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15 Hour Layover, What to Do?

Charleston, South...
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15 Hour Layover, What to Do?

My fiance and I are going to Prague for our honeymoon, but we have two 15 hour layovers in Istanbul. I've noticed that most attractions in Istanbul are only open 9AM to around 6PM, while our layovers are mainly occurring over night. What should we do with our very limited time? We both love art and history and are definitely planning to visit Hagia Sophia. We could also use some suggestions of things to do in the late afternoon/early evening. What is open then?Thanks!

Istanbul
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1. Re: 15 Hour Layover, What to Do?

Amelia R, If you are traveling with Turkish Airlines, it would be a shame to come all the way to the gates of the number one destination in the world, "…cnn.com/2014/…", and spend only an afternoon and evening each time. If you are interested in history very much, Istanbul should be an ideal destination on its own right, not for 15 hours layovers each time. If you want to have a stopover of few days in Istanbul, you can accomplish this by using the MULTI CITY OPTION of the Turkish Airlines website and this would not entail an extra cost.

Otherwise the best way to spend your layovers (11.5 hours net each time) would be at Sultanahmet area and Taksim/Istiklal street/Beyoglu area respectively. At the time you visit Sultanahmet area, you can at least get a chance to visit the Blue Mosque, and walk around the Hippodrome.

good luck,

enigma...

Edited: 20 August 2014, 21:59
Mount Dora, Florida
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2. Re: 15 Hour Layover, What to Do?

Hi Amelia, As you already know the art and historical sites are closed after 6pm, and most of them will not sell you a ticket to enter after 4pm. The hours vary a bit between summer and off-season, but generally these places close around 6pm. You might be able to squeeze into the Cisterns late in the afternoon. Of course, the Blue Mosque is open until the final prayer of the evening, so you may be able to see that as well.

I enjoy walking around Sultanahmt during the evening hours. You cannot go in the ancient buildings, but you can enjoy them from the exterior with the lights playing on the buildings. I like to sit in the park between the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya and just soak up the atmosphere. I also enjoy just walking the streets with the little sidewalk cafes, and shops with all kinds of glitter to attract the lira of every tourist. I find this area particularly romantic in the evening.

You might enjoy a beverage from the terrace of a restaurant or hotel in the area. I like the terrace at the Blue Hotel where you can have a meal or just a beverage. The Sultan's Pub also has a great terrace. I also like to wander through the Arasta Bazaar in the evening. Unlike the big bazaars, this unassuming little bazaar is low key and very friendly with a wide variety of merchandise and a pleasant atmosphere for shopping or just looking.

If you have lots of time you might enjoy taking the ferry from Eminonu across to Kadikoy. You could enjoy a meal at Ciya and walk around a bit. Bagdat Street is a sophisticated and elegant place to absorb modern Turkish life. Taking the ferry back across gives you a chance to enjoy the skyline of the city after dark. I also think this is very romantic, and you can visit both Europe and Asia in a single night.

Many young tourists enjoy spending their evenings on Istiklal Street. Here you will find many popular international stores, along with lots of restaurants. There are many small streets that run off of Istiklal that are lined with meyhanes where you can order raki and some mezes and listen to live music from local musicians. This is a lively area where you will always find a festive atmosphere.

Houston, Texas
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3. Re: 15 Hour Layover, What to Do?

Have you already booked your flights? If so, Turkish Airlines does not allow changes.

London, United...
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4. Re: 15 Hour Layover, What to Do?

I have also around a 19 hour layover as well. Landing at 5:00PM and leaving the next day at 12:45PM.

Have you found out what you will do. My wife and I are 30th and just looking to explore the city briefly see the sites and get some good food.

Any Ideas?

Istanbul
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5. Re: 15 Hour Layover, What to Do?

kware, If yoıu want to see the historical attractions in the morning, pick a hotel at Sultanahmet. The first night you can walk around Hippodrome and enjoy the sights and sounds of Sultanahmet. Early morning you can visit Blue Mosque First and then Hagia Sophia. You have to leave your hotel by taxi at 10.15 am for your flight. have the hotel call a taxi for you. I suggest Apricot Hotel for you.

good luck,

enigma...

London, United...
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6. Re: 15 Hour Layover, What to Do?

Enigma - Do you have any suggestion on restaurants in the Sultanahmet area?

Istanbul
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7. Re: 15 Hour Layover, What to Do?

Yes, many restaurants on Akbıyık street will do but my preffrred one is Albura/Kathisma restaurant. You can also see the Byzantine cisterns and the palace underneath the restaurant for free.Have a look. "tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g293974-d1…".

enigma...

8. Re: 15 Hour Layover, What to Do?

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