Turkey - my travel itinerary

Hi Guys!!!
I've gotten so many requests on putting together my Turkey travel itinerary so today I'm going to be doing just that! Those of you who follow along on my Instagram know I recently went to Turkey in Ramadan with an awesome group, INFLOW Summits - and spent a couple days experiencing Ramadan in Turkey. I had such a great time - the culture, the experience, the hotel, and the people - everything was above my expectations. I also visited Turkey back in 2014 with my husband so I'll go ahead and include all my favorite things to do & see! 

Areas w/ Main Attractions:
Old City -
Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Cistern, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, New Mosque, The Museum of Turkish & Islamic Arts

New City -
Taksim Square, Golata Tower, Dolambache Palace
Suleymaniye Mosque, Eyup Mosque, Bosphprous Boat Tour

I will list each definite place you should see and each place takes at least 1 hr up to 5 hrs (depending on how intensely you want to look at things). I will list each place w/ a rough estimate of how long it takes and what to do when there.
*Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet (1hr) Open daily until Ishaa
- Go there check out the inside, take some pictures, come out check out the outside courtyard. It shouldn't take you more than an hour here max.

*Hagia Sophia (2-3hr) - Open 9AM-5PM, closed Mondays
-Walking distance from Blue Mosque, literally right across the street.
-Option A) grab a tour guide outside the entrance and pay him for a detailed your (we did this).
-Option B) stand in line, get tickets and then pay for an audio guided tour (the one w/ headphones).
-I would not recommend just buying tickets and going inside to just look, bc then you're missing out on one of the greatest history landmarks of Istanbul.

*Cistern (1hr) - Open daily 9AM - 5:30PM,
- Walking distance from Hagia Sophia, literally next door.
- Cheap, quick and worth checking out. Definitely get the audio guided tour.

*Topkapi Palace (3-5hr) - Open 9AM-5PM, closed Tuesdays
-Walking distance from Blue Mosque, literally right behind it.
-Extremely huge palace of the Sultans. Home of the famous Holy Relics. Go on a nice day as it's mainly outdoors and takes some time.
-Option A) buy tickets just to enter and look around
-Option B) grab a tour guide outside the entrance to give you a more detailed tour (we did this and worth it in my opinion).
- Definitely get tickets to see the Harem and Holy Relics!
(Side Fact: they have had someone reciting the Quran constantly for the past 500 years (I believe) inside the Holy Relics. The hafiz's take shifts. You will see him there).
*Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Open 9AM-5PM, closed Mondays
-Located right across the entrance of the Blue Mosque
-Some of the most precious Islamic artifacts and worth checking out

*Grand Bazaar (2-5hr)- Open 830AM-7PM, closed Sundays
-Multiple entrances, 10 min walking distance from Blue Mosque.
-Largest indoor bazaar in the world, you can shop there all day.
-Tons and tons of touristy shops. However, most of the bazaar is divided into sections (clothes, purses, lamps, jewelry). If you're looking for something specific, ask around and they should point you in the right direction as the bazaar is HUGE and what you're looking for could be a bit deeper in.
-Definitely worth checking out and it's up to you how long you want to stay.

*Spice Bazaar (1-3hr) - Open 8AM-7PM, closed Sundays
-(If staying near Blue Mosque) Take blue line train towards Kabatas, and get off stop Eminonu.
-Train will drop you off right in front of New Mosque and Spice Bazaar.
-Similar to Grand Bazaar but famous for their spices. Fun to check out.
*New Mosque (Yeni Cami) (30 min-1hr) - Open daily, active Masjid
-Small, but my favorite masjid. It's right by Spice Bazaar so go see.
*Taksim Square/Istiklal Street (1-4hr)
-Taksim Square park (not much to see)
-Istiklal Street - More commercial and mainstream shopping and Restaurants. Must visit and take a walk down the long street of shops.
*Golata Tower (1-2hr)
-Usually long lines to enter, but the views from on top are so worth it.
*Dolambache Palace (1-3hr)
-Beautiful palace with great history.
-They have guided tours that come with the purchase of your tickets.
*Suleymaniye Mosque (30min - 1hr)
-Largest Mosque in Istanbul
-Depending on where you are staying, it is a bit further out and will probably require a cab.
*Eyup Mosque (1hr-2hr)
-Mosque located next to the grave of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari
-Street located outside of Mosque is where you will find more "Islamic" shops. Hijabs, Jilbabs, tasbees, janazmazs, jewelery, etc.
*Bosphorus Boat Tour (2-3hr)
-You can purchase boat tour tickets outside of the Blue Mosque/Hagia Sophia area from many individuals who are selling them.
-Typically it will take you on a 2 hr fairy tour along the Bosphours river and you can choose your destination. Some will even take you to the Asian side of Istanbul. However, as cool as it is to step on to the Asian side, there really is not much to see on that side.
(Personally, I found this a bit of a bore, however it did give us a good view of the city and its landmarks)
-Street food is not that great. If you want good Turkish food, find a nice sit down restaurant.
-If you are a zabiha only eater, Turkey is a dream come true, because everything is halal! All major fast food chains are there, McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, and most importantly SHAKE SHACK! Shake Shack is located on Istiklal street and is delcious!
this particular itinerary was shared by a friend, thanks Neda!



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