The mighty Istanbul. Famous for straddling two continents, this city’s east-meets-west vibes have been attracting travellers for decades. Istanbul can easily overwhelm the uninitiated, and those who have just a short time there, so we asked our local team to tell us what they would do with just 24 hours in Istanbul.
Morning: 7am – 10am
Enjoy breakfast on a hotel terrace (pro tip: the And Hotel has incredible views!) then make your way to the Blue Mosque, preferably arriving between first and second prayer. Stroll past Topkapi and through the oasis of Gulhane Park to Eminonu, where you can catch the Turyol tourist ferry for spectacular views from the water.
Mid-day: 10am – 1pm
From Eminonu, follow the tram tracks across the bridge. For a true local lunch go left at the end of the bridge into the fish market and choose the fish that you want cooked for you. If that’s not your thing, head through the old Jewish neighbourhood, past the grand French schools, until you hit the Modern Museum. Here you’ll find contemporary art and a secret café with sweeping views, delicious pasta dishes, and mouth-watering cheesecake. Next, check out Dolmabahce Palace for the ultimate in opulence – a true Sultan’s palace.
Afternoon: 1pm – 6pm
Stop for a nargile (water pipe) at a beanbag café in Tophane, or continue past the end of the Tramvay to the local’s favourite of Ortaköy. People watching and looking through the crafty markets are highlights here. Jump in a dolmus, a shared taxi, to Taksim to witness Istanbul’s modern face. Head to the Arasta Bazaar and check out the store called Jennifer’s Haman, which sells good-quality woven towels and other gorgeous fabrics.
Evening: 6pm – late
By night, ride a ferry to the cosmopolitan neighbourhood of Kadikoy. Grab dinner at Çiya, where you can find authentic Turkish cuisine made from recipes that are hundreds of years old. Afterwards, head back to Taksim and step into Arif Bar for live rocking gypsy music with a modern twist. Enjoy an Efes beer or a glass or two of Raki!
Travelling with us? Here’s a helpful tip: To get the most out of your Urban Adventures, experience we recommend that you take a tour as early as you can after first arriving in Istanbul. This way, your local guide can give you all the local advice you need about how to make the most out of your time in the city!
Want more Istanbul? Join us on one of our Istanbul tours!