4 days in Istanbul

Old Jul 15th, 2005, 04:51 PM
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4 days in Istanbul

My wife and i will have a 4 day layover late Late September in Istanbul. I am looking for suggestions on what to do and see.

We are very excited to go and want to use our time wisely.

Thanks,
Bob
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 07:28 PM
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Go to Turkey on the country scroll and type in Istanbul in the search box. You will find lots of posts show up.
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Old Jul 15th, 2005, 07:50 PM
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We had four nights in Istanbul in 2003...it was at the end of a very long journey across Europe, so I know I didn't use my time as wisely as I could have. BUT, there's so much to see and do in that city.

My advice is to get ahold of a good guidebook of Turkey, and read up on where to stay and what to do.

My top recommendations (in no particular order) are:

1) The Blue Mosque (ok, this is #1 for a reason)

2) Hagia Sofia -- Or "Aya Sofia"...Emperor Justinian I think built it as a Christian church and it stood as the largest building in the whole world for 1000 years. It was later converted to a mosque when the Turks invaded again...it is now being rehab'd and the Byzantine art is being re-revealed. I wasn't all that taken with it overall (it's a lot of $ to get in for the usual museum/church -- about $15 Euro) but worth a look.

3) Topkapi Palace -- This is a day-long event. Do the extra harem tour where they show you where the sultans kept their concubines. It's a "forced" tour group situation -- they don't let you wander freely. This is the one place I would have hired a private guide.

4) The Grand Bazaar for as long as you can take it. The shopping is great, but be sure to argue for better prices.

5) Taksim Square -- we went here several times -- great shopping in the daytime and top-notch dinner and people watching at night.

6) Take a boat ride along the Bosporus.

7) Walk in Sultanahmet. Heck, stay in Sultanahmet. It's the old neighborhood that houses the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia and all the stuff above except Taksim Square...It's "old town" with cobble stone streets and a great place to just get lost. Beware of anyone who gives you directions, because you WILL get lost. Our directions to the laundromat included "head down this street and bear to the right" Well, we did and ended up finding nothing. But it was an adventure!

We LOVED the food -- it's a lot like the Greeks, only with more variety and a bit of a spicy kick to it.

We LOVED Turkey...and Istanbul is a great city. The Turks are the type of people who if you have to wonder if they are joking -- they probably are. Very humorous, fun-loving and friendly people.

Have fun,

Jules

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Old Jul 16th, 2005, 04:27 PM
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Jules and zwho,

Thank you for the advice, I really appreciate it.

Bob
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Old Jul 19th, 2005, 06:17 PM
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Thanks Jules! This is good info. Do you have any info on coastal areas? Perhaps, for lounging about on a beach and/or seeing cultural sites. Something for my husband and something for me. I was thinking of flying to Antalya from Istanbul, but am not sure what to do after that. I want to find a nice non-tourist type of place. Thanks for any help you can give.
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Old Jul 20th, 2005, 05:34 AM
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RB White; Actually Jules was describing a lot for a to do list. More or less follow this itinerary. Ofcourse depending on your general interests you can add other things to do. While in Sultanahmet visit Underground Cistern and Coara Church with its mosaic can be added as well. Spice Market is one of the nice venues to visit. Pass through Bosphorus Bridge and be in two Continents within 30 min.

PACIFICCTIFF : Depending on your time and plans : Istanbul-Fly Kayseri for Cappadocia- Drive Down to Antalya and go through coastal road Olympos, Kas, Kalkan, fethiye, Dalyan, Bodrum, Kusadasi ( Ephesus ) and fly back to Istanbul via Ýzmir. Ofcourse within this places there are many ancient sites to visit and interesting villages & locations.....
You may even add 3 days mini cruise somewhere Gocek

Happy Travelling

Murat
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Old Jul 21st, 2005, 09:13 AM
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I was in Istanbul for 5 days last year and it was amazing. You should have no problem filling up your 4 days.

Keep one thing in mind. In old town everything is negotiable. Prices are almost never posted. The best example I can give from my own experience is: I walked into a restaurant and ponted at a meal and said "how much." The response I got was "10million." So I laughed in the mans face and began to walk to the door. As I got to the door the price was suddenly was cut in half. So I had a nice dinner for 5million Lira.

All around Istanbul is one of the best places I have ever been to.
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Old Aug 20th, 2005, 03:19 PM
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I visited Istanbul last October and loved it. The people there are the nicest I've ever met.

I agree with the places that have already been recommended, and would like to add a couple of my faves:

I really enjoyed walking from the Sultanemat area to the Grand Bazaar. The streets are often packed with people going about their daily business, so it feels like a very non-touristy area. We ate the best food there and had great conversations with local shop owners. It is very crowded, but it was fun. Lots of non-tourist shops.

We also enjoyed the Cistern in the Sultanemat area. It is cool and quiet with classical music playing. It was not crowded and it would be a great escape on a hot day. The lighting and balls hanging from the ceiling also give it a unique ambiance.

Lastly, we went to the Haman to get massages. After you undress in a locker room like area, you go in and lie on a huge round slab of marble-with other people-that loosens your muscles. Eventually, someone gets to you
and scrubs you down.

I ended up leaving before someone got to me because it was too close for comfort for me-I just wasn't comfortable being washed by someone who was also mostly nude.

You are actually bathed more than you are massaged, but it does include vigorous scrubbing similar to massage.

The men's portion was apparently much more modest. It is considered bad form to not wear a towel around your lower half at all times.

The man at the desk was very nice when he figured out that I had gone into culture shock and not gone through with my massage and gave me my money back-which I didn't expect or ask for. For those who are not very modest, it is a very unique cultural experience and I would recommend looking into it.

The only thing I did that was not spectacular was going across the Bosphorus to the Asia side. It had much less to see and wasn't really that different. We decided later we should have crossed the Golden Horn instead.

Enjoy your trip. Istanbul is the best.
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