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Sundays in Istanbul ?

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Edinburgh, United...
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Sundays in Istanbul ?

Hi folks

A bit advice required please (1st time visitor).....

My trip this weekend lasts from late Friday afternoon until Tuesday lunchtime, so really only 3 full days.

I planned to have a full day sightseeing in Sultanahmet on the Saturday (yes, I know it will be extremely busy ;0)). As time does not permit a rest day I am looking for some advice on how best to utilise our time on the Sunday.

We hope to do a Bosphorous boat trip, but are unsure which would be the most interesting and varied(2-4 hours maximum). Is it a good idea to do a boat trip on the Sunday or if it is very busy at the weekend, would it be better to leave this until the Monday ?

I presume the Grand Bazaar is closed on the Sunday, so our plan was to visit there on the Monday as well as head over to Istiklal,Beyoglu area and the Galata Tower (we will be spending one evening in Beyoglu also).

Any advice would be appreciated greatly

Kind regards

Iain

Dubai, United Arab...
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1. Re: Sundays in Istanbul ?

Ortakoy is a good option they have a lovely Sunday Market there. you could take the tram to Kabatash or Eminonou. From there we took a taxi, we bargained for him to first take us by cab on the Bosphorous bridge. Cost us about Euro 30. Amazing experience, crossing from Europe to Asia in minutes. He stopped on the Asia side so we got some stunning pictures and crossed the bridge again to get back to Europe side and he dropped us at Ortakoy.

Or You could just get a cab to drop you at Ortakoy.

Lots of nice things to buy at the market. Loads of lovely resturants, and the most stunning views of the Bosphorous Bridge. The beautiful Ortakoy mosque is situated along the water, and they allow guests to view the inside as well.

The highlight is the Kumpur which they sell, its a baked patotoe filled with all kinds of stuffing, you can choose, or the delicious crepes with chooolate or fresh fruit fillings, or both.

People normally buy these and sit along the benches to take in the stunning views. A MUST DO experience.

They also offer short cruises from Ortakoy Pier- 45 mins, we did the sunset one.

Great. got the most stunning pictures

Good luck hope this helps.

Edinburgh, United...
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2. Re: Sundays in Istanbul ?

Thanks

Ortakoy sounds like a nice experience, may try to fit this in....

Iain

Berlin
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3. Re: Sundays in Istanbul ?

We were in Istanbul recently for a few days including the weekend. What we did on Sunday was to take a ferry from Eminönü across to Üsküdar ( about 20 minutes) - where we wandered a bit, visiting a couple of mosques and a small market area. Then another ferry back across to Kabatas. Ferries seem very frequent and are cheap ( 1. 50 lira). We also wanted to go to Ortaköy and were considering a taxi when a bus drew up with Ortköy on it - so we got it in. Again it only cost 1.50 lira and the journey is about 5 minutes. Ortaköy is a delight - beautiful mosque, a good street market and wonderul close up views of the Boshporus Bridge. We walked into the town a bit and found an excellent restaurant and much cheaper that those near the water. You can get a bus all the way back to Eminönü - can't remember the number. Alternatively - you can get off at Kabatas and take the underground up to Taksim Square. From there you can walk along Itaklal Cadessi and have tea in one of the fantastic patisseries (not cheap - but worth it). Have fun!

Douglas

Belfast, United...
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4. Re: Sundays in Istanbul ?

We also visited the market in Ortakoy. It was pleasant, but not very big, mostly selling jewellry and bags. My daughters thought it was more expensive than in the city. The mosque, view and atmosphere is good.

After the market you can go to Yildiz Park a short distace by taxi. This is really good on a Sunday. The local families are at the park with their hammocks. You can visit the palace and pavillion.

I have a more detailed review of Yildiz Park on this site.

London
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5. Re: Sundays in Istanbul ?

Hello,

I just returned back from Istanbul- from a lovely week trip.

On sundays you may find that most of the shops are closed- however I could recommend you take a boat to princess island- Buyukuda!

This is a lovely trip by boat from Kabatas(take tram from eminono or sultanahmet to Kabatas).

The journey takes about 1.20mins each way by a huge boat- which stops at different stops/ Islands first. However, Buyukada-the biggest Island, which is the last stop.

In Buyukada, there are several lovely shops, restaurants and also a beach. It would also be a good idea to hire a horse cart for 1/2 hrs for about 50 Lira in total- and take a trip around the Island going through the quite roads, hills and on top of the mountain where you can rest for a nice Turkish tea!

This was a very good trip and tickets costs something like 3 Lira pp each way.

Boat could depart at around 11am and there are different times for the return boat- we chose the after 5pm return.

Have a nice time in Istanbul.

Oh, if you are a coffee lover- try Kahve Dunyasi in Sultanahmet near Grand Bazaar- Highly recommended!! A fantastic cafe!

Mount Dora, Florida
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6. Re: Sundays in Istanbul ?

The Bosphorus Ferry trip is very pleasant, but may be quite crowded on a Sunday. Often the residents of Istanbul spend a warm Sunday on the water. I am not sure I would spend one day on the Bosphorus if I had only three days; although it is a very unique experience.

Other places, however, will also be crowded on Sunday. We enjoy spending a portion of Sunday in Ortakoy. I am not exceptionally impressed by the Sunday Market. It is mostly craft items and cheap jewelry, but the food stalls are fun, and there is a festive air. I am not sure what impact Ramazan has on Ortakoy. We did not visit during this period of time.

Istiklal is very lively on a Sunday. It is not so busy that you have trouble finding a table for a meal, but there are plenty of people to watch.

While the bazaars are closed, Topkapi, Aya Sofya, the museums and most other tourists attractions are open. These would also be alternatives for you.

Be sure to visit the Hippodrome after sunset. This normally quiet place is alive with food booths, craft booths, street artists and hundreds of Turkish families enjoying the evening. It is the thing I would certainly do if I were going to be in Istanbul this week-end.

Chicago
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7. Re: Sundays in Istanbul ?

Istanbul isn't Paris or Rome. Sundays aren't the same in Turkey as they are in in Western Europe.

Edinburgh, United...
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8. Re: Sundays in Istanbul ?

B-R.

Your comments about the Hippodrome were certainly very true for last night (Saturday). A hive of activity, fabulous atmosphere, Whirling Dervish acts, marching bands, live music. Very enjoyable !

We have decided to visit the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia today, then spend some time in Gulhane Park. Boat trip planned for Monday morning then up to Istiklal and Galata later in the day.

Istanbul truly is a wonderful city.

Thanks to all for your advice

Iain

Cincinnati, Ohio
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9. Re: Sundays in Istanbul ?

Iain, how lovely to hear from a satisfied tourist on the spot in real time. Glad you are having a lovely visit; keep enjoying!

Mount Dora, Florida
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10. Re: Sundays in Istanbul ?

So glad to know that you enjoyed the Hippodrome. It is truly a unique experience. I know you will enjoy your day on the Bosphorus as well. Thanks for sharing with us as you travel. We love to get trip reports in real time.