I Have 3 Days In Istanbul – Recommended Itinerary – Best Things To Do
If you would like to see everything about Istanbul, you could even stay in the city for a week. However time is so precious for travelers and staying 3 days in Istanbul recommended to see the major sights. Here is a list of places to see during your 3 days in Istanbul.
1st Day – I Have One Day In Istanbul
Hagia Sophia is most popular museum to visit in Istanbul. It was built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 537 A.D. The building survived many earthquakes and riots. 1500 years old building, representing the wisdom of ancient ages.
For more information check: Hagia Sophia architecture, mosaics, facts
Hagia Sophia Museum
Blue Mosque is built by an Ottoman Sultan: Ahmed I in 1616. Altough it’s widely known as Blue Mosque, its original name is Sultanahmet Mosque. The mosque has a splendid interior decoration with Blue Tiles.
The center of Istanbul Old City is also given the same name: Sultanahmet Area. You can easily walk from Blue Mosque to Hagia Sophia or Grand Bazaar.
Blue Mosque Or Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Topkapı Palace was the royal residence of Ottoman Sultans from 1471 to 1856. 25 Ottoman Rulers (Out of 36) lived in this palace, when the Ottoman Empire was at the peak of the power. The Palace contains 4 large courtyards. To visit the palace properly might take a long time. Save at least two hours for this place.
Topkapı Palace Museum
Basilica Cistern is built by the same ruler as Hagia Sophia: Justinian I. The Cistern was the main water reservoir for the Byzantine Empire’s capital Constantinople. It has adorable mystical atmosphere and Mesusa heads.
Underground Basilica Cistern
Grand Bazaar is built 1460, following the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottomans. This is an oriental style shopping center that you need to bargain. It has 3000 shops and 67 streets. Overwhelming historic marketplace.
Grand Bazaar Or Covered Bazaar
Recommended Further Reading: Istanbul Old City Walking Tours
2nd Day – I Have Two Days In Istanbul
Spice Bazaar is lovely little version of Grand Bazaar. The spices that were brought from the Spice Road and fabrics from Silk Road sold in here during the old days. You may still find various kind of spices and local flavours.
Spice Bazaar Or Egyptian Market
Bosphorus Cruise Tour
Attending to one of the Bosphorus tours via Turyol Bosphorus Boats, a must activity in Istanbul. Turyol boats cost only 15 Turkish Lira and they offer 1,5 hour journey from Eminönü Pier (next to Galata Bridge & Spice Bazaar) to 2nd bridge of Istanbul. The boats make a round trip and come back to Old City again.
Recommended Further Reading: Which Bosphorus Cruise Tours To Take?
Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise Tours
Chora Church has the best-preserved mosaics from the late Byzantine Empire period. The mosaics and frescoes of this unique museum, tells a story. It’s recommended to see this place with your guide to learn about its diverse history.
Chora Church Or Kariye Museum
Recommended Reading: Constantinople Tours Of Istanbul – Discover Byzantine Empire
Süleymaniye Mosque is built by the greatest Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman The Magnificent. Ottoman Empire was at the peak of his power at his time, dominating Asia, Europe and Africa. Famous chief architect Mimar Sinan built this grand mosque in the name of Suleiman.
Süleymaniye Mosque Of Sultan Suleiman
Galata Tower is built by Genoese Colony in Istanbul. People of Genoa lived in Istanbul for many years during the Byzantine and Ottoman times. They were trading the goods of Asia (Silk Road) to the Europe. They built Galata Tower in order to watch over their pier by the Golden Horn.
View Of Golden Horn From Galata Tower
Istiklal Avenue is the busiest street in Istanbul. The cafes and restaurants as well as the bars and art galleries. You may find here everything about Istanbul’s local culture and daily life.
Istiklal Avenue Or Istiklal Street
Nice walking over the Istiklal Avenue takes you to renowned Taksim Square. The hub of Istanbul city. The square is bustling with people all day long and surrounded by 5 star hotels and restaurants.
More Reading: Istanbul Museums Opening Hours And Admission Fees
3rd Day – Three Days In Istanbul
Ottoman Sultans moved from traditional Topkapı Palace to the Modern Dolmabahçe Palace in 1856. Dolmabahçe Palace is a great example of changing the architecture in Ottoman Empire in 19th century. The palace is adorable place with its eclectic style. The palace is located by the Bosphorus and has magnificent view from all rooms.
Dolmabahçe Palace Museum
Ortaköy And Bebek
Ortaköy and Bebek are the most beautiful Bosphorus villages. These two district is full of locals on the weekend. You may see locals having breakfast and chat with their family and friends in restaurants or wandering around the street markets of Ortaköy.
Ortaköy Neighborhood At Bosphorus
Bebek is known as the luxurious district of Bosphorus. Mostly celebrities and rich people live along the bay. Bebek means baby in Turkish and the Bebek bay is beautiful as a baby. Best view of the Bosphorus from this area.
Bebek Neighborhood Of Bosphorus
More Reading: Best Breakfast Restaurants With The Bosphorus View
Crossing The Bosphorus Bridge
Istanbul is sitting on two continents: Asia and Europe. Majority of the sights are located in European side. When you finish the places to see in Europe, you may just cross the Bosphorus Bridge to see the highlights of Asia Side.
Crossing The Bosphorus Through The 1st Bridge
Çamlıca Hill is located at the inland Asia Side. There is a splendid view of Istanbul from there. Perhaps best place to sip your Turkish coffee with the view of Istanbul’s European side.
View Of Istanbul From Çamlıca Hill
More Reading: Best Area To Stay In Istanbul
Kadıköy Fish Market
Kadıköy is a cute town with a delicious marketplace to observe the local life. You may enjoy with fish market and local flavours as well as delicious restaurants. Comparing to European Side and touristic places, Kadıköy offers you cheaper prices with good quality. Do not forget to eat at Chiya (Çiya) Restaurant which is the best restaurant in Asia Side.
Kadıköy Fish Market
Kadıköy Dessert Shops
Kadıköy Pickle Shops
Kadıköy Chiya Restaurant – Best Local Food
Written By Serhat Engül