We are traveling to Turkey with 2 teenage boys and will be in Istanbul for 4 days. 2 of the days are already scheduled with a tour guide visiting the typical Istanbul sites: Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagie Sophia, Basillica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, Military Museum and boat tour on the Bosphorus. Any suggestions as to what we can do on the days that we are touring on our own without a guide?
Visit the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Market, and the Dolmabahce Palace.
Thank you. I should have mentioned that we are also going to the Grand Bazaar. We will visit the palace.
A day trip to the Princes Islands could be fun, and different. Take a ferry there for the day, walk around the island of your choice, and ferry back. This would be a full day trip as the ferry is 1.5 hours from the European side of Istanbul.
I like to space out my sights with different types of things- Eg: Architecture, history, religious, museums, etc.
I have been to Dolmabace Palace, and while it is nice and quite beautiful, your boys may not be too interested if they have already done Topkapi (which is FAR more interesting).
Some other sights in Istanbul to consider are:
Church of St Savior in Chora, has extensive and awe inspiring frescoes. Also the ancient city walls are right by the church and WELL worth a look.
Yedikule Fortress. Old castle/ fort by the city walls
New City district gives a great impression of modern Turkey and has a mix of glass and steel skyscrapers along with gorgeous Art Nouveau buildings on the southern side. Take the metro.