Day 1 - Istanbul
Accomodation: Nowy Efendi hotel (Recommended accommodation with friendly staff, well kept rooms and rooftop breakfast area. Walking distance to Sultan Ahmet square which has most of the tourist locations. Rating - 9/10)
My first spot in Istanbul was the Dolmabahnce Palace. The palace was the most recent residence for the Ottoman Sultans and holds a collection of antiquities. It is a huge palace along the Bosphorus river and has around 250 plus rooms. It would take you easily 2-3 hours to explore it with an audio guide. The architecture of the palace from the outside is something to marvel at and the interiors are filled with grand chandeliers, royal furniture, family trees depicting the ancestry of the Ottoman Sultans and portraits of several of them. Right next to the palace is the Bezmi alem Mosque.
Lunch at Bella Mira restuarant behind Blue Mosque and later hopping onto one of the Bosphorus cruises. It a nice way to relax after lunch and to get a sneak peek to both the European and Asian side of Istanbul. The guides on the cruise point out the most famous buildings on either side of the Bosphorus like the Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Maiden´s Tower, Bosphorus bridges, Rumeli and Anadolu fortresses and Ottoman Residences and one can easily appreciate the distinction between the European and Asian shores. To catch the best view of Istanbul, one can drive up to the Pierre Loti Hill to view the Golden Horn formation of the Bosphorus.
Day 2 - Sultan Ahmet square