If you get a chance to go to Istanbul, Turkey and you only have 24 hours to spend there, then here are a few things that I would recommend checking out. One thing to note is that 24 hours is definitely not enough to spend in Istanbul if you want to see all the great things it has to offer. I would highly recommend a few days at a minimum but if you really only have 24 hours, here’s a list of things to check out:
- The Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque. I would say do both but if you have a limited amount of time then I would say pick one or the other. Hagia Sophia has a very interesting history since it started out as a Greek Orthodox Church then changed to a Muslim mosque while the Blue Mosque is currently a functioning mosque so it’s two very different things with beautiful and intricate interiors. One thing to note is that as a female, entering into the mosques can be an interesting experience. For me this was the first time I had been to a Muslim country so being told that there were places or sections of the mosque I could not set foot in because of my gender was an interesting experience. I respect it but that doesn’t mean it didn’t throw me off at first.
- The Topaki Palace. This is a huge museum that has multiple sections to it and various exhibits that you can check out. If you only have 24 hours, I would so don’t visit since it will take you awhile to get through the line and then through the entire museum but if you are okay with spending a large chunk of your day there, then I would highly recommend it.
- The Grand Bazaar or the Spice Market. They are both similar in the sense that they are vendor markets. I would say go to one or the other dependent on what you’re looking for and what you want to purchase. You can actually buy spices at the Grand Bazaar but you may not have as many options. One thing that I did find there was lemon salt which I haven’t found anywhere else. If I absolutely had to recommend one, I would recommend the Grand Bazaar because the architecture around that area is amazing and has been around since the 1400s and you can find spices there too.
- Taksim Square. This is a really interesting area and this square can be dangerous so be prepared for that. When I was there last time, there was a riot and protest that occurred. That being said there are great little streets that branch off from Taksim Square that you can wander down for shopping and fun restaurants
- Take a walk along the Galata Bridge and see all the fishermen fishing off the edges of the bridges. There are restaurants all around that area where you can sit and eat a great meal.
- Wander along the Bosphorous and check out what the riversides have to offer. There are great food stands, restaurants and shops all along the river.
- If you have the time, go check out the Asia side of Istanbul. I didn’t get a chance to go there but this is a city that sits on two separate continents (Europe and Asia). I heard that most people live in the Asia side and work on the Europe side. How cool would that be? To say that each day you visit two separate continents!
- After you jam packed day, check out a restaurant with a view of the river. Many of the mosques will be lit up at night and the bridges will be tinkling with car lights and bridge lights. You’ll get quite the view of the city from one of those restaurants.
have you been to Istanbul? Do you have any recommendations?