Istanbul – A Day in the City


Yachts on Bosphorus – the water way linking Mediterranean & Black Seas

Istanbul is an amazing city it bridges east and west. It is the geographical point where the European and Asian continents meet. On the west side of the Bosphorus is ‘European’ Istanbul. On the east side of the water is the ‘Asian’ side of the city. The map below shows the key places of interest in the city of Istanbul.

I’d suggest Sultanahmet (The Old City) including a visit to the amazing Hagia Sofia, once a Christian Church, then a Mosque and now a Museum – just incredible. I’d also include a drive past The Blue Mosque – a very holy place for devout Muslims.

In terms of colour, scents and exotic flavour I’d go for The Egyptian Market (or The Spice Market). Watch out for the incredible little cafes above the market stalls in each corner of the building. Then for a wonderful panoramic view of the city I’d go up to Pierre Loti – a charming café and tea room, something of an institution in Istanbul.

Crossing the Galata Bridge, usually lined with fishermen, you enter into the hustle and bustle of the commercial part of the city, dominated by the 14th century Galata Tower. This circular, medieval tower looks as if it has come straight out of a children’s fairy tale. It was originally a watch tower and part of the fortifications of the city.

On the waterfront are several palaces, now luxury hotels and the fantastic Dolmabache Palace, once home to Ataturk, Turkey’s heroic military leader and visionary politician who created the secular state of Turkey in the 1920s. Ataturk became the First President of the Republic of Turkey, a position he held from 1923 – 1938. The Dolmabache Palace is also a fascinating place to visit, it is a microcosm of Turkish history, located on the waterfront with exceptional views across the Bosphorus.

Hagia Sofia was originally a Roman place of worship, then a Christian Church and finally a mosque. Today it is an impressive historic monument – open to all.


If you have several days in Istanbul contact us for a detailed and extensive itinerary. Agatha Christie loved Istanbul and wrote about the city several times in her novels. She used to stay at the Pera Palace Hotel. You can stay at the Pera Palace too or visit for afternoon tea, it’s the perfect way to tread in her footsteps!

Janet /

To discover more exciting and original travel destinations – explore

Perhaps start with Trieste a fascinating port and city, part of the Austrian Empire for 500 years. Today Trieste is Italy’s most north-easterly frontier town, on the borders with Croatia and Slovenia. The move on on from there to Paris or Athens before finishing up in Rome or Venice

For a little more ‘particularity’ on Istanbul why not try this: Orhan Pamuk – The Museum of Innocence Orhan Pamuk is possibly Turkey’s greatest living novelist. His book ‘The Museum of Innocence’ had a profound effect on me.

5 thoughts on “Istanbul – A Day in the City

    1. What a superb and evocative article, Janet. We had just two days in Istanbul while on a Mediterranean Cruise three years ago, and saw many (but not all) of the places which you mention and recommend – and we still have (too many!) mementos of the Grand Bazaar at home to remind us of what an exciting and fascinating place Istanbul is, and how brilliantly you have summed it up!
      Many thanks

      Liked by 1 person

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