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Istanbul on a Sunday

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Copenhagen, Denmark
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Istanbul on a Sunday

Hey guys,

As a part of my trip to Palestine, I had a 15 hour layover in Istanbul on the way in, and will have the same on the way out. Last time, I made it from the Sabiha Gokcen airport into Sultanahmet, and saw the Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar (and had an amazing time, btw!)

This time, I'm looking for new ideas of what to see/do for 15 hours, with an additional challenge - it will be on a Sunday.

Any suggestions will be very much appreciated!

Kayakoy, Turkey
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1. Re: Istanbul on a Sunday

And again flying into Sabiha Gökcen?

İt is a Sunday, so some of the sights can be more busy, that is if they have an interest from the locals.

Büyükada is one of them, but still it is a lovely trip to the Prince's islands, good weather provided. You would not need to go to the European side of İstanbul

Ortaköy is another lovely place to visit, also more crowded on Sundays :-)

You could think of Galata and Eminönü, perhaps with the New Mosque and the Egyptian Bazar would be open on Sunday too.

A few ideas, hope that helps!

Mount Dora, Florida
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2. Re: Istanbul on a Sunday

Hi Solvai, It sounds as if you made great use of your first lay-over in Istanbul. As for what to do on your second trip: Do you want to see mroe antiquities such as Chora Church? Do you want to explore a different bazaar? The Spice Bazaar and the tiny Arasta Bazaar are both open on Sunday.

Do you want to explore the more modern and sophisticated Istanbul? You could walk down Istiklal, take in the Galata Tower and window shop in the fashionable stores.

If you want totally modern Istanbul you should visit one of the elegant malls where you will find every designer brand represented. Even if you are not buying it is fun to shop.

As VR mentioned, Ortakoy is always fun on Sunday. There is a small Sunday market featuring mostly home-made craft items. There are many places to select for dining from a huge potato stuffed with toppings, purchase from a stand and enjoyed while watching the Bosphorus to an outstanding meal complete with white tablecloths and linen at one of several nice restaurants in the area.

If you want museums, there is the archeology museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Mosiac Museum and the Pera Museum. If you are coming soon there is a fantastic Money exhibit currently showing here.

There are only two issues with Sunday being your day of travel. First, the Grand Bazaar will be closed, but almost everything else is open. Second, Sunday can be a bit more crowded because everyone in Istanbul is also off on Sunday. Your stroll down Isiklal Street might be with hundreds of other people, and if you go to one of the modern malls, expect it to be a bit crowded. Otherwise, there are no huge differences here between Sunday and any other day of the week.

Copenhagen, Denmark
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3. Re: Istanbul on a Sunday

Thank you both so much for the suggestions! Ortakoy sound like a great place, and I would love to see some more bazaars. Would it be possible to visit both Ortakoy and, say, the spice bazaar or Egyptian bazaar? Also, what would be the best way to travel there from Sabiha Gokcen?

Mount Dora, Florida
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4. Re: Istanbul on a Sunday

Solvai, You could visit both Ortakoy and the Spice Bazaar on a Sunday. From the Spice Bazaar you take the tram to the end of the line at Kabatas. From there you catch the bus. I think it is the 25E bus, but if I am wrong someone will quickly correct me. If you go to Ortakoy first then just do this in reverse.

Enigma or Borus can explain how to reach the Spce Bazaar and/or Ortakoy from Sabiha Gokcen. Transportation on the Asian side, particularly from that far away airport is not my strong suit.

I do not know what your time frame is. The Sunday bazaar in Ortakoy is during the day. My favorite time to visit Ortakoy is, however, after dark when you get wonderful views of the first bridge over the Bosphorus which is at Ortakoy. Maybe you could visit there on your way to the Spice Bazaar and stop on the way back to the airport for an early dinner and some photos of this beautiful bridge.

Houston, Texas
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5. Re: Istanbul on a Sunday

Hi Solvai - Perhaps you should consider a short Bosphorus cruise and then a visit to the Spice market, or the other way around.

Ortakoy on Sundays is almost uncomfortable, but maybe not so much at this time. And most importantly, my favorite,the majestic mosque central to its appeal is under scaffolding. From the cruise you can see it where it is best viewed; that being its position on the Bosphorus. Even with the construction, you will see and feel it's prominence.

Another good possibility is to take a ferry to Kadikoy on the Asian side.

A very modern, cosmopolitan contrast to the antiquity of the Old Town. If you plan your day for maximum thrills, you can take that mid-morning cruise, visit the Spice Bazaar, and time your 20-minute ferry ride to Asia, grab a fish sandwich pier-side, and plan so that upon your return you will be seeing mosques and miniarets, and the lights of the bridges at sunset.

Mount Dora, Florida
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6. Re: Istanbul on a Sunday

Unfortunately almost every place is crowded on the week-ends because many local people are out and doing things. This is true of both Ortakoy and the Spice Bazaar. I totally refuse to go in any of the modern malls on the week-ends because they are so crowded with local people.

You will find Ortakoy and the Spice Bazaar both crowded on Sunday, but not as badly this time of year as during the high season. You do get good views of Ortakoy from the water, but you cannot eat a wonderful stuffed potato or a gozlume unless your feet are on the ground at Ortakoy.

Copenhagen, Denmark
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7. Re: Istanbul on a Sunday

Wow. Thanks again everyone for the advice! I think I have an itinerary now - would be great if someone would check it over?

-I arrive in Sabiha Gokhen at 7:30, then take the Havatas bus to Kadikoy. Maybe spend some time exploring Kadikoy - any suggestions of what would be cool to see there?

-Take the ferry across to Eminonu, then take a Bosphorus Cruise

-Explore the spice market (is it within walking distance of the Eminony ferries?)

-Take the Tram to Kabatas, then bus 25E to Ortakoy

Any extra advice on what to see/do, and transportation would be very much appreciated :)

Istanbul, Turkey
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8. Re: Istanbul on a Sunday

Hi solvai,

Your itinerary sounds wonderful. In kadikoy, it would be interesting to see the market place which is just across the street from the piers. Take a leisurely walk around the area, savor the sounds and smells of the marketplace.

Once you are back in Eminonu, the Spice Bazaar is just five minutes from the pier. Ortakoy is a tiny little village which has lots of cute cafes, nice boutiques and souvenir shops and of course Kumpir (giant jacket potatoes with zillions of toppings) stalls.

Istanbul is a crowded city almost every day around the clock. So, don't let this discourage you to enjoy its beauties to the fullest!

Have a wonderful time!

Borus

Edited: 17 November 2012, 08:16
9. Re: Istanbul on a Sunday

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