When: All year long could be a good time. We choose April and we have a nice weather (sunny days & nice temperature where you could wear a light sweater).
Not to be missed:
The view of the Bosphorus from the Suleymaniye Mosque
The atmosphere of the Karakoy district
Waterfront brunch at Assk Kahve in the Besiktas district.
Day 1 : Arrival in the centre of Istanbul
Late arrival in central Istanbul. We go directly to our hotel The House Hotel Karakoÿ, very well located and enjoy a walk in the surroundings late by night in Karakoï district. Our hotel was a few minutes walk from a metro station & Galata bridge. Perfect for us.
Then, we go to the famous Galata bridge to get the best view of Istanbul by night (Bosphorus & Mosques are beautiful at this moment)
Day 2 : The must-see Topkapi Palace & Sultanahmet district
In the morning, we go to the TopkapiPalace which has sheltered many Ottoman sultans. The visit deserves a good half day if you want to get lost out of sight in the corridors of the harem. Very interesting historically and time travel is included in the visit!
Enjoy the presence of the simit vendors, sesame buns, perfect to have a good exotic breakfast before the visit to the palace.
Just ready for lunch, Sultanahmet district is touristic but you can grab a good lunch there with many various restaurants.
After lunchbreak, visit at the cistern-basilica, then to the great Istanbul Bazaar, the largest covered market in the world, and the spice market. We end the day at the Suleymaniye Mosque.
The sun sets slowly, the mosque is empty and the view of the Bosphorus is magnificent! It will remain a very good memory and truly, the best time of the day to get there.
Day 3 : Saint Sophia and the Blue Mosque
Get a yummy and organic brunch à l’Assk Kahve where you could find a see front terrasse in Besiktas distric. (You should better book in advance)
We take the direction of Sainte-Sophie then we continue on the blue mosque, more beautiful from the outside than from the inside.
Last walks in the alleys of Istanbul before going back to the airport.
What I would change if I had to do it again…
We would have liked to have had one more day to do a cruise on the Bosphorus, the strait that separates Asia from Europe
The Karakoy district was central enough to stay. We have also liked the presence of many cafés and restaurants to eat on the go !