How Many days in Istanbul

We are going to Istanbul in March, and I am not sure how many days to spend there. I have the hotel booked and I will be finalizing my airfare over the next couple of days and I have to decide if I want to leave home on a Friday or a Saturday.
I know everyone is different and that for one person 3 days is too much and for another 3 weeks can be too short, but I would still like to hear what you have to say! Thanks for any tips :)

Posted by Steve
171 posts

We spent 7 days in Istanbul in September and still didn't manage to see everything we wanted. We could afford to spend a week there as our whole trip was just over a month. If you are intending to see other parts of Turkey and have limited time, 3-4 days would allow you to see the major attractions in Istanbul.

Posted by Sharon
2727 posts

There is a lot to do and see in Istanbul. We were there for 5 nights at the beginning of our trip and 2 nights at the end. That amount of time worked well for us. We relied on Rick Steves' Istanbul book for suggestions of things to see. Have a great trip!

Posted by ann
staten island, new york, usa
376 posts

I understand that you are not doing a Rick Steves tour, but he has a week long tour which is on this web site. Why don't you review his week long tour and his guide book and see what you want to do. This will help you decide how many days you want to spend there. I have talked to a lot of people who have been there and they love it. It seems like there is quite a bit to do, so the longer the better. I have been on most of his city tours all a week long and I find that I could spend more than just a week in all the cities I visited. Have a great time!

Posted by Audrey
341 posts

I stayed four nights and felt that I could have spent more time there. It was great. I didn't see all the sights I wanted to see, but with around five days in the city, I didn't feel rushed, and had time to see a variety of places - including taking a regular passenger ferry to the Asian side, hanging out in cafes, etc.

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
2148 posts

Spent a total of 9 days in Istanbul in May and June of this year. Still did not see everything we wanted to see. I would guess that an average person would want to spend at least 7 days there if they have the time. RS Istanbul Guide Book was a very good investment.

Posted by Simone
St-Laurent, Montreal, Canada
77 posts

Thanks everyone for the input! Decided on 7 days 6 nights. Can't wait to go!!!!

Posted by Paul
Cochrane, Alberta, Canada
54 posts

This July we spent 3 fabulous days in Istanbul with our 2 teenage kids. We arrived by train from Ankara early on a Saturday morning. It is important to verify opening times for the venues you plan to see as some close on Saturday, some on Sunday and others on Monday. We planned accordingly and did the following: Saturday: Rick Steves guided walk to Grand Bazaar, Mausoleum of Suliyman, and the Spice Market Sunday: Blue Mosque, Cistern, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace
Monday: Bosphorus Cruise, walking the streets & people watching Just walking the streets in the Sultanhamet and soaking up the atmosphere around the Hippodrome would be a great way to shake off jet lag after your flight over. In retrospect, we would have spent a little less time in the Hagia Sophia and more at the Topkapi, which is very extensive and interesting. By the way, if you are spending an extended period in Turkey, you may want to avoid buying too much in Istanbul. When you first arrive, the style of salesmanship can be rathe overwhelming. We spoke with one woman who was convinced she needed a tour guide for the cistern (you most certainly do not) and ended up being taken to a carpet shop and purchasing a rug for over $2000. Do yourself a favour and ease into the culture. By the way, we stayed at the Hotel Sultan Hill and really enjoyed its quiet but convenient location.