, who always has some ideas 🙂 ). In Turkey there’re many seasonal bazaars with eco-food.
4) Being in a restaurant choose something suitable for our little one (here it can be expensive, if food isn’t included in the price of accommodation).
The situation with fruits and desserts is much better. There’s a big choice of fruits. Short time the problem with fruits and vegetables was, except standard apple and carrot, there was often problem to find a baby jar just with one ingredient (the fruits are usually mixed). Milupa has recently solved this issue making a „Tek Meyve” („Single Fruit”) series. In this edition there’re: apple, plus, pear and banana. Furthermore, Bebelac and Hero also produce fruit yoghurts (with banana, strawberry or tropical). You can see the fruits with cereals as well. But if you prefer to give home-made products, Turkish bazaars have great natural yoghurts and fruit 🙂
What we can see everywhere, in big amounts and from each brand is a milk pudding (in Turkish: sütlaç). Bibi used to be the biggest fan of it! A classic smooth sütlaç is usually intended for babies from the 4th month and it’s being sold in a jar aroung 120g. Hipp produces also apple-milk puddings for infants above 10 months old. The jars are already 200g and you can find there bigger pieces of rice. Bebelac offers banana gruel as well. However, I highly recommend you to read the product composition on all the jars, because some of them may contain white sugar (tr. şeker).
The prices start from 1,50TL (cheaper desserts), and end with 6TL (bigger dinners).
6) Other food products:
a) Modificated milk (tr. devam sütü): You can buy a modificated milk from standard European companies (Nutricia, Hipp, Humana)… The products of the Nutricia concern have the names: Aptamil (more expensive one) and Bebelac (a bit cheaper). I used to buy Aptamil, because my daughter really liked it in Poland (there Aptamil is called Bebilon). The one-kilo package cost us about 80 lira. I don’t know how it is in other countries, but we noticed a big difference between Turkish Aptamil and Polish Bebilon (which is a bit sweet and leaves a foam). Turkish Aptamil strongly smells like a fish 😉 It’s the result of increased amount of Omega3 acid responsible for the brain, bones and immunity development.
Important note: In Turkey the milk number 1 is intended for newborns and infants up to 6. months. Number 2 – six-nine months old. Number 3 – from ninth month to the first bithday. Number 4 – till the age of two. Children more than two years old drink the milk number 5.
If you go out of town with your baby, it’s worthy to buy small disposable packages with ready-made modified milk. The portions „for once” are produced by Aptamil and Pınar for each age range. Just heat it and it’s ready 🙂 For comparision – in Poland, single portions of milk are being sold in sachets with powder, but only for the first two “numbers”.
b) Porridges: The situation with porridges is similar to most of European countries – you can find them with the taste of fruit, bisquits, honey, yogurt… They are made by: Aptamil, Bebelac, Hipp and Hero. They all contain milk and they’re served in boxes. Bibi liked the most multifruit Aptamil porridge, but she didn’t like the pear one (I don’t remember the brand already). They cost between 6TL to 16TL.
c) Teas: The teas from Milupa brand are the most frequently seen on the store shelves: dill tea (rezene çayı), camomile tea (papatya çayı) and so-called „night tea” containing a mixture of sedative herbs (gece çayı). Bibi drinks them quite willingly. They’re aroung 14 TL. Sometimes, we can also see teas from well-known European companies such as Humana or Hipp.
d) Bisquits: I really like Turkish cookies! They aren’t too hard to bite, they have very pleasant, milky taste and they can be dissolved in milk 🙂 According to the information on package, they contain various vitamins and minerals. I have two favorite brands of bisquits from the Atatürk country. The first one is a cult brand Cici Bebe belonging to Eti corporation 🙂 Biscuits are sold in two versions. The cookies in a silver package (classical milky) can be already given to half a year old baby. The bisquits in a gold package are intended for babies from the eighth month and contain more grain. I’ve heard also about a banana version, but I’ve seen it only in the Internet 🙂 Cici Bebe is liked not only by children 😉 I and my Husband often buy the additional package just for us 😀 Furthermore, on the official webpage you can find the recipes you can use the mentioned cookies.
Recently, we have also another favorite company of Turkish cookies – Bebe from the Hunnap concern. The biscuits aren’t only made with whole grains, but also goat milk and very healthy carob were used in production.
7) Something for Moms 😉
Breastfeeding moms (especially newborn ones) know very well that natural feeding isn’t a piece of cake. Breast fullness, stasis, adenitis, lactation crisis… Don’t eat this, because it’s spicy, don’t eat that, cause it’s gassy (although more and more doctors are convinced, the diet of moms doesn’t have much to do with infantile colic). Honestly, the first months after delivery were very hard for me. Sometimes I couldn’t manage with changing nursery pads and sometimes I have an impression, it’s the end of breastfeeding, cause „there’s no milk”. I was trying to motivate my lactation with special supplements, but they were terribly sweet or tasteless. Moreover, for the first two months, whatever I ate, Bibi had stomachaches, so I was only eating light soups and mild poultry… I pretty much lost my weight afterwards.
Once upon a time my Husband brought me some mysterious cans of drinks from Turkey. They were neither carbonated drinks (I couldn’t drink them anyway), nor lactation supplements. They were vitamin drinks for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms (with the majority of B vitamins). Thanks to this Moms milk is even more valuable and she can drink something tasty and healthy.
Vita Momsare refreshing fruit drinks available exclusively in e-Bebek. You can buy two flavors of Vita Moms – mango with orange and strawberry with banana and apple. They’re around 2,5 lira. Promalt and Mami Power in turn, they have a delicate, slightly sweet taste. My favorite one is Promalt – it’s cheaper than Mami Power (for comparision – Promalt is about 3-4 lira and Mami Power 5-6 lira) and it’s less intensive.
8) Hygienic articles and pharmacy (tr. eczane):
“Pampers” in Turkey are called “Prima”. They’re quite inexpensive (the average price is 0,50TL per Active Baby diaper). You’ll pay even less, when you order it online. In many cases the delivery is for free. There are also swimming diapers available. About the rest of products such as baby wipes or cosmetics, you can find almost all the popular brands in reasonable prices (wipes are from 2 till 6 TL per package). Unlike in Poland, you can buy training pants in every chain store like e-Bebek or Joker. In my homeland I had to order them online.
Now I’ll talk about pharmacy. In case of teething you can easily buy Dentinox in any pharmacy. Turkish tube of gel is quite big (20 g) and cheap (10 TL). Pregnant women can buy folic acid for 3 lira. When Bibi got ill, we paid twice less for prescripted medicine, than in Poland. On the other hand, you must be prepared for slightly higher prices for vitamins, minerlas and Omega 3 acid (mostly improrted from the West anyway – like Children’s DHA).
By the way – do you remember famous Baby Float in which Bibi swam the Maltese sea? It’s been bought in Istanbul 🙂
And to sum up – what you’d better take to Turkey?
1) It doesn’t matter if you buy baby jars or you cook by yourself – take a few baby meals. As I’ve already mentioned, the choice in Turkey is very small and you’ll never know, when it can be useful.
2) Supplements you take or you give to your baby – in Turkish pharmacies they’re usually more expensive.
3) Although my Bibi has never had it before, many Europeans complain about stomach problems while holidays. That’s why take something against diarrhea for your baby.
4*) You can take a packaging of sun cream, but during vacation you’ll also have an opportunity to buy a good quality sun cosmetics in a reasonable price.
The next entry will be the continuation of the shopping plot, but will be strictly educational. I’ll write a little dictionary, you can use during shopping (many shop assistants in Istanbul don’t speak English).
Today I’m presenting you another article from the Istanbul plot. According to logic, I should rather publish the shopping post now, but as long as I still have a fresh information, I will write you our summary on the first visits to the children’s hair salon.
Many people are still surprised and ask, what’s the point of going with such a little baby to the hair salon. Bibi went to first time to the hairdresser straight after her first birthday in Istanbul. It was last July and that time in Turkey there was a very hot weather. Although she used to wear light, cotton clothes and she kept hygiene regurarly, my daughter was sweating very much. Her hair was sticky and her neck was covered with little acnes. Furthermore, bangs had begun to intrude on the eyes. We decided with my Husband – it’s the time for Bibi’s visit at the hairdresser. And Bibi’s haircut not only relieved her, but her hair became denser and stronger 🙂
From a range of children’s hair salons in Istanbul, we’ve chosen „Masal Çocuk Kuaförü”(we can translate it as: „Fairytale – the children’s hairdresser”) located in Maltepe district (Asian side). It’s led by Berkan Başo, who was previously specialized in women’s hairdressing. The hair salon is situated at Bağdat Street – where the life of the Anatolian side of Istanbul goes on around the clock 😉
FACILITIES: Before the first visit we had to wait a bit, because a boy a bit older than Bibi was being served that time. To avoid toddler’s boredom, there’s special playroom in the salon, where you can find a lot of toys. You have to take out your shoes at the entrance to keep the room clean. For babies, the salon offers already well-known armchairs in the form of a car.The steering wheel and other “functions” of the car make the toddler busy. You can also give them some toys from the shelves nearby. In extreme situations they have also small TV’s in the front of seats, so you can show some cartoons to them. While the hair cut of infants the hairdresser uses special razors. In my opinion it’s a good idea, because there’s actually no risk of hurting a baby, and also they shouldn’t get scared like in case of scissors. If the little customer has so-called „emergency situation”, you can always use a changing table, where the pads are changed regurarly.
THE SUMMARY OF THE VISIT:In case of infants, Mr Berkan treads them gently indeed. Bibi actually didn’t feel the hair cut takes place and even (as you can see on the main photo) she enjoyed this new experience 🙂 The Hairdresser asks parents, how the Toddler likes to be treated or if is afraid of anything (our Daughter is a bit afraid of hairdryer, but we managed). Mr Başo focuses on communication with customers – he wants to know our opinion before, but he also corrects expectations and explains, why eg. bangs should be cut in a different way. We wanted Bibi to have a comfortable hairstyle for summer, but we also didn’t want her to look like a boy. So the Hairdresser cut her bangs very lightly and cut her hair tightly in the back.He left the sidelocks and a little hair in front, because “otherwise she would have a boyish appearance”. She in the end got a trendy bob haircut. Bibi indeed looked very nice and girly after each visit 🙂There were no protruding individual hairs.The shading effect has stayed till today (although we visited the Masal salon the last time in the end of February). After each visit hair is getting thicker and stronger and sometimes light curls are formed on the front. The only thing I could complain about is that the bang has been cut too delicate. The hair of 1,5year old baby grows very fast and after a short time we had to cut the bangs again. Beside this, very positive.
PRICE: 50 TL(around 12 euro). It’s not the cheapest service for babies, I admit. But considering the final effect, equipment and the fact, we take Bibi time to time there, we were able pay for it.
If Mom wants to go to the hairdresser at the time as her Toddler, she doesn’t have to jump from one place to another. „Masal Çocuk Kuaförü”offers women’s haircut at the same price as well 🙂 (just reminding, the first specialization of Berkan Başo is female hairdressing).
If any of you had an opportunity to visit „Masal Çocuk Kuaförü” or wants to share experience with another Istanbul hair salon for children, feel free to comment the entry here or post on Facebook Fanpage 🙂
In the next article I’ll write about the shopping for babies in Turkish children’s stores and what can be the difference between European ones 😉 Let’s stay in touch!
As I’ve said recently, today I’m gonna write how you and your baby can be active in Istanbul. Did you do any sport during pregnancy or after the postpartum period? Great! Do you involve your little ones in exercises? Even better! So why give up on your holiday? If you go to Istanbul and you want to continue the physical activity with your babies, you’re in the right place 😉 Below you can see the places, where you can release endorphins in your “free time” with your babies 😉
However, many webpages are in Turkish, so I recommend you to read the little dictonary before:
Age of Toddler:
……ay – …… months old
…….yaş / yaşında – ……. years old
Days of the week:
hafta – week
pazartesi – Monday
salı – Tuesday
çarşamba – Wednesday
perşembe – Thursday
cuma – Friday
cumartesi – Saturday
pazar – Sunday
Other useful words:
dersler – classes
bireysel ders – individual lesson
tanıtım dersi – introductory lesson
grup dersleri – group classes
iletişim – contact
oyun – game
çocuk – child
anne – mom
şubeler – departments
(Kişibaşı)fiyat – price (per person)
doğum günü – Birthday
havuz – swimming pool
emzirme – breastfeeding
yüzme okulu – swimming school
a)My Gym – fitness club for little children with classes from the second month of life till the age of 13. It offers learning and playing in one. Trainings led there are directed to children alone or babies with mums. Furthermore, the club organizes birthday parties for little members 🙂 “My Gym” is situated in many locations in Istanbul and out of Istanbul. You can check the schedule in chosen location clicking on the tab “şubeler” (in English: departments) and typing the closest district. The class names are written in English. Some departments even lead several classes in this language.
b) Doum Mom & Baby Yoga – DOUM school has been established for yoga fans, who are expecting baby and for those who have recently given a birth to baby. There are three kinds of yoga classes: yoga for pregnant women, yoga for women after childbirth and also yoga for moms with babies. Moreover, you can find many different exercises there: pilates, breathing and meditation in pregnancy, massaging the baby… There is also a birth school and a lactation center.You can find out more about the program and fees on the English version of the official website. DOUM is located on the European side in the Sarıyer district on Emirgan Sokak (street) 16/1.
c) Swimming – there are plenty of swimming schools organizing classes for babies with their parents.
The most popular one is Aqua Tots. This school is situated in two districts: First one is the Etiler neighbourhood in European district called Beşiktaş (address: Seher Yıldızı Sokak 23). The other one is Göktürk in, also European, Eyüp district (address: Kayın Sokak 2). Babies can start learning to swim already in the sixth month of life.The school offers eight levels of teaching depending on the child’s age. Aqua Tots has the English version of the webpage. You can order a free trial lesson there.
Below I’m giving you information about other swimming schools (leading their websites only in Turkish).
First one isSensory Swimmers. It’s part of a school for parents and toddlers “Baby Sensory”. Classes are divided on three age groups: 1) from newborn till the age of one, 2) from 13th month till the age of two, 3) from 24 to 36 months. Classes take place in Asian district called Ataşehir (Barbaros Mahallesi) on Evren Cad. 56/A. “Baby Sensory” not only leads a swimming school, but also many educational programms for Toddlers and practical seminars for parents preparing for the best care for a baby, eg: sensory classes for infants and small children, preparation for potty training, seminar of effective baby sleepand even learning the infant “sign language”. Participants have the opportunity to take part in various events arranged by “Baby Sensory”, eg. holly days or Birthdays. Furthermore, you can also go to the lactation center there or order a professional photo session for your Star 🙂
Second swimming school is Aqua Babies, which is situated not only in Turkish cities, but also in the UK, Northern Cyprus, Thailand, Australia and in several European and Asian countries. Classes are directed for kids from the second month of life till the age of 5. They take place in the European district Bayrampaşa on 50. Yıl Cad. (street) 111. Third school is called Swimlabs. It organizes classes for toddlers with parents in two age levels: 1) 6-18 months old, 2) 18 months – 3 years old. Groups are up to three people. Three-year-olds can already start lessons for beginners just with teachers, without parents. Classes are taking place in the European side, in Beşiktaş district (Akatlar neighborhood) on Uğur Mumcu Cad. 8. It’s the building of Mustafa Kemal Culture Center Mall (tr. Mustafa Kemal Kültür Merkezi). And the last swimming complex organizing exercises for small children is called Dolphin Babies and it’s located in Asian district Üsküdar (address: Cumhuriyet Mah, Nurol Sokak 31). Classes for the first group of babies (0-15 months) take place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Second group (15 months – 2,5 years) can attend on Saturdays and Sundays. Third group “Toddlers” (3 – 4 years) has an opportunity to participate in swim classes on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You can see the details of schedule HERE.
Sometimes in the Internet you can find in older articles the mention of school „Swim Baby Türkiye”, which led classes for babies (also newborns) in two Istanbul locations. I just wanted to say here, that unfortunately, since 2017 this facility works only in Bodrum (info from the official website).
4) Dance – I don’t know what about you, but my Bibi is very musical🙂 She likes to dance and even create the songs from her babbling 😉 Most schools, however, organize dance classes for children from the age of four. If you’re currently in Istanbul and you want to dance, you can use two possibilities, even, if your child isn’t one year old yet. Both websitewebsites have their English versions.
First option is Joimove.It’s the international dance school founded by Selen Yılmaz. Classes are designed for mothers with babies in slings or baby carriages.You can learn different types of dance: salsa, bachata, belly dance, ballet, rock and others… Before class starts, moms take a part in a short seminar on the safe babywearing (the school has the reserve baby carriages if you don’t have yours). Moreover, Joimove provides water and snacks for participants and organizes various integration events. The minimum age of baby is 8 weeks (maximum is around 18 months). Before signing up for classes, they recommend a routine appointment with a gynecologist (most of the newly-minted mothers do this in the sixth week after delivery).Answers to the most bothering questions you can find onthe official website. Beside Istanbul, Joimove is situated in Izmir, Bursa and Antalya as well. Joimove works also in the United Kingdom, USA, Mexico and in many European and Asian countries. If you want to know more about the program and location, you can find the country and the city that interests you in the tabFind a class, and then click on the name of the selected instructor. You will find there an e-mail address or links to social mediathrough which you can contact directly.If the names of trainers in your country don’t have a link to the contact details, you can use the contact form.
The other option is Salon Sanat Music Together. This school is more focused on all musical activities than strictly dance (singing, dancing, playing instruments, movement activities). Classes are conducted in different age groups from newborns to age of five. Salon Sanat is located in two Istanbul districts. First one is Caddebostan on Asian side (address: Mustafa Reşit Belgesay sok. Aydınlık apt., No: 40/1). Second location is Beyoğlu on European side (address: Cihangir, Susam sok. 11/1). „Music Together” works also in Ankara (İncek district).
This article is dedicated not only to Moms who stopped with their children in the former Constantinople on holiday. I also highly recommend it to foreign wifes/girlfriends of Turks, who live with them and their children in Istanbul or decided to give a birth there… And there’re plenty of them. I spent most of my maternity leave in Turkey. I didn’t have so many friends there (almost all of them were singles), so I often felt lonely. Taking up some activities with your baby, you have this positive feeling, that you do something more than „only” babysitting – that you do something for yourself. Moreover, you meet some new people, with whom you have a lot of common topics to talk about 🙂
Next entry will be a bit unsual, because I will write about the children’s hairdressers in Istanbul 🙂 We already have experience with one hairdressing salon, so I’m going to review his services, so that you can read the article for the familiarization purposes afterwards 😉 I’ll also inform you about other available hairdressers for children in the city.
In the previous entry we talked about moving around Istanbul. We already got to know about the organizational issues, so now we should consider, where we can go with our Toddler 🙂 The season of visits to the former Constantinople has begunand I hear more and more questions on various discussion groups about places suitable for little children. Below we can see the destinations, that first came to my mind. Let’s start! 😉
1) Miniatürk: There is a place in Istanbul where you can see the whole of Turkey on just six hectares of land.Where you can visit all heritage of Turkish culture in a few hours. It’s „Miniatürk”. This miniature park isn’t only the “Must see” for every tourist, but also the great place for walks with babies. Exhibitions and simulations are properly secured. It’s full of greenery and there’s lots of space to run. And the most important thing – this park provides a lot of attractions for children, such as playground, labyrinth, tree telling fairy tales, or riding a choo-choo train 🙂
If you want to learn more about exposed monuments, you can use the audio system which provides information in many languages: Turkish, English, French, German, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, Japanese and Persian (Farsi).
As I’ve mentioned in the Maltese entry, Bibi is the biggest fan of aquariums and oceanariums 🙂 There are four aquariums in Istanbul: Sea Life (TurkuaZoo before), Istanbul Aquarium, ViaSea and the newest one – Emaar. The first two are on the European side. Last two – on Asian side. The cost of admission for adults starts from 40 TL (10 euro around). For an extra charge you can take a special photo (in every aquarium) or go to souvenir shop. My favorite one is definitely Istanbul Aquarium in Florya. It’s big and thematic – each room presents a completely different theme. I also liked the fact that you could dump digital photos onto a CD and you did not have to print them. I can also recommend Emaar – tour guides really engage in guiding guests and telling them interesting facts about underwater creatures 🙂
3) Istanbul parks:
Although Turks complain that Istanbul isn’t too green, the big plus is the large number of parks with playgrounds for children. I present my favorite ones – although those on the Asian side will be mentioned more because of my place of residence.
My number 1 on Asian side is definitely Göztepe 60. Yıl Parkı(which means „Göztepe 60th Year Park”). Its characteristic feature is the huge amount of flowers, especially roses, in every corner. That’s why offering walk to my Husband’s relatives I’m telling them to go to „Gül Parkı” (tr. gül – róża) 🙂 Furthermore, there’s a lot of space to run and play, aquarium in the middle and fountain show several times a day. Newies spend there around 1,5 h. From Göztepe Park there’s a short way to the Toy Museum (tr. İstanbul Oyuncak Müzesi).
I also like Özgürlük Park andFenerbahçe Park. First one is situated in Göztepe too. It’s well organized.We can not only count on beautiful views and lots of greenery, but we also have a basketball court, small gym or restaurant near the pond (I recommend going there for breakfast!). There’re also shops nearby. Fenerbahçe Park in turn is located by the seaside, that’s why you don’t have only the view of the sea provided, but you can also take a walk along the promenade. This place looks very romantic – there’s even a cafe called „Romantika” 🙂 A very nice seaside park is alsoMaltepe Sahil. Thanks to the large number of parking places places you can easily go there by car and not worry about a stopover. Beside playgrounds and benches, there are also several sport facilities, many coffee houses, restaurants and even Migros market nearby 😉
I can also recommend the botanic garden Nezahat Gökyiğit situated between Ataşehir and Ümraniye. This is a peaceful place, full of different species of plants. What’s different than other European botanic gardens is that you can enter Nezahat Gökyiğit for free.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have much experience with European side but I would like to introduce you parks I enjoyed. First one is Gülhane Park.It’s not called as the historical park without reason. This place is situated just beside Topkapı Palace. There’re plenty of museums around, and furthermore, it’s very close to the two most important monuments in the city – Aya Sofia and Blue Mosque Sultanahmet. The park itself is absolutely charming – it’s full of tulips and other flowers, alleys, sculptures, streams with fountains, benches… Just for the short relax in the heart of Istanbul. We shouldn’t be surprised, that was recognized as the most beautiful park in the former Constantinople. Another place I liked is the Sporcular Parkı in Levent. There’s lots of greenery, space to run and even a small cafe. There are several sports facilities around.
It’s worth noting, that in most of the parks and seaside promenades there’re regularly kept clean toilets. The fee is 1 Turkish lira (=0,25 euro) – you can use the coin or Istanbulkart mentioned in the previous blogpost 🙂 Each of them provides changing tables for inflants. And here I’m going to say the very imporant info – they are both on the women’s and men’s side! So Gentlemen – if it is your turn to change diapers, you can’t avoid it anymore 😉 Photos have been taken in Göztepe 60. Yıl Park.
4) Legoland: I have good news for Lego fans – in Istanbul near the SeaLife Aquarium, there’s a huge recreational complex Legoland where, for example, you can see the city in the block version 🙂 It seems, this is a place rather for bigger children, but Legoland is also friendly to the youngest travelers. There’re also many facilities for strollers and family restrooms where you can change diapers. Furthermore, already year-old children can practice their manual skills by playing (however, you should choose places with larger blocks).
5) And out of city?
There are four Princess Islands in the Anatolian part of Istanbul available for tourists: Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada i Kınalıada. I’ve visited two first islands and I think, that they are lovely places for a walk or a picnic. Most of Turks will tell you, the best way of sightseeing would be taking bike (in case of trip with toddler a bicycle seat is necessary, but I’m not sure, if renting companies provide them). The biggest advantage of islands is the opportunity to relax from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the nature – on the Princess Islands car traffic is highly limited, so on the roads you can see mostly bicycles and horse-drawn carriages. To get there from the city you need to use ferry, so-called vapur. It departs from Bostancı,Eminönü and Kadıköy.
You can also go to the nearby city of Darıca in the Izmit province. There’s a ZOO („Faruk Yalçın Hayvanat Bahçesi„). Children under the age of three enter for free. Discount tickets are 30 TL, adults pay 40 TL.
6) How about going shopping with baby?…
Generally, I don’t recommend going to shopping malls with an infant – especially to Turkish centres. At the entrance you’re exposed to radiation, because you go through the gates and your bags are x-rayed like at the airport. Shopping malls are big and noisy. But we all know… We often don’t have a choice. However, in the Asian district Ataşehir there’s a shopping centre, you can go with toddler in a peace – especially in nice weather. It’s Watergarden. The name of this complex is absolutely not accidental.The building is surrounded by a large network of fountains,where the show takes place every hour. You can watch it actually from every side, because most of shops has an exit to outside (you can see the movie from the performace HERE). Restaurants and cafes are located on the lowest level and have an outdoor area next to the water.There is a small playground on the roof. There’re a lot of shops there and an internal cafe directed to parents with children (however I miss a store like Joker or eBebek). At the lowest level near the parking area there’s the Migros market, where we have a wide range of products. Nursery rooms are clean and convenient. Near the mall we can visit a bazaar with organic products as well. And the very important thing – there’re no gates and screening machines at the entrance.
If you went to Istanbul with your bigger child, there’s Kidzania in Akasya shopping mall. It’s a place where children from the age of 4 can develop their hobbies and gain some practical skills 🙂 (unfortunately, Turkish website doesn’t have English version) The ticket for child costs 75 TL. If the parent accompanies them, the additional fee is 35 TL.
Moreover, all the Istanbul aquariums are located beside shopping malls, so if you need, you can go for quick shopping.
Istanbul is a dynamically developing city and new places are being established here all the time.If we visit another destination from Bibi, we’ll surely let you know on our blog 😉 In the next article I’ll write about the physical activities for moms and babies in Turkey.
In today’s entry I’ll talk about moving around Istanbul – I mean especially the way from the airport. Because we got to Istanbul and what’s then? We need to handle with it somehow 😀
Before I get to the main point, I want to remind you about buying e-visa for you and your toddlers before journey. The official website describes the whole process step by step and it’s available in many languages. Buying visa online is much better option than stucking in additional queues to get your visa at the airport.
There are many different transport companies in Istanbul, however I will mention here the one I used while traveling with Bibi. I highly recommend Bitransfer as an transportation from/to the airport. You can book a cab through the Internet according to the planned arrival time, choose the car and pay online in the end. For example (like in the attached picture) the way from the Atatürk Airport (Europe) to Göztepe (Asia) by Mercedes Vito is here 143 TRY per car (around 30 euro). I admit, it’s not the cheapest mean of transport, but I think, it’s worthy to use it traveling with baby.
Each car contains a baby-seat (which is hard to get in other taxis) – you can order additional one as well. This cab is perfect for a family of six. The rear windows are tinted, there’s air condition, and, in case of thirst, various drinks are available. The seats are really convenient! I confirm also the rest of described facilities 🙂 Although it’s written, you should get to your destination in around an hour, we got to Kadıköy after 20 minutes! It’s because of Avrasya Tunnel, through which cars quickly get to the other continent 🙂
I obviously realize, ordering Bitransfer everyday could make you a bancrupt. Standard taxis in Turkey are inexpensive and you don’t have to order them in advance. You can just stand beside the street and stop any available yellow car (mostly Fiat or Hyundai) 🙂 Unfortunately, they don’t guarantee baby-seats – baby below the age of one can simply use their own portable car seat, but with elder child it can be problem. Turks usually don’t care so much about it, because this case isn’t specifically sanctioned and kids often sit on parent’s lap. However, for foreign tourists it can be a discomfort. Another case we must pay attention on is, that taking a taxi to home/hotel… it’s better to know the way and show it to driver, preferably in Turkish (that’s why you must remember: “sağ – right”, “sol – left” and “düz – straight”) 😉
To move around Istanbul by public transportation you must obtain the Istanbulkart. You can buy it in specific points. I paid for it around 10 TL (2,50 euro). It’s the magnetic card, you firstly recharge with chosen amount in theBiletmatikmachine or in specific newsstands. Then, while entering the vehicle, you validate it in the special reader. HERE you can see the prices for the passage. In case of anonymous card (the one you can give later to someone else) the month ticket is 200 TL (50 euro), so it makes a sense, when you stay in Turkey more than two weeks. A bit cheaper (180 TL – 45 euro) is month ticket with MaviKart – but you need to give a little bit effort to make it and you must attach your photo as well, so it’s rather the option for regular visitors 😉 Btw. With Istanbulkart you can pay not only for transportation, but eg. for public toilet or parking area.
But firstly, how to get to the other continent? (Istanbul is situated in Europe and Asia) Marmaray – it’s the kind of subway going through the tunnel under the Bosporus strait. It departs approximately every 10 minutes.
Metrobus – a special fast bus going on the separate lane to the other continent, usually avoiding traffic jams (unless you cross the Boğazici Bridge at the Bosporus strait – there everyone goes slower). During day metrobus comes approximately every 3 minutes. During night – every half an hour/ one hour (and it’s usually crowded). Btw. In case you go by Metrobus up to three stations, you can be given back a part of the fee putting your Istanbulkart onto the reader at the exit.
Vapur – the ferry departing every 20 minutes. On the Asian side you can enter vapur at the harbors in Kadıköy, Üsküdar and Bostancı. On the European side you can catch the ferry in Beşiktaş, Eminönü and Karaköy. The average length of journey is 20-30 minutes. For me it’s the most pleasant mean of transport in Istanbul 🙂
Atatürk Airport (Europe)
The place you can buy Istanbulkart is situated at the “Atatürk Airport” (tr. Atatürk Havalimani) metro station. If your place of residence is at the Asian side, the most reasonable solution would be exiting the terminal station called “Yenikapı” and change to Marmaray. Then you exit in the closest station to your house/hotel or where you have a direct connection.
Sabiha Gökçen Airport (Asia)
You can buy Istanbulkart in the newsstand by exit at the departures zone. This airport doesn’t have an access to subway (however, I heard, it should change soon), but there are plenty of buses going to many destinations. There are standard buses (with numbers on the front or “SG” letters) and also fast, but more expensive ones (with letter E in the beginning). To go directly to the European side you can take the express bus E-3 (terminal station – 4. Levent Metro), standard 122H bus ( 4. Levent Metro as well) or SG-2 (going even further, to Taksim, but the mentioned station Levent is on the way). All the written terminal stations have the access to subway. Another option is taking bus number 16S going to the station called Metrobus Uzunçayır (still in Asia) and then entering the mentioned metrobus. However, I don’t recommend this mean of transport at rush hours (between 7:00-9:00AM and around 3:00PM), because they’re very crowded then.
The full maps of subway, Marmaray, trams and Metrobus together you can find HERE
Today I am going to start the Turkish plot, or actually Istanbul. I will write at least a few blogposts about Turkey, because Bibi has her second family there, that’s why we go there quite often. In this case I can say a little bit more about this country 🙂
I will start from the very important topic – e-visa. Citizens of many states don’t have to go to embassy – they can quickly buy e-visa online. You just need to enter https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ , fill the form, pay 20 USD per person (children, infants included, need to have their own e-visa according to personal data in their passport) and then print the visa or download it to smartphone or tablet. The webpage is available in many language versions. You can obviously buy a visa at the airport, but you will pay more and stay longer in the queues. Atatürk Airport is enough crowded, so why should we provide more stress to our Toddlers?
How to get to Istanbul with a baby? When I was a student and I didn’t want my Parents to pay for my flight ticket, I was often wondering with my friends going abroad (Erasmus, AIESEC projects, visiting boyfriend or close friends) how to get there in the cheapest way: trains and buses with changes, flights from Ukraine… and the brave ones were taking hitch-hike. In case of voyages to Turkey with baby only airplane actually can be considered (unless you live in the neighboring country). Because how can we imagine going with toddler by bus more than 24 hours? Or multiple train changes? Or waving your thumb with baby carrier along the road? Well, not really 🙂 But no worries, you can go to Istanbul with baby without going bankrupt 🙂
Below I have written the airlines I used with Bibi departing from Warsaw. In the end I’ll show you another options, though podium is the most recommended by me 🙂
1) Turkish Airlines – it was always my airline number one, but I wasn’t always able to buy tickets for them. If you plan your journey earlier, you’ll be possibly able to book a flight for 200 euro/round ticket. Prices, however, most often range between 300 and 450 euro. Turkish airlines have plenty of advantages. Firstly, the flight is direct, so the journey is much faster. Secondly, the price of ticket involves a hot meal, which is quite important for breastfeeding women. Thirdly, many facilities are provided here (convenient seats, tablet for watching movies and listening to music, more restrooms with changing tables). Furthermore, last times cabin crew was giving baby jars with fruits or vegetables, which obviously can be useful 🙂 Sometimes we could also get children’s newsletters.
2) LOT – another airline with flights to Turkey and actually almost everywhere 🙂 Our national air carrier maybe isn’t the cheapest, but it offers various discounts (last time you could buy a round ticket from Warsaw to Istanbul for 150 euro). Usually the prices are starting from 250 euro, so it’s a bit cheaper than „Turkish Airlines”. Short time ago they didn’t provide any gadgets for babies, but during the last flight Bibi received coloring pages with pencils 🙂 Tea, coffee and water are for free, but food isn’t. Fortunately, the price for a hot meal (chicken breast in cheese sauce with gnocchi and green bean) is quite inexpensive – I paid 3 euro, which is less than for sandwich 😛 Fruit tubes for kids cost 1,5 euro.
3) AEGEAN – Greek airline I used while flying the first time with Bibi to Istanbul. I had a transfer in Athens waiting two hours between flights (this airport is so big, it’s easy to get lost). The advantages are: affordable prices (usually less than 250 euro for round ticket), hot meals included, kind and helpful stewardesses and also a little package of baby wipes and a car sticker 😀
What else can you fly with? In search engines you can also find Lufthansa with transfer in Germany. However, I haven’t used this air carrier yet. When I fly with this ariline, I will write a separate post about it 🙂
You can also use the Turkish low-cost PEGASUS. The price of a standard ticket involves a registered luggage up to 20 kg and you can get to Istanbul directly from Germany, France, Ukraine or Prague (not from Poland unfortunately 😉 ). But don’t expect the facilities like in the first three mentioned airlines. Like in UIA, you can consider this option when you need to concern on your budget.
If the flights are illogically expensive, the last option is taking a charter flight to Antalya and then catching a direct plane to Istanbul (probably with mentioned Pegasus airline).
From 2014 till 2016 quite nice airline called Air Serbia used to fly to Istanbul. The flight was inexpensive, waiting time during transfer in Belgrad wasn’t long and on board sandwiches, cookies and chosen drinks were provided. Cabin crew was always nice and willing to help with babies. Unfortunately, they don’t fly to Turkey anymore 😦 I hope, these connections will be returned one day.
Next entry will be about moving around Istanbul, which is definitely book-size topic 😉 Stay with us!