Delicious food, historical buildings and places, cultural events and shows, the beautiful nature, and many other things make this city the perfect choice for everyone. So if happens to you that you land in istanbul for a layover even for 8 hours then smile, it’s your lucky day.
If you are new to the city it is better to count on a tourism company to give you a ride around istanbul or join an 8 hours layover tour, and here are some of what you can do:
Before start explaining, it is important to know that the new Istanbul airport is 60 minutes away from the heart of the city so make sure to get back at least 90 minutes before your next flight.
Start your 8 hours trip with a visit to the famous SultanAhmet area which has all the famous sites like Grand Bazaar, Beyazit Mosque, the old Blue Mosque, ancient Hagia Sophia museum, and famous Topkapi Palace.
You can start your trip at the Grand Bazaar which is considered the oldest open mall in the world, it goes back to the Byzantine Empire period when it served as a war warehouse and a barn, later during the Ottoman Empire period it served as a main market in the heart of the city. When you enter the Grand Bazaar you will be amazed by the huge number of shops inside of it, you can literally find everything you need there and if your not willing to buy anything you can have a delicious ET DÖNER sandwich, a charcoal grilled meat with onions, tomatoes and pickles or spicy pickled green peppers.
Keep walking toward SultanAhmet Square where you can find the Blue Mosque. For sure, you have heard a lot about this mosque, the great sophisticated architecture of its dooms and the magnificent marble design inside of it is breath-taking. Right beside the Blue Mosque you will find the ancient Hagia Sophia Museum, one of the must-visit stations during this trip, this museum was originally the largest cathedral at its time during the Byzanitine Empire period and later became a mosque during the Ottoman Empire period then to serve as a museum at last. You will absolutely spend a great time there, do not miss it.
The next station four you is this tour is Istiklal Street next to Taksim Square, this street is a whole different story, all building there are french designed buildings, when you walk through this street you will see vendors spread all over the place Ice Cream vendors, corn vendors, simit vendors, and chestnuts vendors beside the cultural centers which you can attend a show at one of it you can also have a 30 minutes rest and drink a cold beer at one of the bars there. At the end of Istiklal street you will find Galata Tower that was built during the 14th century, take the lift up to its top to see an amazing view of Istanbul city.
Get your back bagg and hit the road again toward Ortakoy Square right on the Bosphorus, this place has a lot of things to do, you can try the famous Turkish food meal “ KUMPIR “ or taste the famous turkish dessert “ KUNEFE “. If you are full and don’t want to stop you can get a 45 minutes ticket on one of the Bosphorus tour cruise, the ship will take you on a ride around the Bosphorus to see the historical buildings, palaces, and beautiful nature on the sides.
You will still have time for a Turkish coffee in one of the cafes there, but if you can’t stop thinking about your flight you can go back to the airport.
Always remember, if you don’t want to get out of the airport you can still have a fun time. Istanbul New Airport has a lot of joy facilities such the huge free market which has literally everything you want or need, kids playrooms, the IGA galleries, and many restaurants and cafes.
So if you are having a layover in Istanbul don’t get mad. Believe me, it is going to be the most fun layover you ever had in your entire life. In fact, it might be even more fun than wherever you are going later.