Summary of Istanbul Trip – January 2015

Here I’d like to share the Summary of my Istanbul Trip 4-8 January 2015. I’ve also summarized the opening hours, the closing day(s), and entrance fees of some major places of interest in Istanbul, you can find it here. When you develop your own itinerary for the trip to Istanbul, make sure to double-check the opening hours and closing day(s) of the destinations, as they might change season to season.

I will write more detail about each day of my visit later. In the meantime, you can scroll through the summary.

Day 1 – 4 January 2015

Destination Time Transportation
1 Sultanahmet Area 14.00-17.00 Walk
  • We had lunch at the hotel since we reached the hotel at just about the lunch time
  • And we had kabab for dinner from nearby restaurant. It was raining, we couldn’t really explore for options.
  • The detail for day 1 is already available here.

 Day 2 – 5 January 2015

Destination Time Transportation
1 Topkapi Palace 09.00-12.00 Walk
2 Lunch at Sultanahmet Area 12.00-13.00 Walk
3 Grand Bazaar 13.00-15.00 Tram to Kapali Carsi
4 Yeni Camii 15.00-17.00 Tram to Eminonu
5 Galata Tower 17.00-19.00 Tram to Karakoy and Walk to Galata Tower
6 Return to Sultanahmet -> Dinner 19.00-20.00 Walk to Karakoy and Tram to Sultanahmet
  • There are some restaurants near the Sultanahmet tram station. Tastes are nice, and prices are okay. I had mashed potato stuffed with chicken for the lunch, and a plate of kabab for the dinner.
  • You can perform the prayer at Yeni Camii (New Mosque).
  • Yeni Camii Meydani (Plaza) is behind the mosque. We were sitting at the plaza and but didn’t notice that next to it is actually the Spice Bazaar 🙂

Day 3 – 6 January 2015

Destination Time Transportation
1 Hagia Sophia 09.00-10.00 Walk
2 Eyup Sultan Camii 10.00-10.30 Tram to Eminonu and Bus to Eyup
3 Pierre Loti 10.30-12.00 Walk to Teleferik Station and Ride Cable Car to Pierre Loti
4 Istiklal Street 12.00-13.00 Cable Car to Eyup, Bus to Karakoy, and Walk
5 Taksim Square 13.00-15.00 Ride the Red Classic Tram, Tunel – Taksim
6 Attempt to Kiz Kulesi (Failed) 15.00-17.00 Tram to Tunel, Walk to Karakoy, Tram to Sirkeci, Marmaray Line Train to Uskudar, and Attempt to Walk to Kiz Kulesi Transfer Dock
7 Galata Bridge for Fish Sandwich 17.00-18.00 Marmaray Line Train from Uskudar to Sirkeci and Tram to Eminonu
8 Return to Sultanahmet 18.00-19.00 Tram to Sultanahmet
  • If you want to go directly to the Teleferik station, tell the bus the driver that you want to get off at Teleferik station, not at Eyup.
  • Pierre Loti café does not sell food, only drinks. We got our lunch at a food stall selling kabab on the way to Istiklal Street.
  • I just found out that Istiklal Street is just some 200 meters away from Galata Tower. You might want to combine the visit.
  • We stopped by for the prayer at a mosque which is about midway between Istiklal Street to Karakoy tram station, on the right side.

Day 4 – 7 January 2015

Destination Time Transportation
1 Dolmabahce Palace 09.00-12.00 Tram to Kabatas
2 Bosphorus Cruise 12.00-15.00 Dentur Avrasya in Kabatas
3 Kiz Kulesi 15.00-18.30 Ferry to Uskudur from Kabatas, Walk to Transfer Dock, Ferry to Kiz Kulesi
4 Return to Sultanahmet 18.30-19.30 Walk to Uskudar, Marmaray Line Train to Sirkeci, and Tram to Sultanahmet
  • There is a café inside the area of Dolmabahce Palace. But they only sell light snack and drinks.
  • During the cruise, the operator also sells food; some sandwiches, chips, and drinks.
  • With Bosphorus cruise, you can see Ortakoy Square, Besiktas, Rumeli Hisari Fortress, Ciragan Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, and some other interesting views.
  • While walking to transfer dock to Kiz Kulesi, we stopped by at Semsi Ahmet Pasa Camii, and performed the prayer there. The mosque is just next to the bus stop at Uskudar.
  • The transfer by ferry to Kiz Kulesi is every 30 minutes, and it costs 20 TL round trip per person. I guess that is the price for visiting the tower, including the transfer from and to.
  • Our original plan was to visit the Ortakoy Square during sunset, but we went to Kiz Kulesi instead, since in the previous day we couldn’t make it.

Day 5 – 8 January 2015

Destination Time Transportation
1 Sultanahmet Camii 08.30-09.00 Walk
2 Basilica Cistern 09.00-10.00 Walk
3 Arasta Bazaar 10.00-11.00 Walk
  • Arasta Bazaar is next to Sultanahmet Camii. In case you need to buy some extra souvenirs, you can find many things there.

Some general quick tips :

  • For transport from/to the airport, it’s suggested to contact the hotel to have a pick up. I paid 35 euro for each trip from/to Attaturk airport.
  • You can also contact some dedicated airport transfer company. For sultanahmet area, they charge 25 euro.
  • For travelling between places, you can use trams/trains, buses, and ferries. And you need to have Istanbul Card to pay the fare.
  • Istanbul Card can be purchased in most of the tram stations for 6 TL. Some newspaper/food stalls sell it for 10 TL.
  • Fare for Trams/Trains, Buses, and Ferries is 2.15 TL regardless of distance travelled.
  • You can use one Istanbul Card for the whole family.
  • Train network map is here.
  • For the Bosphorus/Golden Horn Cruise, you can use Dentur Avrasya from Kabatas or Sehir Hatlari from Eminonu.
  • In my opinion, the above cruise operators are the most efficient in terms of price, route, and timing.
  • The hotel and some tour guides will offer you the cruise trip, but the price they quote will be a lot more expensive.
  • Most of the museums do not allow us to bring tripod.
  • Galata Tower do not allow us to bring tripod. Basilica Cistern will charge some fee for using tripod.
  • In some areas of the museums, taking photo is prohibited.
  • Inside the Dolmabahce Palace, taking photo is strictly prohibited.

Well, I guess as a summary this is getting too long 🙂

I have so much to tell. I’ll see you soon with the detail of each day of the trip to Istanbul.