After last week´s post featuring the impressive Topkapi Palace, I just couldn’t let go of the city of Istanbul – not yet!
Let´s talk more about all the places I’ve managed to see during my layover. Even though I tried to be extremely organized and fast to cover everything I planned, one day in Istanbul – was definitely not enough…
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Istanbul layover: One Day in the City
Istanbul is definitely one of my
While a day-long Istanbul layover is not enough to experience the city fully, it is a unique chance to get a quick glimpse of the main historical sites and meet the versatile Turkish culture.
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Istanbul is the largest city in Europe. With a population of 15 million – just imagine that traffic! So, in case you have a brief stop – keep in mind that in order to visit several places in one day, you’d rather be choosing those located close to each other. Plan your trip efficiently, that´s your only chance. And if you have more than just one day – check this 3 Days In Istanbul Itinerary for more ideas.
I´d say 3 days is a minimum for Istanbul, however if you have more you won’t be bored either. There are so many things to see and do!
Let´s face it: Istanbul layover with a one-day sightseeing plan – it sounds like a challenge, but why not?!
Istanbul layover: Must See Places
1. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque
The most emblematic Turkish landmark built between 1609 and 1616 years during the rule of Ahmed I, known as Blue Mosque or The Sultan Ahmed Mosque.
Here, you should mind the dress code for women: head, legs, and arms covered. I was wearing a long skirt (and as a solo female
2. Hagia Sophia
An ultimate architectural phenomenon and a monument for both Byzantine and Ottoman Empire – Hagia Sofia. Built in 537 AD as an Orthodox cathedral of Constantinople, Hagia Sofia was converted into an Ottoman mosque under Mehmed the Conqueror in 1453. It is currently a museum. I´d recommend you to check the opening hours here.
3. The Grand Bazaar
I´m terrible at bargaining and markets always feel too crowded and overwhelming for me. However, being in Istanbul and not visiting one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world would be impossible. The Grand Bazaar is touristic, but you could still get there many local products and decorations. I normally go for the rose tea, rare spices and Turkish delights for souvenirs.
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An authentic Turkish tea set is something I wanted to have at home for a while (typical Turkish tea itself is quite strong for me, but I love those hand-painted saucers and glasses with Ottoman ornaments). But last time my layover on the way back home was too short, so I couldn’t buy on.
Besides, next time I´ll visit Istanbul with kids and it’s going to be their first trip outside
4. The Basilica Cistern
Built in 532, the Basilica Cistern is the largest surviving Byzantine cistern in Istanbul. It has 336 columns and is able to store up to 80,000 cu meters of water. What a subterranean structure!
6. The Topkapi Palace
After watching the popular Turkish Tv Show called The Magnificent Century ( Muhtesem Yuzyil in Turkish) I just couldn´t miss the Topkapi Place. Check more details and photos here.
I can´t say no to Istanbul layover no matter where my final destination is. It is absolutely one of those cities you can travel back forever and always find something new. The Ottoman history is waiting to be uncovered around every corner, while the Turkish markets literally give you a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in this vibrant culture! No matter how many days you have, or which is your best Istanbul itinerary going to be – it will be an adventure! That´s for sure.
For more Turkey travel tips, itineraries, and photography check my Pinterest board Turkey Travel Collection.
- Accommodation: For short stays, I usually book via Agoda, Booking, and Hotellook
- Tours&excursions: My favorites for guided tours are GetYourGuide and Viator
- City breaks&sightseeing: Go City helps to avoid multiple entry fees and paper tickets
- Travel Insurance: find the best trip insurance plans via VisitorsCoverage, EKTA, and Insubuy
- Flights: To find the best deals I like WayAway and Aviasales
- Airport Lounge: Get independent airport lounge access worldwide via Priority Pass
- Train&bus tickets: Currently, I book via RailEurope, Omio, and Busbud
- Car rental: To find the best deals I use Rental Cars, Discover Cars, and GetRentalCar
- Transfers: For individual transfer services I like Kiwitaxi
- For Foodies: Eatwith is great for finding culinary experiences with locals
- Cruise Reviews: To find the best cruise offer I check out Cruise Critic
- Suitcases&Luggage: To eliminate problems of early arrivals/late departures I find helpful Radical Storage
- Compensation for delayed/canceled flights: AirHelp is useful for all flight cancellation or delay claims
- To avoid roaming fees I use Airalo eSIMs around the world
- Budget-friendly stays: Check Hostelworld to find the best deals around the world
- Events: To find the best offers I use Ticketmaster and TicketNetwork
- Renting Bikes: to find motorcycles, scooters, quads, and bicycles I use BikesBooking
- Package Tours: head to CheapOair, Expedia UK, Tourhub, and loveholidays
- For Bloggers: To monetize my blog I use Travelpayouts