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What to do in one day?

Level Contributor
10 posts
16 reviews
What to do in one day?

I have one full day in Istanbul soon and have never been there before. How should I spend it to make the most of the time? I will be on my own so should I book a day tour? If so, any recommendations?

I’m a confident traveler and happy to catch public transport, taxis, Uber etc as long as I know where I’m going and have a plan.

My two great loves are shopping and food. I’m not interested in rugs but do love gold jewelry. I’m keen to see the important sites of Istanbul city and then perhaps have some shopping time.

Thankyou all in advance for your advice.


The Midwest
Level Contributor
37 posts
48 reviews
1. Re: What to do in one day?

Sultanahmet, a Bosporus tour (likely cheaper via Besiktas dock), and dinner somewhere over near Istiklal Caddesi.

Level Contributor
1,885 posts
129 reviews
2. Re: What to do in one day?

Firstly, depend on your nationality, you may need a valid Turkish visa to exit the terminal… (Please check www.evisa.gov.tr)

You don’t need to hire a tour guide, I don’t recommend buses but tram/metro is a good option… I usually prefer taxis…

Keep in mind that you have to be at the airport 2 hours before your flight… If you plan to stay in a hotel, I recommend Sultanahmet Sq and surroundings…

Please stay away from İstiklal street for dining, there are way better alternatives at the bosphorus line (from Besiktaş neighborhood to Sarıyer neighborhood)

You may like Grand Bazaar for gold/jewelry shopping… Zorlu and İstinye Park are high end shopping malls….

You may also like Tesvikiye neighborhood for the designer stores and bistros…

Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
62 posts
3. Re: What to do in one day?

Hi Tess,

Ahmet's response is very complete already, so all we want to add is that the fastest way to travel in Istanbul, due to the traffic, is to use the public transportation system (except the buses). However, keep in mind that only the Metrobus system works 24/7 and all other systems stop working at midnight. The Metrobus doesn't have stops close to the touristic areas or the airports. In order to use it, you will need to purchase the Istanbulkart transportation card from any of the machines located at the metrobus/subway/tram stations. The cost of the cards is 6.00 Turkish Liras and any remaining amount will be directly deposited to the card. The machine won't give you change.

Also make sure to check the distance to the departure airport. If it is the Sabiha Gökçen Airport, be warned that it's very far away from the city centers and it will take you longer to reach.


Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
42,544 posts
67 reviews
4. Re: What to do in one day?

Tess, For your shopping needs, I suggest Istiklal street since you most likely would be visiting Taksim/Beyoglu area. There is also a nice mall on this street. Otherwise you will be spending your time at the Sultanahmet area, Grand Bazaar, and Eminonu Karakoy area and Galata Bridge. Take the Bosphorus cruise for 1.5 hours from Turyol company, departing from Eminonu every hour on the hour.

good luck,


Level Contributor
47 posts
5. Re: What to do in one day?

If you are short on time, be careful to arrive the airport two hours before your departure. And also search this forum for precautions a solo lady might like to take.

As others have told, sultanahmet area, bosphorus and istiklal caddesi will be the best experiences you might have in istanbul in one day.

Level Contributor
10 posts
16 reviews
6. Re: What to do in one day?

Thankyou for your responses - very helpful


Edited: 10:52 pm, January 10, 2018
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
41,751 posts
674 reviews
7. Re: What to do in one day?

Head to Sultanahmet and pick an attraction or two to see.

8. Re: What to do in one day?

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