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One day in Istanbul... first-time visitor

One day in Istanbul... first-time visitor

Old May 3rd, 2010, 01:49 PM
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One day in Istanbul... first-time visitor

Is it possible to hit all the major tourist sties in Istanbul in one day in October? I'll be arriving on Fri night and will only have one day on Sat to do the sightseeing. Is it humanly possible to see the following?

Topkapi Palace
Ayasofya
Blue Mosque
Byzantine Hippodrome
Sunken Palace Cistern
Grand Bazaar

Any other recommendations?
fatbully is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2010, 02:29 PM
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Did you decide against Hagia Sopia? At any rate, I think this is too much for one day. It has been a long time since I was in Istanbul for one day before a cruise. I think we only did Blue Mosque and Hagai Sophia and perhaps a little walking tour. The Bazaar was not open the day we were there. I am sad we missed the Topkape Palace. Have you considered a private guide? Probably expensive but this is usually the most efficient way to see a lot. Put your sites in order and see what you can. Also, do a little search on this site and see what others were able to do on their trips. Happy travels!!!
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 03:02 PM
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I would limit it to the Blue Mosque, Ayasofya and Topkapi. This still may be too much. All three of these are wonderful so can't say which to drop if you don't have time. As recall, Topkapi is across the bay so you'll need a taxi.

At the Grand Bazaar you need almost 1/2 a day to really see it all and only if you want to shop. With so many grand places to see, I would drop it. The Spice Bazaar was more interesting on my last trip.

Drop the Hippodrome and the Cistern. Interesting but not as much as my above suggestions.

If you take a taxi to any places, be sure to ask the cost before you get into the taxi. Got really ripped off last time and I'm usually careful about that.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 03:06 PM
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mimi - Ayasofya is another way to refer to Hagia Sophia

fatbully - yes, you can but it will be a full day and you will need to start early.
There is an all day tour package that includes all but the cistern and hippodrome posted at http://tinyurl.com/27k7g93 (not recommending it, just found it via a quick search) and a do it yourself version that includes all your sites at http://tinyurl.com/2a5k63z. The DIY schedule is pretty realistic. I would spend no more than an hour at the Grand bazaar and add a visit to the Spice Market.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 03:11 PM
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Although I spent a week in Istanbul, you can do a lot in a day. All but the Grand Bazaar are in the same area...and I'd suggest skipping it on this trip. It really would be too much.

You could do the Palace and grounds in half a day without feeling rushed. You could do both the Blue Mosque and Ayasophia in say three hours. The exteriors of both are lighted at night and not to be missed. The Underground Cistern is really no more than an hour. Although historically significant, the Hippodrome can be seen at anytime..day or night.

You won't have a lot of time to ponder what you're seeing, but you'll have seen the highlights. Here are my photos of the key sights of Istanbul.
http://www.pbase.com/jeff_b/sights_istanbul
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 03:22 PM
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Thanks Seamus - guess I need to study up a little more
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 10:46 PM
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Also the Hippodrome is just in fron of the Blue Mosque, so you cannot but vist it if you go to the Blue Mosque and walk four minutes to the cistern or six minutes to Ayasofya or ten minutes to the Topkapi palace.

Blue mosque and the hippodrome should not take more than 45 minutes, unless you propose to pray there. The cistern, only half an hour.

Ayasofya 45 minutes.

It is the topkapi palace that will take most of your time because it covers a large area and multiple buildings (possibly a bigger area than the Alhambra)

Instead of the Grand Bazaar, you may prefer Misir Carsisi, the Spice market, which is a smaller and more exotic version, but with shops specializing in spices, nuts, and delis in addition to knick knacks, perfumery, jewelry, etc.

I also recommend that you stop at Gulluoglu baklava shop between the Galata bridge and the cruise boat landing, under the multistorey carpark. it is the best ever, and even has diabetic baklava and a lighter baklava made with very high quality light olive oil instead of butter.
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Old May 4th, 2010, 12:09 AM
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All of the places you mentioned are very close to eachother. I think one day will be enough for you to see all. Just more power to your legs.

All the tips mentioned above plus: You can have a walk through Grand Bazaar too. Just to fullfill your curiosity.

Have fun!
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Old May 4th, 2010, 03:39 AM
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These attractions are all in or close to the Sultanahmet area. Check opening times so you can be at your first place in advance of it opening. We were there in the middle of Aug 08 and there were 20 mins+ queues for the Blue Mosque, Agya Sofia, the cistern and the Topkapi Palace - hopefully it will be a lot quieter in October. Saying that we did the first three and the Hippodrome in three hours, including queuing time. There is a tram stop just up from the Cistern - I think it is one stop down to the Palace and two stops up to the Grand Bazaar. Maybe save the Grand Bazaar for last - if you only get 20 mins, well you've had a flavour of it but if you get longer then that is great.

The Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Agya Sofia and the Cistern are all closest together so don't split them up. You could maybe start at the Palace, head up to the Blue Mosque etc after that, where you won't have trouble finding somewhere for lunch in the area and then finishing up at the Grand Bazaar. Yes, a busy day but doable if you don't linger too long anywhere.
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