5 Days in Istanbul with the Perfect 5 Day Itinerary
One day is enough to fall in love with Istanbul. When you leave yourself under the spell of the city, you can experience another Istanbul every day. We planned and wrote our Istanbul tour for you in 5 days. Don’t forget, you can have a more enjoyable tour with HeyTripster trip plans designed by real locals of the city.
If you have more time to stay in this beautiful city, consider reading 10 days in Istanbul blog to save time planning your visit!
Tip: Renting a car at the airport can simplify all your transportation needs during your trip. To explore your options and view rental prices, click on this link that will open in a new tab, allowing you to continue reading the article.
Here’s how to plan your trip day by day:
Day 1 (A Historical Day)
Galata Tower is one of the historical buildings that have been standing for centuries and you can enjoy the view of Old Istanbul. If you want to feel Istanbul under your feet, you should definitely visit Galata. From Taksim Square, walk down Istiklal Street or take a tram. The tram will take you to Galata. If you are coming from Karaköy, just follow the signs.
Galata Tower has 9 floors. Its height is 66.90 m and the thickness of its walls is 3.75 m. There is a restaurant on the top floor of the Galata Tower. You can eat while watching the 360 ° Istanbul view.
The biggest covered bazaar in the world is the Grand Bazaar. Grand Bazaar covers an area of 110.868 m2. The Grand Bazaar, which has 65 streets and 3600 shops and 14 inns, has 11 gates.
Authentic and traditional items made from the skillful hands of the East, the products that old people see as industry but now become antiques, special design objects produced with the latest technology, gold, silver and diamonds are sold here. Bazaar gold prices will determine Türkiye’s gold prices in the free market.
The magnificent and spectacular structure of the Ottoman period is reflected in the Suleymaniye Mosque. He used pickle cubes for the acoustics in Mimar Sinan, Süleymaniye, which he called “my journeyman’s work”. In addition, since there was no electricity at the time of construction, it was illuminated with 275 oil lamps and candles placed next to the altar.
The architect Sinan designed a room above the middle door to avoid damaging the structure of the soot mosque coming out of these oil lamps and candles. Soot, moving in the opposite direction of the mihrab with the current created by this room, they were coming out of the 4 windows built for soot. The architect Sinan built a collection room for this soot. The soot collected here was used as ink.
Tip: Planning a 5-day trip to Istanbul? Beware of the notorious traffic that can eat up most of your time. To make the most of your trip, consider staying close to the city center, museums, and other popular attractions. The Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque) area is a great option for its central location and easy accessibility. Check out the hotels in the area by clicking on this link that opens in a new tab. Keep reading to find out more!
There is no clear information about when Maiden’s Tower was built. However, some historical sources show that it was built in 341 BC. The Maiden’s Tower was used as a tax collection, defense, lighthouse, radio station and quarantine hospital in the 1830 cholera epidemic. The tower has been the subject of many love and longing themed legends.
The most beautiful view of the Maiden’s Tower is Üsküdar Salacak beach. This lonely tower manifests itself in all its glory. If you want to go to the Maiden’s Tower, you can use the boats and dine in the restaurant there.
Day 2 (Shopping Day)
The 14,000-meter-long street extends from Kadıköy to Maltepe. Not only for shopping, but also for sightseeing, eating, and social activities. What makes the street special are the mansions where people still live, as well as luxury shops. It is one of the rare streets of Istanbul where you can easily walk on the sidewalks. Florists adorn the street with its fragrant and colorful flowers and tell the joy of life. This street is very different from the rest of Istanbul. Everyone is happy and unique. Shopping in Istanbul in this area is such a place, also a pleasure.
Presence Mystery Shopping, a Parisian consultancy, has recently identified the best streets for shopping around the world. In the list, Baghdad Street, which left Paris’s Champs-Elyses and New York’s 5th Avenue streets, won the 4th place. Being the 4th in a list that categorizes the 30 famous streets of the world by categories such as service concept, cleanliness, shopping friendliness and variety offered, adds quality to Baghdad Street and announces its quality to the whole world.
Nisantasi is one of the most fashionable districts of Istanbul with its cafes, venues and trendy shops. When you start from Rumeli Street and continue towards Abdi İpekçi Street, you can see many famous shops, cafes and restaurants together. Abdi Ipekci Street, you can see many world-famous shops and cafes together. This place is one of the most popular places of Istanbul with street decorations especially in the new year. Atiye Street which is closed to traffic, you can find many famous cafes and restaurants. Especially if you come to Istanbul in the summer and spring, do not forget to visit this street.
At the time of the Ottoman Empire, the sultans practiced firing on the stones specially produced for them. This is where the drills are done. These stones were called aim stones. You can see some of these stones in various parts of the neighborhood. In the yard of the Tesvikiye Mosque, you can see two aiming stones and one in front of the Tesvikiye police station. If you are tired and want to relax in a park, Maçka Park is for you. From here, you can take the cable car that departs from Maçka Building of Istanbul Technical University and go to Taksim by watching the Bosphorus view.
Taksim and İstiklal Street, where everyone rushes for their work during the daytime, turns into an open night club at night. Western – eastern, rich – poor; it is possible to meet all kinds of people from every country. Starting from the Republic Monument on Taksim Square, the length of the street up to Tunnel is 1.4 km. Here you can find both luxury shops and passages such as Atlas Passage, Terkos Passage where you can buy cheap products. You don’t even need to enter any store for shopping, people can find you for sale: Oh beware! Istiklal Street is also full of many swindlers.
You will see people trying to sell at a very low price of the store price, saying that they came to Istanbul, they have no money and they have to sell their products. We recommend that you do not contact people of this type. Their products are not original. Moreover, you can find these imitation products at a much cheaper price than the stalls in Eminönü.
In addition to shopping, you can also enter art centers and take a look at the exhibitions here. If you are tired and hungry, you can have a pleasant meal in the restaurants of Çiçek Pasajı or Nevizade.
There are not many options for shopping in Karaköy. Also, there are art galleries and numerous cafes here. You can come across with buildings in Karaköy that have survived to the present day without deteriorating its historical texture. In addition, there are places such as a former turner shop and now a charming café. You’ll love graffiti while walking the streets.
You can also find many vintage shops in Karaköy. You can visit many art galleries, buy yourself something second-hand and relax in the trendy café of the day. In the evening you can sit and eat and drink in the restaurants near the beach.
Istinye Park, opened in September 2007, is the only shopping center offering all alternatives at the same time. There are 147 clothing stores and 41 new brands entering the Turkish market for the first time. In Istinye Park, it is possible to find a variety of international restaurants. There are a total of 12 movie theaters in the shopping center with I-max technology, 1 of which provides three-dimensional images. It offers gourmet delicacies with its 20 small shops in the Marketplace.
Day 3 (Tasting And Sightseeing Day)
You can find world-famous restaurants on Taksim Square and İstiklal Street. There are also restaurants where you can taste old Ottoman dishes. We recommend you buy ice cream from the ice cream shops on the crowded street and we are sure that you will not be able to see the ice cream show in another country.
After watching the view at Galata Tower, you can relax with a sweet and Turkish coffee at Kule Restaurant. There are also many restaurants and cafes in the tower area.
There are taverns in Beyoğlu where you can sit until after midnight. If you go to these taverns, do not make any other plans after eating here. Because you won’t understand how time passes. In the taverns in and around Nevizade and Çiçek Pasajı, delicious food, nice drinks and a lot of fun are waiting for you.
There are many restaurants by the sea in Karaköy. The people who come here are mostly people who like to eat and drink in quiet, calm environments. If the exuberant, energetic dinners of Beyoğlu are exhausting, you can enjoy a serene, peaceful fish meal in Karaköy.
One of the indispensable traditions of the Bosphorus tour is tea and bagels. The bagels are always fresh and the tea is always delicious. Even if it’s cold, go up to the deck and enjoy the pleasure there. Never buy one bagel, because you will share the bagel with the seagulls. They come after the ferries and expect bagels from you. This is one of the romantic moments of the Bosphorus tour.
Day 4 (Museum Day)
Museums in Istanbul have a lot to offer! What about art galleries in Istanbul?
Akbank Sanat’s mission is: The Place Has Never Ended. Indeed, change is never exhausted at Akbank Sanat. More than 700 events are held annually. Various events such as exhibitions, modern dance performances, classical music recitals, jazz concerts, panels, children’s workshops, film screenings and theater performances are organized. The Akbank Art Building, which consists of 6 floors, is located on Istiklal Street. On each floor, another event or exhibition is held.
The building has a total closed area of 18,000 square meters and has exhibition halls, performance halls, learning and activity spaces, library, conservation laboratory, a bookstore focusing on art publications and eating areas. Arter protects contemporary art with its collection since 2007, provides creative opportunities for exhibiting and producing new works by interpreting them creatively. Arter is open to new ideas, discourses and trends in contemporary art.
Therefore, you have the opportunity to follow approaches outside the usual limits as well as international collections dealing closely with the artistic and cultural production in Türkiye and the surrounding region. Arter discovers the proximity and differences between forms, expressions and contents of works produced in different places at different times. Since the 1960s, it has brought together art lovers of contemporary art. You can see all exhibitions in the new building in Dolapdere.
Türkiye’s first modern and contemporary art museum, the Istanbul Modern was founded in 2004. Since its foundation, its aim has been to share comparative art, artistic creativity and cultural identities. Istanbul Modern is one of the most popular museums in Istanbul. Istanbul Modern aims to popularize the art of Istanbul and introduce new productions.
The museum has collections and periodical exhibition halls, a photography department, video space, library, cinema, educational activities, shops and cafes. Istanbul Modern calls on everyone to produce and witness the production as a whole.
The Bristol Hotel, designed by architect Achille Manoussos in 1893, was renovated in 2005 by architect M. Sinan Genim. The historical façade was preserved and turned into a contemporary and well-equipped museum. Pera Museum, Türkiye’s most qualified, loved and one of the leading museums. Here you can see periodical exhibitions and collections. In addition, it hosts various exhibitions in all activities such as museums, biennials and festivals. You can reach the museum from Istiklal Street by crossing the Asmalı Mescit.
Oops, there is a haunted mansion in Istanbul! There are many artistic activities in this mansion. These events, which make even fairies happy, are organized under the name Borusan Contemporary. The haunted mansion also belongs to Borusan. The Borusan contemporary art collection includes exhibitions, entertaining activities, new works and site-specific installations.
Borusan Contemporary focuses on artist works using time, light, technology, video, software and similar tools. In addition to exhibitions, it attracts attention with its educational programs. Expect the weekend to visit the exhibition venues, Museum Cafe, Borusan ArtStore and the terraces of the building.
Day 5 (Fun)
Tuzla Tema Park
Generally, Tuzla is a large settlement located on the Asian side of Istanbul. Tuzla Temapark, also known as ViaSea Theme Park, is the world’s first 5-function marina and living center. ViaSea Theme Park offers unique entertainment to people of all ages. With Red Fire, one of the world’s most exciting roller coaster, there are 28 entertainment units in total.
One of the theme parks in Istanbul is designed using world-class technology. In addition, the classic Turkish amusement park culture is alive. Besides, the Tuzla Viaport Marina, which is designed on the sea, is also located within the Theme Park. In addition to Viasea Theme Park, Viaport Marina has ViaSea Aquarium, Bowling, Game Center, Cinema, Outlet Mall and Marina.
Viaport Outlet has Viasea Aquarium, the world’s first climate themed aquarium. Here you can observe the lives of thousands of submarines living in different climatic zones. More than 12,000 marine creatures are waiting for you in 47 different themed exhibitions at Viasea Aquarium where education and entertainment come together. You can visit here as an option for aquariums in Istanbul.
Looking at the history of the Bosphorus from underwater, you can see sharks in the longest underwater aquarium tunnel in Istanbul. You can feed Koi fish with a bottle and participate in stingray feeding activities with special hands.
Shopping / Dinner
Tuzla Viaport shopping center is beautiful enough to fascinate shopping lovers. Because the fashion of the world is on Shopping Island! Viaport Marina Outlet Shopping Mall with over 500 brands and outlet concept in 152 high quality stores. Viasea offers great entertainment with shopping and dining. Flavor race is held in various restaurants within the shopping center where many cuisines of the world take place, and you prefer. Enjoy your meal!
Filizler Kofte (Dinner Alternative)
Filizler Kofte, which has a branch in Tuzla, has been offering Balkan taste to the people of Istanbul for 25 years. The place welcomes people from all over Istanbul to eat meatballs. If you are in Tuzla, you have to eat meatballs, steak meat or kebab at Filizler. While eating, you can watch the insatiable view of Istanbul Tuzla.
There are 5 halls in Via Entertainment Cinemas in Tuzla Viaport. A total of 539 cinema lovers can watch movies at the same time. Cinema, the best components of technology, 3D, Dolby Digital Sound System and silver curtains were used. Via Entertainment cinema seats 87 cm, so you can watch movies very comfortably. Via Entertainment’s architecture is modern. The foyer is designed to receive daylight. Türkiye’s local soda are offered at the Soda Bar. The VIP lounge offers a different cinema viewing experience.