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Istanbul - 3 nights/2 days - Sightseeing - guides needed?

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Jul 12th, 2018, 10:28 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Jul 2014
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Istanbul - 3 nights/2 days - Sightseeing - guides needed?

We have a 3 night stopover in Istanbul on the way to Egypt so 2 full days to try and fit in as much as possible for a first visit.

Day 1 - we have planned to see Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar.

Day 2 - Karakoy, Tophane, Cihangir (Istiklal Street) and Galata neighbourhood.

Can we fit all those places in on the first day and is advisable to have a guide? I have read that queues to get in can take up a lot of time so if a tour is booked in advance does that help avoiding the queues?

We are stopping in the Sultanahmet area at the FS.

All advice and any restaurant recommendations welcome!
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Jul 13th, 2018, 05:10 PM
  #2
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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My experience is outdated (I was there in 2012), but I personally cannot imagine seeing everything you listed for day 1 in a single day. But of course, your interests and pace could differ from mine. If those are your priorities -- and they were among mine -- you can see what you manage on day 1 and then make a decision about what to cram into day 2.

I didn't feel the need for a guide; YMMV.

Istanbul is fascinating -- enjoy!
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Jul 13th, 2018, 07:25 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Ambitious but doable. Recommend you start with Topkapi, and get there as close to opening as possible. You can hire a guide for Topkapi at the entrance. They are licensed and put together groups based on language. An advantage is they get priority access to tickets so you don't have to wait in line. Haga Sofia, cistern and Blue Mosque are close to each other and none takes a lot of time to walk through. You could do Topkapi, grab lunch (Topkapi cafe was decent, with great views from the seating terrace) then do the rest.
Your day 2 sites are, IMO, pretty much drive by sights except for Istiklal with all its shops and possibly Galata Tower.
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Jul 15th, 2018, 02:27 AM
  #4
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Thanks for the info.

The second day was for shopping so can adjust if required.
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