3 Days In Istanbul Itinerary


Istanbul, or Constantinople because it used to be as soon as famously named, used to be the traditional capital of the Roman and Ottoman Empires. It used to be known as Basileousia, or “Queen of Towns” or even nowadays, it’s simple to peer why.

3 days in Istanbul is solely sufficient time to peer this colourful and bustling town is a big town that spans two continents; Asia and Europe. Because the capital of the Roman and Ottoman Empire, you’ll be able to look forward to finding a plethora of historical and engaging sights, from the enduring Blue Mosque, the traditional Hagia Sophia, the sector’s oldest and biggest coated marketplace, The Grand Bazaar, and the underground cisterns. On this Istanbul itinerary, you’ll see all of those best sights and extra whilst you seek advice from this superb town.

The Highest 3 Days in Istanbul Itinerary

Should you solely have 3 days in Istanbul however need to take advantage of from your seek advice from, don’t be anxious. On this three-day Istanbul itinerary, you’ll be capable of discover the entire main points of interest that make this nice town so magical. We enlisted the assistance of The Turkey Traveler, the number one shuttle weblog on all issues Turkey-related. Providing insider guidelines, suggestions, and guides, The Turkey Traveler is your final useful resource that will help you plan the easiest go back and forth whilst you seek advice from Istanbul Turkey.

So, whilst you’re able for the easiest Istanbul Itinerary? Let’s get began…

  • Day 1 in Istanbul – Hagia Sophia, The Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet Sq., Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, a Sundown Bosphorus Cruise
  • Day 2 in Istanbul – Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Lunch At Eminonu, Galata Bridge, Galata Tower, Istiklal Side road and Taksim
  • Day 3 in Istanbul – Turkish Bathtub (Hammam), Kadikoy, Camlica Mosque, Uskudar

A good way to discover Istanbul is to acquire an Istanbul Card. It’s legitimate for 7 days from the primary interplay and contains skip-the-line tickets to Istanbul’s best sights. It additionally contains 10 rides for public transportation and vouchers to Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, and a Bosphorus Cruise.

Day 1 – Sultanahmet – Ancient Middle

There’s no higher solution to get started exploring Istanbul than leaping directly into its historical middle – Sultanahmet. It’s house to one of the maximum iconic ancient landmarks in Turkey – from the Hagia Sophia to the Blue Mosque. No itinerary is whole with out a seek advice from to this vicinity.


After playing a conventional Turkish breakfast, you’ll have quite a lot of power to discover the previous town. Higher referred to as Kahvalti, a Turkish breakfast is composed of cured meats and dips, recent cheeses, egg, and recent breads together with a Turkish bagel. After the savory you’ll experience pastries, honey, and jams.

Hagia Sophia

3 days in istanbul itinerary hagia sophia

Essentially the most well-known landmark in Istanbul is arguably Hagia Sophia, one of the vital oldest structures in Istanbul. 

In truth, the construction used to be in-built 537, at a time when there used to be no Istanbul. When it used to be constructed, Istanbul used to be Constantinople, a reputation given to the town by way of the Byzantine Empire. For 1,100 years, Constantinople used to be the capital of the Byzantine Empire. And it wasn’t till 1453 did the Ottoman Empire triumph over it and named it Istanbul.

This is the reason Hagia Sophia used to be in the beginning a Catholic Cathedral. As soon as the town used to be seized by way of the Ottomans, it used to be changed into some of the vital mosques within the town.

In 1934, the mosque used to be transformed right into a museum by way of the federal government. In 2020, the Hagia Sophia become a functioning mosque once more, a lot to the pleasure of the Turkish folks.

The Hagia Sophia has 4 minarets, which signifies that the mosque used to be constructed by way of the sultan. Its external is beautiful with hints of purple and gold, however the internal will amaze you even additional. It has large marble slabs and a 32-meter primary dome that exudes not anything however opulence.

  • Opening Hours: April to October: 9am to 7 pm day by day November to March – 9am to 6pm. (closed on Mondays)
  • Loose get admission to to Hagia Sophia with museum go or 72TL if paying on the front.
  • Tram forestall – Sultanahmet

The Blue Mosque

Best Things to do in Istanbul Blue Mosque

Simply mins clear of the historical Hagia Sophia is every other certainly one of Istanbul’s maximum iconic landmarks – The Blue Mosque often referred to as the Sultan Ahmet Mosque. Although the Blue Mosque would possibly glance extra spectacular than the Hagia Sophia, particularly with its unintentional 6 minarets, the Blue Mosque used to be solely constructed round 400 years in the past.

Portions of the Grand Palace of Constantinople have been destroyed to construct The Blue Mosque. There isn’t a large number of historical past to The Blue Mosque, except for that it used to be constructed by way of Sultan Ahmed I to spice up the morale of the Turkish folks after the Fifteen Years’ Warfare.

From the outside, you may marvel how The Blue Mosque were given its identify. None of its external is blue. Guests will perceive after they step inside of this non secular landmark how the mosque were given its identify. 

The dome of the mosque is roofed with ornamental blue ceramic tiles that function conventional Ottoman patterns. Together with the Islamic-style adorns that dot this large construction, the Blue Mosque is just an architectural masterpiece. 

Although it will not be as ancient as Hagia Sophia, its captivating decor goes to make you fall in love!

Sultanahmet Sq.

istanbl itinerary 3 days sultanahment square

After visiting the 2 maximum iconic mosques in Istanbul, walk round Sultanahmet Sq.. That is the park that connects each The Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque, however it has a lot more to provide guests.

Take a look at the Obelisk of Theodosius, an Egyptian obelisk that used to be re-erected right here within the 4th century AD. 

The park is full of embellished fountains constructed right through the Ottoman length. They served as consuming water for vacationers and a spot the place Muslims may purify themselves ahead of coming into a mosque to hope.

Sooner than the Ottomans took over Istanbul, Sultanahmet Sq. used to be a Hippodrome, an historic Greek stadium for horse racing and chariot racing. This is the reason you may understand the unusual form of the park. 

Sooner than you head off to the following forestall of our 3-day Istanbul itinerary, consider what it used to be like again then!

See if you’ll be able to discover a position that sells Turkish Ice Cream, differently referred to as dondurma. The Turkish ice cream right here comes with a bit of efficiency whilst you purchase it, and that by myself is value each and every penny (or Lira)!


Basilica Cistern

3 days in istanbul itinerary basilica cistern

Mins clear of Sultanahmet Sq. is without doubt one of the maximum crucial structures for the daily lifetime of the Byzantine Empire – the Basilica Cistern. Inbuilt 532 by way of Emperor Justinian, the Basilica Cistern is the most important of the loads of cisterns that exist underneath Istanbul. 

Many of those cisterns have collapsed through the years, however because of the Basilica Cistern’s 336 columns and a lot of repairs, the cistern is open to guests. Many of the columns got here from salvaged temples and guests can nonetheless see the carvings on lots of them.

The cisterns have been an underground reservoir water machine that used to be designed to carry massive amounts of water and accumulate rainwater. This water is then equipped to all the town in order that everybody will have blank water to make use of. It’s some of the unbelievable historic Greek applied sciences. This excursion provides skip the price tag traces to go into the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, and Basilica Cistern with a neighborhood host.

  • Opening Hours: Wednesday-Monday: 9 am to 7pm (from November to march 9 am to 5pm) Closed on Tuesdays.
  • Price: 72 TL (word this doesn’t come with the Harem) To ebook the Harem, it’s every other 42 TL)

Topkapi Palace

3 days in istanbul itinerary topkapi palace

Topkapi Palace used to be in-built 1460 after the conquest of Constantinople to function the house and administrative construction for the Ottoman sultans. It took a complete of 18 years to finish.

The grandeur of the Topkapi Palace is simple, however it wasn’t sufficient for the Ottoman sultans. Beginning within the seventeenth century, the sultans began to favor spending their time of their palaces alongside the Bosphorus Strait.

Within the mid-Nineteenth century, Topkapi Palace used to be not in use and used to be changed into a museum. Inside of, guests will to find heaps of reveals on Turkish historical past, massive courtyards, and wonderful gardens.

However most likely probably the most well-known segment of the Topkapi Palace Museum is the Harem, a non-public quarter the place the feminine contributors of the sultan’s circle of relatives lived. The tiling throughout the Harem is similarly shocking, if now not, extra shocking than those within the Blue Mosque.

Together with the stained glass home windows and complex patterns all through the entire internal, the Harem is not anything lower than breathtaking. Get a skip the road price tag that features a guided excursion of the Target audience Corridor, Prime Courtroom, Historic Kitchens, and The Treasury.

Night time

Sundown Bosphorus Cruise

Cruise on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey

No Istanbul itinerary is whole with out playing a Bosphorus sundown cruise. The cruise departs from the Golden Horn and cruises across the Bosphorus Strait, some of the traditionally vital our bodies of water.

Lately, the Bosphorus Strait acts because the boundary between Europe and Asia, so visitors technically get a excursion of 2 continents!

All Bosphorus sundown cruises will show off one of the maximum vital structures alongside the Bosphorus Strait, such because the Dolmabahce Palace and Maiden’s Tower. Visitors too can move beneath the spectacular Bosphorus Bridge that connects Istanbul’s Ecu aspect and Asian aspects.

Relying on the kind of cruise you’ve decided on, there may well be meals and leisure on board. We advise settling on a sumptuous Bosphorus dinner cruise, so you’ll be able to have the risk to pattern conventional Turkish meals like meze and raki, in addition to revel in cultural dance just like the Whirling Dervishes whilst sipping on Turkish espresso.

We took a yacht cruise to absorb the points of interest, and this cruise takes you on a 2.5-hour boat cruise of the Bosphorus Strait to peer Istanbul’s best sights together with Galata Tower and the Dolmabahçe Palace, each the Asian and Ecu Coasts the Küçüksu Palace which used to be the looking resort of the Ottoman Empire.

Day 2 – Sultanahmet and Taksim

You’ll be strolling so much on the second one day of our 3-day Istanbul itinerary, so be sure you put on one thing relaxed nowadays! On the second one day, you’ll end exploring the sight in Sultanahmet and head around the Galata Bridge into Taksim, the so-called leading-edge middle of Istanbul.


Grand Bazaar

3 days in istanbul itinerary grand bazaar

Get started your 2nd day in Istanbul with one of the vital oldest and biggest coated markets on this planet – Grand Bazaar. It has an estimated general of 61 streets and over 4000 stores, that means that guests can spend a complete day right here and most probably now not see the whole thing.

An interesting truth about Grand Bazaar  – it is regarded as the primary buying groceries mall on this planet, which makes it the easiest position to buy some souvenirs! 

You’ll to find a number of stuff right here – from reasonable counterfeits to antiques. However if you’re in search of one thing to keep in mind your go back and forth by way of, then we suggest getting a pleasing Turkish rug, a Turkish lantern, or a nazar amulet.

When you’re drained from strolling up and down the streets, calm down in one of the vital native tea stores. Have a pleasing Turkish Tea (çay in Turkish) and a neighborhood snack ahead of you proceed.

If making a decision to buy one thing (which you utterly will have to), don’t overlook to barter! The Turkish are excellent salesmen and you’ll be able to pay much more than what the thing is value!

  • Hours: 10 am to 6pm
  • Tram Prevent – Beyazit Kapaliçarsi

Spice Bazaar

3 days in istanbul itinerary spice bazaar

Situated a couple of mins from the Grand Bazaar is the Spice Marketplace. Not like the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar is reasonably small. There are solely two streets, and so they shape the letter L.

Built within the seventeenth Century, the Spice Bazaar is way more recent than the Grand Bazaar and guests can straight away inform by way of the instant they stroll in. It’s a lot more modern-looking and sublime than the Grand Bazaar.

However most likely probably the most placing function of the Spice Bazaar is the scent. Whilst you move in, your odor is straight away crushed by way of the other spices. A mixture of sweat, tea, spices, and herbs create a novel scent this is iconic to the Spice Marketplace. If you wish to acquire Turkish tea, the Spice Bazaar is a smart position to take action. 

  • Hours: 10 am to 6pm
  • Tram Prevent – Beyazit – Kapaliçarsi


Lunch At Eminonu

3 days in istanbul itinerary lunch where to eat

After you have completed your buying groceries spree in the ones bazaars, it’s time to pattern some native meals. Thankfully, Eminonu, the vicinity the place the Spice Bazaar is positioned, is the easiest position to take action.

This bustling vicinity is a smart position to pattern Turkish meals. Not like eating places in Sultanahmet which might be centered towards vacationers, the eating places right here draw in locals because of their reasonably priced costs and easy Turkish flavors. 

The easiest way to revel in Eminonu is to stroll round and spot what you prefer. Our favourite eating place in Eminonu is Sehzade Cag Kebap. Its lamb sis kebap is so wealthy in taste and melts on your mouth!

Galata Bridge

3 days in istanbul itinerary galata bridge

After a hearty lunch, it’s time to proceed exploring Istanbul. Head over to the Galata Bridge, which connects the historical middle of Istanbul with its leading-edge middle. The bridge spans around the Golden Horn, an iconic frame of water and some of the widespread spots for fishing. 

It’s not unusual to peer native fishermen covered up from one aspect of the bridge the entire solution to the opposite.

All of the fishermen carry forth a ton of seagulls. Blended with the multitude of pedestrians and boats coming from out and in, strolling throughout Galata Bridge is an iconic second. Although solely 490 meters lengthy, it might probably take a bit of of time to get throughout!

Galata Tower

3 days in istanbul itinerary galata tower

Possibly probably the most well-known appeal within the leading-edge middle of Istanbul is Galata Tower within the Beyo?lu District. The tower used to be in-built 1348 beneath the rule of thumb of the Byzantine Empire. At 63 meters above the bottom, it used to be the tallest tower again then and served as a part of Constantinople’s fortification.

This present day, the Galata Tower is without doubt one of the very best puts in Istanbul for panoramic perspectives of the town. From the balcony, you’ll be able to see Sultanahmet, Golden Horn, Bosphorus Strait,  or even the Asian aspect of Istanbul on a just right day.

But even so admiring the impressive perspectives, be sure you discover the reveals that element the historical past of the Galata Tower. This tower used to be a very powerful a part of each the Byzantine and Ottoman Empire’s historical past.

  • Opening Hours of Galata Tower: 9 am to 7 pm
  • Price: 35 TL

Night time

Istiklal Side road and Taksim

istiklal street istanbul itinerary

The ultimate job on the second one day of our 3 days in Istanbul itinerary is to discover Istiklal Side road and the Taksim vicinity.

Istiklal Side road is a 1.4-kilometer (0.87-mile) pedestrian-only boulevard in Istanbul this is all the time bustling. House to a large number of eating places, fashionable bars, and elegant cafes, you’ll be able to spend hours right here and now not see one of the very best issues it has to provide.

Right here you’ll to find the historical Istiklal tram that covers part the span of Istiklal Side road. Although it may well be tempting to get on it and save your self a while, the tram might be slower than strolling as a result of the entire pedestrian site visitors!

The easiest way to peer Istiklal Side road is to only stroll round and move into any stores that would possibly fancy you. Don’t pass over the dessert stores and the risk to take a look at out baklava, the nationwide dessert of 

Turkey. There are lots of flavors to it however you’ll be able to’t move incorrect with the unique pistachio taste.

As you stroll up Istiklal Side road, you’ll in the end to find your self in Taksim Sq.. Many of us believe Taksim Sq. to be the center of recent Istanbul, and also you’ll definitely see much more world manufacturers akin to Mcdonald’s, Burger King, Marriott, and the likes right here.

istanbul itinerary 3 days kebabs

At the western aspect of Taksim Sq. (close to the doorway of Istiklal Side road) are a number of doner kebabs stores. Should you haven’t gotten the risk to take a look at them but, that is where to head. Simply be expecting an extended queue and a large number of hungry folks shoving round!

Sooner than you allow, experience a pleasing dinner at one of the vital rooftop eating places close to Taksim. Our favourite is 360 Istanbul, and it has earned its identify for the 360-degree perspectives its penthouse provides. 360 Istanbul most often becomes a pleasing nightlife venue later within the night time. 

If you wish to have to take a look at the nightlife in Istanbul, it is a good spot to take action. In a different way, there are a large number of choices alongside Istiklal boulevard!

An excellent shuttle tip is to get an Istanbul Museum Go to skip the road to widespread museums like Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Harem, Nice Palace Mosaics and extra widespread museums in Istanbul with the guided excursion app. Take a look at this go right here.

Day 3 – Asian Facet Of Istanbul

Our ultimate day in Istanbul covers the Asian aspect of Istanbul and in addition provides one thing a bit of extra stress-free. 


Turkish Bathtub (Hammam)

spa etiquette tips
Dave’s able for his Hammam

After an extended day of strolling round Istanbul, I feel it’s time to calm down. Thankfully, there’s the easiest position in Istanbul to take action – a Turkish Bathtub, or Hammam in Turkish.

Turkish Baths have been a very powerful a part of Islamic tradition, serving as a spot the place guests can cleanse themselves ahead of coming into a mosque, and a spot the place visitors can socialize.

This present day, a Turkish Bathtub is extra of a calming revel in the place visitors can pop out utterly refreshed and one of the vital very best issues to do in Istanbul.

There are many Hammams in Istanbul, however we suggest Ca?alo?lu Hammam. Inbuilt 1741, it is without doubt one of the ultimate baths constructed beneath the Ottoman Empire. The internal of the Ca?alo?lu Hammam is beautiful and looks as if a museum of its personal.

With regards to experiencing a Turkish Bathtub, there are lots of applications to choose between. Relying on how you wish to have to be pampered, you’ll be able to select one thing this is extra complete or one thing shorter.

Sooner than you move, be sure you take a look at the other applications Ca?alo?lu Hammam provides on their respectable web page!



istanbul itinerary three days european side

Now that you simply’ve skilled the principle sights on Istanbul’s Ecu aspect, it’s time to head over to the Asian aspect. The Asian aspect is understood for its unbelievable meals and extra laid-back way of life. With quite a lot of residential spaces, it is without doubt one of the very best puts to stick in Istanbul for households.

Our first forestall at the Asian aspect is Kadikoy, a local recognized for its reasonably priced eating places with unique flavors. Seafood is a strong point at the Asian aspect, so don’t fail to spot the risk to take a look at some filled mussels and fish sandwiches!

Head against the sub-neighborhood of Moda, the place you’ll be able to discover a prom alongside the Bosphorus Strait. Opt for a brief walk and take within the impressive perspectives and refreshing sea air ahead of heading on your subsequent vacation spot! 

Camlica Mosque

3 days in istanbul itinerary camlica mosque

Inbuilt 2019, the Camlica Mosque is a brand new appeal you don’t most often to find in any guidebooks. However if you’re following our Istanbul itinerary, you’ll now not fail to spot this hidden gem.

The Camlica Mosque is the most important mosque in all of Turkey and its leading-edge building makes it a impressive landmark. But even so being a mosque, it options an artwork gallery, a library, and a museum.

The whole thing within the Camlica Mosque simply speaks of luxurious and opulence.

Don’t fail to spot the huge courtyard that boasts impressive perspectives of the Bosphorus Bridge. Perched on best of a hill, the perspectives from there are shocking. The Camlica Mosque is located in Camlica Park, an enormous inexperienced area this is widespread for households to benefit from the outdoor. 

If you’re nonetheless early within the afternoon, spend a while walking round. You’ll be glad about some recent air after the previous 2 days at the Ecu Facet.

Night time


3 days in istanbul itineray Uskudar

After you might be achieved exploring the Camlica Mosque and its large grounds, head over to the old fashioned vicinity of Uskudar at the Asian Facet. This vicinity is understood for its bustling fish markets and a long-stretching prom with heaps of comfortable cafes.

Going through west, the shores of this seashore vicinity is without doubt one of the very best puts to catch the sundown in Istanbul. However what makes Uskudar much more shocking is the ancient Maiden’s Tower that sits only a few hundred meters off the shore.

On the proper spot, the solar units in the back of this Byzantine-era fortification and its silhouette is solely impressive.

After the solar units, stroll across the vicinity and discover a seafood eating place with a view for dinner!

The place to Keep in Istanbul

  • Swissotel The Bosphorus – This five-star luxurious resort proper is within the centre of Istanbul at the Ecu banks of the Bosphorus. This is a highest location for exploring Istanbul with a rooftop pool and unfastened WiFi. Take a look at Availability & Costs at Reserving.com/Travel Guide
  • Sura Hagia Sophia – Situated in Sultanahmet, this 5-star resort is completely located to the entire primary sights. The resort additionally provides a well-designed lawn with a ravishing pool space and Loose Satisfied Hour. Take a look at Availability & CostsReserving.com/Travel Guide
  • Elite Global Europe Lodge – Positioned on the subject of the airport, this newly-opened resort provides luxurious at finances costs. Highest for a layover or to keep away from Istanbul site visitors when you’ve got a flight leaving within the early morning hours. Take a look at Availability & Costs Reserving.com/Travel Guide

Guidelines For Visiting Istanbul

turkish delight in istanbul
Ensure that to take a look at Turkish Espresso and Turkish Pride
  • Deliver relaxed footwear – Istanbul is a town this is very best found out on foot. Town has a nickname of “Town at the Seven Hills”, so be sure you carry some relaxed footwear to stroll across the town!
  • Get dressed conservatively – Although Turkey is rather extra liberal than maximum Muslim international locations, it’s nonetheless a Muslim nation. Make sure to received’t put on one thing too revealing. For the mosques, males can not put on tank tops and their pants should quilt their knees. Hats also are now not allowed. Girls should quilt their heads, shoulders, and knees. You’ll wish to put on a shawl to hide your head ahead of you input.
  • Be Conscious of the Prayer Occasions – Should you plan on visiting the mosques, be sure you take a look at the prayer instances. Guests don’t seem to be welcome right through this time.
  • Get an Istanbulkart – The Istanbulkart is a need when the usage of Istanbul’s transportation machine. This is a good contactless card this is used to pay the fare. You’ll get one from maximum main public transportation stations.
  • You may additionally like: Etiquette within the Heart East- Commute for Males and Girls

To get to and from the airport, we (Dave and Deb) took TransferExpert.com. Their products and services have been skilled and pleasant! It used to be great to have an indication with our identify on it looking forward to us after we landed on the worrying airport.



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