Istanbul in two days


This guide of Istanbul in two days It will allow you to tour the main tourist attractions of an impressive city, bridge between Asia and Europe, which we are sure, will make you fall in love as soon as you arrive.
Although we understand that 2 days is a short time to get to know this city well, we assure you that if you optimize the routes on foot and by public transport, you can have a very complete view of Istanbul, where in addition to visiting the most emblematic points of interest such as mosques and Topkapi Palace, you can try the delicious Turkish cuisine, beyond the kebab, and enjoy the great atmosphere that is formed in markets and squares.

Based on the four days we spent in the city, after which we wrote this guide to travel to Turkey, we have made this itinerary of Istanbul in 2 days, making the most of time. We start!

Practical advice for Istanbul

This list of practical recommendations can help you get to know and understand the city faster:

  • To learn more about the history and have a good first contact with the city, it is advisable to book this free tour of Istanbul Free! or if you are more people, book this private tour, both with a guide in Spanish.
  • Buy the Istanbulkart rechargeable card to use in all public transport in the city.
  • Avoid taxis as much as possible and if you use it, you better ask for it from the hotel or restaurant, knowing in advance the price of the trip.
  • If in addition to knowing Istanbul you are going to make a route through the country, we recommend following this list of places to visit in Turkey essential
  • Friday is a day of prayer and there are restrictions to access the interior of the mosques, keep this in mind if your visit coincides with this day.
  • Shorts, tank tops, and women must cover their hair with a handkerchief to enter the mosques.
  • Do not forget to take out good travel insurance to have the best medical care in the best hospitals in the city without paying anything. We always travel insured with Mondo And he has always been the best travel companion.
  • Use the N26 card to pay and the BNEXT card to get money from the ATMs. You will have the current change and will not be charged commission.

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

Where to sleep

As accommodation for this Istanbul in two days We recommend the Adamar Hotel, with fantastic views of the city from its terrace and The Million Stone Hotel, both located in the center, a few meters from the most symbolic places in the city such as Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia. In addition to its excellent location and good communication with the city's airports, both hotels have 24-hour reception and one of the best quality / price ratios in Istanbul.

How to get from the airport to Istanbul

The best options for transferring to the hotel from the two Istanbul airports (New Airport and Sabiha Gökçen) are:

  • Subway: at the beginning of 2020 it will be active at the New Airport, the M11 subway line that will allow you to reach the center in a short time.
  • Bus: Havabüs will leave you to Taksim Square from Sabiha Gökçen airport in 90 minutes for 2.5 euros. At the New Airport you have the IST-19 and IST-20 bus lines that will leave you at the Taksim and Sultanahmet stops in 80 minutes for 3 euros.
  • Private transport: When booking this comfortable transfer here a driver will wait for you at the arrivals terminal raising a sign with your name and will take you to your hotel in an hour, depending on traffic.
  • Cab: The price of a taxi to the center from the Sabiha Gökçen is 25 euros and from the New Airport 30 euros.

For more information about the transfer you can consult this post on how to go from the Istanbul airport to the center.

First day in Istanbul

The route of the first day of Istanbul in two days It begins arriving before 9 in the morning at the entrance of the Topkapi Palace, power center of the former Ottoman Empire, where when the doors open you will see incredible rooms such as the Treasury and the Harem, as well as fantastic views of the Bosphorus Strait , which separates Asia from Europe.
When leaving the palace you will pass in front of the Basilica of Santa Sofía, which you will visit tomorrow next to the Blue Mosque, to reach the Basilica Cistern, which you will visit today and where you will see a reservoir that could store about 100,000 m3 of water and where you can look for the famous jellyfish head hidden at the base of one of the 336 columns of the building.

Map of the route of the second day in Istanbul