My sister and I spent 6 days (5 nights) in Istanbul in June 2013. Time was just enough to see a lot, but not everything, so we want to come back and repeat experiance but also explore more. We were exploring city during the day, which was our aim, so we can not say a thing about nightlife. We booked hotel Agan in Sultahmet area, few minutes distance from Gulhane tram station (perfect location and choice).
We used perfect Istanbul public transport. Right at the airport I bought Electronic card for public transport and refilled it with 40 TL. 6 metro stations and 17 tram station and we are at our hotel. I highly recommend Istanbul public transport which is very inexpensive, comfortable and best way for getting around.
First day we bought Museum Card, 72 TL. We used it for Archeological Museum, Topkapi Palace and Harem, Haghia Sofia and Mosaic Museum. It is not valid for Basilica Cistern and Dolmabasce Palace, which are the "must see". Next time I wouldn't go for this card but for seperate tickets. It is hard to visit all cites that Museum Card is valid for in 72 hrs.
Day 1 - arrival day. After settling in hotel, we walked around - Gulhane Park, Eminonu, bought Turkish Delight, had dinner at the restaurant.
Day 2 - Archeological Musem, Topkapi Palace with Harem. Next time I would dedicate 1 day for Museum, 1 for Topkapi. To much to see, admire, enjoy...
Day 3 - Haghia Sofia, Blue Mosque, Hipodrome, Basilica Cistern, Mosaic Museum
Day 4 - Bosphorus tour.We took ferry from Eminonu and went to Anatolu Kavagi (less than 2 hrs trip, last stop on Asian side). Round trip is 25 TL. Takes 30 min to climb to the fortress from Bizantine period. And there -breathtaking view. Nice restaurants on the way. upon return we went to Taxim by public transport ( I should mention that all before we did by foot). Galata Tower.
Day 5 - Dolmabahce Palace, Spice market, Blue Mosque again, Suleyman Mosque
Day 6 - checked out, went to airport, left laguage there and than went to Forum Istanbul Shopping Mall by metro and visitet aquarium.
Every day was a new wonderfull experience. We will definitely going back.
This trip was not expensive either: less than 500 Eur per person incl hotel, transport (public), entance fees, meals and refreshment, even some souvenirs.You must add air ticket.
I love Istanbul.
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