Are you wondering how many days in Istanbul are enough? We have the answer. In this guide, we explore what to see and do and find out just how many days are sufficient for Istanbul.
Istanbul is a remarkable city with many itineraries and wonders to see; each stone of each building in Istanbul has a story to tell. And, if Istanbul is in your travel plans, you might want to know how many full days you should spend in Istanbul to make the best of your trip.
There are pros and cons to how many days are sufficient for Istanbul – but as a local, I suggest that a three-day trip to Istanbul is the perfect amount of time if you want to be able to discover the main Istanbul attractions.
That said, you could spend weeks in Istanbul and not see all it offers, as it is just that big of a city!
But don’t worry; you don’t have to rely on Google for your trip because we’ve prepared the perfect Istanbul itineraries to help you decide how long to stay in Istanbul for all who want to discover the secrets of this city.
If you’re ready, let’s see where to go for a complete discovery of Istanbul.
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3 Days In Istanbul Itinerary
Now, let’s give you some more details on the above itineraries for Istanbul
Day 1 – Getting into the History of Istanbul
On the first day, we will dive into the history of Istanbul. Our trip will mainly focus on the Fatih district.
The Crown Of Istanbul: Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia has had iconic significance for different religions and nations throughout history; beginning your journey with this iconic monument will be the best way to comprehend Istanbul’s history.
Explore The Ottoman Architecture: Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque, commissioned by Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I, is one of the most notable mosques built during the Ottoman Empire’s classical era. Like many famous Ottoman mosques, it borrowed architectural characteristics from Hagia Sophia.
Visit The Hippodrome At Sultanahmet Square
Sultanahmet Square is home to Constantinople’s Hippodrome, where chariot races occurred in the Roman and Byzantine eras. One of the square’s must-sees is the ancient Egyptian obelisk, which dates to the 15th century BCE.
Discover The Depths Of Istanbul: Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern, built in the 6th century CE, is the largest of the many hundred cisterns beneath Istanbul. The Istanbul Municipality recently renovated the structure. With its tranquil and mysterious atmosphere, it is well worth a visit.
See The Uncovered Wonders: Istanbul Archaeology Museums
Every street corner in Istanbul is an open-air museum. If, on the other hand, you wish to view the original artifacts discovered in Istanbul, the Istanbul Archaeological Museums provide a unique experience with its vast collection of historical artifacts from numerous civilizations.
Day 2 – Embracing The Modern Istanbul
- Dolmabahçe Palace
- Taksim Square
- Discover Istiklal Street
On your second day in Istanbul, you’ll take a trip to the more modern parts of the city and enjoy the local cuisine.
See Spectacular Dolmabahçe Palace
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Dolmabahçe Palace functioned as the administrative center of the Ottoman Sultans. The palace is located on the European side of the Bosporus and provides a spectacular outlook.
Discover The Local Culture At Taksim Square
It’s now time to explore Taksim Square. Today is your chance to immerse yourself in the local culture. In order to sample the local cuisine, you may visit local cafés, restaurants, dessert stores, bakeries, and pubs.
Explore Istiklal Street
Istiklal Street is one of Istanbul’s most renowned tourist attractions. Even though simply wandering down the street is enjoyable, Istiklal hosts various spots you should not miss. The Church of St. Anthony of Padua, Pera Museum, and Galata Tower are among them.
Day 3 – Shopping And Saying Goodbye
- Grand Bazaar
- Spice Bazaar
- Bosporus Ferry
- Bosporus Dinner
It’s your last day in Istanbul, but don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to shop and say goodbye to the city!
Visit The Famous Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar is one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets. It has over 4,000 shops where you can buy a wide range of souvenirs. Just be wary of sly vendors who will try to overcharge you for their wares.
Continue Shopping At Spice Bazaar
The Spice Bazaar is Istanbul’s second most famous market after the Grand Bazaar. Although the bazaar is a notable center of the spice trade in Istanbul, it also includes many shops that sell different products.
Take A Bosporus Ferry
After a long day of bazaar shopping, take a tranquil ferry trip on the Bosporus. This one is especially recommended for couples because the Bosporus is one of the most romantic places in Istanbul.
Finalize Your Trip With A Delicious Bosporus Dinner
After your tour on the Bosporus, finish your Istanbul trip with a great dinner. Choose one of the many restaurants along the beachfront. If you drink alcohol, a traditional Turkish drink called raki may be the finest way to end your trip.
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Where To Stay In Istanbul
When planning your accommodation in Istanbul, the location is key, particularly about the itineraries we suggested.
A strategic starting point is the Sultanahmet district. This center, packed with historical landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque, will put you right at the heart of Istanbul’s rich cultural heritage. You’ll wake up each morning surrounded by rich history, ready to dive into Istanbul’s vibrant life.
However, if you’re sticking around for more than a few days, consider checking out accommodations in areas like Taksim, Kabatas, Karakoy, and Galata.
These areas are bustling social hotspots brimming with shops, cafes, and restaurants. Plus, you’ll have Galata Tower and Istiklal Street right on your doorstep – perfect for sightseeing.
Looking to get beyond the usual tourist trail? In that case, the Asian side of Istanbul might be your perfect match.
Neighborhoods like Kadikoy and Uskudar offer more local and authentic experiences. Here, you’ll find yourself enjoying mouth-watering local dishes and spectacular sunset views. At the end of the day, choosing the right place to stay depends on your personal itinerary and what you want out of your Istanbul experience.
How To Get Around Istanbul
Getting around a city as expansive as Istanbul might feel daunting at first. Still, the city is well-equipped with an array of transport options that effectively cover its geographical spread.
For a genuine Istanbul experience, try the public transportation system, which includes trams, metros, ferries, and buses. To make your commute hassle-free, grab an Istanbulkart, a reloadable smart card that gives you access to all of the city’s public transport – such a no-brainer.
If comfort is high on your agenda, taxis are also an attractive option; just be a little wary, as some drivers are known to take the scenic route to rack up the fare. But no worries! You can side-step any potential extra cost by using BiTaksi, a local Turkish app that works just like Uber and ensures you get the best taxi rates – keep Turkish Lira on hand for this.
However, the best way to soak up the ambiance of Istanbul is simply by walking. Believe me, you’ll end up discovering not just the major sights but also the intriguing little nooks that no taxi or metro can take you to.
FAQ About How Many Days To Spend In Istanbul
So, now that you know how many days are sufficient for Istanbul – when will you go?