Overlooking the Golden Horn, beyond Sultanahmet and its waves of tourists, nestle the historic neighbourhoods of Fener and Zeyrek. They are close enough to each other that you can explore both of them by foot in an afternoon.
Start in Zeyrek, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its authentic wooden houses. These buildings are among the oldest in the city, with some konaks, homes dating back to the Ottoman Empire. Scattered in the steep streets and long abandoned, they are currently being restored. A little further along, you come cross the square of the Old Women's Market, a lively spot with many food shops.
Head next towards the Fatih district, where the historic neighbourhood of Fener is located. Here, in these very picturesque and charming streets, you will find historic houses of wood, numerous Orthodox churches, and synagogues. Formerly populated by Fanariots, descendants of the Byzantine aristocracy, it is now a modest and quaint district, where children play in the streets and fishermen conduct business.