If you can just spend A Weekend in Istanbul, you will be able able to see some of this enormous city’s major sights and experience the sensory overload that is this magnificent city. Istanbul is the only major city that is situated on two continents, Europe and Asia. Formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, it is the perfect example of a crossroad city.  The skyline is dominated by church spires and minarets and there is a great mix of tradition and innovation as this is where east and west merge.

Istanbul is definitely one of the most stimulating, exciting and vibrant cities on the planet and two days will certainly give you a taste of its vibrancy.

Day 1 of your Weekend in Istanbul

Where to Stay?

There are so many places but the old town is always charming.

In the Morning

On the first day explore the Old City, Sultanahmet. Walk around in the narrow and cobblestoned alleyways. On top of the hill you have a view of the two greatest buildings in Istanbul – Haga Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Head to Haga Sophia first. This massive building was built by Roman Emperor Justinian around 700 to serve as a Christian church. It was later turned into a mosque and now serves as a museum. The inside is nothing less than stunning. Next, walk to the Blue Mosque, one of the most important mosques in the Islamic world. It is a truly breathtaking building.

In the Afternoon

A nice suggestion for lunch is a Turkish kebab and a strong coffee. There are numerous places where you can get just that in Sultanahmet. Your next destinations is the Grand Bazaar  and the Egyptian Spice Market. These markets consist of hundreds upon hundreds of stalls selling pretty much anything. It is exciting just wandering around for a couple of hours, smelling the spices and watching the people at work and at play.

Try some of the roasted chestnuts or grilled corn being sold by the street vendors.

In the Evening

After all that walking, it is time to relax and there is no better place to do that than a traditional Turkish spa. There are countless ‘hammams’ in the city, but one of the very best is the Cemberlitas Hamam.

weekend-warrior-istanbul

 

Day 2 of your Weekend in Istanbul

In the Morning

Start your second day of your 48 hours in Istanbul with a Bosphorus Strait cruise. The Bosphorus cuts Istanbul in half, in a busy European side and a calmer Asian side. This will give you a real sense of the vastness of the city, and some wonderful views, too. Make sure to have a fish sandwich at Eminou Pier when you finish. These are amazing.

In the Afternoon

In the afternoon, head back to Sultanahmet and the Blue Mosque.  Make sure to check the opening times before you go; six times a day the mosque closes to visitors for about half an hour. Also make sure to leave time to visit Topkapi Palace, the beating heart of the Ottoman Empire, where the sultan used to live as well as The Imperial Harem Istanbul, also known as Harem, Üsküdar.

In the Evening

Pay a quick visit to the Taksim Square and go for dinner in one of the city’s many excellent restaurants. Afterwards, you should head out for a couple of drinks and experience Istanbul’s famous nightlife. A recommended spot is 360 Istanbul, a bar, restaurants and club, which offers incredible views of the Bosphorus Strait.

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