Do you wonder how many days it takes to visit Istanbul completely? This will vary depending on your plan. If you have fewer days, you can apply a more tight schedule. HeyTripster’s local trip designers have prepared a program for you to explore the elite Istanbul pleasures you can experience in a short time. Contact us if you think you will have difficulty following this program. Thus, you do not have to stay behind the plan during your trip to Istanbul.
Istanbul’s most beautiful sightseeing program for 4 days is as follows:
Day 1 (A Day Full of History)
Hagia Sophia, built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century, was used as a church for 916 years. It was converted into a mosque in 1453 by the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmet. It was opened to visitors as a museum in 1935 upon the order of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the decision of the Council of Ministers. Hagia Sophia, the largest Eastern Roman church in Istanbul, is described as the masterpiece of architectural history. As the inner part of the building, the outer part is a must-see. Hagia Sophia is an important masterpiece with its courtyards, gardens and private sections.
Hagia Sophia became a mosque again in 2020 with the Presidential decree. On 24th of July, 2020, Friday prayers were performed again after 86 years. Visitors wish to see the Hagia Sophia can enter without an entrance fee from now on. Please keep in mind that there are five prayer times for a day, you might want to visit the Hagia Sophia besides these times. Don’t forget that know it’s a mosque again women and men have to wear according to Islamic rules. For men and women, legs and arms need to be covered, no shorts or skirts above the ankle. Also, your clothes should not be tight fitting. And women have to cover their heads.
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Sultanahmet is known as the Blue Mosque because of the color and patterns of the attractive tiles on its inner walls. The Blue Mosque is regarded as one of the most successful examples of Turkish-Islamic architecture. The Blue Mosque, located just opposite Hagia Sophia, is one of the places to visit on the historical peninsula. Entrance to the mosque is free, open to worship. Therefore, when entering the mosque should be appropriate to our style of clothing.
Located in the southwest of Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern is also known as Yerebatan Palace because of its marble columns rising from the water and appearing countless. Approximately 100,000 tons of water can be collected in a total area of 9800 square meters. There are 336 columns, 9 meters each. Column headings have the characteristics of different cultures. Inside the Basilica Cistern you will be surprised: Medussa Head, which is used under two columns in the northwest corner of the Cistern.
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Istanbul Archeology Museum is one of the largest museums in the world with more than one million works of various cultures. The museum is built as Turkey’s oldest buildings. The museum’s collection includes artifacts belonging to civilizations within the borders of the Ottoman Empire, from the Balkans to Africa, Anatolia and Mesopotamia to the Arabian Peninsula and Afghanistan. Since the museum consists of three main units, it is called as Istanbul Archeology Museums. Units: Archeology Museum (main building), Museum of Ancient Oriental Art and Tiled Pavilion Museum.
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You will see the magnificence of the sultans when you walk around the Topkapı Palace, which consists of many parts such as Hagia Irene, Department of Sacred Relics, Harem Department, Courtyards. The Topkapi Palace also features 10 separate collections, each with thousands of pieces. Sacred Relics and Imperial Treasure are collections that you should see first.
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Day 2 (Shopping Day)
For some tourists, the most entertaining of the days spent in other countries is shopping. If you think so, it’s your day. Because we’re going to shop in many places. We will start this trip from the Grand Bazaar, which is the mystical place of Istanbul, and then we will visit many places up to the most luxurious shopping centers.
The Grand Bazaar was not only a bazaar during the Ottoman Empire. It was one of the most important economic projects of the state in order to ensure the continuity of the product identity of an empire and to ensure international competition. This was a major mechanism in which a multifaceted and effective rivalry between East-West North-South countries was controlled and balanced. Today, the Grand Bazaar is a social trade center that determines the price of precious metals such as gold.
The Grand Bazaar in the center of Istanbul is the largest bazaar in the world. The Grand Bazaar is spread over an area of 110.868 m2 and has a closed area of 45.000 m2, 3600 shops and 14 caravanserai on 65 streets. If you like to buy backgammon, hookah or other souvenirs, mystical spices, special design items or precious products such as gold, silver, diamonds, you may lose yourself in the Grand Bazaar.
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Taksim is one of the ideal areas for shopping. When you walk along Istiklal Street, you will see many famous brand shops. You can also find many places on this street, from world-famous brands to passages selling very cheap products. If you are not a brand enthusiast or if you are not looking for something very luxurious, we recommend passages. Beyoğlu Business Center and Atlas Passage are two important passages. In addition, the Terkos Passage on Terkos Street and the Aznavur Passage, where tourists frequently visit to buy souvenirs, jewelry and bags, are also a passage where you can buy a wide variety of products at low prices. If you don’t like the crowd, you should prefer morning hours.
Location: View on Google Maps
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It is the most nostalgic center of Old Istanbul. Eminönü, on the edge of the harbor, is full of boats that bring passengers down at ferry piers near the city’s bazaars. There are stalls selling fruits, tea, and spices in the Spice Bazaar, while the adjacent Grand Bazaar has colorful carpets, fabrics, lamps, and jewelry. Suleymaniye Mosque watches the region from above. The Rustem Pasha Mosque, built in the 16th century, is famous for its Iznik tiles. You can find exact copies of many expensive brands such as sports shoes and tracksuits in Eminönü and get them for cheaper. In addition, there are branches of very luxurious shops in the streets of Eminönü. However, Eminonu is basically known as a place where products are sold cheaper.
Location: View on Google Maps
City’s Nişantaşı is one of the most luxurious shopping centers among Istanbul’s fashion and living centers. City’s, which integrates with the historical architecture of Nişantaşı in great harmony, you can increase your shopping options with national and international private brands. You can try different tastes from international cuisine, have a nice time with your loved ones, enjoy a comfortable cinema and even play sports or chat with your friends in the “Neighborhood”.
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Day 3 (Tasting Day)
There are people from all over Turkey in Istanbul. Therefore, food culture from all over Turkey gathered in Istanbul. If you are looking for a special meal made by people living in Anatolia, you can easily find it in the restaurants on the streets of Istanbul. However, there is a new generation of chefs who combine these local delicacies with their creativity, so that they live gourmets in the dust.
Naan is the best breakfast shop in Kadıköy in terms of quality and taste. It is best to start the day with a breakfast at Naan with its eggs, omelets, sourdough breads, milk jam and other specialties.
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A branch of Thales Cafe is located in Kadıköy. The cafe is located in a nostalgic white mansion. The open space is very large and the garden is decorated with flowers. It has a pleasant, warm and friendly atmosphere with its winter garden and admirable interior design. If you prefer a quiet and peaceful lunch, you can go to the winter garden. The interior is a place where entertainment and movement increase as the weather gets dark. With their delicious recipes and interesting cocktails, Thales brings a new breath to Kadıköy’s entertainment life.
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Mini Eatery (Snacks)
Surprise your stomach that starts to get a little hungry after touring around Kadıköy and around: Go to Mini Eatery. At Mini Eatery, which serves with a concept where all portions are mini, you will not get full satisfaction even if you eat all the meals. Croquetas, prepared with beef ham with bechamel sauce, fried pickles, spring onion rings, french fries, and homemade lemonade are delicious. In addition, each of the small hamburgers is very tasty. For dessert, the Mini Cheesecake Bites were delicious.
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Some recipes in Anatolian culinary culture have been forgotten even in their own region. Founded with the aim of protecting these lost flavors, Çiya promises you a delicious flavor journey. Çiya is not only a dining table but a cultural movement. Although the dishes served initially as Southeast and Eastern Mediterranean cuisine, the menu developed over time. Çiya adapts the immense cultural accumulation of a geography extending from Anatolia to Mesopotamia. Azeri, Georgian, Turkish, Arabic, Armenian, Ottoman, Syriac, Seljuk, Jewish cultures are prepared and presented in accordance with the traditions, customs and beliefs of the region.
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Chocolate Shop (Dessert)
We finish the evening by eating chocolate at the Chocolate Shop. Here you will find delicious desserts, each named after a traditional Turkish woman. The most admired dessert is called Asuman. If you don’t like strawberries, don’t ask for Asuman. Try “Mualla” instead if you like banana chocolate. If you want homemade ice cream, caramel, and milk chocolate, ask for Ferhunde. Wait patiently, even if it is very queue. Enjoy!
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Day 4 (Day of Sightseeing)
We finish our 4-day tour by visiting the most beautiful places in Istanbul. We’re sure you’ il be planning to come back. We are loyal lovers of this city because we experience everything you see, taste and experience every day.
A feature of Istanbul is that Asia and Europe are the closest to each other. With two bridges, you can go on and off. But more beautiful is to watch the houses and other historical buildings along the Bosphorus. Bosphorus tours are made for this purpose. You can see dozens of historical monuments, palaces, mosques and mansions on both sides. If you want to go all day with this tour, you can take a long Bosphorus tour. It takes 6 hours. The ferry travels along the coast and stops at the far end of Istanbul. Here, fish restaurants and raki await you. After eating your food and desserts, this time, the ferry crosses close to the opposite shore, allowing you to see the historical buildings in this region. An excursion to everyone who comes to Istanbul.
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Karaköy is a place where the Byzantines, Genoese, Venetians, Ottomans, Frankishes, Sephardic, and many others have left their mark on its 3,000-year history. Sometimes chaos, sometimes dynamism fascinates. In doing so, it takes you deep into history. Galata Bridge, Karakoy Square, Bankalar Street is very important and historical areas such as.
The confectionery relief and Kağnı mosaic panel of famous painter Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu is located in Karaköy Square. These two works are among the best examples of Istanbul’s city heritage. Bankalar Avenue also hosted the first banks of the Ottoman Empire. This street is a financial and commercial center in the 19th century. A sunset is enough to remember the Galata Bridge, the fishermen, the docking boats, the restaurants under the bridge, and the magical colors that paint Süleymaniye as the sunsets. Karaköy has undergone major changes in the last 10 years. It became a younger and active neighborhood with cafes, design workshops, and modern shops.
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Beşiktaş is located on the Bosphorus. There is a fish market in the center. A maze of narrow streets surrounds the fish market. There are shops in these narrow streets. There are also delightful bars and unassuming restaurants. The spectacular 19th-century Dolmabahçe Palace and the Maritime Museum are located on the banks of the Bosphorus. If you came to Besiktas, you should first visit the palace and museum and then go to Besiktas Bazaar. There is a street market on Saturday. If you want to stroll in the parks, Abbasağa and Yıldız Park are waiting for you.
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Taksim is the center of lively nightlife. The square where the close political history takes place is Cumhuriyet Square in Taksim. Stroll down Istiklal Street with its famous restaurants. By nostalgic tram you go to the end of the street. Meanwhile, you can buy books, clothes, souvenirs, food, drinks. Istiklal Street has 19th-century buildings, ancient churches, modern international chain stores, cinemas, cafes and bookstores. In the narrow streets that cross the street, there are bars and rooftop restaurants with views of Istanbul.
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Born and raised Istanbulite. Keeping an eye on the opportunity to explore this ancient city even more. Trying to do the best for nature.