7 days, 6 nights in Istanbul/ December

Old Aug 29th, 2009, 07:33 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 10
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
7 days, 6 nights in Istanbul/ December

I will be traveling to Istanbul towards the end of December though early January. I know it will be cold, but this is the only time I have available. I want to see all of Istanbul and since I am on a tight budget I wont be able to fly anywhere else for a night. Are there any day trips that I can do while I am in Istanbul during this time?

Any help is appreciated! Thanks!
JBIZZLE is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2009, 09:39 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,966
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If you are interested in antiquity, the only day trip I can think of is to Iznik, where the first ecumenical councils took place. you can get there via an esrly ferry boat from yenikapi-yalova (75 minutes)and a minibus which leaves every hour from Yalova and takes slightly longer than one hour.
Because, hotels will be very reasonably priced in Iznik, you can also stay there one night, and come back to Istanbul the next day. I am pasting a review I wrote of Iznik:

Iznik is an old town. It has withstood the onslaught of the ages behind its crumbling city walls. Not a very friendly town, but has a few hotels and a plethora of struggling artists trying to paint Iznik designs on Kutahya porcelain and sell them to the not so willing to buy tourists, who are usually packaged daily in Istanbul.

There are just a few restaurants, few fast food places, no beaches on the lake, but terrific sunsets, a very pleasant walking or biking lake shore, and antiquity reaching back some two thousand years. The walls, the amphitheatre, the tombs, the very old mosques, the original tile kilns, the hamam, the basilica, the nearby spa, and the modern development of beautifully landscaped small semidetached houses two kilometers on the highway to Bursa called ‘Darka’ are must sees.

You can walk everywhere within the city in just a couple of hours, wondering where the famous ecumenical councils took place so many, many years ago, and why did the crusaders, Arabs, Seljukis and Mongols ever bother with this tiny place.

Like most cities with not many visitors and not receiving migrations of industrial or agricultural workers, Iznik has no show-offs or new rich. It is possible that they still carry memories of feudal lords, occupying hordes and imperial tax collectors in their collective subconscious. Hence, there are no specially designed houses or gardens or shops, and all the inhabitants appear to lead a very simple life despite the rich orchards, the olive groves and the profuse vegetable production in the city environs.

It is also interesting to see that except for a few houses on the lake shore, the hospital, and a school, there are almost no buildings outside the original city walls. And, if you go to the mausoleum of the Arabic or the Turkish giant soldier of folk tales, on the hill behind Iznik, you will see the city in its entirety and take your photographs after making sure that you get a blessing from the tomb.

Getting away from the old, if you want to experience the new in Iznik, if you look respectable, and say that you just want to look around, the security guards will probably let you into Darka, and you can sit by the shore and have something to drink and eat.

And the next time you are in Istanbul and have a few days to spare, you may remember the tranquil and very, very local Iznik with its somber monuments which do not at all bring Xanadu to mind, and get a feeling of repeating the previous déjà vu that you had when you first came here. And afterwards, you will want to share it just as I am sharing it with you.

For a good history of the city and details of all the sites, read John Freely’s “Turkey Around the Marmara”, 1998
otherchelebi is online now  
Old Aug 29th, 2009, 10:27 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,355
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
While otherchelebi's advice on Iznik is certainly very good, you should think twice about taking any day trips at all since you "want to see all of Istanbul". Well, that's totally impossible in merely one week, anyway, but taking day trips will further reduce your Istanbul score... for Istanbul alone (no day tripping!), you'd need precisely four weeks if you are an avid sightseer (i.e. running around like mad from the morning to the very last ray of sunlight). (I know that very well - having spent three weeks there, I need precisely one more week until I've seen it all.) At a more relaxed pace, make that six weeks; and in December, when days are short, you won't be able to do more than a five-days sightseeing task in seven days...
franco is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2009, 12:30 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,966
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
franco, you're right. 'all of istanbul' is almost impossible. i've lived here most of my life and i still discover new nooks and crannies. You could discover most of the Byzantine and eastern Roman and genovese sights within a week. The Ottoman buildings will take longer, if you include the 'yali's on the bosphorus and the remaining wooden houses, scattered around the city. The museums, including the art museums and various exhibitions would take at least another week. You can eat at very good restaurants twice a day for months, never going to the same place again.

Here are some tips for the evenings:
- Nardis Jazz club (near Galata tower)
- Babylon (Tunel)
- Ghetto (Balik pazari)
- Angelique (ortakoy)
- midpoint (tesvikiye)

So, dear JBizzle, Get a good istanbul guide before you get here, and make a plan of where you would like to see. Do not try to see everything! If you like rushing around, do not leave istanbul. If you like to have a relaxed day combined with adventure, why shouldn't you go to Iznik? Sometimes people may start feeling that one museum is like another, and one mosque or cathedral is like another also. But definitely do a boat tour on the bosphorus even if it is a short one or just a regular ferry running between two points. (check ido.com sites for ferry schedules)
otherchelebi is online now  
Old Aug 29th, 2009, 12:48 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,355
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Apart from the yalis, I didn't even count the wooden houses in my "minimum 4 weeks" calculation... just mosques and churches and churches and mosques and medreses and mosques and Ottoman bathes and palaces and mosques and cisterns and... some more mosques, of course. BUT including remote (yet great!) sights like the Jewish cemetery of Hasköy or the Piyale Paşa Mosque, which are - as you will certainly confirm - unknown even to a great number of Istanbulers.
franco is offline  
Old Aug 29th, 2009, 01:22 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,966
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
franco, you're so right. i have not seen the haskoy Jewish cemetary. My wife has seen more, because she goes on these cultural tours. i prefer to drive myself after having read about places. I do that sunday mornings when everyone is sleeping. We do discovery trips to the rest of the country also, taking with us dog and cat food for the strays and also toys, educational material and clothing to village children in the poorer regions.
otherchelebi is online now  
Old Aug 29th, 2009, 02:10 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,355
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'll readily admit that Hasköy was our most adventurous sight. It was not on our Istanbul map, so we couldn't go by bus (no precise idea where it was). We decided to take a taxi... the driver, who was incredibly nice, had no idea as to where it was, as well. It took him at least half an hour (though we were already in the vicinity!) to ask around until he finally found it. In the end, it proved to be directly at the last stop of a pretty important bus line! And it's really worth seeing... just that almost nobody knows where to find it! (Sorry JBizzle to hijack your thread - I guess you didn't want to know it THAT precisely. Suffice it to say that I'd love to go back to Istanbul in a heartbeat!)
franco is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2009, 05:04 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 10
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
What about the boat trips that leave from Istanbul? Are those a good idea?
JBIZZLE is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2009, 05:05 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 10
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Just re-read that was recommended already. Is there a specific location should be aware of?
JBIZZLE is offline  
Old Aug 31st, 2009, 12:08 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,966
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
the tour boat will take you either all the way up to the Black Sea, and bring you back after some hours there for a meal and hikke to the old fort.
You can take a smallet tour boat which goes up to the second Bosphorus bridge and get back in 90 minutes.
you can go to Bebek by bus or taxi, enjoy the cafe next to the ferry landing, and take the ring ferry to the Anatolian Fortress and.or to Kadilli and I think Kanlica.
Kandilli has a lovely fish restaurant next to the landing, and Kanlica has its very special ypghurt, again next to the landing.

Or you can take a boat from Galata Bridge to Kadikoy and walk the pedestrian streets, and maybe a cab to Moda (not far) for a good meal and/or icecream
otherchelebi is online now  
Old Aug 31st, 2009, 12:59 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,902
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I was in Istanbul in March for 8 days. I did a boat trip up the Bosphorus but otherwise did not leave Istanbul and found plenty to do. I think it was a good amount of time. Saw most of what I wanted to but wasn't bored. Here is my trip report, perhaps it will give you an idea of how to spend the time. http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ith-photos.cfm
isabel is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
stbuster
Europe
5
Jun 26th, 2016 12:11 PM
rajgoliya
Europe
7
Feb 2nd, 2014 08:35 PM
suec1
Europe
4
Dec 4th, 2009 11:39 AM
gbs
Europe
13
Jul 28th, 2009 03:17 PM
adeleh
Europe
4
Jun 3rd, 2006 04:41 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO