24 Hours in Istanbul: Where to eat, stay and explore

Situated on the banks of the Bosphorus River and straddling two continents, Istanbul is a city that is not only just thousands of years old, but one that has been at the forefront of world history. Originally known as Byzantium, and then later, as Constantinople, the city was finally given the  name Istanbul in the early 20th century.

Istanbul, with one half in Asia, and the other in Europe, is a city like no other where its architecture, culture, art, food and atmosphere is a true melting pot from all over the world. 

turkey 24 hours

turkey 24 hours

turkey 24 hours

Due to its geographical location and its rather excellent airline (read all about my guide to transport in Turkey here), many find themselves in this city for a layover. Or some, like myself, have a jam-packed itinerary and can only squeeze 24 hours in to visit Istanbul. Either way, 24 hours is by no means enough time to get to grips with this city, but you can certainly see the highlights!

I’ve put together a quick snapshot guide of the best things to do in a day to give a real for the city! Read on to find out more!

What to do and where to explore

turkey 24 hours

Istanbul is a great walkable city and as always, this is my top recommendation for seeing the city. The architecture is really quite incredible, and a unique opportunity to view many different styles, all influenced from around the world. Some of the top sites to see include:

The Byzantine Hagia Sofia

Unmissable on any trip to this great city. It is also more than 1,400 years old!

turkey 24 hours

The Galata Tower

Just off the city’s main street (Istiklal Caddesi), this Romanesque Tower offers fabulous views across the city. Located in the buzzing Karaköy area, it’s surrounded by great cafes and bars.

turkey 24 hours

The Blue Mosque

Located in the historic Sultanahmet area, this wonderful mosque is surrounded by beautiful gardens. A sight to behold inside and out.

turkey 24 hours

turkey 24 hours

turkey 24 hours

turkey 24 hours

The Galata Bridge and the Bosphorus

A bridge where time can really stand still, where local fisherman wait for their catch. Connecting both sides of the city over the Bosphorus, a slow walk along the Galata Bridge offers phenomenal views in every direction.

turkey 24 hours

 Explore Istiklal Caddesi

This main street stretching from near Taksim Square down to the river at Karaköy, its international counterparts would be Oxford Street or Fifth Ave. The heart of Istanbul’s shopping, cafe culture and bar scene, it’s enviable you’ll end up on this street. Oh, and it gets pretty steep!

turkey 24 hours

turkey 24 hours

turkey 24 hours

Cats

Did I mention there are cats everywhere?

turkey 24 hours

turkey 24 hours

Cafes in Istanbul

The city has no shortage of great places to grab a bite to eat and a great coffee. We stumbled across Latife Cafe and it was a fantastic stop.

turkey 24 hours

turkey 24 hours

Things to eat

Fresh fruit, everywhere!

turkey 24 hours

And the Turkish speciality – Turkish Delight!

turkey 24 hours

turkey 24 hours

What to buy

Soaps and fabrics!

turkey 24 hours

Where to stay

As you know may have noticed, I am partial to an Intercontinental and the one in Istanbul is a fantastic hotel, with an excellent location. Most impressive was its breakfast, of course! Oh and its pool was just what was needed after a long day of sightseeing.

turkey 24 hours

turkey 24 hours

turkey 24 hours

Have you been to Istanbul? I’d love to hear if so – drop a comment below!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, feel free to share using the below links! Do please head back to my site over the coming week for more blog posts on this incredible country too!

Wanna see more? Check my Instagram here, my Facebook here or my Twitter here!

turkey 24 hours

turkey 24 hours

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. December 13, 2017 / 6:58 pm

    I absolutely love Istanbul, it’s one of my favourite cities in the world! A few years back I was backpacking from southern Turkey through Eastern Europe and was offered a waitressing job at a little café just beside the Blue Mosque. I spent about five weeks exploring every nook and cranny of the city and fell more in love every day. I absolutely recommend a longer stay if you’re able to pass through again! Thanks for reminding me of such a magical place 🙂

  2. December 13, 2017 / 7:28 pm

    I have visited Istanbul a few years ago and I also loved it! I have enjoyed most of the places you are talking about here – The Blue Mosque is the one I was the most impressed with. Looks like you didn’t have the time to explore the Grand Bazaar? P.S.: Love your pictures!

  3. December 14, 2017 / 10:34 am

    Istanbul looks so beautiful with your photos! I didn’t know cats were a big thing there, lol. Also will have to keep in mind your hotel stay, very nice hotel 🙂

  4. December 15, 2017 / 1:17 am

    Such a beautiful city! Your photos make me want to visit ASAP!! Thanks for the info 🙂

  5. December 15, 2017 / 2:16 pm

    Istanbul is such a pretty and colorful city. I will love walking through those cobbled stone streets and clicking endless pictures. Great cafes will make the trip more memorable.

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