Feel This city! ... Feel The Rhythm
Where to Visit Istanbul in Three Days.
If you plan to stay around three days in Istanbul, here is what I suggest to have the most efficient of what you can have. Istanbul is such a big city that you may not have the taste of it in short a period of time, so spare some longer time for your next visit.
: First of all open the following Link with a small map, Which shows the locations with number codes. Take a tram to Eminonu(1). Get off in the last stop. Turn your back to the sea and in front of you is the new mosque (Yeni cami) and next to it is the Spice market (2).. Walk in to the spice market, you will see all kinds of spices, herbal teas, souvenirs and etc. after touring in the market, go back the same way and walk to the main tram station. Follow the tramline either by walking or taking a tram. When you are about to reach the Sultanahmet Square on the right bank you will see the basilica cistern (3), Underground waterway built in year 532 was used as a reservoir for water storage for the Great Palace and other buildings. It is 132 m length, by 65m wide. At the far end of the cistern, there are two heads of Medusa, which are put upside down, or horizontal. Because of its magic atmosphere and great acoustics, this cistern is now hosting many Classical Music Concerts. The entrance fee is 10 TL, (~ 7 USD )
After you have completed the Basilica Cistern, now time for Saint Sophia (4).. The exit of the
cistern is just below the Saint Sophia.. Just walk up the road and turn left. You will see the gorgeous Saint Sophia. The museum
is open everyday, except Monday. And visiting hours are from 9:30 to 16:30.. The entrance fee is 15 TL, (~ 10 USD) including
visit to the upper gallery floor . To reach the galleries on the second floor, you need to climb a ramp, which is very impressive.
On the upper gallery you will see the impressive mosaics and also a summary of the history of the Church.. I will have a separate
spot for Hagia Sophia, cause it worth's to..
After completing your tour at St Sophia, now it is probably the noon time and time for Lunch. Probably one of the best food you can find in the nearby is the " Tarihi Sultanahmet Koftecisi (5)" , they serve a very special Turkish meatball and you will enjoy your food.
After having your lunch, now back to the historical sites again.
Just in front of the Sultanahmet koftecisi, you will see the wonderful Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) ( 6). Open every day except praying times. The entrance is free, Ladies are advised to bring a head scarves or you can borrow
one from the entrance. The Blue Mosque is one of the most prominent landmarks of Istanbul. It is very impressive with its
beautiful domes and semi domes, nice courtyards and six slender minarets. Sultan Ahmet 1 founded the Blue Mosque. And the
whole complex was completed in 1616. Upon the entrance to the mosque, you should pay attention to the gate. The gate is a
typical Seljuk- Turkish wooden works with a geometrical design in its center. If you wonder about the star, it symbolizes
the Turkish Generation and very typical of early 11-12th Century Turkish Art. After the gate, you will meet with the
breathtaking interior of the mosque with its chandeliers and blue tiles. The mosque is all surrounded by beautiful 17th
Century Blue Iznik tiles, which give its name to the Blue Mosque.
After you complete your tour in the Blue mosque, you shall visit the Hippodrome (7) next to it. Keep Saint Sophia and Blue mosque behind you and you will see the Hippodrome Square. The Egyptian obelisk, The Serpentine Column and the Colossus are the important sights on the square. The 60m high, and 800 tons weight of Obelisk which came from Egypt BC is an attractive part.
After Blue mosque and the Hippodrome, now some more tour in the old peninsula. Just walk near to the tramline and start
walking up the road. The road is closed to traffic and for pedestrians. The surrounding is nice to see. You will pass the Cemberlitas
square but keep on walking. At the end of the pedestrian road you will see the Beyazit metro stop and if you turn right you will see
one of the gates of the Covered bazaar. Before entering Covered bazaar (8), have some rest in a nearby
place , You shall visit the " Corlulu Ali Pasa Medresesi (9)" to have a real authentic rest
place and afterwards get ready for a new adventure at the covered bazaar .
Covered Bazaar is one of the must-sees of Istanbul, however you should be ready for the hassle of shop owners. And I strongly suggest not making any shopping from the street sellers. Covered Bazaar is one of the largest covered markets in the world. More than 4000 shops in 64 streets and with 22 gates. It looks like a labyrinth at first sight but it's actually not that complicated. The Bazaar was first constructed in 1464 and had many restorations over the years due to the extensive fires and destructive earthquakes. You can find all kind of Stuff in the Bazaar. Varying from Silk carpets to leather coats and from gold to fake brand T-shirts. Covered bazaar is also known to be one of the most important gold markets in the world. The hassle of the shop owners has disturbed the tourists so much in the past days and this has reduced the income of the shop owners. Now they are almost aware that this cannot go on like this and they are friendlier nowadays, but still they need more improvements.
After covered bazaar, now you are definitely tired and take the first tram and take your way back to your hotel. Rest in your room and evaluate one of the restaurant tips to go out for dinner.
After a long first day now you need to restore your memory, so I advice you to have a relaxing day
and make a boat trip on the Bosphorus . There are several excursion and small boats running a long
the bosphorus, however I advice you to take a regular Ferry.
Ferries to the Bosphorus leaves from Eminonu, so take a tram and reach to Eminonu. There are 3 ports at Eminonu and the ones running in the Bosphorus are leaving from number 3 port. Ferries leaves at 10:35, 12:00 and 13,35 in summer. There is also one ferry for night trips. Total travel time including return trip will take around 5- 6 hrs.
We call the Bosphorus ferry as the Beggar Ferry, due that it stops almost in every port a long the Bosphorus waterway and Begs:) for passengers. When you take the boat from Eminonu to Anadolu kavagi after a tour of around 1,5 hrs you will reach the fortress at the connection of Black sea. During your tour you will see very nice houses, old buildings along the Bosphorus and you will enjoy traveling between Europe to Asia and back again.
When you reach the Anadolu kavagi, first thing to do is to learn the hours of return ferry, There are again three ferries returning back and choose your desired return time... Then you can climb up to the hill and reach the walls of Fortress. There you will see the Bosphorus meeting with the Black sea. A very nice panoramic view.
In Anadolu kavagi there are many nice fish restaurants you can have lunch in one of these fish restaurants and prices are relatively cheap. After touring in the small village and having eaten your lunch, now is the time to return. You can take the ferry back to Eminonu.
Do not forget to bring your camera with you with enough films on it. , You shall have many snaps along the Bosphorus. You can also bring a book with you. It is nice to sit at the top of the fortress and read a book.
After a relaxing day, now you can go back on the track and spare a day for the Topkapi palace and surrounding structures.
Topkapi palace is located near to Sultanahmet area, so take the tram and get off at Sultanahmet station, when you walk to the Square, you will see St Sophia on you left and Blue mosque on your right. Turn left to the backside of St Sophia. This road will lead you to the Palace. Before reaching the palace two important sights are the Fountain of Sultan Ahmed III and the "Sogukcesme Sokagi". You can easily catch the fountain with its attractive motives and nice Dom. "Sogukçesme Sokagi" with the old Istanbul houses, lays on the other side of the Fountain. Make a short walk in the street and watch for the renovated old Istanbul houses on the Edge of Istanbul Walls. Now you can lead to the big door where is the opening to the first courtyard. In the first court yard on the left side is the St Irene Church. To visit this church is under the admission of St Sophia museum, however I could only find a chance to visit once. When you enter the Church there is a stone ramp, which descend s a long to the level of the interior. When you reach the interior you will see the semicircular front with semi-domed above and there are seats for the clergy. In the semi-dome, there is an ancient mosaic of a simple cross in a black border.
After your tour in the St Irene Museum, now lead to the entrance of the Topkapi palace. You will see a crowd waiting in front of the ticket offices. And you will easily catch the gate of Topkapi palace. Topkapi palace is open from 9:00 to 16:00 except Tuesdays. Entrance tickets are obtained from the gateway. There are different parts in the museum and each of them has a different entrance fee. The entrance to the Topkapi museum is 20 TL, (~ 12,5 USD), Entrance to the Harem is 15 YTL. Harem is inside the palace and has a separate entrance. In order to visit the Harem you need to wait for the tours, there are tours in every half an hour and Harem is closing at 15:30 hrs. (Closing hours represent last entrance time). I would suggest touring the palace first and visiting Harem later. Topkapi palace is probably one of the best palaces you can see on earth. You will definitely be impressed, one missing thing in the palace for me is as everything is on an exhibition you don't see a real reflection of how people were living in the past.
Topkapi Palace could take your whole day, but you should spare some time for some other places. After Topkapi palace you can visit the Archeological museum . When you reach the first courtyard outside the palace, you will see the signs showing the Museum. Archeological museum is on the right side below the road. The entrance fee is 5 TL (3 USD). Open all day except Monday, from 9:00 to 17.00.
When you are finished with the Archeological museum, just walk down the road and you will reach the entrance of Gulhane Park. If you want to relax a bit, a walk in the park will be very nice. Park has been re-organized recently and has a very nice looking with so many nice and colorful flowers. The day is not over yet. One more activity can fit for this day and this is a visit to Miniaturk. Miniaturk is a mini model park of Turkiye.
The park is open from 09:00 to 17:00. And in summer it is open till 20:00 hrs. So a late visit is still possible in summer days. On miniaturk Turkey's rich historical and cultural heritage is being displayed with their maquett es. If you plan a visit to Istanbul, this is a must see event, you should put in to your agenda. You can have snap to all main structures in Turkey in such a short time. After the Park or skipping the park after the museum, you shall w alk or take the tram to eminonu, to reach to Miniaturk I advice taking a taxi from Eminonu. It shall cost around 9 -10 TL (~ 6-7 USD). The entrance fee to the park is around 10 TL (~ 7 USD).
The park is located over on a 56-hectare area along the coast of the Golden Horn. Hagia Sophia, Aspendos Theater, Suleymaniye Mosque, Sumela Monastery, Fairy Chimneys, Mount Nemrud and the ancient city of Ephesus are some of those among the historical and cultural works of art in the park. There is also a small bridge, which is copied from the Bosphorus Bridge which lays between Europe and Asia.
After Miniaturk you can again take a taxi to Eminonu and back to your hotel. Or since you are in Golden horn, a visit to "Cibalikapi" fish restaurant will be favorable.