Istanbul in January, 2011 – the beginnings of a 7 day travel plan

A while back I was thinking about visiting Cappadocia while in Turkey this winter but I’ve decided to spend my entire week in Istanbul. If I happen across any good day trips I’ll certainly consider them but it seems that there’s lots to do in Istanbul and I didn’t really feel like trekking around Cappadocia in the cold. Plus John mentioned the hot air balloon ride but I’m not sure they run those in the winter and if they do I’m not sure I’d enjoy it much.

I’ve got a few things from this old travel plan that I’ll be working into my 7 day Istanbul plan. I might rearrange these things a bit but here is what the author (not me) had in the original plan:

Day 4: Istanbul

Visit Topkapi Palace (museum and harem). Get there when the harem opens at 9:30 Am and go there first – tours begin every half hour. (in the summer this place is so full of tour groups that you may not get one of the tours). You’ll probably spend the rest of your day (at least until 5:00 when the palace closes) exploring the rest of Topkapi.

However, you want to save some time for the Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia, Sancta Sophia). The mosaic galleries close at 4:00 and the site itself closes at 4:30. It opens at 9:30 so you could always do this one first.

Day 5: Istanbul

Start with the Hippodrome and Blue Mosque since these are right next to each other. The Blue Mosque includes the Carpet Museum and Great Palace Mosaics Museum.

Then head to Kapali Carsi or the Grand Bazaar. Parts are quite touristy, but you can still find authentic shops that cater to Turkish people. Be wary of pick pockets and purse snatchers. The Bazaar closes at 6:30.

I’ll also be including the things from 1,000 Places to See before you Die – they mention a few of the things above plus:

Kariye Museum

Mosque of Sultan the Magnificent

The Pera Palas

What I’d love to do is see a show or something but I’m not sure where to start.

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