What is the best way to experience Istanbul if I will be there for 1 week?

John McCarroll
05 May, 2014

With one week, you'll barely scratch the surface of the city. I think that unless you are absolute history buffs, it's best to only spend 2 or 3 days in the old city. I'd suggest a day or two in Beyoglu, the most cosmopolitan and schizophrenic district in the city. It also has the best restaurants, cafes, and bars in most likely, the entire country. A cruise up the bosophorus is wonderful in sunny weather- at the mouth of the black sea there is a great castle to clamber around on and quite a few pretty villages to check out.

The prince's islands are gorgeous and great fun for a bike ride to work off all the baklava (a good ratio is 3-4 pieces of Baklava per day, btw). The last one, Buyuk Ada tends to be the most crowded, but the old homes are absolutely stunning.

I'd also recommend spending a day in Kadikoy and Moda, which is a nice walk and has an absolutely beautiful park near the shore.

Finally, to maximize your fun: Walk everywhere, eat everything, and make sure you look UP - the best things in the city are hidden, so don't be afraid to poke around.


Trip Planning
John McCarroll

Irresponsible anthropologist and fiction writer. Used to be an expat in Istanbul. 

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