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How many days is necessary to adequately see Istanbul?

How many days is necessary to adequately see Istanbul?

Old Jun 25th, 2007, 01:08 PM
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How many days is necessary to adequately see Istanbul?

DH and I are thinking about next year's vacation plans and Istanbul keeps on coming up. I'm trying to figure out how much time would be necessary to see the main tourist sights and do some sightseeing without feeling too rushed. Is three days/nights enough? I know that it would probably take a lifetime to see everything Istanbul has to offer, but I'm just trying to get a general figure.

As an aside, we would probaly be traveling to Istanbul from either Switzerland or Crete.

Thank you,
Tracy
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 01:13 PM
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In my, not opinion but: experience, to adequately see Istanbul you need exactly four weeks - weeks, not days.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 01:27 PM
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Its very unfortunate that I don't have four weeks to spare. I don't even have four paid weeks of vacation per year anymore, let alone four for one location!

Tracy
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 01:28 PM
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4 days to see the main tourist aractions
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 02:53 PM
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Our first time we spent 3 days and most recently we spent 7. Both were satisfying, the latter moreso. I would schedule a minimum of 4 and preferrably 5 for a first visit if you can possibly squeeze it out. It's fabulous.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 03:03 PM
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Of course, very unfortunate. I guess almost nobody can do Istanbul in one trip; I had two so far, one of one and one of two weeks, so I need one week more to complete it. What I meant to say is that it's completely unimportant whether you're spending three nights, five or seven - the picture will remain totally incomplete, and you will definitely want to come back again and again to this most fascinating city, so spend as much time there as you have for this trip, but don't think you'll see it "adequately": you won't. It's impossible with just one trip.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 03:44 PM
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In four days we scratched the surface, but it was a good scratch. Do as much as you can.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 04:19 PM
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You need at least 5 days, unless you are shopping, then you need 20 days.

Have you read my trip report on Istanbul, sweetie darling?

The Great and Powerful Thingorjus
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 06:04 PM
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We just did 5 days and 5 nights. It's a huge city and not so easy to get around, but most of the well known tourist sites are in a relatively small area (Cisturn, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Grand Bazaar, Spice Market). So if you just wanted to see those, you can easily do that in 3 days BUT if you do only those you're missing so much of the city. If you can stretch to 5 days, that would be best, in my opinion.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 07:30 PM
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We are just back and had four and a half days there. Our original plan had been to spend a week in Istanbul; I wish we'd gone with that plan.
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 07:32 PM
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Hey Tracy - Glad you asked the question - we are trying to figure out the same thing! I already have FF tix for Turkey for next May but there is never enough time....

We are planning 4.5 days in Istanbul, then onto Cappadocia 2-3 days and from there to the SW coast, with maybe a Greek Island tossed in there somewhere.

I sure don't have the answer, but I am glad you asked the question!
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 08:32 PM
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As is frequently the case, it is better to have more time but if four days is what you have you can graze the highlights. It's rather like the difference between enrolling in an immersion language course and listening to Berlitz tapes. FWIW, I had 8 full days in Istanbul and did not get to do all that I wanted but did get to do most of the main tourist sites. If you have four days I'd suggest the including the following
Topkapi Palace (easily can take most of a day)
Dohlmabace Palace (half a day)
Haga Sophia, Cistern, Blue Mosque, and Hippodrome (These three are close together and can be done in half a day)
Grand Bazaar (could spend days there but don't bother - a couple hours at most is sufficient)
Spice Market (an hour is probably more than enough unless you are a real foodie and want to scout out spices)
Istiklal cadessi, from Tunel to Taksim Square (spend half a day walking from Tunel to the square, stop by Galata Tower)
Bosphorus cruise - half to a full day (on your own, not one of the package tours)
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 08:42 PM
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Hi

We spent 5 days in Istanbul and as other posters have stated that is never enough. However I think 3 days will give you a good overview. I have some notes on Istanbul sourced from forums, websites and personal experience. If you want a copy just email me on [email protected]. Please spammers no junk mail
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Old Jun 25th, 2007, 11:33 PM
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6 days will be excellent for the first time. You should see MiniaTurk to decide where to go your second time in Turkey.
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Old Jun 26th, 2007, 06:36 AM
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Thank you all so much for your kind replies. I understand what you were saying Franco. I've been to Rome three times and can't get enough of it and still have a large list of things I want to see and do. I imagine Istanbul is much the same way.

We could probably squeeze in 5 days/nights. We are just trying to figure everything out at this point and our itinerary is not at all set in stone. Istanbul was the one place on our itinerary that I wasn't sure how much time to allow for, and we will base the other destinations around that.

Happycheesehead, it seems like we are following each other! First Croatia, now Istanbul! We too are planning on using ff miles and will probably be going in early May of next year. We are off to Japan in October but that trip is already planned out so of course I got to look ahead to next year!

Thanks again everyone!
Tracy

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Old Jun 26th, 2007, 06:43 AM
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Seamus, thank you for providing such a great list! We are in the very beginning stages of planning for this trip and your list will help us tremendously I'm sure.

Tracy
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Old Jun 26th, 2007, 06:59 AM
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We spent 4.5 days there and I totally agree with the list posted. I would add the Cora Church which has incredible mosaics and I'm not a real artsie person. It's out of the way, but definately worth the trip.
I would also add something not many people probably visit. The Military Museum, for the show they put on - it was a highlight for us, it's cultural as opposed to very militaristic. It would combine nicely with Dolmadolce(sp)Palace which has a nice self service, plastic chair cafe right by the Bosphorus. We did these and didn't rush since many things are very easy to reach and close together.
M
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Old Jun 26th, 2007, 09:51 AM
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Japan! How cool is that!! We only get to go to Maine this fall- that is what happens when I give DH the chance to choose a vacation spot.

You must be begging, borrowing and stealing vacation time from those new jobs

Are you planning on traveling to other parts of Turkey?

PS - worldinabag - is it ok if I email you to ask for your notes too?





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Old Jun 26th, 2007, 11:55 AM
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LOL Happycheesehead! I used to have six weeks of paid vacation before I moved to NC so this three week business is taking some getting used to! Ireland was unpaid because I had just started working, and I will take unpaid if I have to next year as well, although I certainly hope I don't have to!

We will probably only be visiting Istanbul on this trip and only because I'm pushing so hard for it! DH is hesitant about visiting Turkey for some strange reason. He really wants to go to Switzerland (the BO) or Crete so we will probably combine Istanbul with one of those. Strange I know, but Istanbul is high on my list.

Our Japan trip will be our first trip to Asia and I can't wait! I'm a little nervous but mostly excited. It was hard choosing Japan over Europe but in the end we wanted to experience something completely different.

Maine should be wonderful! I have never been but have always wanted to go. I'm sure you will have a lovely time!

Tracy
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Old Jun 26th, 2007, 02:10 PM
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I received the notes on Istanbul from worldinabag--and they are full of excellent information!
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