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One week in Istanbul
- 8 days
- General public
- Culture / Heritage
A long stay makes it possible to fully appreciate the city and discover its many facets. In addition to the inevitable, you will have the pleasure of walking through all the districts to understand the riches of the Sublime Gate. It is also within your reach to carry out several cruises and escapades far from the urban hustle and bustle of this 15 million megalopolis.
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Details of the stay: One week in Istanbul - 8 days
Day 1 : The historical city and the ancient Pera
Start with the visit of Topkapi Palace and its harem that will remember you for the morning. Then go back to Sultanahmet and head after a short lunch break to the Basilica of Saint Sophia. When leaving this one, immerse yourself in the fantastic coat of the Basilica, which is just a few meters away. Then cross the gardens leading to the Blue Mosque and then go to the adjacent Hippodrome Square. All of these sites are located in a restricted area and can be done in one afternoon. At the beginning of the evening, cross the Corne d 'Or through the Galata Bridge to the old Pera district dominated by the Galata geese. In the passages and alleys surrounding Tünel Square, you will find the choice of choosing a restaurant and having a drink in one of the countless cafes bordering Istiklal Caddesi. You will then taste the hectic stambulilian evenings.
Day 2 : From bazaars to mosques
The Grand Bazaar remains an essential stopover. You will spend more or less time there depending on whether or not you want to bring back some memories, after the hard bargaining of rigour. Treat yourself to tea (possibly with a chicha) in some kahve (picturesque coffee) or in the gardens of an old medersa. Coming out west of the bazaar, a pleasant little book market will take you to Beyazit Square. Fans can visit the Calligraphy Museum and then cross the university gardens to reach the mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent, the largest in the city, built by the brilliant architect Sinan. From there, go to the Egyptian Bazaar (spice market) to get drunk with scents and colours before heading to the quays of Eminönü. A fish sandwich will satisfy the hungry and you will never get tired of watching the comings and goings of this very lively neighbourhood
Day 3 : Over the Bosphorus
A cruise on the Bosphorus allows you to admire the wonders that border its shores in complete peace of mind. Every day at 10:30 am, a steamer leaves the port of Eminönü and travels up the strait for 30 km to the Black Sea. Throughout the route, you will see the palaces (Dolmabahçe, Ciragan, Beylerbeyi...), the mosquées (Ortaköy)Yali (majestic houses on the waterfront), the villages (Aranvutköy, Bebek, Kanlica...), the bridges and fortresses (Rumeli Hisari and Anadolu Hisari). A 3-hour stopover is planned for lunch before returning by boat, either on the European side (Sariyer) or at the last stop on the Asian side. The first option is to descend the European coast and make stops at Emirgan Park, the Sakip Sabanci Museum, the Rumeli Hisari Fortress or the Dolmabahçe Palace.
Day 4 : Eyüp, Fatih and the Golden Horn
To discover these authentic districts, far from the hustle and bustle of tourism, take one of the boats along the Golden Horn of Eminönü to the Eyüp district. A cable car will take you to the top of the hill where the Pierre Loti café is located. Like this "Turkophile" writer, you can sip tea and admire the superb panoramic view of the city before going down through the cemetery to the mausoleum of Eyüp, one of the city's great holy sites. Take a taxi to the walls of Theodosius and visit the old church of Saint-Sauveur-in-Chora. Then, you can cross the traditional district of Fatih to the religious complex of the same name, and descend to the shores of the Golden Horn to discover the popular districts of Balat and Fener, former strongholds of the Greek and Jewish communities. Relaxing, the waterfront walk will allow you to visit the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate as well as various monasteries, churches and synagogues. After these strenuous walks, nothing better than a traditional hammam to relax.
Day 5 : Between Galata and Taksim
Walk across the Galata bridge, where fishermen, coffee shops and fish shops are located. Once in the Karaköy district, take the "Camondo" staircase and continue up to the Galata Tower, the last remnant of the enclosure built by the Genoese in the 14th century, from which you can enjoy a superb view of Istanbul. Continue up to Tünel and let yourself be carried away by the crowd that walks through Istiklal Caddesi. Walk past St. Anthony's Church and rush into the Balik pazari (fish market), take a look at the retro atmosphere of Çiçek Pasaji. Going along the Galatasaray High School, go down to Çukurcuma, the antique dealers' district, via the pretty French street. Then head to the Bosporus to visit the Museum of Modern Art. Then you can relax in Tophane to the rhythm of backgammon and chicha, sitting on a lung. Spend your evening on Taksim's side.
Day 6 : A short tour of Asia
In the early morning, a steamer from Eminönü or Kabataş will take you across the Bosporus Strait to the Asian shore. The Kadiköy district around Baghdad and Moda Avenue displays a trendy face with its shops and cafés as well as some examples of Art Deco architecture. Further north, Üsküdar the popular one shelters some interesting mosques. You can then continue to Kuzguncuk, a small village with a cosmopolitan charm, and the palace of Beylerbeyi, a small marble jewel on the Bosporus. After this busy day, spend the evening in Ortaköy, one of Istanbul's trendiest neighbourhoods.
Day 7 : Escapade out of the city
A visit to the Princes Islands is essential, but make sure you schedule this trip during the week and not on weekends. Located about an hour and a half by boat from Istanbul, the archipelago on the Marmara Sea consists of nine islands, the largest of which, Büyükada, has become the favourite holiday destination of Istanbul residents. Cars are not allowed, so everyone can travel by horse-drawn carriage or bicycle (rental on site). It is possible to swim even if you should not expect dream beaches (pontoon or beach club), but you will come especially for the stroll punctuated by noble Ottoman floral residences, the monastery dating from the 10th century, the magnificent view from the top of Büyükada and the relaxed atmosphere of the ports.
Day 8 : Last steps in the Sublime Door
To fix your magical memories, dedicate your last day to Sultanahmet. Take your time to stroll through its alleys, make some purchases, meditate while singing the muezzin. Have a last tea in the charming garden of the little Saint Sophia (Küçük Ayasofya) behind the Blue Mosque, visit the Archaeological Museum or visit the Museum of Turkish Islamic Works. A last stopover at Eminönü and the Egyptian Bazaar will allow you to enjoy the Istanbul excitement again, unless you prefer a trendy last trip around Taksim.
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