I've done a bit of research on Istanbul, including some extremely helpful posts elsewhere in this forum.
This thread was particularly awesome and answered many of my questions: (tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293974-i368-k3663…)
However, I still have a few technicalities I want to work out.
My plane arrives in Istanbul at 2:15pm on a Friday in mid-July, am I safe to assume that I can be in Sultanahmet by 4pm by using Metro/Tram?
I'll be staying at the Blue House Hotel there. I have plans for the evening starting at 7:30pm, so I presume to drop my stuff in the room and have 3 hours to do quick sightseeing.
I plan to see:
1. Blue Mosque (any idea what time it would be closed for prayer on a Friday in Mid-July?)
2. Aya Sofia
From what I understand these are relatively close together and can be done in 3 hours. I figure 45min each for Mosque and Cistern and 90 min for the Church (including all the walking to/fro). I'm not a history freak, so I more prefer to soak in the atmosphere and the beauty without diving too deep.
In the evening I hope to see the Whirling Dervishes 7:30 at Hodjapasha Art & Culture Center and then have dinner at Asitane Restaurant nearby and head back to the Hotel. Should I ask my hotel to get my a ticket and restaurant reservation ahead of time or is there a better way?
My main issue is with the next morning. My plane (going to Antalya) leaves at 3pm, so I'm assuming I need to be back at my hotel and ready to check-out by noon or so.
My options for the morning are to take a short Bosphorus cruise or to do more sightseeing on foot - Topkapi Palace & Bazaar or Spice Market.
What would you recommend? I'm rather partial to a cruise myself, but not 100% sure it's doable.
Does anyone know of any cruises/boat trips that leave very early in the morning? Most options I've seen leave rather late (and come back late).
Also, is there anything interesting (and safe) to be done after 11pm on my first night? I am not interested in "nightlife" in the typical sense, but if there is anything culturally interesting (and public) (It is a summer friday night after all).
Thanks for any input.