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8 days in Istanbul too much?

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Washington DC...
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8 days in Istanbul too much?

My boyfriend and I (mid-30's) are planning our first trip to Istanbul for the last week of August (23-31). I've read a number of threads here that recommend giving the city at least 4 days, but recommending 6.

While I have no doubt that there is a lot to see and do in Istanbul, I worry a little about being bored after about 3-4 days. We're both avid walkers so I think we'll cover a lot of ground and attractions quickly, and I'd like to schedule a day trip, or 3 but, the usual spots that people have recommended (Antalya, Cappadocia, Ephesus, etc.) seem far from Istanbul, requiring either a flight or an overnight bus ride.

I love arts and crafts (handmade wares in general) and would love to see a great market or even a museum that has great period pieces. My boyfriend is a history buff and would love to see ancient ruins or any of the sites that relate to mythic tales.

Can anyone recommend areas/sites close to Istanbul for daytrips and if possible what methods of transportation we would use to get to these places?

We're open to taking the ferry as well.

Thank you in advance!

Istanbul
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1. Re: 8 days in Istanbul too much?

There is no way you will be bored after 3 or 4 days. Internal flights aren't a big deal though, most places take around an hour to fly yo.

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: 8 days in Istanbul too much?

It all depends on your perception and outlook whilst on holiday.

Are you a whinger that compares everything back to how it is in your country whilst on holiday or can you comprehend the fact that whilst on holiday you go with the flow of being in a foreign country and take things as they come. If the latter you will enjoy long periods of time in Istanbul.

Last time I was in Paris I spent 4 days there and personally felt it wasn't enough. Istanbul is a city of an even greater magnitude.

Istanbul has more than plenty of offer to satisfy any arts & crafts, museum, history & ruins buffs.

If you've had enough of Istanbul then the whole of Turkey is at your door step with flights, trains and it's ever efficient bus network.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: 8 days in Istanbul too much?

So no recommendations for day trips? Geez ...

Chicago
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4. Re: 8 days in Istanbul too much?

Consider day trips to Bursa, Ephesus, and/or the Black Sea. Also Istanbul is divided on two continents: the European side and the Asian side. You can take a ferry ride to the Asian side. I've travelled to Turkey several times, and if I were you, I'd hop on a flight and visit Selcuk/Ephesus for a couple days. An alternative would be to visit Capadoccia for 2-3 days. Locals flights in Turkey are very inexpensive and frequent. Ask your hotel front desk if you don't want to buy the tickets yourself. The flight to Ephesus/Selcuk is 45 minutes. The flight to Capadoccia is an hour 15 minutes. Just reserve a shuttle to pick you up at the airport in Capadoccia.

Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: 8 days in Istanbul too much?

Plenty of day trip options:

Edirne by bus

Bursa by fast ferry or sea plane

Prince Islands by ferry

I consider Istanbul as a whole (European/Asian) but if you were to class it seperately then as Globe2 says that can also be considered a day trip where you can go to the Asian side via underground metro or ferry

Overnight trip options (all by plane)

Izmir & Efes, Trabzon, Malatya, Cappadocia, Mardin, Diyarbakir, Konya, Ankara

Washington DC...
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6. Re: 8 days in Istanbul too much?

I looked into Ephesus and it looks like it fits the bill exactly.

My main hesitation with taking an in-country flight was that I've heard from a number of people that Turkish Air was not the best (regarding service; not safety).

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: 8 days in Istanbul too much?

I've used Turkish airlines internationally & domestically about 10 times over the past 2 months and have nothing negative to say about its service. I only have praise for them. They have the best food served on board and did everything expected off them in regards to service. They haven't been voted Europe's best airline over the past 3 years by coincidence.

If you like Efes then also consider Aphrodisias which due to its inland location is less visited and there are no hoards of cruise people to deal with so you will have the whole place to yourself. Located very close to Pamukkale (which is another place that may take your fancy).

http://wikitravel.org/en/Aphrodisias

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphrodisias

http://www.aphrodisias.com/

http://www.muze.gov.tr/aphrodisias

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamukkale

http://wikitravel.org/en/Pamukkale

http://www.pamukkale.net/

Istanbul, Turkey
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8. Re: 8 days in Istanbul too much?

I'm in the middle of an eight day trip with my wife and two teenage boys. This is our ninth trip abroad from the U.S. I'm thinking six days is the max for Istanbul... Of course you can do more but we did the top sites and activities in the first four days including a day for the Bosphorus six-hour cruise which was something we did to fill a day (great views but, in the end, a 90-minute cruise to a tourist village - three hour layover - and a hike to picture taking vista adjacent to a castle you can't get into). We had an hour to spare at the village and the boys got haircuts which was fun.

So, loving Istanbul... but after six days: been there - done that :)

Edited: 19 February 2014, 08:34
Cirali / Antalya
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9. Re: 8 days in Istanbul too much?

www.turkeytravelplanner.com/go/Istanbul/

you could also visit Çanakkale-Gallipoli

Long day-trip by bus or car to see the Dardanelles,

or go to Princes' Islands, or the Black Sea beaches,

turkeytravelplanner.com/go/…beaches.html

check out Kilyos , Şile & Ağva

Bus travel for long haul

http://www.varan.com.tr

http://www.ulusoy.com.tr

http://www.metroturizm.com.tr

http://www.kamilkoc.com.tr/

www.pamukkale.com.tr/

www.guneyakdeniz.com/

http://www.suhaturizm.com.tr/index.asp

www.nevsehirlilerseyahat.com.tr/

for shorter distances Turkey has vast system of inter city coaches. ...There are minibuses called dolmus, and you can find out the bus times at the otogar ( bus stations )

Domestic airline carriers in Turkey

http://www.onurair.com.tr/default_eng.aspx

http://www.thy.com/

www.atlasjet.com/AtlasjetWeb/atlasjet.kk…

http://www.flypgs.com/en/default.aspx

www.anadolujet.com/

www.sunexpress.com/tr

you could try these sites for finding flights

www.aerobilet.com/

www.skyscanner.net

or even better head down to the Antalya coastline for some time in the beautiful mediterranean sea for a couple of days..check out the links I have sent above to find flights to Antalya they are cheap enough if booked in advance usally starting around 75.00 lira per person..and its only a one hour flights..

I have used Altas jet and turkish airlines and for a 1 hr flight they are all fine

Istanbul
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10. Re: 8 days in Istanbul too much?

I find it funny when someone thinks they have seen everything Istanbul has to offer in less than a week :) I have been here for over five years and still haven't seen all I want to.

Sure you can see Sultanahmet, Bosphorus Cruise etc in a few days. I did the same on my first visit back in 2003 and was underwhelmed. However, there are great neighbourhoods to explore, modern Istanbul, walks, islands, some great parks, restaurants etc, that most tourists don't even glimpse.