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Christmas day suggestions for Istanbul

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Dubai
6 posts
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Christmas day suggestions for Istanbul

Any suggestions gratefully received for ideas of things to do/see Christmas Day and over Christmas period in Istanbul

Many thanks

Kadikale, Turkey
Destination Expert
for Turgutreis
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3,498 posts
12 reviews
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1. Re: Christmas day suggestions for Istanbul

Kurban Bayram/Festival is the 20-21-22-23 Dec. As this is one of the biggest festivals in turkey you may find some things closed during those dates. Otherwise it will be business as usual until New Year when again New yrs day may find things closed - local experts can give you better details.

There are many many things to do in Istanbul - from shopping to visiting historic sites to museums to boat rides (tho might be a bit cold for that :o) )

Again the local experts can give you more specifics, tho they may need some ideas from you about the kinds of things you'd prefer.

Sue

Kayakoy, Turkey
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
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8,971 posts
65 reviews
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2. Re: Christmas day suggestions for Istanbul

Hi Designerkiwi,

Christmas is not a special thing is Turkey, even though things are decorated like Christmas but that is for the New Year. Presents are also given between family members or friends on the last day of December.

As a coincidence Christmas follows up the Kurban Bayram, that is a public holiday, and after the holiday thing turn back to normal. During bayram Istanbul can be crowded as there is no school, especially roads between Asia and Europe, into the city, ferries, malls are just too busy.

Keep an eye on the regular opening times from the museums:

www.allaboutturkey.com/ist_muze.htm#carsi

And it might be that especially on monday the Grand Bazar is very busy because that closes down during bayram, as well as the Egyptian bazar.

Good luck, enjoy yourself!

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
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14,091 posts
244 reviews
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3. Re: Christmas day suggestions for Istanbul

Kurban Bayram ends on Dec. 23rd. You can do anything On Christmas Day in Istanbul that you can do on any other Tuesday, which means that Topkapi will be closed but everything else will be open. If I were spending Christmas in Istanbul I would just do regular tourist things, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Cisterns, Dolmabahce Palace, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, modern shopping malls. It will just be "business as usual" on Christmas Day in Istanbul.

If you wish to celebrate Christmas I believe that the Catholic Church in Taksim celebrates midnight mass. Possibly some of the five star hotels, like the Four Seasons will have a special meal.

As a Christian, I find celebrating Christmas in Turkey quite refreshing. With all of the commercial elements of Christmas removed, you can wander out into the night on Christmas Eve and imagine the birth of Jesus, under that same sky, not so many miles away.

If you are not Christian, you do not have to be assaulted on all sides by the demand that you celebrate Christmas.

Dubai
6 posts
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4. Re: Christmas day suggestions for Istanbul

Thank you so much Busy-retired, Villa Rhapsody and Suehami for your kind replies. I sure everyone who asks a question really appreciates the effort you experts put into the replies - I love reading the forum and it is making the planning so interesting.

Surrey, UK
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
7,097 posts
16 reviews
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5. Re: Christmas day suggestions for Istanbul

We have spent four Christamas Days in Istanbul - as we like to get away from the commericalism of Christmas (and also escape from the eternal debate about whose mother we go and stay with!!).....

We love it because you can do as much or as little Christmas are you want..... We tend to book a meal for the evening (we have our favourite restaurant - the Sarnic - in Istanbul that we go to on special occasions and so we book there - but if you check the restaurant thread, you will find plenty of choices).

Then we spend the day in the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar choosing Christmas presents for each other.

After dinner, a walk between the Blue Mosque and the Ayasofya looking up at the stars, the crescent moon (if you are lucky) and the swirling seaguls is the perfect end to an Istanbul Christmas Day!

Caro

Birkenhead, United...
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1,616 posts
6 reviews
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6. Re: Christmas day suggestions for Istanbul

wow wish i was there in istanbul doesnt christmas sound wonderful there? enjoy enjoy enjoy!! everybody that has the opportunity to spend christmas in this wonderful city xx

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
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14,091 posts
244 reviews
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7. Re: Christmas day suggestions for Istanbul

Hi luckysandy, I have missed seeing you on the forum. It is nice that you are back. Caro, since you are not going to Istanbul for Christmas have you established where you will have Christmas dinner? I would also love to be in Istanbul on Christmas. We like to pick out our gifts to one another together, and there is no better place than the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar.

Surrey, UK
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
7,097 posts
16 reviews
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8. Re: Christmas day suggestions for Istanbul

Hi Peggy

We haven't decided where to have our Christmas dinner yet.... We spent ages trying to work out if we could justify another trip to Istanbul for Christmas - but as we have been there twice this year already, we just couldn't do it!!

No matter where we have our Christmas dinner, I know where I'll want to be!

Caro

Dubai
6 posts
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9. Re: Christmas day suggestions for Istanbul

Thanks for the suggestions everybody - here's a question for you experts. I had thought of booking a meal at Kizkulesi - should we go during the day to see the sights on the way or go for dinner when it may be more romantic etc

Many thanks and love the idea of buying a present for each other at the bazaars on Xmas Day

10. Re: Christmas day suggestions for Istanbul

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