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4 Days Istanbul in 10 Days Trip - 10 days left - EXCITED!

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4 Days Istanbul in 10 Days Trip - 10 days left - EXCITED!

We have planned for 10 days Turkey trip with Istanbul, Cappadoica, Bodrum & Izmir. Keeping in mind suggestions here on TA, we have planned 3 nights initially and 1 night in the end at Istanbul. We are family of four with boys age 6 & 4. Below is our Istanbul plan:

Day 1 Fri (June 20) - Arrival @ IST 12:30 PM - We are staying at Kalyon.

Leave from Hotel by 4 PM. Topkapi Palace & Grand Bazzar & Spice Bazzar. Dinner in Sultanamet area

Day 2 Sat - Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Gulhane Park, Aya Sofya, Basilica Cistern

Take Packed Lunch; Catch 2:30 Ferry to Haskoy reach there by 3:10

Spend 3/4 Hours at Rahmi M Koç Museum

Take evening ferry back - enjoying the sunset - Dinner in Sultanamet area.

Day 3 Sun - Small Bospherous Tour . If any of the places are missed on Day 2, visit those.

Take tram from Sultanamet to Karakoy. Walk to Galata Tower. If lines are too long skip going up on tower. Walk to Istiklal Street & Take tram to Taksim Square. Have dinner and head back to Hotel.

If there's spare time, go to Sisli Cevahir or Trump Towers Mall for shopping & Kid's activities

Day 4 Mon - Early morning (7:10 AM) flight to Cappadocia from IST

Day 4&5 Mon/Tue Cappadocia

Day 6&7 Wed/Thu Bodrum

Day 8 Fri Izmir

Day 9 Sat - Flight to Istanbul - reaching IST @ 1:00 PM

Shopping rest of the day - Grand Bazzar / Spice Bazzar OR Aviation Museum & Start City / Olivium Outlet / Mall of Istanbul

Day 10 Sun (June 29) - Flight back home @ 1:20 PM

Questions / Recommendations:

* Does the above look doable or will it be too crumble some? With kids, we are anticipating that we won't be able to spend much time at one place and we will need to keep taking snack breaks every 2-3 hours.

* Should we buy Muze Pass to avoid lines? It appears that E- tickets are not available on-line while Muze Pass is available.

* Ferry / Water Taxi suggestions as we need to take Ferry Up & Down Koc Museum.

* Are there any early morning ferries for Biospheres tour?

* Please suggest good Vegetarian restaurants.

* Suggestion for stay for last night - should we book same Kalyon hotel or something nearer to IST Airport?

* Our last three days, Ramadan may start so should we be prepared for any special situation?

Mount Dora, Florida
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1. Re: 4 Days Istanbul in 10 Days Trip - 10 days left - EXCITED!

Hi Saumil, I am not sure I understand your first day well. Do you plan to leave your hotel at 4pm and visit Topkapi Palace, The Grand Bazaar and The Spice Bazaar starting at 4pm. I know you cannot do all of this. Topkapi will close between 5pm and 6pm, and you need a minimum of three to four hours to appreciate this museum. The Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar both close at 7pm, so you would not have time to visit these after 4pm after visiting Topkapi.

Day 2 is a bit more realistic. Most of the places you will visit do not involve much time with the exception of Aya Sofya, and you can limit the amount of time you spend here. I absolutely would not make the effort to go to the Koc Museum for only 45 minutes. We spend the entire day at this museum. Going there for 45 minutes would be similar to driving 90 minutes to a restaurant and then taking one bite of an appetizer and leaving again. I think it would be more torture than pleasure. I would structure my morning so that I had at least one-half of a day at the Koc Museum.

Day 3 - This is a realistic plan for what you can expect to do in a single day. The short Bosphorus cruise will put you next to the Galata Bridge. You can walk over it and take the Tunel up to Galata Tower. I agree that it would not be pleasant to spend a long time in a line with small children. I would expect that you would have time to visit Trump Towers or the Sapphire Mall on this day.

Day 4-5 - You can manage to catch the flavor of Cappadocia in two days, and with small children the longer hikes are probably not things you would do on this visit. By leaving early you can spend most of Monday and all of Tuesday exploring Cappadocia.

Day 6-7 - I could see everything I wanted to see in Bodrum in about 30 minutes. This is my least favorite place in Turkey. It will, however, give you a couple of days of beach time with your children. I dislike this place because it is so crowded with tourists and the same type of tacky beach-front businesses and bars that are typical of where I live in the US. Bodrum does, however, have many fans, and thousands of them return year after year.

Day 8 - Are you visiting Izmir or are you visiting Ephesus and then just planning to spend the night in Izmir? Since you have part of Day 8 and part of Day 9 in this area I would spend the night in Selcuk and visit Ephesus, Mary's Place, the Museum in Selcuk and even a possible visit to Sirince, the small Greek-style village on the mountain above Selcuk.

Day 9 in Istanbul will give you about six hours between 3pm and 9pm for shopping. If you have not seen the Grand Bazaar or the Spice Bazaar you may want to spend some time in one of these bazaars. You will not have time to visit the bazaars, Olivium Mall, the Aviation Museum and the Mall of Istanbul in a short six hours. I would select a couple of things that most appeal to me and forget the rest.

I understand that you think you need to move every couple of hours to sustain the interest of your children, but honestly, most of the things you want to visit are not going to be particularly interesting to your children, so I do not think spending much of your time moving from one location to another is the answer to maintaining their interest.

When we traveled with our children of this age they were only interested in parks, amusement parks and swimming pools. We did some things to try and make history interesting for them like treasure hunts and interesting personal stories, but children 6 and 4 do not really comprehend much history.

It is always best to purchase tickets before you arrive at places like Topkapi and Aya Sofya to reduce the amount of time you must stand in line.

Turkish restaurants are ideal for vegetarians. There are many vegetables on the menu. My vegetarian friends often just order a large selection of appetizers (mezes), which are often different preparations of vegetables, but most chefs will also prepare hot vegetables for you as well.

I would probably spend my last night in Sultanahmet because I think it would be easier to reach the airport from a hotel in Sultanahmet than it would be to reach the places you wish to visit on your last afternoon from a hotel near the airport. It probably does not make a huge amount of difference, but it would be my preference.

You should notice almost nothing is different during Ramazan. Life just goes on normally particularly in the tourist area.

Istanbul, Turkey
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2. Re: 4 Days Istanbul in 10 Days Trip - 10 days left - EXCITED!

I agree with BR that your itinerary is not 100% realistic and doable. As a father of a seven yo boy, I can say that it is very difficult to make him interested in grown-up stuff. I would ommit the Grand Bazaar and keep only one bazaar in my itinerary. Spice Bazaar is smaller and easier to navigate (if you do not count the crowds). Also, Koç Museum can be omitted. It demands a great deal of your time. I would put only one shopping mall in my travel plan and that one would be Cevahir which has a very big food court and also a very large indoor amusement park. Your wife can do the shopping while you are hAving fun with the kids. Capadocia is very difficult with small children. I cannot imagine how you will dare to take them to underground cities, cliffs and balloon rides. It will be very hot there while you are visiting the area ithis summer. Same is also valid for Ephesus. It is open air and it is unbearably hot in the summer. I love Bodrum but it is not a town for kids. It is the party town of Turkey. Maybe you can consider staying longer in Selçuk area which is close to Kuşadası. You can take your children to Adaland, the biggest aqua park of Turkey. I would not do the Bodrum part, and add those extra days to Istanbul and Kuşadası.

Hope this helps,

Happy planning,

Borus

Houston, Texas
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3. Re: 4 Days Istanbul in 10 Days Trip - 10 days left - EXCITED!

"Day 1 Fri (June 20) - Arrival @ IST 12:30 PM - We are staying at Kalyon.

Leave from Hotel by 4 PM. Topkapi Palace & Grand Bazzar & Spice Bazzar. Dinner in Sultanamet area"

It might take you until 4 pm to even reach your hotel.

Houston, Texas
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4. Re: 4 Days Istanbul in 10 Days Trip - 10 days left - EXCITED!

Good evening, Samumil - I strongly urge you to look to your right on this upper page and review "THINGS FOR CHILDREN TO DO IN ISTANBUL". It is an excellent and thorough list to help you include them in your trip of a lifetime. One word of caution: DO NOT ATTEMPT THE SPICE BAZAAR on a Satuday. The crowds are too aggressive for small children. They can easily be swept with the crowd overtowering them. Hang on tight!

It can be very scary and intimidating, especially if you catch a tour or cruise ship in port, or if you are under 5' tall!

I remember reading that one of the malls has a SNOW or iCE hill. In mid June, the kids should love that

Sharon

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5. Re: 4 Days Istanbul in 10 Days Trip - 10 days left - EXCITED!

@ Borus,

Is Underground City and Balloon ride that risky? We are going Cappadocia mainly for Hot Air Balloon ride for kids.

I got the feeling last week after reading further about Bodrum v/s Kusadasi. But Villa as well as private yacht has been booked in Bodrum so I can't change it to Kusadasi now.

But hey, I am just 36 and still have at least 30-35 more years left to Visit Turkey :)

Frankly speaking, I already got a feeling that I need to visit at least 3 times more to get true taste of Turkey!

Regarding Hot Temp - yes, we will be careful. But hey, we are coming from India and 30-35 is normal for adults for kids it won't be.

-------------------

@ Sharon,

Thanks for the advice - we'll be careful in Spice Bazzar.

With kids, it's better to be careful Always!

Istanbul
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6. Re: 4 Days Istanbul in 10 Days Trip - 10 days left - EXCITED!

saumil, just a couple of points. 4.00 pm might be a bit late for Topkapi palace. So I suggest that you start at 3.00 pm. Grand Bazaar closes at 7.00 pm and you will have to do it on another day. However after visiting the palace, you can take a 1.5 hours Bosphorus cruise by Turyol company from the Eminonu piers. Day 2 looks perfect to me, although you must start early (around 8.00 am with the Blue Mosque). Day 3 with Galata Tower, Istiklal street and Trump Towers Mall is pretty good. You may want to have a fun dinner at Trump Cadde at the rooftop of Trump Towers mall. "www.trumpalisverismerkezi.com/trumpcadde.aspx". The rest is pretty straightforward.

With the kids, you will be giving frequent breaks so you should not overload yourself.

You can use the small museum pass for 3 days. That will save you some time at the lines.

Yes, there are ferries to Koc Museum all day from Eminonu and back. Here are the summer ferry schedules. "sehirhatlari.com.tr/en/…timetables-338.html".

Just the forum search: Vegetarian Restaurants

It is much better to stay at the same hotel.

Ramadan will not affect your plans.

good luck,

enigma...

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7. Re: 4 Days Istanbul in 10 Days Trip - 10 days left - EXCITED!

Keeping in mind Experts' suggestions, here's how my final itinerary looks like -

Day 1 Fri (June 20) - Arrival @ IST 12:30 PM - We are staying at Kalyon.

Leave from Hotel by 3 to 3:30 PM to visit Topkapi Palace. Take small Bospherous Tour and then dinner.

If we leave Hotel after 4PM then go directly to Spice Bazzar then Dinner in Sultanamet area

Day 2 Sat - between 8 AM & 1 PM - Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Gulhane Park, Aya Sofya, Basilica Cistern

Take Packed Lunch; Catch 2:30 Ferry to Haskoy reach there by 3:10

Spend 3 to 4 Hours at Rahmi M Koç Museum (I have checked - they close at 8PM during wkends). My elder son likes cars & technology so it Koc would be interesting for him.

Take evening ferry back - enjoying the sunset - Dinner in Sultanamet area.

Day 3 Sun - Small Bospherous Tour if not done or Day 1 . If any place is missed on day 2 visit those.

Take tram from Sultanamet to Karakoy. Walk to Galata Tower. If lines are too long skip going up on tower. Walk to Istiklal Street & Take tram to Taksim Square. Have dinner and head back to Hotel.

If there's spare time, go to Any one - Sisli Cevahir / Sapphire Mall / Trump Towers Mall for shopping & Kid's activities

Day 4 Mon - Early morning (7:10 AM) flight from IST to NAV 8:15 AM

After check-in at Hotel take tour of South Cappadocia - Red & Rose Valley , Cavusin Village, Kaymakli Underground City & Pigeon Valley. Our Hotel has suggested HTR company for the tours - EUR 45 each for both adults / children free.

Day 5 Tue - Hot Air Balloon (age is confirmed with hotel / travel agency for kids).

After break-fast Rent a car or walk-around Goreme - Open Air Theatre and other things. In evening visit to Kocabag Vineyard (any better suggestion?)

If needed, Day 4 & 5 activities can be interchanged.

Day 6 Wed - Back-up day for Hot Air Balloon. Flight from ASR at 2:30 PM reaching BJV at 6:05 PM. We have reserved a Villa in Bodrum.

Day 7 Thu - We have rented a yacht for all day. This way, we will be able to avoid touristy beach and can go where we like to go. My business associate from Izmir will join us for this trip.

Day 8 Fri - By car Leave for Izmir. I think if we leave early, we might be able to cover Ephesus on the way. Dinner with business associates in Izmir. This dinner is MUST DO and so night stay at Izmir is must.

Day 9 Sat - Flight to Istanbul - @ noon reaching IST @ 1:00 PM. Stay at the same Hotel.

If Topkapi Palace was missed on Day 1, Visit that.

Shopping rest of the day - either Spice Bazzar OR any Mall - We'll decide depending upon the mood of kids.

Day 10 Sun (June 29) - Flight back home @ 1:20 PM

And start planning for another Turkey trip within next 4 years!

Troy, New York
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8. Re: 4 Days Istanbul in 10 Days Trip - 10 days left - EXCITED!

I can help you with the food part, I did not find any vegetarian restaurants as such, but veg. food was widely available, in all the locations you are going. You can always ask which all items are vegetarian, but it's good to know what to expect.and there always is good variety. You can have a look at my page on vegetarian food in turkey : …wordpress.com/my-travels-2/… My top recommendation is Top Deck in Goreme, you need to book ahead,however, and Nazar Borek.

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9. Re: 4 Days Istanbul in 10 Days Trip - 10 days left - EXCITED!

Dear Ashwin,

I already have taken color print out of your food section ;)

I have gone through many articles here on TA and had found your blog very helpful for vegetarian food. Thanks for the SUPER trip report on blog!

Istanbul, Turkey
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10. Re: 4 Days Istanbul in 10 Days Trip - 10 days left - EXCITED!

Hi Saumil,

I think your itinerary is still very loaded but hey, you are young!

Best of luck with that

Happy travel,

Borus