One day in Istanbul itinerary – How to Spend a Perfect Day in Istanbul, Turkey

Among world’s top tourism destinations, we have a country called Turkey. In terms of international tourism, Istanbul is second only to London. A visit to the city of Istanbul is a complete dip in a totally unique culture, with good gastronomy and many possible destinations. Everyone who has passed through guarantee that this will be an unforgettable trip. Some people even gave tips on how to take advantage of the biggest tourist destinations in Turkey. Let’s plan some of the activities that anyone can consider during their one day in Istanbul.

One day in Istanbul Itinerary

Guest post by Kazim Raza

What’s the best time to visit Istanbul?

The most enjoyable time of the year for those planning a visit to Istanbul and wanting favorable weather conditions is undoubtedly spring, which runs from April to mid-June. More mild temperatures and beautiful days, excellent for those who like to photograph, also usually occur between September and October, in the middle of autumn.

July and August are very busy months in the city which hosts a wide variety of festivals during this period. It’s also good to know that this season is of intense heat. On the other hand, the days will be longer, perfect for those who enjoy nocturnal excitement.

Those who enjoy cold should choose to go from November – remembering that additional snow, in the most tense winter phase, should always be considered.

It is also important that the visitors be aware of the dates of religious holidays in Turkey, when the visiting hours of some important sights can be shorter.

Istanbul, Author: Francisco Anzola, Source: Flickr

A Few facts about Istanbul

Turkey is located on the Anatolian Peninsula, which lies in the far west of Asia. It is bordered by Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria. The country has many interesting curiosities, and if you intend to travel, spend holidays there or just visit Turkey, then check out some of the facts that we have prepared for you.

One of the oldest and largest shopping malls in the world is located there, the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, or Kapalı Çarşı. It is almost impossible to explore everything in it. According to Travel + Leisure, the Grand Bazaar was the number one attraction in the world in 2014, attracting more than 91 million people.

Turkish delight, Istanbul
Turkish delight at Grand Baazar, Istanbul, Author: Brian Jeffery Beggerly, Source: Flickr

Istanbul has one of the most exciting art scenes in Europe. The lively Istanbul Biennial, now in its 14th edition, is a source of inspiration for the international art crowd. And with more than 300,000 visitors in 2013, it is among the leading contemporary art exhibitions in the world.

Seeds of agriculture were also sown in Turkey. Historians believe that agriculture began in these lands about 11,000 years ago.

One Day in Istanbul Itinerary

Visit Istanbul and discover a real cauldron: take a boat trip along the Bosphorus after a busy morning stroll through the city’s museums, or forget about the bustle of the bazaars while lying under the tempered marble of a Turkish bath.

The city caters to all budgets. Along the Bosphorus, witness the abundant pomp of super clubs and red-carpet bars. But for those who have a low budget, cheap hostels or hotels in Istanbul will save your swaps for the bazaars and these cool things to do in Istanbul.

Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Istanbul.

Turkish baths

Divided into male and female, you can easily spend time relaxing and opening your pores in Turkish baths. Many are beautifully designed, and the marble of these places looks simply wonderful in contact with your skin. After being punched, exfoliated, massaged, washed and steamed, you will leave feeling like you never need to bathe again. Make sure you go to the baths located in the center, in Sultanahmet, for a truly authentic experience.

Purchases – Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar contains 4000 stores occupying 60 streets. There, you will discover a world of carpets, antiques, costume jewelry, jewelry, leather goods and probably kitchen sinks (although they are not very suitable for suitcases). Some boutiques of great designers emerged later, so the bazaar does not boil down to crafts for tourists.

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Author: Brian Jeffery Beggerly, Source: Flickr

A stroll to the Spice Bazaar will stir your senses, and quite nearby is Haci Bekir, the shop where the lokum (a Turkish delicacy) was apparently created.

Spice Bazaar, Istanbul
Spice Bazaar, Istanbul, Author: Brian Jeffery Beggerly, Source: Flickr

Must-see Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul

Museum of Modern Art in Istanbul is set in an old customs warehouse on the Karaköy border. Some permanent works include a suspended steel staircase, created by Monica Bonvicini, and in the library is an installation of hanging books by Richard Wentworth. The bistro, somewhat expensive, offers majestic views of the river. The museum also has an art cinema.

The impressive Blue Mosque in Istanbul

The Sultanahmet Mosque, more commonly known as the Blue Mosque, is in the Sultanahmet complex. By order of Sultan Ahmed I, this complex was built between 1609 and 1616, by the architect Mehmet Aga, in the southwestern part of the racecourse. Being one of the largest urban complexes in Istanbul, it included a mosque, a bazaar, public baths, water fountains, a cemetery, a hospital and a hospice, among other things.

Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Inside of the Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Inside of the Blue Mosque, Istanbul

The Blue Mosque is a part of the most beautiful panorama of Istanbul, seen from the sea. In 1934, when Hagia Sophia became a museum, the mosque became one of the main mosques in Istanbul.

Istanbul in the evening
Evening panorama, Istanbul

Don’t miss a boat trip

It would not be a real vacation without a boat trip. Try cruises with guided tours of two pleasurable hours up and down the river. This is best done in a pleasant evening. Rides cost from 20TRY and depart daily from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. If you are short on time, alternatively choose the ordinary, cheaper and faster boat.

Boat trip, Istanbul
Boat trip, Istanbul, Author: Francisco Anzola, Source: Flickr

Nightlife in Istantbul – Visit Babylon

On hot nights a rooftop terrace is ideal, so try going to the 360 – a bar, restaurant and club high in the historic district of Misir in Istiklal. Babylon is another popular spot in Istanbul, with popular live music. Located in the Tünel region, there you can enjoy some jazz to electronic music.

If you want to be close to the best of Istanbul’s nightlife, Chambers of the Boheme is in the lively Taksim district. Its owners have devoted a great deal of attention to details, and their rooms are elegantly decorated.

Taksim at night
Taksim at night, Author: Francisco Anzola, Source: Flickr

Where to stay in Istanbul?

To choose a hotel and the best neighborhood to stay in Istanbul, it is worth studying the map of the city. All the neighborhoods mentioned below are on the European side of Istanbul, since on the Asian side you do not see many tourists because it is the great residential area of ​​the city.


The Sultanahmet district is home to the city’s main historical attractions, such as the Blue Mosque, the Haya Sofia Museum, Topkapi Palace, Roxelana Hammam, the Cisterns, the Hippodrome and the Archaeological Museum. Very close is the Bazaar, where you will find the Grand Bazaar, the spice market, some other mosques and the pier where ferries depart for the Bosphorus, next to the Galata Bridge. The Sultanahmet area is excellent for those who have a few days and are more interested in the history of the city.

Book hotels in Sultanahmet:

Boutique Saint Sophia
Boutique Saint Sophia
Boutique Saint Sophia
Hotel Miniature
Hotel Miniature
Hotel Miniature
Hotel Miniature
Hotel Miniature


Beyoglu (Karakoy) is a very central neighborhood that starts on the other side of the Galata Bridge (opposite to the historical center), near the Galata Tower and the great Istiklal Caddesi, a pedestrianized boulevard with many shops, cafes, restaurants, art galleries, bars. There are many hotels with good value for money in this region of Beyoglu, and it’s also a young area great for walking.

Book hotels in Beyoglu:

Walton Hotels Galata
Walton Hotels Galata
Walton Hotels Galata
Taksim Prelude Hotel 
Taksim Prelude Hotel
Taksim Prelude Hotel


Next, bordering the Bosporus, comes the neighborhood of Besiktas, home to the Dolmabahce Palace and the main luxury hotels of the city. It is not far from the historical center of the city, but you cannot walk. However, by taxi, it would take about 10-15 min. Ideal for those who are looking for the best luxury hotels in the city and want to have a privileged view of the Bosphorus.

Book hotels in Besiktas:

Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
Çırağan Palace Kempinski
Çırağan Palace Kempinski


Best of Istanbul, Turkey - What to do and where to stayA complete one day itinerary for Istanbul, Turkey

If you have any other propositions for this One Day in Istanbul Itinerary feel free to share it in the comments below!

Make sure you have everything you need

What to pack for your next trip?

Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.

Kazim Raza

My name is Kazim Raza and I am a professional blogger & Digital Marketer. If want to work with smart minded people and their payroll doesn’t matter for them then you are capable to afford me. I love to do branding because I’ve nine-year-old affair with it.

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