Awesome Istanbul🌇🌉🏙

20th Apr 2023

Istanbul is one of the most awe-inspiring cities I've  been so far. Home to breathtaking architecture, delicious food, and some of the warmest, most genuinely hospitable people I've ever met on my travels. Which is ofcourse why I'm going to share my experiences here. I'm also going to share what you can do to not miss out on anything that I missed out on my 1st ever trip to Istanbul. FEEL FREE to make changes in this itinerary as per your liking and as per time permits. Istanbul is an amalgamation of history, culture and modern. So you can choose to visit just 1/2 mosques out of the 3 that I'm going to talk about. And the same goes for palaces and museums as per you liking, interests and time crunch.

Day 1

Also known as the *Hippodrome*, is surrounded by the most famous tourist areas in Istanbul. It is one of the most impressive tourist zones of Istanbul. The region can be explored mostly on foot because all the tourist places in this area and located close by. The maximum walking distance between all the places is 10mins. So let's start with...

Hagia sophia is a masterpiece of the Roman's and one of the most treasured heritage monuments of Istanbul. The exhibition hall is a home to a huge collection of mosaics and marble pillars that age back to several centuries. Being a tourist, I fell in love with with wishing colum and the lodge of the empress.
PRO TIP : Start you day as early as you can to avoid the big tourist queues. You can also take a Turkey tourist pass to skip the lines. But either ways, it is recommended you reach as early as you can so you have the place to yourself so you can take amazing pictures. I went wrong with that and hence I don't have a single picture without the crowds being around🥺

Photo of Hagia Sophia Mosque by Krusha Gala
Photo of Hagia Sophia Mosque by Krusha Gala

Blue mosque is one of the 5 mosques in Turkey,that has 6 minarets. It is a tourist hotspot because of its tradition and importance of the history of the Ottoman Empire and the city of Istanbul. It is also known for its priceless treasures that include 20,000 ceramic tiles in various tulip designs and 200 stained glass windows with its intricate designs.
NOTE : Blue Mosque remains an active house of worship even today, so time your visit as their 5 daily prayer timings, as it is shut for tourists at those hours.

Photo of Blue Mosque by Krusha Gala
Photo of Blue Mosque by Krusha Gala

Topkapi palace is one of the must see attractions in Istanbul that combines history and stunning scenery. For almost 4 centuries, the opulent Topkapi Palace was served as the official residence of the Sultans. It has 4 different courtyards with different sights such as THE TULIP GARDEN, THE MARBLE STAIRCASES, THE REFLECTING POOL etc that will be a treat to your eyes.

Photo of Topkapı Palace by Krusha Gala
Photo of Topkapı Palace by Krusha Gala

Now you can choose to take a break and let everything sink in because it's too pretty a sight. The area is loaded with small stalls and cafes to eat around. The food looks delicious and drooling. Me being a vegetarian didn't have many options. But what we had to our rescue were the small stalls of BOILED CORNS AND ROASTED WATER CHESTNUTS. MUST TRY FOR ALL THE VEGETARIANS. ITS AMAZINNGGGGG!
You can also find Turkish tea and coffee everywhere around. Also very cute cafes serving Turkish delights and various baklavas and other desserts.
Post your break you can either choose to explore the surrounding area by foot. It's an amazing place to enjoy and absorb just the beautiful surroundings. You can also choose to sit at some small Cafe as I mentioned above. You can also choose to  visit ARASTA BAZAR that is less than 5 mins walking distance and do some souvenir shopping for yourself and family and friends. It has all sorts of shops from Turkish delights to antique jewellery, to carpets and Turkish towels, Bags, spices, dryfuits, types of natural tea etc...
But if you are tired, you can skip all of the above and choose to go back to your hotel and take the Day at rest because you've already seen the most touristy places of Istanbul already.

NOW, if you're somebody who is fond of history and culture. I'll make a list of places that you can visit. They all are walking distance from this area.
Also as I mentioned, you can make changes as per you days and time in Istanbul. You can skip few mosques and palaces and only choose the 1 or 2 you like the most.

PROTIP : If you really want to do some serious shopping, you can choose to do it from ARASTA BAZAR (I have mentioned above) And from ISTIKLAL STREET (that you will be visiting the next day. I'll speak about it too) It's a hugeee huggeeeeee space with multiple streets to shop from. Skip shopping from the GRAND BAZAR, as it is the most popular bazar of Istanbul and hence the prices are hiked. Also it is extremely crowded with tourists.

Day 2

Dolmabaçhe Palace is located in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul, on the European coast of the Bosphorus Strait. This has been my favorite so far in Istanbul.
Dolmabaçhe Palace proudly flaunts its ancient glory through the structural finishing ornamented with a Myriad of expensive gemstones, gold and everything vibrant that add charm to each nook and Crack of the building.
It is also one of the MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE PLACE in Istanbul.
PRO TIP : Start you day as early as you can, so can take some amazing pictures avoiding the tourist crowds. It is a very INSTAGRAMMABLE PLACE.
Also, taking pictures inside the Palace is restricted. So refrain from doing that.

Photo of Dolmabahçe Palace by Krusha Gala
Photo of Dolmabahçe Palace by Krusha Gala

Balat and Fener is again one of the MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE places of Istanbul. Full of beautiful old buildings, magnificent churches, the winding cobbled streets of Balat and Fener ate a treat to explore. The 2 historic neighbourhoods are increasingly popular amongst tourists due to their scenic colorful streets and lovely ambience. You can also stop by the local cafés  and restaurants on the streets that are beautifully decorated with flowers and local handicrafts and you can also shop from the countless antique and ceramic shops scattered all across the streets.
PROTIP : Go either during sunrise or sunset to avoid the tourist crowds.

Photo of Balat by Krusha Gala
Photo of Balat by Krusha Gala
Photo of Balat by Krusha Gala
Photo of Balat by Krusha Gala

At 67mtrs (219 feet) high, Galata Tower rules over the skyline of Istanbul, offering great views of the old city and its surroundings. It's upper reaches include a cafe, restaurant and nightclub that can be reached by an elevator. And streets surrounding Galata Tower is also a very happeneing and bustling place to be. You can stop by one of the many café to enjoy a hot chocolate dessert or a gelato.  You can also fancy a breakfast or some snacks if you wish too.

Photo of Galata Tower by Krusha Gala

The heart of modern Istanbul. The large and lively Taksim Square lies right in the center of the city surrounded by countless shops, restaurants, hotels, cafe's and historic sites. It is a very popular tourist attraction and a major transportation hub.
You can literally SHOP TILL YOU DROP here. The TRAM is the highlight of the street that goes across the small lanes. But you need a Turkey tourist pass. Or a Visa card to enjoy the ride. Even if you don't have it. You can still take some nice touristy pictures with the tram.
PROTIP : If you actually want to SHOP TILL YOU DROP, you might need half a day, or even an entire day to spend here as it is a huge place to shop almost everything you need
You can also choose a hotel in this area to stay. It's the most bustling area of Istanbul. Also it is the centre of almost everything in Istanbul.

Photo of Taksim Square by Krusha Gala
Photo of Taksim Square by Krusha Gala

I recommend you go to this place at the end of the day. Even if you're tired. The enthusiasm of the people in Ortakoy will make you feel so good. I don't really put it into words how lively and amazing this place is. It's popular for its Waffles and Kumpir. Vegetarians as well as non vegetarians can enjoy it. And trust me, you will love this place. MUST MUSTTT VISIT!

Photo of Ortaköy by Krusha Gala
Photo of Ortaköy by Krusha Gala
Photo of Ortaköy by Krusha Gala
Day 3

Day 3 you can choose to rest. Or make a chill tour to the Galata port. It is a beautiful place to just sit by or walk around. And if you're a person who loves high end shopping. This place is for you! There's also lots of high end restaurants and cafes in this area. You can have a nice breakfast here. Or even choose to come for lunch with a view

Photo of Galataport Istanbul by Krusha Gala

Towards the end, you can choose to take a Half day Bosphorus Cruise. You will live and breathe all aspects of vibrant Istanbul as you soak up its sights, sounds and aromas on this comprehensive tour. It comes with different options.  You can choose a half day's tour. That has dinner and drinks included. You can also choose to take the sunset cruise which is around 2 to 2.5hrs. It's a beautiful and chill experience to end your trip in Istanbul