Took the 7 day Istanbul tour. Loved it. Mert Tanner was a great guide. Arrived 2 days before the tour began. Stayed 1 day after. Hotel was in Old Town.
If you sleep with your hotel room windows open be prepared to hear the calls to prayer.
Beware you will see countless stray cats. Secondly be sure to be able to utter a forceful “ NO,” when approached by street vendors.
The tiny upstairs restaurant I discovered while meandering around the Grand Bazaar. Handmade sign with the word restaurant and an arrow. Best lentil soup I’ve ever had. Was the only diner. A favorite “ hidden gem, “ memory.
The “ Oh My “when entering the Hagia Sophia. It’s breath taking. Take time to learn how it was built!
Cora Church ( EDIT: just looked on line. It’s permanently closed. Too bad.)
After dark strolls around the neighborhood following dinners. Never felt unsafe.
The Taksim neighborhood was interesting.