Istanbul Itinerary – 3 Days in The City of Two Continents
Istanbul is the city where East meets West and it is a big feat to cover this beautiful Eurasian city in just 3 days. But, here’s a guide for you to make things easier. An Istanbul itinerary that takes you through the historic and modern side of Turkish city in 3 days covers all the major points of this Turkish city and also gives you a taste of cuisine that is world famous.
Day 1 In Istanbul
Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Start your tour with the most famous site in Istanbul. Sultan Ahmed Mosque commonly known as the Blue Mosque is a historical tourist attraction dated from the 1600s. This lavish and elegant mosque is the most popular mosque in Turkey.
- Avoid visiting the mosque during mid morning/prayer time.
- Take off shoes and keep in plastic bags.
- Follow the dress code.
Stay for: 1 hour
Hagia Sophia Museum
Post your visit to Blue Mosque, pave your way to yet another star attraction, the Hagia Sophia Museum. The history says that Hagia Sophia has transformed from an Orthodox Church to a mosque and now into a museum. Its architecture is stunning from inside as well as outside.
- Preferred days to visit: Tuesday to Saturday
- Prefer to buy entry tickets online in advance to avoid standing in long queues.
- Stay for: 2 hours
Make your way to this famous historic Turkish bath in Istanbul. The lavishly arched and domed building faces the Golden Horn.
Relax for: 2 hours
After a good relaxing session, have your lunch and head to the 1,500 year old Galata Tower. It is an iconic landmark of Istanbul. Experience the best views of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, and the Istanbul city from the tower.
Timings: 9 AM – 8 PM daily
Stay for: 1 hour minimum
Take a night stroll on the streets of Istanbul and get your dinner from one of the many available food joints that bring world cuisine to your plate. Retire for the day and get ready for Istanbul Itinerary of Day 2.
Day 2 In Istanbul
Start your day at Basilica Cistern. Discover the Byzantine engineering marvel that lies beneath the Istanbul city. Show up your photography skills here.
Timings: 9 AM – 5:30 PM daily
Stay for: 1 hour minimum
- Check if there are any upcoming concerts.
- Carry or rent a tripod for some epic photography.
Topkapi Palace is your next stop to view a collection of jewels and artifacts. Enjoy the panoramic views of the Bosphorus from the Palace roof.
Stay for: 2 hours approximately
- Follow the dress code which is ethnic if you plan to visit the sacred relics.
Grand Bazaar / Kapali Carsi
You have covered most of the iconic places and now its time for some shopping therapy at one of the oldest and largest markets in the world – Grand Bazaar. Don’t worry if you get lost for while in the streets of the bazaar. Enjoy exploring its dozens of covered streets.
- Compare the prices in different shops and bargain for a good deal.
- Don’t look too interested! And don’t reveal your best price first. Let shopkeeper disclose the price first.
- Have some food on the go while shopping as you don’t want to waste time by having lunch again post this experience.
Stay for: More than 2 hours
Head to Istiklal Avenue – It’s an elegant street in Istanbul filled with boutiques, bookstores, theatres, art galleries, nightclubs, cafes, restaurants and much more. This bustling street welcomes more than 3 million people every day.
- Explore the avenue by foot
- You can find vintage stuff at shops located at the back street.
- Keep track of your belongings.
Stay for: 1 – 2 hours
Now, if you have time just roam the street like a local before heading to hotel for some much needed sleep.
Day 3 In Istanbul
Time to visit the famous Taksim Square, the ultimate cultural hub of Istanbul. It is a major tourist spot famed for its hotels, restaurants and public events.
- Checkout any local festivities before heading to the Taksim Square to participate in the celebrations.
When in Istanbul, you shouldn’t miss the Dolphinarium. Watch dolphin shows, swim and dive with dolphins, or enjoy the dolphin therapy at the Istanbul Dolphinarium.
Stay for: 2 to 3 hours
Enjoy to the extreme at the Jurassic Land – one of Europe’s biggest theme park. It attracts kids as well as adults alike. You can watch more than 70 moving models of dinosaurs.
- Preferred days: Tuesday to Sunday
Stay for: 3 hours
Time for a sail through Bosphorus that runs right through the heart of Istanbul and gives you a glimpse of the Istanbul Modern Art Museum, fortresses, several Ottoman palaces, forested hills, and shore villages having Ottoman architecture.