Best Itineraries for Istanbul:


Suggested Stay: 3-4 Full Days

 

Itineraries for Istanbul very greatly as their is so much to do in this diverse and ancient city. Like any historic city there are a few sights you just can’t miss, but also a lot of hidden gems if you have the time. The itinerary suggestions we’ve come up with are from our own first hand experiences.


Important Attraction Opening Hours:

Blue Mosque is closed to non-Muslims during prayer times and has the longest opening for tourists to visit daily from roughly 9am-Noon.
Grand Bazaar is close on Sundays, Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays, and Chora Church is closed on Wednesdays.


One Day In Istanbul:

If you have just 1 day in Istanbul your itinerary is going to be pretty full so we suggest that you stick the main historic sights.  If you start early you can walk through the Hippodrome which is always open and get to the Aya Sophia when it opens at 9am.  After Aya Sophia pop directly over the Blue Mosque which on most days the biggest gap in service times where non-Muslims can visit the Mosque is from around 9am-Noon.  Keep an eye on your watch as there is still plenty to squeeze in.  After the Blue Mosque visit Topkapi Palace visiting the Harem first.  At least swing through the grounds after the Harem even if you are running too far behind to pop into the small museums.  If you are making good time, swing by the Underground Cistern on the way to grab the tram to the Grand Bazaar.  The big time to keep in the back of your mind is that the Grand Bazaar closes at 7pm so you want to get there by 5pm so you get there before the shops start closing.  Either eat dinner at the Bazaar or at many of the great places on Restaurant Row.

•Day 1: Most sights from our Old Town Walk & a visit to the Grand Bazaar.


Two Days In Istanbul:

A 2 day itinerary in Istanbul is still a little limited, but does allow for more flexibility and breaks to rest your feet.  We would start early on Old Town Istanbul Day 1 and take our time to do the full Old Town Walking Tour.  Keep in mind that the best gap to visit the Blue Mosque is between 9am-Noon and that the Topkapi Palace closed 2 hours early at 5pm if you are visiting November-March.  On Day 2 visit  Chora Church right away in the morning then follow our Bazaars Walking Tour starting at Galata Bridge.  If you still feel fairly lively at the end of either day, consider checking out the beauty of the Blue Mosque and Aya Sophia’s exteriors as then are perfectly lit up after dark.

Day 1: Our full Old Town Walking Tour.
Day 2: Chora Church & our Bazaars Walking Tour.


Three Days In Istanbul:

Having a 3 day itinerary to work with will really let you build onto your experience and let you see most of what Istanbul has to offer.

•Day 1: Our full Old Town Walking Tour.
Day 2: Chora Church & our Bazaars Walking Tour.
Day 3: New Town Walking Tour & a Turkish Bath.
•Alternative Day 3: New Town Walking Tour & remaining Golden Horn sights.


Four Days Istanbul:

4 days is probably the perfect amount of time in Istanbul if you really want to see and do everything the city has to offer.  For the most part we would keep the first 3 days the same as the 3 Day itinerary, but on the last day add in a do it yourself cruise on the Bosphorud River.  In the evening of the last day check out the beauty of the Blue Mosque and Aya Sophia’s exteriors one last time as then are perfectly lit up after dark.

•Day 1: Our full Old Town Walking Tour.
Day 2: Chora Church & our Bazaars Walking Tour.
Day 3: New Town Walking Tour & a Turkish Bath.
•Alternative Day 3: New Town Walking Tour & remaining Golden Horn sights.
Day 4: Bosphorus River Cruise & night stroll.


Top 10 Things To Do In Istanbul:

1. Visit The Blue Mosque

2. Explore Aya Sophia

3. Get Lost In The Grand Bazaar

4. Roam Topkapi Palace & The Harem

5. Check Out Chora Church

6. Enter The Underground Cistern

7. Investigate Galata Bridge & The Spice Market

8. Stroll New Town & The Dolmabahçe Palace

9. Eat Turkish Delights And Smoke A Nargile

10. Go To A Turkish Bath House

Bonus: Do A Bosphorus River Cruise