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One week in Istanbul

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One week in Istanbul

Hi everyone, one more first-time traveler to Istanbul looking to cram as many sights and experiences from this gorgeous city as can fit in a week. Help!

I arrive Sat 6/21 in the late afternoon and fly out very early on Sun 6/29. I'm staying in Cankurtaran, just behind the Blue Mosque. Here's the rough itinerary I've put together. Two questions: 1) does it look ok and 2) is it advisable to take 1 day for the princes' islands or is that day better spent more leisurely in Sultanahmet?

Day 1, Sat - Arrive, explore the Blue Mosque and surrounding neighborhood

Day 2, Sun - Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, other sights in Sultanhamet

Day 3, Mon - Grand Bazaar, Suleymaniye Mosque, Eminonu, Galata and lower Beyoglu

Day 4, Tue - Taksim to Tophane, Dolmabahce to Ortakoy

Day 5, Wed - Bosphorus cruise stopping off at certain villages (Arnavutkoy/Bebek, Kanlica etc.)

Day 6, Thu - Fatih, Fener and Balat + city walls + Eyup

Day 7, Fri - Uskudar, Kadikoy

Day 8, Sat - Princes' Islands OR visit other sites missed during the week

Thanks,

Anna

Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: One week in Istanbul

Hi Anna,

Day 2, you should also be able to visit the Grand bazaar

Day3, include the Egyptian bazaar

Day 4, Visit Kilic Ali Pasa hamam and Istanbul modern museum aswell

Day 5, visit Rumeli fortress, Sabanci museum & Beylerbeyi palace

Day 6, also visit Fatih mosque, Fethiye mosque (1/2 of which is the old Pamakaristos church), Panorama 1453 museum, Mihrimah sultan mosque

Day 7, spend some more time on planning what other sights to visit such as Maiden's tower, walk around the old churches & synagogues in the Kuzguncuk neighbourhood

Day 8, your call on which way to go. I'd visit other missed sights but it's up to you.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: One week in Istanbul

Thanks, I think I'm inclined to go the same way with Day 8. I'm going with the mindset that I'll go back to Istanbul to see more of Turkey another time, so then I can go to Adalar then.

I imagine some of this will be determined by what sights are open when I'm there next week as well.

Is the Panorama 1453 museum worth stopping for? I've heard mixed reviews on it.

Istanbul, Turkey
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3. Re: One week in Istanbul

One suggestion: the islands may be too crowded in the weekend as the locals also go there. You can do that in weekdays..

San Francisco...
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4. Re: One week in Istanbul

Between crowds, traffic, Friday mosque prayer services, shorter hours and Sunday closures, It seems to me that most things in Istanbul are better done in the week than on weekends :)

Maybe I can switch Day 5 and Day 8 though. Thank you for the suggestion.

Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: One week in Istanbul

It's touch & go really whether to visit during the week or weekend with regards to closures as some places are closed over the weekend whereas others are closed during the week.

The national palaces such as Dolmabahce, Beylerbeyi, Aynalikavak are all closed on Mondays & Thursdays. Here is a good sight on opening days of the national palaces & pavillions

millisaraylar.gov.tr/portalmain-en/default.a…

Personally I think Panorama 1453 museum as it gives a great visual insight in the history of the city as well as the effort involved in conquering it all those years ago.

These are some further sites to assist you in determining opening & closure days of sights

istanbultrails.com/2008/…

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293974-i368-k3113…

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6. Re: One week in Istanbul

Thanks, ResmeN. I will add the Panorama 1453 Museum to my list. My birthday is on May 29, so there is strong personal interest for me in learning more about what happened on the same day 500+ years ago.

I'm really enjoying planning this trip to Istanbul. So many things to visit, taste and experience, I wish I had months in the city instead of a week.

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: One week in Istanbul

Here is a useful thread which depicts the list of ongoing restoration works in Istanbul

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293974-i368-k7464…

A week is better than 2-4 days in the city. I think people spending so little time in the city underestimate its sheer size and the magnitude of the place which dawns upon them quickly once they actually get there.

I am certain of one thing and that is you will have an awesome time once you get here.

San Francisco...
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8. Re: One week in Istanbul

Thank you!

I think I'd qualify as a city girl. I was raised in various cities, I live and work in one, and when I travel, I tend to gravitate towards them. I don't always have the means to stay 2 weeks (my preferred length of stay) in places like London and Tokyo, but I try to stay at least a week. That gives me enough time to feel like a local even though I'm not.

Istanbul was an impulsive choice for me - I only looked into this trip in April - but now that I've done my research, I can't believe I waited this long to go. Between the history, shops, food and scenery, I know it will be an amazing eight days.

Istanbul, Turkey
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9. Re: One week in Istanbul

Hi,

Here're my advices:

1) "Galata and lower Beyoglu" and "Taksim to Tophane" is mostly same route.

2) Day 5, Wed - "Bosphorus cruise stopping..." Keep in mind that Bosphorus cruise is not hop on hop off type. Stops for few min. to take passengers only but you'll have 2 hours at Anadolu Kavağı.

Alper

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10. Re: One week in Istanbul

Hi Alper,

1) Lower Beyoglu was shorthand for Galata, Tunel and Pera. I was thinking I'd start at the Karakoy Fish Market and end at the Church of St Antoine, stopping at the Galata Tower, Dervish Lodge and Pera Museum, if possible.

Taksim to Tophane was more Galatasaray, Cukurcuma, Cihangir and then Tophane. Does that sound like less of an overlap?

2) I was planning to take the boat to Arnavutkoy, get off, walk to Rumeli Hisari, catch a taxi to Emirgan, get on another boat to Anadolu Kavagi, explore, get on boat again, get off at Kanlica or Cengelkoy, etc but have not really firmed up the logistics. You're right, I thought I could use a hop on, hop off service. Is there a good way to village-hop along the Bosphorus? I guess the places I'm most interested in are the stretch between Arnavutkoy to Bebek, Emirgan for the museum, and Cengelkoy. I've heard there are water taxis but haven't quite figured out how and when to use them in this itinerary.