5 Day Trip to Turkey

My wife and I will be making a 5 day trip to Turkey in next May. We'll be meeting our daughter in Istanbul and are looking for ideas on how to spend our time.
We're mostly interested in sightseeing. Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions are appreciated.

Posted by Lamont
Corsicana, Texas, USA
351 posts

You would probably need more than a single day to visit any of the usual sites outside Istanbul (Ephesus, Cappadocia, Fethiye, Ankara, Pamukkale, etc.), because of the distances and logistics involved. Since this would cut you down to around three days in Istanbul, you might just consider spending the entire five days in Istanbul itself. There are plenty of attractions and activities, in a wide variety of choices, to fill every one of those days.

Posted by G.María
Lima, Perú
125 posts

We spent 6 days in Istabul last year - I used Rick's guide, which was really helpful. We had a local friend of ours take us around (guide not necessary) and he was impressed with the amount of detail and information Rick provides. In 5 days you could see a lot if you organize your time and get a map. Using RS guide book and after watching his Istanbul video, I had fun mapping out places I wanted to see. Many sights are close together. Some of my favorites that come to mind (these were full days): Hagia Sophia & Blue Mosque, underground cistern, Sultanahmet area for lunch/shopping (1day). Spice Market & Bosphorous cruise (1 day). Topkapi Palace & Grand Bazaar (1 day). Walk across Galata Bridge, over Golden Horn, Galata Tower for views, if you wish, and on to Taksim/New District (1 day). Suleymaniye Mosque & grounds (mosque closed for repairs last year, reopened now I believe); maybe visit a haman; Archeology Museum (1 day). Visit Chora Church (stunning Byzantine mosaics), walk along Constantinople's ancient city walls; walk through colorful Fener neighborhood (1 day). Etc., etc. .... We did some more stuff around town, too many things to type here, but we had lots of cool experiences like getting balik ekmek (delicious fish sandwiches @ Eminonu), bargaining @ the markets, and so on. One thing I would point out is to check the days in which the different museums are open and hours of operation when planning.

Posted by Rob
Dunwoody, Georgia
235 posts

Here is what I most often recommend in Istanbul. The times are my estimates for a decent visit. The order is my order of preference: Aya Sophia – 2 hours Topkopi Palace – 6 hours (be sure to include the extra tours) Archaeology Museum – 4 hours Blue Mosque - <1 hour Hippodrome area – 1 hour – see this early morning or late evening when other sites are closed Kariye Museum – 1 or 2 hours – plan on taking a cab ride over to it Basilica Cistern -1 hour – a perfect site to see at night Islamic Art Museum – 2 to 4 hours Suleiman Mosque and Tombs – 1 hour – parts of this are being renovated. Double check its status before visiting. Galata Bridge/adjacent markets – 2 hours – walk across the bridge and up the hill to Istiklal Street to check out the nearby market areas.
Istiklal Street and Taksim Square – 3 hours – a great stroll before and after dinner Bosporus Cruise – 6 hours to take the cheap local ferry, eat lunch and tour the castle at Andolu Kavagi. You can also hire boats for shorter durations/personal tours. Grand Bazaar – 2 hours – The book bazaar is nice for miniature artwork. The streets around it have similar and sometimes nicer shops. Rustem Pasa Cami – <1 hour – a mosque worth a quick look near the Galata bridge Dede Efendi House – 1 hour – A nifty 1700's-era furnished house. Worth a visit if you have a spare hour. Galata Tower – <1 hour – nice views of the city Spice Bazaar – <1 hour – good for a picture in front of mounds of spices Dervish Show – 2 hours – see one associated with the Dervish lodge for an interesting, albeit slow, cultural experience. City Walls – 1 hour - Worth a quick look if you're nearby Good luck.