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2 days Pre 13 day Turkey Tour starting October 10. What to prioritize?


I’m planning 2 days solo in Istanbul. One day will be a food tour on the Asian side and the other day a Saturday is up for grabs. The cistern and the Chora Church are on my itinerary but both might be closed. Does anyone know? Also thinking of the harbor.

What suggestions would you have. Thinking of finding. A half day quite also.

Posted by
2267 posts

I can't recommend the Galata Tower highly enough. Of all the "not on the tour" things I did, it's at the top my list. The history was maybe interesting—I don't even remmeber— the views are what you go for.

Note that the line gets long. Best to go first thing.

Posted by
737 posts

The Chora Museum/Mosque and the Basilica Cistern were both closed for renovation when I was in Istanbul in November.

Here are a few random things come to mind. They are sort of scattered, and so you will need to look at a map to see what appeals to you most.

  • Rustem Pasha Mosque -- a small mosque just with gorgeous Iznik tiles outside the Spice Market. Designed by Sinan.

  • Cistern of Theodosius -- smaller than the Basilica Cistern, but very nice. Recently, they started doing a sound and light show, which is not exactly my cup of tea, but the cistern itself is worth seeing.

*.Istanbul Archaeological Museum is my pick of the museums, but there are many other great museums.

  • Visit a hamam. I have enjoyed Cagaloglu Hamam, but there are many others to choose from.

You are visiting the Asian side and the tour includes a Bosporus Cruise, and so you are probably pretty well covered for seeing the Bosporus already.

Posted by
15678 posts

Any transliteration is going to be somewhat inaccurate. I'll wait until they change the name of the airline 😘

But keep trying, James.

Posted by
15678 posts

The Chora Church is somewhat out of the way, worth it if you're really into frescoes. The Archaeology Museum is very good.

Posted by
83 posts

Thank you for great ideas.

I am still adjusting to the fact that Everything is planned for me (first ever travel via tour group).

It sounds like a great tour.

Posted by
46 posts

I am just back from the Best of Turkey held March 28 till April 9. Both the Chora Church and the cistern were closed, but one day I took public transportation to the Chora Church and did the City Walls walk in RS's Istanbul book, which starts from there, and I thoroughly enjoyed it and can recommend doing it! It is a good 4 hours including transportation so a half-day of interesting adventure not covered on the tour. The Galata Tower was on my to-do list but I ran out of time.