Answers from Our Experts (1)
Though you’d need weeks (if not more) to properly explore Istanbul, you can still cover a lot of ground in one day and see the best of the old and new parts of the city.
Our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend starting your morning early with a serving of börek (fried pastries) and a Turkish coffee or tea. After breakfast, kick off your sightseeing at Sultanahmet Square, where you can stop in the ancient Hagia Sophia mosque and lavish Topkapı Palace. Next, head to the labyrinthine Grand Bazaar shopping market and meander through until you find the exits toward the Golden Horn, the historic inlet for the Bosphorus strait. Finish your tour of the Old City with a stroll through the Egyptian Market (Spice Bazaar).
Now that you’ve spent your morning exploring two of Istanbul’s best markets, cross the Galata Bridge by foot to Karaköy for a late traditional lunch at Karaköy Lokantası. (We recommend the Sultan’s Delight with meat.) After you eat, consider taking a break with a Turkish bath or visiting the Istanbul Modern for contemporary art and a drink with a view at their excellent café.
Keep things modern for dinner by heading to Leb-i derya Richmond for a Turkish fusion meal, followed by cocktails in a hip after-dinner scene at Balkon Bar or Münferit.