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Istanbul 3 nights

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Istanbul 3 nights

Thinking about staying 3 nights in Istanbul late May or 1st of June. Is this a good walking town to see sites and where is the best place to stay.

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Istanbul 3 nights


I was in Istanbul recently, and although it is kinda chilly, I enjoyed walking around the city. Everything is within walking distance, especially if you stay in the Sultanahmet area. We stayed in Ottoman Imperial Hotel, which was right in front of Hagia Sophia, but around two minutes walk from the entrance.

Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, and Basilica Cistern are both right around the corner from Hagia Sophia. Grand Bazaar should be around 20 - 30 minutes walk from the hotel, while Sirkeci/Spice Bazaar/Galata should take you around 30 minutes as well. It may sound "far", but I think walking around is the way to see the city thoroughly. I even walked from Sultanahmet to Istiklal Street/Taksim Square (40 - 60 minutes), and I enjoyed it so much, as there's so much to see!

I recommend you check out Hagia Sophia/Topkapi Palace/Blue Mosque/Basilica Cistern/Grand Bazaar (if possible) for Day 1. Then, walk from Sultanahmet to Sirkeci -> Spice Bazaar -> Galata Bridge -> Istiklal -> Taksim on Day 2.

If that sounds like too much walking, maybe you should take the tram. There is a tram stop at Sultanahmet, and it can take you to Grand Bazaar area and Sirkeci area. Maybe it can take you as far as Taksim Square, but you may want to confirm that with locals, like Enigma.

So, you should definitely book a hotel in Sultanahmet area.

Houston, Texas
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2. Re: Istanbul 3 nights

Hi Ibark.

Carmela covered just about what you can squeeze into 3 days, but I have one more suggestion that was the highlight of my two trips to Istanbul.

You should take the 1.5 hour Bosphorus cruise from Eminonou area.. It offers all the local color of the piers, fishermen, ferry crossings, seagulls and a great mix of international faces. It shows Istanbul from a totally different perspective and covers much history as it scoots past mosques, mansions, summer homes, palaces, fortresses. Up the European side one way and back staying closer to the Asian side, you may also encounter pleasure craft, cruise ships, cargo and navy warships and marvel at the criss-crossing precision of the ferry system.

It would most easily be done on a day you have planned for the Spice Bazaar as it is within walking distance.

The guide book I feel best fits your needs is the Rick Steves ISTANBUL. It breaks down most areas into WALKS. A day or two reviewing which sounds most appealing to your agenda, and you'll save lots of time and shoe leather and is pretty thorough in regards to what to expect in terms of costs and transit alternatives. It will also get you totally psyched as you should be.


Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Istanbul 3 nights

Is this a good walking town to see sites

Yes it is

where is the best place to stay.

Sultanahmet area

I previously stayed at Hotel Uyan and Hotel Erguvan. Both close to Ayasofya and Sultanahmet mosques and offer good service.

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4. Re: Istanbul 3 nights

This is a repeat, some of us prefer Sirkeci to Sultanahmet as that area covers evreything and have the sultanahmet area just a tram stop or two away. I stay always in Sirkeci and takes the tram up to Sultanahmet and walk back.

Adelaide, Australia
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5. Re: Istanbul 3 nights

We did what most first timers to Istanbul do, and stayed in the Sultanahmet area, chose a family run hotel (Asmali Konak, great), and just walked the city.

Fabulous city, you will have a great time. The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia are opposite each other, wondrous architecture. Topkapi Palace is nearby Hagia Sofia. Gorgeous. Then a wander along the street or take the tram, towards the Grand bazaar, although we found lovely little ceramic shop behind the Blue Mosque. Basilica cistern had an enormous queue when we passed so we missed it. Lots of places to eat along the main road towards the Grand Bazaar.

Another day we wandered along the waters edge to the Eminomou area and took a ferry ride that went under the bridge and past the fortress. Really nice, and cheap. There is another fascinating mosque to see at the ferry area, too; also the spice bazaar is nearby, we got our ferry tickets early and passed the time in the mosque and bazaar very nicely.

3 full days is perfect. Great food, great sights, lovely people. Enjoy.

Edited: 27 March 2012, 09:51
Mount Dora, Florida
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6. Re: Istanbul 3 nights

If you have three full days I would suggest that you take the ferry to Kadikoy. You can take the little nostalgic tram ride, walk around the open air market and have lunch at Ciya. It is a lovely way to spend a morning, and you then are able to announce that you have been in both Europe and Asia on your trip to Istanbul.

We generally also stay in Sultanahmet. I love the ancient buildings, the prayer calls and all the hustle of salesmen and tourist activities. We have, however, also stayed in Sirkeci, and it is a great neighborhood. It is a bit less noisy, and many of the hotels are nearer to the tram. Things are a little less expensive, and there are many excellent hotels. If you have difficulty obtaining a reservation in Sultanahmet, Sirkeci would be a great alternative.

7. Re: Istanbul 3 nights

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8. Re: Istanbul 3 nights

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