Day 1: Keep it light as you have an exciting and exhausting day ahead!
The ideal beginning of a day in Istanbul is with a lip-smacking breakfast in one of the cafes. Keep it light as you have an exciting and exhausting day ahead. There are many wonderful places to see in Istanbul.
Visit Blue Mosque:
Officially the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, but fondly called the Blue Mosque due to the beautiful blue tiles adorning its interiors, this architectural heritage is Istanbul’s most photogenic site. There are plenty of places to see in Istanbul, but the Blue Mosque has acquired the superstar status among them all and not without reasons. Built from 1609 to 1616, the Blue Mosque with its exquisite minarets defines what majesty and splendour truly mean.
Visit Hagia Sophia Museum-Church (Ayasofya):
A church converted into a mosque and now a museum is one of Istanbul’s most iconic historical gems. A mighty dome and gleaming gold mosaics are the highlights of Ayasofya. The religious importance and extraordinary beauty of this church converted into a museum attracts millions of tourists every year.
Take a look at Basilica Cistern:
The largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern has captured the fancy of many filmmakers and writers over the years. It was a location of 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love. The cistern also found a place in Clive and Dirk Cussler’s fiction novel, Crescent Dawn and The Navigator. Most recently, the cistern was used prominently in the climax of the Dan Brown novel Inferno.
Admire the grandeur of Topkapi Palace: Once a royal residence for nearly 400 years, Topkapi Palace is a magnificent sight with jewel-filled Treasury, opulent pavillions, and sprawling Harems. Get closer and go deeper into history and the palace will reveal some of the fascinating glimpses of its colourful past.
Enjoy the evening in Tophane Nargile Cafes:
Located behind the Nusretiye Mosque, Tophane Nargile Cafes are ideal to enjoy a Turkish evening in Istanbul. Always packed with locals enjoying tea, nargile and snacks, the café will bring your Day 1 in Istanbul to a perfect end. Try coffee boiled in a miniature copper beaker, served in porcelain cups. Try hookah or ‘hubbly-bubbly’ nargile even if you are not a smoker, mainly because it is an age-old tradition.
If you don’t want to end your day so early, head to one of the pubs or bars to enjoy the nightlife of Istanbul. We recommend Babylon if you love live music. The famous bar named 360 offers some extraordinary views from its terrace.