Istanbul, Please help w/ itenerary

Old Oct 6th, 2006, 10:37 PM
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Istanbul, Please help w/ itenerary

Hello. We will be in Istanbul for 4 day. If you have been there and can tell me what the absolute must sees, must do's and must eat at's(oh and most romantic places) are I would greatly appreciate it.

I don't know when I ever will go back there again. SO I want to maximize my time.

Also the choices of hotel seem overwhelming. I have read great feedback here on the hotels but they are on the higher price range. I am looking at something less than $80 price range.

Thanks much.
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Old Oct 7th, 2006, 12:39 AM
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We had two seven-hours stopovers in Istanbul and both times we visited the city.

We visited Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.
These are three of the most important sights to visit in Istanbul.

You might want to read my trip report to see what we did and how we went around (Seven hours in Istanbul)

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34749469
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Old Oct 7th, 2006, 05:36 AM
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We were in Istanbul one year ago and stayed at the Celal Sultan in Sultanahmet, very close to Aya Sofia, Blue Mosque and the Cistern. We paid 85 euro, which included a wonderful breakfast buffet, and one way transportation from the airport. The location was great and although it's a bit more than what you asked for, the room was comfortable and the staff very helpful.

I recommend a tour to give you an overview of the city and its historic sights, then you can go out on your own. Our hotel had brochures--the one we chose included lunch and a visit to Topkapi Palace. Be sure to see Dolmabahce Palace, as well.

We visited the Underground Cistern and while there, bought tickets for a folk dance performance called "Dances of Colors" that was wonderful. We loved taking the tram down to the waterfront, where we watched the afternoon commuters boarding the ferries, then bought a fish sandwich from the dockside fishermen. Istanbul is a wonderful blend of old and new--enjoy your trip.

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Old Oct 7th, 2006, 07:18 AM
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If you can strech the budget to 100 Us. range I am sure you will get a good room. Sultanahmet area has many must seen places like Topkapi Palaca, Underground cisterns, Hagia Sophia, Hipodrom, Blue Mosque and Islamic Art Museum......
I do also suggest at least 2 days of organized tour to fill the gap.
Happy travelling,
Murat
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Old Oct 7th, 2006, 09:36 AM
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How about HALI HOTEL check their web page.

www.halihotel.com

Have a nice trip in Turkey

Sinan Akdeniz
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Old Oct 7th, 2006, 10:39 AM
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The Hali is a nice budget hotel, well located.

Just next to it is the Accura Hotel: http://www.accurahotelistanbul.com/eng_index.htm slightly more expensive but with larger rooms and a much better breakfast.

Both are in perfect walking distance for all of the sights.

Another well recommended budget hotel is the Star Holiday:
http://istanbul.star-holiday-hotel.t...pname=Istanbul

Have fun!
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Old Oct 7th, 2006, 11:57 AM
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111noush:

Along with the better known sights, there are two lesser known that we like to recommend, time permitting...

The Military Museum's stirring Ottoman Band and Guards performances, I believe Wed. thru Sunday at 3:00. Ask your hotel..it's just beyond Taksim Square and is very colorful, and dramatic and certianly "different"...

Secondly, and a bit more tranquil, is my suggestion to take tea at the Pierre Loti Cafe around 4:00 any afternoon. At precisely 5, you will hear the "call to prayer" from dozens of mosques in the city. The cafe is above the Golden Horn and can best be reached by taxi. It's seting is lovely, with tables overlooking the "horn" below.
Enjoy!

Stu T.
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Old Oct 8th, 2006, 07:22 PM
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Barb the Peach from the Peach State!

>>>then bought a fish sandwich from the dockside fishermen.<<<

...ain't that the most delicious fish sandwich you ever ate!!?? I went back several times as if it was a gelato in Rome!!

Stu T.

Stu T.
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Old Oct 8th, 2006, 09:06 PM
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Barb and Stu - yes, that was the best fish sandwich I have ever eaten. And dirt cheap, too! It impresssed me as the Istanbul equivalent of street tacos in Mexico City.

111noush - there are a lot of hotels and it can get overwhelming. Truth is, as long as you are in a central area like Sultanahmet or Taksim it is pretty easy to get to things, so don't fret. The tram runs frequently and taxis are relatively cheap. My visit coincided with a football tournament so I had a problem finding a room at first but did fine going through www.gtahotels.com. I believe they actually own (or at least manage) some hotels in Istanbul as well as do reservations for many others.

In terms of itinerary - Topkapi palace can take half a day, best to go in the morning. Look for the guides who are standing around near the ticket queue - you actually get a better price going with them and they know their way around. There is a cafeteria where you can grab lunch and sit on a pleasant terrace to eat.
Haga Sophia, Blue Mosque, undergroound cistern (really cool!) and Hippodrome are all in same general area and can be done in half a day. There are tourist souvenier shops around the corner from Haga Sophia.
Do take a ride on the Bosphprous ferry - plan half a day for this.
The Grand Bazaar can be overwhelming but is pretty muc a must see - just remember that you will be "pitched" by a gazillion charming salespersons but it is perfectly accetpable to say no thank you and move along. And do haggle. After a few dozen shops things start to look the same, and the place is huge. The Spice Market was one of my favorite places - picked up some incredible saffron for cheap, but be careful about buying saffron that is prepackaged - they put a few strands of nice stuff (or that has been dyed to look better) on top and crap underneath. Better if you can buy it from a loose bulk container.
The dervishes perform at the monastery in Beyoglou or also do shows at the train station - worth seeing.
Take a stroll along Istiklal caddessi, the pedestrain street in Taksim. Shops there are less touristy than in Sultanahmet area.
Dohlmabace palace is a nice visit - will also take the better part of a morning or afternoon.
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Old Oct 9th, 2006, 01:14 PM
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I think others have covered the must-sees and the must-dos, so I'll recommend a nice restaurant. If you make it out to Beyoglu, go the Galata House for a dinner. It's in a converted British prison on a quiet residential street -- you ring the bell to enter. Very cozy, and very unique. It's right next to the Galata Tower (great views of Istanbul, btw).
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Old Oct 15th, 2006, 09:08 PM
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Thanks to all that reply. I printed all the replies and will follow them. I am leavign tomorrow. I will let everyone know how it all went once I am back. Thanks again.
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Old Oct 16th, 2006, 09:47 AM
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Yesterday's New York Times Travel section had a great article on dining in Istanbul -- the link is http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/10/1...=5070&emc=eta1 (I hope that works!)along with a slide show. Planning a trip for next spring -- can't wait!
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Old Oct 25th, 2006, 09:56 AM
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Sounds like some great recommendations on this thread. I'm beginning to plan my trip to Turkey for next September and these posts have some great leads for me to begin with...Thanks!
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