Istanbul in 3 days: the best itinerary


This Istanbul guide in 3 days It has several routes on foot and by public transport, so you do not miss any interesting place in the city, making the most of the available time.
During the first two days you will have known the most important temples, palaces, markets and viewpoints located in the city center and surroundings for on this third day, visit some of the less visited jewels of Istanbul and other places are a little further from the center like the Dolmabahce Palace, the Ortaköy Mosque Mosque and the Pierre Loti Café viewpoint, among many others.
This practical guide to know the best of Istanbul in three days It is designed based on the experience of the 4 days we spent in the city, after which we also wrote this guide to travel to Turkey. We start!

Tips for traveling to Istanbul

This list of practical tips will help you on your trip to Istanbul:

  • To get to the city center or to your hotel from the two Istanbul airports, you have these options: subway (from 2020), bus, taxi or book this comfortable direct transfer to the hotel. For more information you can consult this post on how to go from the Istanbul airport to the center.
  • To sleep we recommend the Adamar Hotel with fantastic views of Istanbul and The Million Stone Hotel, both located a few meters from the Topkapi Palace and the Basilica of Hagia Sophia.
  • Use public transport before taxis and if you use it, you better ask for it from the restaurant or hotel, know approximately the price of the trip and be attentive to the return of the change.
  • Before taking public transport, buy the convenient Istanbulkart rechargeable card.
  • Book this free tour of Istanbul Free! or if you are more people, this private tour, both with a guide in Spanish and with whom you will have a good first contact with the city learning its history and idiosyncrasy
  • Follow this list of things to see and do in Istanbul and if you are going to make a route through the country this is of places to visit in Turkey essential.
  • Use the N26 card to pay and the BNEXT card to get money from the ATMs, since with them you will have the current exchange and they will not charge you commission. You can find more information in The best cards to travel without commissions.
  • Hire good travel insurance to have the best free medical care in the most important hospitals in the city. We always travel insured with Mondo And he has always been the best travel companion.

You can look for more recommendations in this post of tips to travel to Istanbul essential.

First day in Istanbul

The route of the first day of Istanbul in 3 days It starts at 9 in the morning with the visit of Topkapi Palace, a huge complex where many halls, the Harem and the Treasury stand out.
Upon leaving the palace you will arrive in a few minutes to the Basilica Cistern, an old warehouse with 336 columns of 9 meters high that has a Medusa head hidden at the base of one of them and has become over time, in all A symbol of the city.
Once you have finished this visit, we recommend you approach the 3500-year-old Egyptian obelisk and two commemorative columns that are part of the Constantinople Racecourse square and are very close to the cistern and then continue down on foot south until you reach the Church of San Sergio and San Baco, one of the most beautiful churches / mosques in the city, where after visiting them and taking advantage of the place where several recommended restaurants in the city are concentrated, eat at Istanbul Anatolian Cuisine or the Three Partners .

Map of the route of the third day in Istanbul