Istanbul Travel Guide

istanbul Cruise Bosphorus dinner cruise

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I used to identify Istanbul as dangerous, as many action-packed movies depict Istanbul as risky. When it’s not James Bond who chases assassins, then Liam Neeson goes after people who took his wife and daughter hostage. But, surprisingly, we felt completely safe in the large city of Istanbul, even walking around the city at night. Travelling around Turkey made me realise how diverse and beautiful the Country is. And you won’t want to miss the vibrant city of Istanbul. I’ve assembled a 4 Days Istanbul Itinerary with the best things to see and do so you can have a unique Istanbul vacation.

Map of the Best attractions in Istanbul

Map created using Wanderlog, a trip planner app on iOS and Android

“If the World were only one country, Istanbul would be its Capital.”

– Napoleon Bonaparte

Istanbul Sunset over Bosphorus Istanbul #turkeytravelplanner
Istanbul Sunset over Bosphorus Istanbul #turkeytravelplanner

Where is Istanbul?

Surrounded by turquoise waters and picturesque landscapes, the diverse Country of Turkey is where the East meets the West. Filled with idyllic mountains, turquoise beaches, and historical heritage sites, it is a place you don’t want to miss.

The Golden Horn and Bosphorus Strait?

A significant waterway connects the two seas and separates Anatolia from Thrace, once one of the most important maritime routes. The Bosphorus Strait is the waterway that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and separates the European side from the Asian side.

The Golden Horn is an urban waterway and primary inlet to the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul. This horn-shaped estuarial inlet separates the historical centre of Istanbul from the rest of the city. It protected Greek, Roman and other maritime trade ships in history—the History of The Golden Horn.

How Many days do You need in Istanbul?

With so much to experience where the two continents, Asia and Europe, meet, I recommend staying at least 4 full days. I could easily stay a week.

Private Istanbul Cruise on Bosphorus strait

Istanbul Travel Tips

Istanbul is filled with so much to see and do that one can easily spend a month. It all depends on the time you have available and the experiences you want.

Rise early: Istanbul city comes alive quite early, so have an early breakfast to maximise your day. One can experience most things independently and doesn’t have to book a tour if one cannot afford excursions. I want you to know that planning is essential, so I hope you will find this Istanbul Itinerary 4 days guide helpful.

Pack a daypack: The night before, pack your daypack with everything you need the following day. That way, you’ll be more relaxed in the morning and not get surprises. The essentials to pack are the following:

  • Essential documents, travel insurance- and other important documents,
  • Entrance tickets, if applicable, cash, and credit card,
  • Cap, sunscreen, tissues, lip ice and hand sanitiser,
  • Your cellphone and camera,
  • Umbrella and rain jacket as the weather might surprise you.
  • Scarf so you can cover your shoulders when visiting a mosque.

Best time to visit Istanbul

It all depends on the experiences you want. The hottest month in Istanbul is July, with an average of 24°C. February is the coldest month when temperatures average 5.5°C (42°F). If you also plan to visit Turkey during the winter, check out why in the article Does it snow in Turkey?

Sultanahmet Istanbul
Sultanahmet Istanbul

Best Area to Stay in Istanbul for Tourists

One of the most frequently asked questions is: Where to Stay in Istanbul (İstanbul’da Nerede Kalınır, or hangi bölge veya Istanbul otelleri?

Sultanahmet, Istanbul, is centrally located in the heart of Istanbul and within walking distance of most top tourist attractions.

By staying in the Sultanahmet area, one can easily visit the most famous landmarks, from the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque to the splendours of the Ottoman Empire, including Dolmabahçe Palace.

You will get the most out of your Istanbul Itinerary 4 days when you book accommodation in the Sultanahmet area and save money on transport.

During Ramadan, Istanbul, especially the Sultanahmet area, gets very noisy at night. Arabic Ramaḍān, in Islam, is a holy month of fasting and praying and gets celebrated during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar.

Istanbul Itinerary 4 Days

On this 4-day Istanbul Itinerary, you delve deep into Turkish culture and get a perfect introduction to the city that straddles Europe and Asia. Moreover, during these four days, you will explore top tourist attractions and places in Istanbul and include the top 10 things to see in Istanbul, Turkey.

DAY 1


Must-see Places in Sultanahmet Istanbul

Your day will start in Sultanahmet, close to all four of the city’s main attractions. First, you visit the iconic Blue Mosque, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, next to the Hippodrome. Next up is The Hippodrome of Constantinople, also known as Sultanahmet Square; in ancient times was a public arena used for chariot races and sporting or social centres.

The third attraction you cannot miss is the spectacular Topkapi Palace, which was once the imperial residence of Ottoman sultans for nearly 400 years. After lunch, it’s time to explore Hagia Sophia and the Chora Church.

End your day by watching the sunset at one of the top restaurants with a view over the Sea of Marmara and Istanbul city while enjoying an enticing cocktail. After that, indulge in some Turkish cuisine while enjoying heartwarming Turkish hospitality.

The Blue Mosque

Istanbul’s most iconic landmark, the Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is one of the top 10 places to visit in Istanbul, Turkey. In addition, Sultanahmet is an excellent Istanbul tourist place and is centrally located.

Blue Mosque Istanbul
Blue Mosque Istanbul

Why you need to see the inside of the Blue Mosque

Observing the incredible architecture of this substantial ionic masterpiece is jaw-dropping. The Blue Mosque is decorated with trillions of hand-painted Iznik mosaics in hues of different blue colours. At night the Mosque is bathed in blue when the lights light up and frame the five main domes, the secondary domes, and six minarets.

Famous Architect Sedefkar Mehmet Aga built this substantial masterpiece during the 17th century for Sultan Ahmet. It took 7000 men seven years to build the mosque between 1609 and 1616. The Külliye contains a madrasah, a hospice, and Sultan Ahmed’s tomb. You can read more about the history of the Blue Mosque on Wikipedia.

Blue Mosque opening hours & Entrance fees

Although the Blue Mosque opens daily at 09h00, an excellent time to visit is between 10h30 and 12h00, and the Blue Mosque entrance fee is free.

Muslim Blue Mosque Prayer times

Religious Muslims pray five times daily, with the first prayer at sunrise and the last at nightfall.

  • Thirty minutes during prayer time and about 30 minutes after that.
  • Daily, an hour before dawn,
  • Blue Mosque Friday prayer times are at 12h00 (only open half-day).

The Blue mosque dress code

YOne is only allowed inside the Mosque if your head, shoulders, and legs are covered. If you are not dressed appropriately, the Mosque will provide you with a scarf and skirt free of charge.

Hippodrome of Constantinople

Now a landscaped park, the Hippodrome, meaning horse and Greek for hippos, was a circus and the social centre of Constantinople. Horse and chariot races were prevalent in pastimes, and Romans were passionate admirers of chariot racing. The Academy Award-winning 1959 Tale of the Christ, Ben Hur film, starring Charlton Heston, depicts these chariot races and is one of the best movies I’ve seen.

The Hippodrome Seating and set up.

From Jerusalem to Rome, people crowded together to view the competitors throughout the battle. Moreover, the four bronze horses used are now available in Venice.

The fantastic movie Ben Hur clarifies the actual thrilling threatening circumstances in ancient times and perfectly depicts the chariot racing in ancient times.

Topkapi Palace Museum

Another one of the most popular tourist attractions is the Topkapi Palace. Topkapi Palace, meaning Gate of Cannons, was the Ottoman sultans’ headquarters and primary residence in ancient times. Daily from 09h00 to 17h00, except for Tuesdays when it’s closed. The recommended required time at Topkapi Palace is about 60 minutes.

Entrance Topkapi palace tickets
Entrance Topkapi Palace

Hagia Sophia, The 7th Wonder of the Ancient World

Once a church became a religious Mosque, it survived the war and stood the test of time. The beautiful Hagia Sophia is now a charming museum and is reckoned as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It is also one of the most attractive places in Istanbul.

On the inside, you will recognize the two archangels, Gabriel and Michael, with abstract designs everywhere on the marble slabs, besides the unique frescoes and mosaics adorned with striking religious paintings.

Where does the name Hagia Sophia and Ayasofya come from?

Hagia Sophia means Holy Wisdom, which is Ayasofya in Turkish. In Latin, the name is Sancta Sophia, and in English, Devine Wisdom. A bit of history: In 1453, when the Ottomans took over Constantinople, the church converted into the compelling Mosque it is today.

I recommend booking a guided tour to appreciate and gain more in-depth knowledge. Allow 1 to 2 hours to experience the Museum fully.

Entrance fee to Hagia Sophia

  • Hagia Sophia entrance fee and for Hagia Sophia hours of operation, check out your options at Hagia Sophia Skip the line Guided tour.
  • Children under eight are free of charge, provided you show a passport,
  • Free if you have an Istanbul Tourist Pass
  • Remember that the Ticket counter closes at 17h30 in summer and 16h00 in winter.

The Chora Church

A Medieval Byzantine Greek Orthodox Chora church, also known as Kairye Museum, is one of the world’s most revealing religious sites in Istanbul. Chora, in Turkey, means outside of the city and is where you can admire images from different events in the life of Jesus Christ. These Chora Church mosaics are the oldest surviving Byzantine mosaics. 

How to get to Chora Church from Sultanahmet

One can get to Chora Church by Foot, Tram, Taxi, or car. The distance between Sultanahmet and the Chora Church is about 4,5 kilometres.

  • To visit the Chora Church on a 2-hour walking tour, check the price and details on the link below.
  • The cheapest way to get from Chora Church to Sultanahmet is by Tram via Pazartekke, which takes about 38 minutes.

One of the best things to do is to watch the sunset from one of the Rooftop restaurants or bars. These places offer spectacular views over the Bosphorus and Istanbul city. So now you know where to see the Best view of Istanbul city and the Bosphorus.

DAY 2


Explore 2 Istanbul Continents and Backstreets

You’ll start your second day with a walking experience, beginning with a visit to the old Ottoman book Bazaar before going to the 16th-century old Ru, stem Pasa Mosque. Afterwards, take a ferry to Kadikoy, located on the Asian side of Istanbul, to explore the famous fish market and Kadikoy.

Kadikoy is one of the top neighbourhoods to visit in Istanbul. After exploring Kadikoy, walk down the famous Istiklal Street, where you can have lunch at one of the 3,000 pubs, street cafes, and restaurants. Afterwards, go to the Galata Tower to admire the 360-degree view of Istanbul.

After that, walk to Galata Bridge to watch the fisherman catching fish from the bridge. Moreover, to admire the sunset from there. Finally, end the evening by attending a Whirling Dervishes ceremony or a Bosphorus Dinner Cruise.

  • Visit the Ottoman book bazaar,
  • Observe Rustem Pasha Mosque,
  • Take a ferry to Kadikoy on the Asian side of Istanbul,
  • Explore Kadikoy and the Fish Market,
  • Walk down the famous Istiklal Street and enjoy lunch at one of the street cafes,
  • Continue to the Galata Tower for a 360-degree panoramic view over Istanbul.
  • Cross the Galata Bridge at Karakoy, watching fishermen fishing from the bridge,
  • Shopping at the Market, watching the sunset,
  • See the traditional Turkish Whirling Dervishes ceremony, or 
  • Go on a Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Show.

The Rustem Pasha Mosque

Although small, the 16th-century-old Rustem Pasa Mosque, designed by architect Ottoman Mimar Sinan, is most famous for its exquisite Iznik tiles. Experience the backstreets by booking a 2 Continents and Backstreets Tour.

Tip: Remember to wear comfortable shoes, apply sunscreen, and pack a scarf for your visit to the mosque.

Havabüs to Kadiköy

Hop on a Kadiköy Istanbul ferry that departs from the Eminonu pier. Kadikoy is one of the top neighbourhoods to visit in Istanbul. The lively community of Kadiköy is on the Asian side of Istanbul. Wander the streets, filled with lively bars, cafés, and shops, to experience the lives of Istanbul’s locals.

Take a Kadiköy Ferry

If you are looking for the cheapest transport between Sultanahmet and Kadiköy, hop on a Havabüs heading for Kadiköy.

Galata Tower Istanbul

Don’t miss going up to the Galata Tower’s top, where you’ll have a magnificent view over Istanbul.

Marvel at the majestic Bosphorus and Istanbul city from the top of the medieval Galata Tower.

After that, you have to explore Istanbul’s exciting Galata neighbourhood. Continue to the centuries-old streets of Galata and experience the famous Istiklal Street.

Check options and prices for the famous Istanbul Galata Tower Walking tour.

  • The Galata Tower opening hours: 9 am – 08h30
Galata Tower opening hours
Famous Galata Tower Istanbul

Visit the Galata Bridge in Istanbul

Galata is famous for its Tower, the Golden Horn, and its Galata Bridge that crosses the Golden Horn into Eminönü. Walk across the bridge, as the locals do, with the ancient city on one side and Karaköy on the other; you’ll see where the river mouth opens into the Sea of Marmara.  

At the same time, you can watch the fishermen fishing on the bridge at sunset. And if you’re into fishing, try your luck and rent some fishing gear and rods on the Galata Bridge. Ensure you arrive at the bridge before sunset to admire the beautiful view of the Tower. By then, the Tower will be surrounded by hundreds of squawking seagulls.  

Besides, you’ll be amazed by watching the sunset over the sea, spreading hues of oranges blended with red into the grateful sky until it disappears into the night. Don’t forget your camera to take amazing photos.

Whirling Dervishes Istanbul

Experience a Unique Turkish mystical ritual of the Mevlevi order in a historic place. Avoid disappointment and book one of these extraordinary experiences of Turkish music and motion. Check prices for a Turkish Mevlevi Sema and Whirling Dervishes show.

DAY 3


Bosphorus Cruise from Eminonu Pier

On the third day of your four-day Istanbul Itinerary, take the Metro to Halic, where you’ll take a taxi to the Bosphorus bridge. Experience Istanbul from a different perspective by going on a Bosphorus Cruise, and also one of the best things to do in Istanbul.

After the 90-minute Bosphorus Cruise, stroll along Eminonu Square. After that, visit the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market, experience another beautiful sunset from Camlica Mosque, or choose a night Cruise.

The 32 kilometres long Bosphorus separates Europe from Asia and connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. Cruise along the Bosphorus that connects Asia and Europe. At the same time, experience magnificent palaces and top historical sites such as the Blue Mosque, Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, and Galata Tower from afar.

Stroll Along Eminönü Square

Filled with historic taverns and restaurants, the lively Eminönü Square is one of the sought-after attractions in Istanbul. It is worth exploring. It’s also the perfect opportunity to indulge in one of those famous Turkish fish sandwiches.

The famous Spice Market and great Grand Bazaar are centrally located in Eminönü Square, making it easy to visit both simultaneously. After that, take a public ferry to Uskudar to watch the sunset from Camlica Mosque.

Eminonu Istanbul
Famous Eminonu Istanbul

Admire an Istanbul Sunset

Watch the evening spreading hues of yellow oranges blended with red into the sky until it disappears into the night. Depending on the days in Istanbul, you can experience a distinct sunset every other evening.

Sunset from Camlica Mosque

To get to Camlica mosque, take a public ferry to Uskudar, then hop on bus 15C, which will take you to the mosque. After your arrival, walk uphill until you reach the Mosque, where you shall also find the viewpoint. Moreover, the view over both the Asian and European sides of the Bosphorus and the bridge is gorgeous.

Get to the Mosque early enough to buy refreshments to enjoy while watching the sunset. A nearby Turkish snack shop sells Turkish food at low prices. Please remember your camera; you can take the most striking images from there.

Sunset Time Istanbul

Depending on the month and season, sunset time varies. So, you can just plan your days to include a different sunset spot every evening when planning your Istanbul, Turkey Itinerary.

Istanbul Sunset #sunset in Istanbul
Istanbul Sunset

Istanbul Itinerary 4 days

Best Things to Do in Istanbul at Night

Istanbul Cruises

Private Istanbul Cruise & Cruise Bosphorus

One of the most entertaining cruises is the sightseeing Bosphorus River cruise from Eminonu to Kadiköy. A ferry boat ride will cost you a mere 1$. At the same time, the ride will allow you to view famous sites such as the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque from afar.

Bosphorus Hop-on-hop-off Cruise

Admire Istanbul from a completely different perspective beyond the traditional tourist paths. This way of travelling is versatile, considering you can leave the boat at any 4 points.

Besides that, you can Hop on again 60 or 120 minutes later. Moreover, simultaneously, you can complete the entire Bosphorus cruise in a mere 100 minutes.

This is what you can expect:

  • Discover various mosques, palaces, fortresses, bridges & houses.
  • Stops are at Kabataş, Emirgan, Kucuksu, Beylerbeyi, Beşiktaş and back to Kabataş before you stop for lunch at Emirgan.
  • Catch the next boat to the Asian side for Kucuksu, known for its ornately decorated royal hunting pavilion.
  • Visit the Beylerbeyi Mosque before you head back.
  • Shop at the lively local market of Besiktas and sample some fresh seasonal fish.
  • Continue to Kabataş, where you can take the funicular to Taksim or the tram to Sultanahmet. Tickets are valid for one day.

Istanbul Ferry Schedule: There are two Istanbul ferry timetables, one for the winter months, from September until May, and another Summer timetable from June to mid-September.

Check Prices and book Airport and other Transfers in Istanbul, as well as the best attractions and Guided Tours to Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and Highlights.

Watch the sunset over the Bosphorus on a luxury Bosphorus Sunset Cruise while sipping on a cocktail and taking photographs to relive the experience back home.

Bosphorus Night Cruise

Explore the Asian- and European sides and see how Istanbul comes to life on a Bosphorus Night Cruise.

Don’t Miss a Bosphorus Dinner Cruise

Bookings for a Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Turkish shows

Board a ship at Kabatas Pier Istanbul, where you cruise along the Bosphorus Strait between Europe and Asia.

The cruise soaks up the view during this magical evening, and you have a great time.

Spend a magical evening cruising along the Bosphorus Strait. Savour a delicious Turkish dinner while watching a traditional folk belly dance show.

Embark on a 4-hour adventure as you linger in the sights around the shorelines.

Bosphorus night Cruise
A Bosphorus Night Cruise

DAY 4


On the 4th day of the Istanbul Itinerary, you’ll take a ferry to one of the Princess Islands. Büyükada, which is a full-day trip, return at 5 pm. If you prefer a shorter trip, cruise the Black Sea to the Fishing village of Anadolu Kavagi & Yoros Castle.

After your return, why not go for a Turkish Cooking Class or experience a Turkish bath or Hammam? How to get to Princess Island Istanbul, Adalar, Büyükada, Heybell, Burgaz, and Kinali? One of the most popular and fun ways of travelling to Prince’s Island is by Ferry boat.

Enjoy a 75-minute Büyükada ferry ride on the Black Sea. Büyükada is the largest of the Princess Islands, lying 20 kilometres southeast in the Sea of Marmara. Booking a cruise to one of the nearby islands is one of the things not to miss in Istanbul.

Best things to do on Princess Island Büyükada Explore

  • Go swimming, and enjoy the restaurants next to the sea.
  • Explore the island on foot and browse the shops,
  • Rent a bicycle to explore the villa-lined streets and Pine Forest,
  • Ride on a horse carriage,

Explore Anadolu Kavagi & Yoros Castle

Black sea Cruises

Take a Black Sea Cruise to the ancient fishing village of Anadolu Kavagi, easily reached by ferry, boat or car. Ferry rides are very popular, and the Anadolu Kavagi ferry ride from Eminonu Pier towards the Black Sea takes about 1 hour and 37 minutes.

What to do at Anadolu Kavagi

Notorious Yoros Castle is the main attraction at Anadolu Kavagi and sits high up on a hill with a magnificent view over the Bosphorus. Its Turkish name, Yoros Kalesi, is also called the Genoese Castle due to Genoa’s possession during the 15th century.

Visit Yoros Castle

To reach the castle from the harbour, walk uphill to the north for about 15 minutes, from where you will have a stunning view of the black sea.

Then it is time to enjoy lunch at one of the many seafood restaurants surrounding the Pier. Stroll the streets and little shops before your return to the harbour to board your ferry. You will arrive back at the Golden Horn at about 5 pm. Other ways to reach Anadolu Kavagi are by train, taxi, or a 40-minute drive by car.

Book an Istanbul Half-day Lunch Cruise on the Black Sea to Anadolu Kavagi fishing village. Highlights of the Half-day Cruise in Istanbul include the following:

  • Explore the town of Beykoz, located on the Asian shore.
  • Sail to the fishing village of Anadolu Kavagi on the Black Sea coast.
  • Enjoy a delicious lunch aboard.

Beykoz Kahvalti

The pleasant district Beykoz, or Bejkoz, as the Turkish pronounces it, is situated on the northern end of the Bosphorus on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. Explore Peaceful villages with pristine natural surroundings that stretch as far as Riva Creek in the hinterland.

Both Beykoz and Riva are easily reachable by car. The distance from Beykoz to Istanbul is 23 kilometres, and from Istanbul to Riva is 33 kilometres. Some people prefer to drive out for breakfast to Beykoz Kahvalti, while others prefer to stay overnight or longer.

Istanbul Markets

No Istanbul vacation is complete without a visit to the famous Bazaars. The Grand Bazaar, as will the Egyptian Spice Bazaar, will take your breath away.

Grand Bazaar Istanbul

The ancient Grand Bazaar Istanbul is the largest in Istanbul, with over 3,000 shops selling more than you can imagine. I recommend you keep your shopping spree in Istanbul until the end of your vacation. That way, you don’t have to travel around Turkey with an array of souvenirs that might only be a burden to you.

Your Istanbul Itinerary 4 days will be incomplete without a visit to the Grand Bazaar to experience the culture of a Turkish shopping expedition. Remember that haggling is common in Turkey, and Turkish people expect you to negotiate prices which is part of Turkish culture.

Trade is very common in countries where negotiating and barter are the norm. If haggling is not for you, I recommend you book a 4-Hour Guided Grand Bazaar Shopping experience.

What to Expect from the Grand Bazaar

The colourful Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar are mind-blowing, especially if it is your first visit. It can be daunting for Westerners, and visitors sometimes easily fall prey to unscrupulous traders.

Turkish people are warm and friendly and always ask about your well-being. Don’t be surprised when they invite you into their shops and offer you something to drink for free.

Explore the market and taste Istanbul’s best gastronomic samples from the best-cultivated olives, nuts, dried fruit, and various Turkish sweets. Besides, the Turkishmouth-watering Baklava or Turkish çelebioğlu Baklava makes excellent gifts.

Grand Bazaar Istanbul hours

Open daily from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm and closed on Sundays. 

How to get to the Grand Bazaar Istanbul map

From Sultanahmet Divanyolu Cad No 20, Sultanahmet 340110/Istanbul, Via Molla Fenari SokakNuru Osmaniye Caddesi – about 7 minutes by foot, Sokak 12, Kapalicarsi 34126, Istanbul +90 212 519 1248

Egyptian Spice Bazaar – Misir Carsisi

Located near the Golden Horn in Istanbul, the famous Spice Bazaar or Misir Carsisi market is much smaller than the Grand Bazaar. At the Spice bazaar, one can also buy dried fruits, various, and nuts. It is located near the Golden Horn in Istanbul.

Other markets in Istanbul

Why not treat yourself to the Spice Bazaar Hi-tea menu and try their large selection of tea, juice, and Turkish snacks?

  • Arasta Bazaar Istanbul
  • Beyazit Bazaar Istanbul
  • Laleli Bazaar Istanbul

Turkish Delight Istanbul

Who can resist the creamy-soft smooth rosewater fragranced taste of good quality Turkish delight? The world-famous Turkish delight is called Lokum in Turkish and comes from the Arabic al-haiku, which means “throat comfort.

In Turkey, you’ll find the most extensive assortment of Turkish delights in the World in all possible flavours, including Bergamot, orange, lemon, and famous traditional Turkish delights. Selected varieties consist primarily of Pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, dates, and chocolate, all bound by gel. These sweet indulgences make perfect gifts to take home.

Where to buy Turkish delight?

For the best quality and most extensive variety of sweet indulgences in Istanbul, visit the Osmanlizadeler Cafe, Certificate of Excellence 2017 – 2019 Winner. The Famous Ozmanlizadeler Café’s unique mouth-watering selection of Turkish delight, Baklavas, desserts, and cakes will make you return for more.

Visit Osmanlizadeler Cafe for its excellent Coffee and sweet indulgence. You can find them at Hoca Paşa Mah. Hudavendigar Cad No:2/A 34110 Fatih / Istanbul

Turkish Cooking Classes

Treat yourself by including a Turkish Cooking Class in Istanbul in your Istanbul Itinerary for 4 days. Check Prices and learn to cook traditional Turkish food.

Old City Half-day Bike Tour

A fun way to explore Istanbul is by bicycle. Cycle the imperial streets of Istanbul, and explore more than you would on a walking tour. Bike past the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and other attractions. Moreover, get off the beaten path exploring parks.

Turkish Baths or Hammams

Experience an authentic traditional Turkish bath or Istanbul Hammam, an integral part of Turkish culture. This unusual experience is an essential thing to do in Istanbul. It is excellent for your skin and one of the most relaxing and extraordinary experiences you shall never forget.

What is a Hammam or Turkish Bath?

The traditional Turkish Bath procedure is an extraordinary ritual of the Ottoman Sultans. First, you’ll get a steam bath; whereafter, it’s time for the scrubbing and foaming. However, scrubbing removes all the dead skin from your body; it is not painful. In addition, while each cell in your body begins to breathe, your blood circulation accelerates.  

Places to Visit in Istanbul in 2 Days

What to do in Istanbul in 2 Days is tricky as 2 days in Istanbul is only enough time to experience a fraction of what Istanbul offers. However, it is better than not experiencing Istanbul at all. To assist you, I’ve compiled the 2 days in Istanbul Itinerary.

First day in Istanbul

Book a Full day Istanbul tour to discover the famous sights in Istanbul. This full-day tour of the city includes Hagia Sophia and exploring Topkapı Palace. Marvel at the design of the Blue Mosque, discover the ancient hippodrome and relive the experiences from ancient times. Get your act and bargaining skills together for shopping at the famous Grand Bazaar.

Second day in Istanbul

Get up early and enjoy breakfast before you go out to explore further.

  • Take a Ferry to Princess Island Büyükada,
  • Go on an excursion to Anadolu Kavagi Kahvaltı fishing village.
  • Catch the Kariköy Ferry or Havabüs Kadiköy to the Asian side, where you can wander around the area and experience the locals, the Cafés and bars.
  • Explore the streets of Istanbul and browse markets and shops.
  • Decide on one of the fantastic Rooftop bars to enjoy a cocktail at sunset.

Cafes in Istanbul

During your 4 days in Istanbul Itinerary, you experience Turkish food, their culture and outstanding Turkish hospitality.

Vefa Bozacisi

For a diverse selection of cuisine, visit the renowned Vefa Bozacisi, an old authentic Turkish café that will make you feel like you are back in the 1800s. On your visit to Vefa Bozacisi, order their classic and very delicious Boza, complete with a touch of cinnamon, which they have served since 1876.

Turkish Besinci Kat Café

For a stunning view of the Bosphorus and a beautiful sunset view, visit the famous Turkish Besinci Kat Café rooftop bar and restaurant.

Visitors and locals both enjoy their delicious food, served with excellent service. Kat, their Turkish name, means floor and Bes, the number 5.

Arrive early to watch the sunset while enjoying a sundowner or indulge in one of their Mediterranean-, Turkish, or International dishes.

Garden Mezze

Voted as one of the best restaurants by locals and tourists in 2019, the famous Garden Mezze restaurant serves delicious gourmet meals and salads.

Centrally located, Garden Mezze is a mere 3-minute walk from the Turkish- and Islamic art museum and less than 0.5km from the Blue Mosque.

Visit Garden Mezze at Binbirdirek. mah. Peykhane. Cd. no 16 | Sultanahmet binbirdirek, Istanbul +90 532 349 02

Rooftop Bar in Istanbul
Visit a Rooftop Bar

Osmanlizadeler Café

Don’t miss visiting the popular Osmanlizadeler in Istanbul for Coffee and their mouth-watering Baklavas. They also serve a variety of cakes, Turkish delights, and other sweet indulgences that will make you want to return for more.

Osman Effendi, the founder of Osmanlizadeler Café, claims to produce the best Turkish delight and Baklava in Istanbul. You can find them at the Hoca Paşa Mah, Hudavendigar Cad No:2/A 34110, Fatih / Istanbul

Brew Coffee Works Sirkeci

You have to visit the pretty blue interior Coffee shop near Eminönü station. Besides Coffee, the popular Brew Coffee Works Sirkeci offers a selection of tasty and fresh confectionery to soothe your tastebuds.

Situated at Hobyar Mah. Hamidiye Cad. No: 64/16, Eminönü, +90 539 678 96 19

Taste of Two Continents

During this Istanbul Itinerary 4 days, you have to experience the flavours of Asia and Europe on a 5-hour food tour of Istanbul. The best way is to conquer the city’s seven hills cuisines by taking an Istanbul Food and Culture Tour. This way, a local guide will take you on to stroll to neighbourhood cafés for Kurdish food and typical drinks.

The Most Important Meal in Turkey

Kahvalti

Indulge in Turks Kahvalti or a Turkish breakfast, an important meal in Turkey. Kahvalti mainly consists of meats, eggs, cheeses, olives, and veggies like eggplant. Fruits are served with honey, jam, and a selection of bread.

Interestingly, Kahvalti means ‘before coffee’; therefore, meaning eating before you drink coffee. Turkish Coffee is part of Turkey’s culture and different from other coffees.

Other Turkish Delicacies

Another favourite Turkish delicacy is called Sujuk, a spicy beef sausage. Among the cheeses are white ‘Beyaz-Peynir,’ a semi-soft Turkish cheese made from either sheep-or goat- or unpasteurised cow’s milk. Pide, a pizza-like bread and bagel, is traditional Turkish food. Turkish tea is called çay, and Turkish coffee is called Kahve.

Turkish Street Food

Enjoy Balık, Ekmek, a famous Turkish savoury grilled fish sandwich. This popular and affordable street food is like the national food of Turkey and a must-try out when spending time during your 4-day Itinerary in Istanbul.

On the 3rd day of the Istanbul Itinerary 4 days, I suggest you visit Eminonu Square. Eminonu Square is the ideal place to try a famous fish sandwich. Cost of Living in Turkey Istanbul

Where to find The Best Turkish Coffee in Istanbul

The Best Coffee Shops in Istanbul are not hard to find, as world-renowned Turkish coffee is an ancient tradition. Ottomans bought raw coffee beans, which they first roasted to perfection. After roasting, they ground the beans themselves before making fresh Turkish Coffee.

This Turkish coffee-making method originated in Middle Eastern countries, including Turkey, Iran, and Greece. Learn How to make Turkish Coffee, what you need to make perfect Turkish Coffee, and what are the Health Benefits of Turkish Coffee.

Kuru Kahveci Mehmet Efendi

Mehmet Efendi opened its doors in 1871 after taking over a family business. He decided to roast, mix, and grind coffee beans on a larger scale before selling them. As a result, his most popular Coffee beans are a mixture of Arabica and Brazilian coffee beans. This is how Kuru Kahveci Mehmet Efendi became popular in Istanbul.

Nuri Poplar 

Founded in 1890 by Nuri Poplar, Nuri uses only Arabica Coffee beans. Famous for its double-roasted Turkish coffee beans as well as its roasting method. They believe in slow-roasting their Arabica Coffee beans only in old wooden fires instead of electric ovens like their counterparts.

You’ll find Nuri Toplar in the Eminönü district in Istanbul, close to Mehmet Efendi’s shop. Their contact details Ünvanı:  Kurukahveci Nuri Poplar Kahve ve Gıda Pazarlama Ltd. Şti. Vergi Dairesi: HOCAPAŞA Vd. Vno: 8540526115. Merkez Adresi: Hasırcılar Cad. NO:17 FATİH Tel : +90 (212) 522 07 28,  Mesai Saatlerimiz Hafta içi ve Cumartesi: 07:00 – 19:00. 

Özerlat Coffees 

Dervis founded The famous Özerlat Coffees in 1917 in Nicosia, on the beautiful island of Cyprus. His nickname derives from the Greek name Coffee Roaster. The Özerlat family introduced Turkish coffee to Cypris Island. Moreover, the business has produced and provided gourmet Turkish Coffee for nearly 100 years.

Find out Who makes the Best Coffee in the World?


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5 Comments

  1. Istanbul sounds like a great place to visit and you can do so much in 4 days! The full Istanbul tour sounds like the perfect way to get an introduction to the city. I would definitely want to book a sunset cruise to while there. And the Blue Mosque has been on my bucket list for the longest time! I hope to make it there one day!

  2. I haven’t made it to Turkey yet, but I would really like to! I think the trip over to Princess Island looks fun. I’d also love to visit all of the mosques and the sunsets look beautiful!

  3. My childhood friend and I always talked about running away to Istanbul because it seemed so exotic. It is still on my bucket list. Hopefully I will get to use your travel tips at some point.

  4. Yes, it is truly an amazing city.

  5. I’ve never been to Istanbul, but now I feel like I need to add it to my travel list! There are so many amazing sights there. I would especially like to visit the Blue Mosque, it looks stunning!