Kerem Aris & Merve Parnas

  • Newlyweds
  • aesthetes
  • adventure seekers

Kerem and Merve love to go adventuring, both in nature and in big cities. Istanbul is their beloved home base.

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Our 24 Hours in Istanbul

One of our favourite districts in Istanbul is Beyoglu, which includes the magnificent Taksim Square and the neighbourhoods Cihangir, Karaköy, Asmalımescit and Galata, the heart of the city. We especially love these areas because you can encounter a mosaic of people from every sociocultural milieu, there is something happening at any hour of the day, and there are so many places to eat, drink, and party. Especially Galata is where we like to visit design shops and cafés. Lately the Topagaci area in Nisantasi has become very popular for dining, having drinks or coffee. An abundance of little cafés, restaurants and pubs have opened their doors in recent years.

Get going with some first-rate coffee from Federal Coffee in Galata. It is our favourite place for coffee, as well as for the stylish interior design and the lovely outdoor seating. The small but welcoming café Kronotrop in the Cihangir neighbourhood is another place to enjoy a decent cup of coffee. M.O.C coffee shop, located in Topagaci, in the Nisantasi district, is also high on our list, and for good reason. They are the best cold brew coffee makers in town and the shop is a nice place to sit down and get some work done. And when you get tired of looking at your computer screen, you can go upstairs to their tiny library and grab  yourself a book to read for a little timeout.

The House Café is another great breakfast place. Not only do they have an appetising menu for every hour of the day, they’ve also decorated beautifully. On the Anatolian side of Istanbul you have Drip Coffeeist, which employs some very unusual brewing methods. They also serve tasty cakes and other treats.

Your next stop should definitely be the Istanbul Modern Museum, a contemporary art museum that showcases permanent collections alongside some highly interesting temporary exhibitions. There is also a large number of art galleries and museums around the Taksim area and the whole Nisantasi neighbourhood, all of which are worth seeing.

When lunchtime rolls around, we recommend getting yourself something that doesn’t take up too much time, as there is still so much to see and do. If you happen to be near the historical centre of Istanbul, head to Filibe Koftecisi (in Sirkeci) for the best meatballs in Istanbul. Next to this place, in the same street, there are many more excellent places to have lunch. For a genuine local kebab experience try Kasap Osman and for ‘pide’ try Hocapasa Pide. For a delicious and juicy burger, Virginia Angus in Nisantasi is the place to go.

After lunch, you might want to do some shopping. Head to Galata or Karaköy and have a look inside the store 290sqm, an Amsterdam-based label that carries unique casual streetwear with a special twist (for him and her). If you’re into interior design, make sure to stop by the design store Archive, which has an amazing selection of innovative design furniture and interior accessories. In the same vein, Gallery Rooms offers some fantastic pieces of art with which to spruce up your own home. And go check out Bey Karaköy—this new hot spot is a must-visit for stylish men. If you’re still up for some shopping after all these, head to the district of Nisantasi, where you can get your hands on high-end fashion and extraordinary designer items at Vakkorama, V2K designers, and Beymen.

Have your afternoon tea in the beautiful setting of the Swissotel while enjoying the incredible view over the Bosporus from their rooftop terrace. This centrally located five-star property is set inside a huge garden and also has a fantastic spa. Bankerhan Hotel, The Sofa Hotel, Witt Istanbul Hotel and The House Hotel are also some exceptional places to stay while in Istanbul.

For an awesome dinner there are quite a few options worth considering. There’s Koço, a fish restaurant in Moda where you can watch a beautiful sunset, drink a glass of raki, and enjoy superb seafood. Adana Ocakbasi is a small but nonetheless delightful kebab restaurant and so is Sanda Tiryaki Ocakbasi, located in the charming Arnavutköy area near the Bosporus. Yeni Lokanta serves typical Turkish food with a modern sensibility; it’s an accomplished fusion of traditional cuisine and contemporary influences. Ferah Feza in Karaköy feels a little posh, which doesn’t however stop it from being a very special restaurant, owing to its incredible menu and the magnificent view over the Bosporus. Asmali Cavit is a more traditional place, a so-called ‘meyhane’, with traditional, tasty Turkish meze. Do not forget to drink their raki, of course. Karaköy Lokantasi is another authentic Turkish restaurant with wonderful seafood. Lastly, you’ll find more Turkish delights—including the best cooked lamb and kebabs—at Ciya Sofrasi, in Kadiköy.

If the raki hasn’t knocked you off your feet yet, have an after-dinner drink at Colonie in Karaköy. This venue has a very cool interior and a well-stocked bar. You absolutely must stop by Off Pera at some point during the night; they play some great music and the small space has a lovely laid-back vibe. If you really want to go hard, check out Klein or Kloster, where you can dance the entire night away. On warm summer nights, Nupera’s rooftop is especially delightful with its view of the Golden Horn. Mitte in Karaköy is another fine place for a fun night out in Istanbul. The neighbourhood of Arnavutköy has recently become popular for its nightlife as well. Two favourite bars of ours are Luzia and Alexandra, two places where you can enjoy some outstanding cocktails.

Whenever we feel like escaping the urban chaos, we head to the island of Burgazada, a short ride away on the ferry. It’s one of our favourite places for a weekend getaway, to recharge our batteries for vibrant life in Istanbul.


Taksim SquareTaksim, Beyoğlu, Türkei

This is considered to be the heart of modern Istanbul.
KronotropKuloğlu Mh., Firuzağa Cami Sokak No:2, Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Türkei

Excellent coffee in a chill atmosphere.
M.O.C IstanbulTeşvikiye, Şakayık Sokağı No:3, 34365 Şişli/İstanbul, Türkei

Nice place to hang out and read a book.
Drip CoffeeistSuadiye, Noter Sk. No:15, 34740 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Türkei

Special coffee brewing methods on the Anatolian side of Istanbul.
Istanbul Modern MuseumKılıçali Paşa, TDİ AŞ Yönetim Kurulu Başkanlığı, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

Always has a good exhibition or two showing.
290 Square MetersŞahkulu, Serdar-ı Ekrem Cd. No:31, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

The founder of this Dutch label, Ido de Voos, has an eye for stylish designs.
Bey KaraköyKemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Mumhane Cd. No:56, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

Scandinavian and Europe-inspired menswear made by local designers.
VakkoramaHarbiye, Abdi İpekçi Cd. No:33, 34367 Şişli/İstanbul, Türkei

Cool, young fashion!
V2K designersHarbiye, Abdi İpekçi Cd. 27A, 34367 Şişli/İstanbul, Türkei

From chic to casual, they have something for everybody.
BeymenHarbiye, Abdi İpekçi Cd. No:25, 34367 Şişli/İstanbul, Türkei

They offer more than 400 designer brands in this store.
Adana OcakbasiBozkurt, Bay Sungur Sk. No:4, 34375 Şişli/İstanbul, Türkei

A great kebab restaurant with a large open grill.
Virginia AngusHalaskargazi, Kuyumcu İrfan Sk. 8-10, 34371 Şişli/İstanbul, Türkei

Mouth-watering burgers.
SwissotelVişnezade Mh., Acısu Sokaği No:17, 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Türkei

A lovely hotel with a great terrace that has a view of the Bosporus.
The Sofa HotelHarbiye, Teşvikiye Cd. No:41, 34367 Şişli/İstanbul, Türkei

A design hotel in an unbeatable location.
Witt Istanbul HotelKılıçali Paşa, Defterdar Ykş. No:26, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

Comfortable, stylish rooms near the water. Located in a very hip neighbourhood.
The House HotelFiruzağa, Bostanbaşı Cd. No:16, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

Great hospitality and a luxurious interior.
KoçoCaferağa, Moda Cd. No:265, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Türkei

A superb fish restaurant with a large outdoor area.
FilibeHoca Paşa, Hoca Paşa Sk. No:5, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkei

Don’t dismiss this place because of its looks; the food is great (especially the meatballs)!
Ferah FezaKemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Kemankeş Cd. No:31, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

A great restaurant with an even better view. Perfect for fine dining!
Asmali CavitAsmalı Mescit, Asmalı Mescit Cd. No:16, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

A ‘meyhane’ is a typical Turkish restaurant. Very cozy, small menu.
Karaköy LokantasiKemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Kemankeş Cd. No:37, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

Delicious Turkish cuisine in a delightful setting.
ColonieKemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Kemankeş Cd. No:85, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

A stylish restaurant, with excellent drinks and DJs on weekends.
Off PeraŞht. Muhtar, Sakız Ağacı Cd. No:8, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

A tiny little place with a fantastic vibe and good music to dance to.
NuperaAsmalı Mescit, Meşrutiyet Cd. 73-75, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

A wonderful rooftop bar where you can have a sundowner and enjoy an incredible view over the old city of Istanbul.
BurgazadaBurgazada, Adalar, Burgazadası Mahallesi, Türkei

Tired of the city? Head to the wonderful island of Burgazada and take some time off.
Ciya SofrasiCaferağa, Güneşli Bahçe Sk. No:50, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Türkei

This typical turkish restaurant is the big brother of Ciya Kebab and Ciya Kebab 2, which are located on the same street.
NisantasiErgenekon, Dolapdere Cd. No:124, 34373 Şişli/İstanbul, Türkei

Especially the Topagaci area is full of terrific restaurants, cafés and bars in the neighbourhood Nisantasi.
Federal CoffeeIstanbul, Şahkulu, Küçük Hendek Caddesi No:7, Beyoğlu, Türkei

Enjoy an outstanding cup of coffee in this vibrant district.
The House CaféAsmalı Mescit, General Yazgan Sk. No:8, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

The House Café has several branches throughout the city and they do everything—breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner. We love to go here for breakfast especially.
ArchiveŞahkulu Mahallesi, Serdar-ı Ekrem Caddesi No:19, Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Türkei

Pop in the design store Archive and marvel at their cool interior design pieces.
Gallery RoomsTomtom, Kaymakam Reşat Bey Sk. No 38, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

There’s a lot fantastic art to be had at the Gallery Rooms—pimp your living room!
Kasap OsmanHoca Paşa, İbni Kemal Cd. No:52, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Türkei

An authentic and delicious kebab experience. Enjoy!
Hocapasa PideHoca Paşa Mahallesi, Hocapaşa Pidecisi, Fatih/Istanbul, Türkei

Pide is a typical turkish flatbread, mostly filled with different vegetables, meat or cheese.
Bankerhan HotelBereketzade, Banker Sk. No:2, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

A very centrally located hotel. From here you can already explore a lot by foot!
Sanda Tiryaki OcakbasiKuruçeşme, İmar Sitesi, 34345 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Türkei

This restaurant serves marvellous Turkish cuisine. In the summer you can enjoy their delicacies outside on the terrace, with a wonderful view over the Bosporus.
Yeni LokantaTomtom, Kumbaracı Ykş. No:66, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

This beautiful little restaurant serves delectable, traditional cuisine with contemporary influences.
KlosterHüseyinağa, Kamer Hatun Cd. No:3, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

Dance to the Minimal and Techno at this hip club.
KleinErgenekon, Cebel Topu Sk. No:4, 34373 Şişli/İstanbul, Türkei

Go deep at this fantastic deep house music club. Coming here is always a pleasure!
LuziaArnavutköy Mahallesi, Bebek Arnavutköy Caddesi No:64, Beşiktaş/Istanbul, Türkei

Don’t be frightened by the huge marble lion roaring at you when you enter this cool cocktail bar.
AlexandraArnavutköy, Bebek Arnavutköy Cd No:50, 34345 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Türkei

This district has come to life recently and one cool bar after another is opening up. Full of noteworthy hot spots, such as the Alexandra bar!
MitteKemankeş Karamustafa Paşa, Baş Cerrah Sk. No:1, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkei

The perfect place to have an excellent dinner and fantastic drinks in a very hip and laid-back setting. The name is obviously inspired by the Berlin district Mitte where the owner lived for a few years.
‘Life is a funny puzzle.’
  • The city of Istanbul, our home.
  • Enjoy our Istanbul guide!
  • A map of Istanbul; the Bosporus divides the city into two parts.
  • Turkish spices are a great little souvenir to take back home.
  • The House Café is a lovely, stylish place to eat.
  • The symbol of the Turkish flag.
  • Have your afternoon tea at the Swissotel.
  • These beautiful lanterns are typical of Asian culture.
  • The Sultan-Ahmed Mosque is also known as the Blue Mosque because of the beautiful blue tiling on its roof.
  • The best moment of the day can happen at any second—be ready for it!
  • Pomegranates from Turkey are the best vitamin boost there is, and you can buy them on every street corner.
  • The thee restaurants Ciya Sofrasi, Ciya Kebap 2, Ciya Kebap are close to each other and offer great Turkish cuisine.
  • The Hagia Sophia used to be a church, then a mosque, but today it is a museum.
  • The Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia by night.

Our thoughts about Istanbul

What do you love about your destination?

Cultural diversity and dynamism.

Which music fits best to your destination?

The music changes with the tempo of the day. The morning starts out with easygoing tunes, work is accompanied by jazz, and the day ends with heavy beats.

My brand Uniqka offers handmade pieces, natural materials, and individual design.
Istanbul is a city of contrasts and fascinating combinations.
Take a break from touring the city. 😌
Typical turkish delights—heaven for every sweet tooth.
Traditional Turkish tiling patterns.

Take a vacation into Our life

What’s your background?

We were both born, raised, and schooled in Istanbul. Kerem lived and worked in Amsterdam for five years before coming back. We got married in 2015 and now live happily ever after here. 😉

What is the best moment of the day?

It can be any second where you make the most of the day. Early morning sunshine is priceless—it gives you a fresh, positive energy in life, while a new day, a new adventure is just beginning.

What inspires you?

People, who are trying to improve the quality of life.
Nature, with its silent beauty.
Cities, with a vibrant atmosphere that keeps you running 24 hours.
Art, in all forms.
Music, depending on your current mood.

How would a good friend describe you?

Positive, active, talkative, with a sense of humour, sometimes ADHD, always on the road.

Your lifestyle in 5 words?

Sunny, urban, artful, partying, eating (very important!).

Which books, newspapers or magazines do you read?

Some authors: Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, Chuck Palahniuk.
Some magazines: Wallpaper, Time Out, Vogue, Dwell, Kinfolk.
We’re not loyal to any one newspaper. We mainly follow the news online.

Which films blow your mind?

Series: Game of Thrones, Vikings, Breaking Bad, Bron, Black Mirror, Entourage.
Fİlms: Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson movies, Green Butchers, Trainspotting, I Origins, Soulkitchen, Ratatouille.

Person you’d like to sit next to in an airplane?

Next to each other, because we love sleeping in aeroplanes.

What are your favourite destinations around the globe?

Amsterdam, Bruges, Barcelona, Berlin, London, New York, and Istanbul.

Your life philosophy?

Hedonistic but cautious.

Suitcase, Backpack or Weekender?

Mostly weekenders, sometimes a suitcase.

What else should we know about you?

We are animal lovers, we live with our cat Felix.

Travelling is…

escaping, meeting, discovering, learning, tasting, experiencing.

Life is…

a funny puzzle.


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