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4 days Istanbul

by BE001903 Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 8:40 AM

We plan to visit Istanbul in May on a 4 day trip. What are the must sees and do's?

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14 Answers
  • June.b's Profile Photo

    Re: 4 days Istanbul

    by June.b Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Start browsing through vt members Istanbul pages. Here's mine collected on several trips to the city.

    "East meets West..... Asia meets Europe!" - Istanbul Ili by June.b

    have fun.

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  • brotherleelove's Profile Photo

    Re: 4 days Istanbul

    by brotherleelove Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Depends on your interests. What are they?

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  • BE001903's Profile Photo

    Re: 4 days Istanbul

    by BE001903 Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    Interests are culture, couleur locale, souvenir shopping, photography, local food. Not looking for turkish baths and alike.

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  • bahiana77's Profile Photo

    Re: 4 days Istanbul

    by bahiana77 Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Suleymanye Mosque, boat ride, Princes' Islands, neighborhoods by foot, Pera and Beyoglu and Galata (tower), Dolmabace Palace....
    Be prepared for aggressive multi-lingual touts for rugs, leather and jewelry to approach you on the street or near shops. Enjoy the apple tea and the pleasant chat, but resist steadfastly if you aren't prepared to buy. Research rugs (types, pattens, regions, materials, quality, how to tell) very well before arrival if you intend to buy one.
    Any little restaurant that looks good (often you can see the hot choices at lunch, choose and point) usually is good.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: 4 days Istanbul

    by leics Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    I spent 3 days in Istanbul and barely moved out of its ancient historical centre, Sultanahmet....and 3 days was not enough.

    Musts include Topkapi Palace (get there before opening time to minimise queueing for tickets and to explore in less-crowded circumstances...don't miss the harem and allow several hours for your visit), Ayia Sofia (again, try to visit early in the day), the Blue Mosque (ditto), the Basilica cistern (a truly amazing place), the Grand Bazaar...and, for me, walking the area and spotting the remains of Roman, Byzantine and Medieval Istanbul, and then walking to and over Galata bridge.

    My Istanbul pages have info and tips:

    "Too little time......." - Istanbul by leics

    and you will find hundreds more ideas about what to see & do, where to eat etc etc, all written by Vt locals and visitors, in the Istanbul travel guide:

    Istanbul Travel Guide

    I (solo middle-aged female) did not find the carpet shop 'touts', whether multi-lingual or not, to be in any way 'aggressive'. All you have to do (as I did) is say 'No, thank you' firmly and keep walking. Touting for custom in this way is a cultural difference, like haggling (something at which I am really very bad indeed).

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  • bahiana77's Profile Photo

    Re: 4 days Istanbul

    by bahiana77 Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    OK, replace "aggressive" with "extremely persistent" then. Maybe I am not as resolute in my "no thank you"s as you purport to be.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: 4 days Istanbul

    by leics Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    It isn't a matter of 'purporting'; it is as it is.

    Perhaps my 'No, thank you' is especially firm...or perhaps I simply have a manner which indicates that it's not worth bothering me any more? :-)

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    Re: 4 days Istanbul

    by balhannah Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Best idea is to read peoples pages as on there we have all the things to see and do.
    Copy and paste this link
    "ISTANBUL - HUNDREDS OF TOURISTS!" - Istanbul by balhannah

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  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Re: 4 days Istanbul

    by Donna_in_India Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    Istanbul is a wonderful city (one of my absolute favorites!!) and you will definitely run out of time before you run out of things to do. Take a ferry trip on the Bosphorus (get off at one or two stops and explore), explore the Blue Mosque, explore Hagia Sophia, roam Topkapi Palace, check out the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian(Spice) Market, walk across the Galata Bridge and stop underneath for lunch at one of the many restaurants while watching the boats/shops on the Bosphorus, take the tour at Dolmabahce Palace, visit other mosques (Sokullu Sehit Mehmet Pasa, Rustem Pasa, Yeni Camii), go to the top of the Galata Tower for wonderful views, explore the cool Basilica Cistern,
    check out the fascinating Rahmi M Koc Museum, visit the Kumkapi Fish Market for some fresh fish, admire the mosaics and frescoes of Chora Church,
    visit the Isbank Museum, visit St. Stephen of the Bulgars, explore Miniaturk, have some amazing Turkish tea, eat some street foods (simits, halka tatli, corn on the cob), try some delicious Turkish food especially the baklava - and have a fresh fish sandwich cooked from a boat by the Galata Bridge.

    Additional info about all I have mentioned on my Istanbul page -"Bustling, Cosmopolitan Istanbul!" - Istanbul by Donna_in_India. Have an amaaazing time!!

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  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Re: 4 days Istanbul

    by Donna_in_India Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    P.S. We were not bothered by any salespeople either. Found the prices very inflated inside the Grand Bazaar so didn't shop there.

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  • muratkorman's Profile Photo

    Re: 4 days Istanbul

    by muratkorman Online Now Jan 24, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    4 days give you just enough time to enjoy major attractions of Istanbul. I suggest you plan your itinerary in a way that you don't rush things too much. You have so many options so the list will be a long one. Instead I just give you what you shouldn't miss : Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar / Spice Market, Galata Tower, Rüstem Pasa Mosque, Süleymaniye Mosque, Sapphire Terrace, Maiden Tower (Kiz Kulesi), Ortaköy,Istiklal Street / Taksim, Bosphorus Cruise Tour. There are more which can be added to the list but I strongly suggest the ones mentioned above. If you take a look at my Istanbul pages, you will find all the information for these attractions plus restaurant reviews which will be very useful. Enjoy Istanbul :)

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  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    Re: 4 days Istanbul

    by IreneMcKay Online Now Jan 25, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    You have already been given good advice on sights. I would add travel by local ferry from Besiktas to Kadikoy - a beautiful journey and then eat in Kadikoy. There are some very good local restaurants.

    Istaklal Caddesi and the Taksim area in general is also good for shopping.

    Visit any local fruit and veg market for wonderful, colourful photos.

    The Princes Islands are great. If you were to choose just one it should probably be Buyukada, though Burgazada was also great.

    Don't remember if anyone mentioned the Galata Tower near Taksim for some good views.

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  • stream&rain's Profile Photo

    Re: 4 days Istanbul

    by stream&rain Online Now Jan 25, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Where to eat?
    I love that question. As a local and have so many allergics, i would say i eat at home mostly and love it very much too.
    Return to subject now; There are spesific meals at spesific places. For example; If you like close to home made meals, i would recommend Konyali in Sirkeci, Yanyali Fehmi in Kadikoy and Kanaat in Uskudar ( i m not going there lately).
    For meatballs; only one place i go Historical Sultanahmet Koftecisi, always crowded (Here there is a small problem. Some people do mix restaurants there. Because there 2-3 restaurants in same place and make sure you go to the right one )
    For meat (cooked at the steam one) ; I would say Gelik is my favorite one.

    I m not very often fish eater outside so mostly i go to Cicek Pasaji at Istiklal and sit any restaurant there. (Always better to check fish (fish eyes should be shining to be fresh) and show the waiters the price before you sit please)

    On the other hand so many fast food around too.

    Have a nice time

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  • June.b's Profile Photo

    Re: 4 days Istanbul

    by June.b Online Now Jan 25, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    Should you want to venture into off-the-beaten tourist path whilst still within the city, go to Fener-Balat neighborhood, those places are not so popular with the sultanahmet/taksim-tourist-type.

    Great local neighborhood, it has this different byzantine-greek vibe to the neighborhood. Go there with the purpose of visiting the old churches/basilicas - the Pammakaristos Church for one is impressive. So while visiting churches, go around the neighborhood, people there are friendly by the way, some will greet you along the way.

    AFter that, you might want to end it with a cable car ride up Pierre Lotti cafe in Eyup and drink hot tea while relaxing at one of the chairs watching the golden horn. Take a taxi or the bus, it's not far from Fener-Balat neighborhood.

    Here's my info-page on that:

    Istanbul Ili Things to Do Tips by June.b

    Enjoy.

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