ISTANBUL: Even though it is not the Capital of Turkey, Istanbul is the most visited city in Turkey and became its special pearl. After all it is nothing else but the The city is impressive, its landmarks are breathtaking and its vibes are catchy. If am asked about a city to visit that has a mix of some European vibes along with Mediterranean ones I would definitely say Istanbul.
And why is that? Well the answer is easy. Istanbul is the city that splits the two continents by its Bosphorus strait. Therefore resides in it the magical combination of both cultures and customs. Oh and yes you can jump from a continent to another with a glimpse of an eye.
In a few words Istanbul is a Priceless Gem.
Each time I visit Istanbul I get more excited more happy and more surprised by this city. There is something magical about it that makes you wanna come back. Also makes you love it more each time you are there. Istanbul can never disappoint you because you will actually find anything that might entertain you in there.
My advice to YOU!
As you might know, Istanbul is a big city where there is no actual center. Each area is known for some landmarks and touristic places. So when considering your hotel, if you are on a Honeymoon or would like to stay more in a luxurious hotel or a fancy neighborhood, choose a Hotel by the Bosphorus. If you are simply looking for a central location and don’t mind crowded neighborhood stay in Taksim area.
PS: The old Town which is the Sultanahmet area, has the most touristic and historical landmarks. So in case you are in the city for a couple of days and your main interest is that, consider staying there as an option.
Now, if you think that Istanbul is only about History culture and touristic attractions, you are totally wrong😅 The city is also all about delicious gastronomy, street food, unique rooftops and cool coffeeshops. And because no one can say NO to any of the above I will include some of them in my itinerary and all of them in a specific article😉
As for the street food lovers, this one is for you: 8 Street food in Istanbul you must eat
Here is Your 5 days Itinerary to visit one of the Most Unique Cities in the World, the one and Only Istanbul⭐
Day1: Enjoy Your day by the Bosphorus
- Start your day at the Iconic Dolmabache Palace. Check out its magnificent gardens, breathtaking gates and its marvelous interior.
- Take a look at the nearby Yildiz Park. Stroll down its beautiful gardens.
- Meet Ortakoy and its magnificent mosque by the waters. Enjoy checking its beautiful souvenir shops and eat the famous Kumpir either from a street vendor or in Beltas Rest Cafe.
- Wander in Besiktas center area, where you have many shops, restaurants and Cafes.
- Take a Cruise in the Bosphorus around sunset and discover the beauty of the city through its waters. You can also have some drinks on board.
- Enjoy Bebek at Night. Head to this vibrant cool area by the bosphorus and have some drinks and dinner there. My Recommendations: Nusr-Et if you are a meat lover.
Day 2: Meet the Iconic Sultanahmet
- Start your day in the famous Sultanahmet Square. There is a lot to see there but mainly two Iconic Masterpieces: The One of a kind Hagia Sophia and the blue Mosque.
- Enjoy Istanbul’s underground by checking out the Outstanding Basilica Cistern. Make sure to walk in its colorful Yerebatan street.
- Enjoy your lunch at the 7 Hill Restaurant which is the most strategic Rooftop that offers the most wonderful view.
- Have a great afternoon at the Topkapi Castle which is the Sultan’s Palace. Wander in its rooms and check out its Harem.
- If you still have some energy, check out the next door Gulhane park and rest by its grass.
- Have dinner followed by some drinks at the lively rooftop in Taksim called 360 Istanbul.🍸
Day 3: Istanbul’s Historical Areas & Experiences
- Start your day by having a great Brunch at Hafiz Mustafa 1864 on its Rooftop Terrace in Istiklal street-Taksim. Walk down Istiklal street or take its historical funicular for the fun experience.
- Visit the Iconic Galata Tower and its splendid historical area. Wander in those Narrow streets and walk towards Karakoy. Explore Karakoy’s boutiques and Cafes.
- Continue your Journey towards the Galata Bridge and make sure to check out the famous fish vendors Balik.
- For your ultimate Turkish Experience, indulge yourself in one of those famous Turkish bath.
- Visit Ortakoy at early evening, have your cup of tea by the waters in the House Cafe Ortakoy.
- Have dinner and drinks in Banyan Ortakoy and enjoy those breathtaking views over the Bosphorus in a great ambiance.
DAY 4: Let’s Hit the Islands
- Wake up early and head to the nearest Pier Besiktas, Kabatas or Eminonu direction the Princess Islands.
- You can consider visiting more than 1 island or even hopping between Islands. But My Recommendation is not to skip the biggest one called Buyukada.
- Enjoy tanning on Kinali Island by the shores of the Marmara sea.
- Rent a bike and enjoy discovering the islands and its small shops while exercising.
- In case you are visiting many islands, keep Buyukada to the last, have a late lunch/early dinner Eskibag Teras Restaurant and enjoy the sunset there.
- Back in Istanbul, Enjoy a cup of tea or a Turkish coffee with some Turkish delights. I would suggest Hafiz Mustafa 1864 or if you are by the Bosphorus Assk Kahve.
DAY 5: Istanbul’s Hidden Gem
- Start your day in my favorite Hidden Gem in Istanbul: The Balat & Fener area. I would recommend that you start your walk in Fener and have your breakfast in one of its unique coffee shops.
- Check out the outstanding Phanar Greek Orthodox College that simply looks like Harry Potter’s school and continue your walk towards Balat. Don’t hesitate to stop and take all those colorful buildings in nice pictures.
- Head towards Sulaymaniyah area walk in those narrow streets check out the new mosque and have lunch in one of it Rooftops. My recommendation: Aria Lounge
- Check out the old souk in Eminonu and walk towards the famous Grand Bazaar. If you are fan of spices tea and delights head to the nearby Egyptian Bazaar.
- Enjoy Besiktas at Night! Have dinner in one of its nice restaurants followed by some drinks. I can Recommend Sushi Lab or Sushi & Spices both in Sair Nedim street.