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Can Anyone Recommend Things To Do In Istanbul?

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Hi  I would advise visiting the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophie , the cisterns (a Roman underground water system, this is featured in the film From Russia With Love), Topaki Palace and the Grand Bazaar. I took a full day's ship's excursion and included visits to all these sites and I thoroughly enjoyed my day.  We also crossed the Bosporus to say we have visited Asia.  If you go independently be aware that the Blue Mosque is only accessible when not used for religious services.  Istanbul is an interesting city and you only get a glimpse of all the available sites.  There is a good tram service which is cheap and runs from the cruise terminal to the main sites but without the information given to you from the tourist guide you wouldn't get as much out of visiting these sites unless you do a lot of research before undertaking your excursions.  Have a great holiday.

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Hi Ali,

 

I have been to Istanbul a few times, most recently aboard a Holland America cruise. We had an overnight stay there which was great and if your question is geared towards looking for a cruise that includes the city then I would definitely recommend trying to find an itinerary that gives you 2 days there as it's a great port and difficult to fully enjoy in just a single day.

 

There's loads to do there, it's a fantastic city. If you are going their by cruise then I would consider the excursions available. They're often expensive but they can be excellent value for money considering the amount you get to see and the beauty of skipping queues. 

 

The Hippodrome is a great place to start and is pretty amazing to see. I'd also definitely recommend the Blue Mosque as it's incredible, especially the 6 minarets that dominate the city's skyline. A tour here is great because you get to see so much more than you would if you went independently. The your we did was brilliant as it covered these two places followed by a few drinks nearby and then lunch at the Four Seasons hotel. Afterwards we visited the church of St Sophia which in itself would be enough let alone combined with the other sightseeing attractions of the city. We then travelled to see the Topkapi Palace Museum which was fantastic and another must see place in the city. 

 

I would say these should be at the top of your list when visiting Istanbul but there is still a lot more to do and see. If you're a fan of shopping then the Grand Bazaar is brilliant. Some people are not a fan of this area as they feel a little overwhelmed by the amount of stores and the bartering that can take place with tourists especially but me personally, I love it. There are so many shops here it's actually quite ridiculous but it's an amazing place to see. Plus it's great if you're looking for something special to take home with you. My wife and I bought quite a bit out there and could have bought a lot more where it not for us realising that somehow we would need to get it back to the ship and then home again.

 

The beauty of having an overnight stay in Istanbul on a cruise itinerary is that you get to explore the city when the sun goes down. It's a great place during the day but at night, the skyline is beautiful and very impressive. The suspension bridge that separates the continents of Europe and Asia is a big attraction but at night it's even better because it is lit up beautifully and there are often fireworks during the heavy tourism periods as the lights of the bridge change colour. My personal favourite thing about staying here overnight was the chance to get out and about on our own. We loved doing the tour but staying overnight means you can do an excursion in the day then your own thing at night. You can also do nighttime excursions as well like a boat cruise along the Bosphorus or head to the Kervansaray, a place I know P&O Cruises offer. We decided to do our own thing though and in advance of the cruise I booked a restaurant called the Sunset Grill. I have some friends who live in Istanbul so we met them for dinner there and the place is one of the best restaurants I have ever been to. The food was great but the view was even better due to how high up you are. It gives a great view of the Bosphorus and one of the best in the city (in my opinion) for seeing the suspension bridge light show.

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Guest Solent Richard

Hi Ali,

 

 

The beauty of having an overnight stay in Istanbul on a cruise itinerary is that you get to explore the city when the sun goes down. It's a great place during the day but at night, the skyline is beautiful and very impressive. The suspension bridge that separates the continents of Europe and Asia is a big attraction but at night it's even better because it is lit up beautifully and there are often fireworks during the heavy tourism periods as the lights of the bridge change colour. My personal favourite thing about staying here overnight was the chance to get out and about on our own. We loved doing the tour but staying overnight means you can do an excursion in the day then your own thing at night. You can also do nighttime excursions as well like a boat cruise along the Bosphorus or head to the Kervansaray, a place I know P&O Cruises offer. We decided to do our own thing though and in advance of the cruise I booked a restaurant called the Sunset Grill. I have some friends who live in Istanbul so we met them for dinner there and the place is one of the best restaurants I have ever been to. The food was great but the view was even better due to how high up you are. It gives a great view of the Bosphorus and one of the best in the city (in my opinion) for seeing the suspension bridge light show.

 

Spot on there Sammy Sun and if I had another over nighter I'd probably head back to...

 

8390569002_f9a022a55a_z.jpg

 

 

No wonder I had a smile on my face...

 

8389483629_69f4077965_z.jpg

 

PS. I took up your recommendation for the Sunset Grill. It was excellent.

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Guest Solent Richard

Never been before but looks like a very interesting place, any good ideas?

 

Good afternoon Ali.

 

Two interesting places spring to mind.

 

The Basilica Cistern, it's underground...

 

9391823865_5137c3125f_z.jpg

 

and the Çemberlitaş Hamamı....

 

14741061770_45ffc6a154_z.jpg

 

 

14741064439_24198643ec_z.jpg

 

Now that is interesting.wink.png wink.png

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Guest Solent Richard

Spot on there Sammy Sun and if I had another over nighter I'd probably head back to...

 

8390569002_f9a022a55a_z.jpg

 

 

No wonder I had a smile on my face...

 

8389483629_69f4077965_z.jpg

 

PS. I took up your recommendation for the Sunset Grill. It was excellent.

 

 

Nice wife, Solent. No wonder. You wanted a few more nights.

 

Good morning Captain Kidd.

 

You should have seen her sister...

 

8390568204_9708162871_z.jpg

 

wink.png wink.png

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We're going to Istanbul in September and thinking of doing an organised tour on both days. However we wondered if it is easy to get from the ship to the city in the evening. We have noted the places that members have visited in the evening. Did you get there by taxi or is it possible to walk.

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Spot on there Sammy Sun and if I had another over nighter I'd probably head back to...

 

8390569002_f9a022a55a_z.jpg

 

 

No wonder I had a smile on my face...

 

8389483629_69f4077965_z.jpg

 

PS. I took up your recommendation for the Sunset Grill. It was excellent.

 

 

Glad you enjoyed it Richard smile.png

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Guest Solent Richard

We're going to Istanbul in September and thinking of doing an organised tour on both days. However we wondered if it is easy to get from the ship to the city in the evening. We have noted the places that members have visited in the evening. Did you get there by taxi or is it possible to walk.

 

Hi Tinkerbell.

 

We were collected at the ship by Sultana's. Part of the booking deal.

 

However, getting across the Galata Bridge is no problem.

 

Take a tram from outside the Cruise Terminal...

 

10329443886_c2fee11d07_z.jpg 

 

You will need a token which is purchased for 3 Lira...

 

10329419084_12c8fdb5c9_z.jpg

 

Don't worry, there are clear instructions...

 

10329418994_791ddaedc2_z.jpg

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Guest Solent Richard

We're going to Istanbul in September and thinking of doing an organised tour on both days. However we wondered if it is easy to get from the ship to the city in the evening. We have noted the places that members have visited in the evening. Did you get there by taxi or is it possible to walk.

 

If perchance you fancied the Sunset Bar and Grill that both I and Sammy sun recommend, then you will need to go by taxi.

 

19524204803_18cbf5a476_z.jpg

 

 

19524204913_58e4858acc_z.jpg

 

Octopus and squid  to die for...

 

20137134022_5e83f2a5a2_z.jpg

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Could not agree more Richard, the seafood options are excellent. On my last visit here I sampled the mixed seafood grill with wild mushroom risotto and it did not let me down. It goes down as one of my favourite restaurants for the overall experience and by that I mean food, service, ambiance and view. My other would be the Hotel Monaco Grand Canal restaurant in Venice which is worth an overnight stay in port in itself. I love the food here and the view is fantastic, right on the edge of the entrance to the lagoon. Anyway, apologies, I'm going off topic.

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