Istanbul in 1 Day
Who says that one day is not enough to discover a city? (Actually, we do…) Even one day is enough to fall in love with this one. Here is a dense itinerary for a daily trip to Istanbul!
First thing to figure out when you land in Istanbul is how to go to your hotel from the airport. Later on one needs to plan the day since Istanbul offers millions of things to do and planning may take quite a while. No need to worry because we prepared you a one day itinerary of high efficiency!
(Tip: Some attractions I will mention will have long waiting lines at the entrance. Having their tickets beforehand would help you save a lot of time. I suggest you to have a look at the Istanbul Tourist Pass. It offers entrance tickets and services to facilitate your Istanbul trip which would normally cost higher if bought seperately.)
After having a strong Turkish breakfast, you will have enough energy for a morning full of activities. Put on your comfy shoes and head to the magnificent Topkapı Palace; the witness of the Ottoman Era right from the beginning…
A must – see! For being the most visited museum in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace is generally quite crowded. I suggest you to be there a little earlier than 9:00am. Starting with the Harem section would be a good idea since it gets overcrowded later. (Please keep in mind that the Harem section requires an extra ticket.) Ideal time for Topkapı would be 1,5 – 2 hours.
Admission to Topkapı Palace costs 30 TRY at the gate, but there are alternative ways to acquire an admission ticket.
After soaking in the Ottoman palace life & culture, you can move on with the Blue Mosque.
(Admission to Blue Mosque is free and ½ hr. would be enough for the Blue Mosque.)
At this point you might be getting tired, that is why you should continue this dense but very satisfying tour with Hagia Sophia of 1500+ years, a.k.a. the Wisdom of God, where you will be flushed with peace and awe.
Now is the time for a well-deserved lunch! Sultanahmet, district of the Historical Peninsula, is the most touristic place of Istanbul and offers tons of places to eat for every taste. Here, the options are almost infinite but assuming that you’d like to go Turkish, here are some options:
1) Sultanahmet Köftecisi
Demirtaş Mah. 34134 Fatih – Istanbul
Telephone: +90-212 520 12 53
2) Sedef Döner Büfe
Binbirdirek Mah. 34122 Fatih – İstanbul
Telephone: +90-212 516 2420
3) Limon Cafe Homemade Dishes
Alemdar Mah.34110 Fatih – İstanbul
Telephone: +90-212 526 68 26
After filling your stomach and charging yourself up, you can head to the historical Hippodrome Square and see the Serpentine Column (479 BC), Egyptian Obelisk (4th century after AD) and the German Fountain of Emperor Wilhelm II and the Basilica Cistern.
Basilica Cistern is a gorgeous Byzantine water depot. The place would take at most ½ hr but you might feel like putting yourself in a meditative state of mind and listen to the sound of water drops.
Later on, the calm water drops will leave their place to a whirlwind of colors, sounds and smells! Get ready for the Grand Bazaar! Grand Bazaar is one of the biggest covered bazaar in the world and you can find basically anything in it, however leather, jewelry, spices and clothing are the general preferences of tourists. You might spend 1 to 2 hours, depending on whether you have things to buy or things to see. But Grand Bazaar is a must see place in Istanbul so adding it to your daily plan of Istanbul is highly recommended.
Now is the time to get some rest after all these walking tours. There are 3 options you might enjoy for a couple of hours which I will list below.
1) Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Tour: This bus departs at every 30 minutes from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. If you can catch one of the last buses, you would get a chance to get rest since all you will need to do is observing around on the bus and you would also make use of a couple of hours the best way possible right after the museums are closed and right before the dinner.
2) Hop-On Hop-Off Bosphorus Tour: Similar to the Big Bus, this tour offers you a chance to get rest and see many beautiful parts of Istanbul. For the Bosphorus Tour you’ll need to go to Kabataş first with the T1 tram line.
3) Another interesting option would be experiencing a Turkish bath! Spending a couple of hours relaxing with hot water and massages would be amazing after a long day full of walking & learning.
It is up to you!
Dinner in Beyoğlu
Dinner time! How about going to Beyoğlu district of Istanbul for amazing Turkish dishes? Beyoğlu is the liveliest place in Istanbul and it is full of restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs. It is the best example of the mixture of history and modern life of Istanbul. Take the T1 tram line to Kabataş Station and F1 funicular station to Taksim, there you are!
We hope you enjoyed your day! Hope to see you soon again in Istanbul!