2-Day Unforgettable Journey Exploring Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

2 days

The Blue Mosque
Grand Bazaar shops
Hagia Sophia
Galata Tower
Grand Bazaar

About Istanbul, Turkey

Experience the captivating blend of East and West in Istanbul, Turkey. This vibrant city straddles two continents, offering a unique cultural fusion. Marvel at the architectural wonders like the iconic Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, reflecting the city's rich history. Wander through the bustling Grand Bazaar and Spice Market for an authentic shopping experience. Enjoy a scenic Bosphorus cruise, witnessing the city's skyline dotted with minarets and modern buildings. Savor the delicious Turkish cuisine, from kebabs to baklava, and don't miss the traditional Turkish tea. Istanbul's nightlife is equally enticing, with rooftop bars, nightclubs, and traditional music venues. Whether you're a history buff, foodie, or an adventure seeker, Istanbul promises an unforgettable journey.

2-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Exploring Sultanahmet and Bosphorus


Start your day with a visit to the iconic Hagia Sophia, a monument that has served as a cathedral, mosque, and now a museum. Its stunning architecture and rich history make it a must-visit.


Enjoy a traditional Turkish lunch at a local eatery. Try the famous kebabs, mezes, and the refreshing Ayran drink.


After lunch, head to the Topkapi Palace, a large museum that was the main residence of the Ottoman sultans for approximately 400 years. Explore its opulent pavilions, jewel-filled Treasury, and sprawling Harem.


Have dinner at a restaurant offering a panoramic view of the Bosphorus. Indulge in a variety of seafood dishes, a staple in Istanbul's cuisine.


End your day with a relaxing cruise on the Bosphorus. The illuminated skyline of Istanbul is a sight to behold.


Begin your second day at the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. It's a great place to buy traditional Turkish items like ceramics, carpets, spices, and jewelry.


Have lunch at a local restaurant serving traditional Turkish cuisine. Don't miss out on trying the delicious Baklava for dessert.


Spend your afternoon at the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, a group of three archaeological museums located in the Eminönü district. It houses over a million objects that represent almost all of the eras and civilizations in world history.


Enjoy a dinner with a view at a rooftop restaurant. Try the local delicacy, 'Testi Kebab', a meat and vegetable dish slow-cooked in a clay pot.


End your trip with a traditional Turkish tea at a local tea house, while enjoying the beautiful views of the city at night.

Attractions in Itinerary (5)

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

A historic monument and museum that was once a church and a mosque.

Religious Sites
Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

A historic palace that was the main residence of the Ottoman sultans.

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

One of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world.

Istanbul Archaeology Museums

Istanbul Archaeology Museums

The Istanbul Archaeology Museums is a group of three archaeological museums located in the Eminönü district of Istanbul, Turkey, near Gülhane Park and Topkapı Palace. The Istanbul Archaeology Museums consists of three museums: Archaeological Museum, Museum of the Ancient Orient and Museum of Islamic Art. It houses over one million objects that represent almost all of the eras and civilizations in world history.

Cultural Experiences
Bosphorus Cruise

Bosphorus Cruise

A Bosphorus Cruise offers a unique perspective of Istanbul, taking you along the strait that separates Europe and Asia. You'll see historic landmarks, beautiful palaces, and stunning views of the city skyline.


Local Food and Drinks (12)



A popular Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, traditionally lamb but also a mix of veal, beef or chicken. It's a must-try street food in Istanbul.



A rich, sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. It's a classic dessert in Istanbul.



A circular bread, typically encrusted with sesame seeds or, less commonly, poppy, flax or sunflower seeds, found across the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire, and the Middle East. It's a popular breakfast item in Istanbul.

Turkish Tea

Turkish Tea

A type of tea that is popular in Turkey brewed using two stacked kettles especially designed for tea preparation. It's a common beverage in Istanbul.



A round, thin piece of dough topped with minced meat, vegetables and herbs including onions, tomatoes and parsley, then baked. It's a popular street food in Istanbul.



An unsweetened, anise-flavored alcoholic drink that is popular in Turkey. It's often served with seafood or meze in Istanbul.



A type of dumpling popular in most Turkic cuisines, as well as in the cuisines of the South Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Chinese Muslims. It's a traditional dish in Istanbul.



A Turkish flat bread baked with toppings in a stone oven. Pide and its varieties are wide spread through Turkey and are established as an important food. It's a must-try street food in Istanbul.

Turkish Coffee

Turkish Coffee

A very fine, powder-like grind coffee. Turkish coffee has a strong taste and usually is served with a glass of water. It's a traditional drink in Istanbul.

Iskender Kebab

Iskender Kebab

A dish made with doner kebab prepared from thinly cut grilled lamb topped with hot tomato sauce over pieces of pita bread and generously slathered with melted sheep butter and yogurt. It's a popular main course in Istanbul.



A hot milky drink made from the tubers of the orchid genus Orchis. It's a traditional winter drink in Istanbul.



Also known as Turkish Delight, it's a family of confections based on a gel of starch and sugar. It's a traditional sweet in Istanbul.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Istanbul, Turkey is during the spring and fall seasons, specifically from April to May and from September to mid-November. During these periods, the weather is quite pleasant, not too hot or too cold, which is perfect for sightseeing and exploring the city. These periods also tend to be less crowded compared to the peak summer season, allowing you to enjoy the attractions more comfortably.

National holidays

Here you can find the national calendar of all public holidays for the year. These dates are subject to change as official changes are announced, so check back regularly for updates.

DateDayHoliday Name

January 1


New Year's Day

April 9


Ramadan Feast Eve

April 10


Ramadan Feast

April 11


Ramadan Feast Holiday

April 12


Ramadan Feast Holiday

April 23


National Sovereignty and Children's Day

May 1


Labor and Solidarity Day

May 19


Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day

June 15


Sacrifice Feast Eve

June 16


Sacrifice Feast

June 17


Sacrifice Feast Holiday

June 18


Sacrifice Feast Holiday

June 19


Sacrifice Feast Holiday

July 15


Democracy and National Unity Day

August 30


Victory Day

October 29


Republic Day

Please note that during national and public holidays, opening hours for establishments, museums, etc. may vary. Don't forget to check in advance!

How to get around

Public buses are a popular way to get around Istanbul. They cover a wide range of routes and are generally reliable. However, they can be crowded during peak hours. You can use an Istanbulkart, a rechargeable smart card, to pay for your bus fare.

Istanbul's metro system is modern, efficient, and covers many of the city's main attractions. It's a great way to avoid traffic and get around quickly. The metro operates from early morning until midnight. You can use an Istanbulkart to pay for your metro fare.

The tram system in Istanbul is a convenient way to travel, especially in the old city. It's a great way to see the city's historic sites. The trams are modern and air-conditioned. You can use an Istanbulkart to pay for your tram fare.

Ferries are a unique and scenic way to travel in Istanbul, especially if you want to cross the Bosphorus or visit the Princes' Islands. They are also a great way to see the city from a different perspective. You can use an Istanbulkart to pay for your ferry fare.

Taxis are plentiful in Istanbul and can be hailed on the street. They are equipped with meters, but it's a good idea to confirm the fare before you start your journey. You can pay in cash or with a credit card.

A dolmuş is a shared taxi or minibus that operates on specific routes. They are a popular and affordable way to travel, especially for short distances. You can pay the driver in cash.

Ridesharing services like Uber and BiTaksi are available in Istanbul. They can be a convenient and safe way to get around, especially if you're unfamiliar with the city. You can book and pay for your ride through the app.

If you prefer to drive yourself, you can rent a car in Istanbul. However, traffic can be heavy and parking can be difficult in the city center. It's recommended to rent a car only if you plan to travel outside of the city.

Istanbul has a growing network of bicycle lanes and bike-sharing stations. Cycling can be a fun and eco-friendly way to explore the city. However, be aware that traffic can be heavy and not all areas are bike-friendly.

Walking is a great way to explore Istanbul, especially the historic areas. Many of the city's main attractions are within walking distance of each other. However, be aware that Istanbul is hilly and some areas have steep streets.

While we strive for accuracy in our "How to get around" section, the information may not always be up-to-date or 100% accurate; we highly recommend cross-checking with local resources before your travel.

Important information

Currency₺ TRY

Time zoneUTC+3

Driving sideRight

Emergency phoneAmbulance: 112; Fire: 112; Police: 112

Drinking waterOpt for bottled water

Power sockets

Power socket type CPower socket type F

Voltage230 V

Things to know about Istanbul, Turkey as a first time visitor


Istanbul is a city that straddles two continents, Europe and Asia, divided by the Bosphorus Strait.


The official language is Turkish. English is not widely spoken outside of hotels and tourist areas, so learning a few basic Turkish phrases can be helpful.


The local currency is the Turkish Lira (TRY). It's recommended to carry some cash as not all places accept credit cards.


Istanbul has a Mediterranean climate. Summers (June to September) are hot and humid with temperatures ranging from 73°F to 86°F (23°C to 30°C). Winters (December to February) are cold and wet with temperatures ranging from 37°F to 47°F (3°C to 8°C).


Istanbul is generally safe for tourists, but like any large city, it's advisable to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings.


The city is known for its heavy traffic. Public transportation is efficient and includes trams, buses, ferries, and the metro.


Tipping is customary in Istanbul. A tip of 10% to 15% is expected in restaurants.


Turkish cuisine is diverse and delicious. Don't miss out on trying local dishes like kebabs, baklava, and Turkish tea.


Istanbul operates on Eastern European Time (EET) and observes daylight saving time.


It's important to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Women should carry a scarf to cover their heads in mosques.


Smoking is very common in Istanbul and is allowed in many public places, but not in buses, metros or shopping malls.


Tap water is not recommended for drinking. It's advisable to buy bottled water.


The voltage in Turkey is 220V, and the socket type is F. You may need a voltage converter and plug adapter.


Haggling is a common practice in markets and bazaars. Don't be afraid to negotiate prices.


Public restrooms may require a small fee for use, so keep some coins handy.


Istanbul is a city that never sleeps. Many shops, restaurants, and some tourist attractions remain open late into the night.


The call to prayer can be heard five times a day from mosques throughout the city. It's a part of the cultural experience.


Turkish people are known for their hospitality. Don't be surprised if you're invited for tea or a meal.


Istanbul has a rich history and is home to numerous cultural festivals throughout the year. Check local listings for events during your visit.


Always respect local customs and traditions to ensure a positive experience during your stay.

Basic Turkish to know as a first time visitor

English phrase

Native phrase


When to use it




Greeting someone


Hoşça kal


Leaving or saying goodbye




Asking for something

Thank you

Teşekkür ederim

teh-shehk-oor ed-air-im

Showing gratitude




Agreeing or confirming




Disagreeing or denying

Excuse me



Getting attention or apologizing

I'm sorry

Özür dilerim

oh-zoor dee-leh-rim


Do you speak English?

İngilizce konuşuyor musunuz?

ing-il-iz-je kon-uh-shoo-yor moo-soo-nooz

Asking if someone speaks English

I don't understand



Not understanding what was said

Where is the bathroom?

Tuvalet nerede?

too-vah-let neh-reh-deh

Looking for the bathroom

How much does it cost?

Bu ne kadar?

boo neh kah-dar

Asking for the price

I would like to order

Sipariş vermek istiyorum

sip-arish ver-mek is-tee-yo-rum

Ordering food or drink




In need of assistance

Call the police

Polisi arayın

pol-isi ara-yin

In an emergency situation

Can I use my credit card?

Kredi kartımı kullanabilir miyim?

kred-i kart-uh-muh kull-an-uh-bil-ir mi-yim

Asking to pay with credit card




Checking if a place is open




Checking if a place is closed




Referring to the current day




Referring to the next day

Packing List

  • Clothing

  • Lightweight clothing

  • Underwear

  • Socks

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Swimwear (if planning to visit Hamams or beaches)

  • Sunglasses

  • Hat for sun protection

  • Light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings

  • Scarf or shawl for visiting mosques

  • Toiletries

  • Travel-sized shampoo and conditioner

  • Travel-sized body wash

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Deodorant

  • Razor and shaving cream

  • Sunscreen

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Travel-sized first aid kit

  • Prescription medications

  • Travel-sized laundry detergent

  • Travel documents and essentials

  • Passport

  • Visa (if required)

  • Driver's license (for ID or car rental)

  • Health insurance card

  • Travel insurance documents

  • Hotel and tour reservation confirmations

  • Emergency contact information

  • Local currency (Turkish Lira)

  • Credit and debit cards

  • Electronics and gadgets

  • Smartphone

  • Charger for smartphone

  • Universal power adapter

  • Headphones

  • Portable power bank

  • Camera (if not using phone camera)

  • Charger for camera

  • Miscellaneous items

  • Travel guidebook for Istanbul

  • Turkish phrasebook or language app

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Snacks for travel days

  • Travel pillow and blanket for the flight

  • Earplugs and eye mask for sleeping

  • Small backpack or day bag for sightseeing

  • Umbrella or lightweight rain jacket

  • Travel-sized wet wipes

Weather Conditions

Istanbul, Turkey, is a city that experiences a variety of weather conditions throughout the year, making it a unique destination for tourists. Here are some weather-related guidance and tips for your visit. Spring (March to May) is a great time to visit Istanbul, with temperatures ranging from 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C). It's a perfect time for sightseeing as the weather is mild and the city is in full bloom. However, it's advisable to carry a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings. Summer (June to August) in Istanbul can be hot and humid, with temperatures often reaching up to 85°F (29°C). It's the perfect time for beach activities or a Bosphorus cruise. Don't forget to stay hydrated and wear sun protection. Autumn (September to November) is another pleasant time to visit Istanbul. The temperatures range from 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C). The city is less crowded, and the weather is ideal for outdoor activities. Carry a light jacket as the evenings can get chilly. Winter (December to February) in Istanbul can be quite cold, with temperatures dropping to around 35°F (2°C). Snowfall is common, which adds a magical touch to the city's landscape. If you're planning to visit during this time, pack warm clothing, including a heavy coat, gloves, and scarves. Regardless of the season, Istanbul's weather can be unpredictable, so it's always a good idea to check the forecast before your trip. Also, remember that Istanbul is a city of hills, so comfortable walking shoes are a must, regardless of the weather. Enjoy your trip!

MonthHi / Lo (°C)Weather Overview


9° / 3°

January is the coldest month in Istanbul, with occasional snow and rain. Dress warmly and prepare for indoor activities.


11° / 3°

February is still chilly with occasional snow and rain. It's a good time to visit museums and historical sites.


13° / 5°

March sees the beginning of spring with slightly warmer temperatures. It's a great time for sightseeing and outdoor activities.


18° / 8°

April is a pleasant month with moderate temperatures. It's a perfect time for exploring the city and enjoying the local cuisine.


24° / 12°

May offers warm and comfortable weather. It's an ideal time for boat tours and visiting the beautiful parks.


30° / 16°

June is the start of summer with long sunny days. It's a great time for beach activities and outdoor dining.


33° / 19°

July is the hottest month in Istanbul. It's perfect for enjoying the beaches and night markets.


33° / 19°

August is also very hot with high humidity. It's a good time to visit the Princes' Islands and enjoy the sea breezes.


28° / 16°

September sees the start of autumn with mild temperatures. It's a great time for exploring historical sites and shopping.


22° / 12°

October offers comfortable weather with fewer crowds. It's a good time for leisurely walks and exploring the local markets.


16° / 8°

November is a bit chilly with occasional rain. It's a good time to visit museums and enjoy the local coffee culture.


11° / 5°

December is cold with occasional snow. It's a perfect time for shopping and enjoying the festive atmosphere.

Did you know?

Did you know that Istanbul is the only city in the world that straddles two continents, Europe and Asia?

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