Istanbul – Visit the Highlights

We spent four days in Istanbul. We think that 4 days are enough to visit the city. Here is a summary of our visits, it’s up to you 🙂

1- Cruise on the Bosphorus

As a good start, it is better to take a cruise on the Bosphorus. It is a magical tour where you can contemplate the symbolic buildings of Istanbul, and the Bosphorus bridges. It separates the city in two but also Europe and Asia.
Head to « Eminonü » where you will find the most famous cruise starts

This tour will allow you to have a global view of the city and decide on the visits that interest you.
Our advice: ask many cruise vendors for the price and compare. And above all : negotiate well! You can have a tour for 5€ / person

Location : 41°01’05.8″N 28°58’17.1″E

Bosphorus Cruise
Bosphorus Cruise
Bosphorus Cruise
Bosphorus Cruise

2- The Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)

It is one of the historic mosques in Istanbul.
It is known as the Blue Mosque for the blue ceramics on the interior walls.
You will be able to access it even if you do not have the necessary clothes, they will be provided to you at the entrance
Location : 41°00’19.7″N 28°58’36.2″E

Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)
The Blue Mosque from inside
The Blue Mosque from inside

3- Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya Müzesi)

Originally it was a large Christian church in Constantinople built in the 4th century, then rebuilt much larger in the 6th century where it acquired its current form.
Since 1934, it is no longer a place of worship but a museum.
Often referred to as the Great Church.
Location : 41°00’31.1″N 28°58’48.4″E

Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya Müzesi)

4- Topkapı Palace

From 1465 to 1853, it was the main and official urban residence of the Ottoman sultan.
The palace is built on the site of the acropolis of ancient Byzantium.
It dominates the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus and the Sea of ​​Marmara.
The name « Topkapı Sarayı » literally means « Cannon Gate Palace », related to the name of a nearby gate that no longer exists.
Location : 41°00’41.5″N 28°59’00.0″E

Topkapi Palace

5- Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı)

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar (in Turkish, Kapalıçarşı literally « Covered Market ») is one of the largest bazaars in the world, spread over 200,000 m², with 4,000 shops, located along 58 inner streets accessed by 18 doors.
Location : 41°00’38.5″N 28°58’05.2″E

Entrance to the Grand Bazaar
Grand bazar

6- Spice Bazaar or Egyptian Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı)

Located in the Eminonu district. After Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, this is the city’s second-largest covered market.
Location : 41°00’59.4″N 28°58’13.9″E

7- Dolmabahce Palace

It was the Sultan’s residence from 1853 to 1922, except for about twenty years, between 1889 and 1909, when Yıldız Palace was used.
Today it is a museum managed by the Directorate of the National Palace (Millî Saraylar Daire Başkanlığı) of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.
Location : 41°02’20.9″N 29°00’01.6″E

Advice: at nightfall, go in front of the palace to have an exceptional view of the Bosphorus. You will not be alone: ​​This is a very popular spot in Istanbul

Dolmabahce Palace

8- Galata Tower (Péra : BELTUR Galata Kulesi)

The Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi in Turkish), also called Christea Turris (« Tower of Christ« ) is a medieval construction in the Galata district.
Its characteristic cylindrical silhouette forms an imposing landmark in the sky of this district located north of the Golden Horn and dominates the skyline while offering a panoramic view of the old city of Istanbul and its surroundings.

Location : 41°01’33.2″N 28°58’27.0″E

Galata Tower

next to the tower, be sure to cross the Galata Bridge, where the people of Istanbul go angling, day and night: it’s a special sight

Galata Bridge

9- Taksim Square and İstiklal Avenue

Istiklal Avenue, in Turkish İstiklâl Caddesi, literally « Independence Avenue », formerly known as Grand Street of Péra, is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul.
The avenue is traveled by nearly 3 million people a day on weekends. Located in the historic district of Beyoğlu district, it is a pedestrian street about three kilometers long

İstiklal Avenue

10- Pierre Loti Cafe (Pierre Loti Hill)

The café offers a spectacular view of the Golden Horn.
To get there, take a boat from Eminönü pier to Eyüp pier. The trip takes about 20 minutes. From the Eyüp pier, you will have to climb the hill either on foot via the steps or by cable car.
Location : 41°03’11.9″N 28°56’00.2″E

Café Pierre Loti
View from Café Pierre Loti

11- Princes’ Islands (Adalar)

The Princes’ Islands is an archipelago of 9 islands in the ​​Marmara Sea southeast of Istanbul.
The name comes from the fact that they served as a place of confinement for Byzantine princes.
Choose your island and go! It is a haven of peace without cars, and far from the bubbling Istanbul
To get there, take a ferry from Eminonu Pier. There are between 5 and 10 ferries a day to the islands depending on the season. The trip lasts around 1h30. The ferry stops at the islands of Kinaliada, Burgazada, Heybeliada and Büyükada.

Departure by ferry to the Princes’ Islands
view on Istanbul from the Princes’ Islands

Only means of transport on the islands: on foot, by bike or by horse-drawn carriage:

The means of transport on the Princes’ Islands