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A Perfect Day in Istanbul

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A perfect day in Istanbul involves indulging the senses with experiences as diverse as this vast and wondrous city. Spend the morning wondering at the Christian and Islamic architecture—taking a break to taste the best baklava in Istanbul. In the afternoon, retreat to a luxury hammam to be enveloped in soapy bubbles; later, relax in a popular rooftop restaurant to hear the call to prayer echo throughout the city. Just one perfect day in Istanbul will leave your senses craving more!
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Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34410 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The Basilica Cistern is a must-see on any Istanbul itinerary. If you take a tour of the city, you may see major mosques, houses, and churches, but this is a truly unique experience. It is located right across the street from the entrance to Aya...
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Beyazıt Mh., 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Soon after conquering Constantinople and defeating the Byzantines in 1453, Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II commissioned the beginnings of the Grand Bazaar to reinvigorate trade with the city. More than 550 years later, the bazaar is one of the oldest...
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Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, Erzak Ambarı Sok. No:92, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Smaller than the Grand Bazaar but more intense, the Spice Market is equal parts tourist trap and necessary shopping stop for cooks and foodies. Meet the original spice girl at Ucuzcular (remember Area 51 to find her booth), one of the few...
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Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Adorned with more than 20,000 blue handcrafted İznik tiles, stained-glass windows, and the golden brushstrokes of a 17th-century calligrapher, the Blue Mosque is the legacy of Sultan Ahmet I (1590–1617). The young sultan audaciously wished...
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Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Walk into Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) and look up to the heavens to see why so many conquerors and their respective religions claimed this basilica turned mosque turned museum as their own. Visitors will swoon over the Byzantine gilded mosaics,...
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Sultan Ahmet Parkı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
When the sun finally dips behind the minaret skyline and the moon starts to rise, Sultanahmet Park—between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia—brightens up with a colourful lighting display. In summer enjoy the show by savoring a creamy Turkish ice...
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Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
If these palace walls could talk they’d recite plans for military campaigns and tales of love, lust and betrayal that make this former residence and imperial seat of the Ottoman Empire so intriguing. Walk the tile-and-mosaic-lined corridors...
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Cankurtaran Mh., Mimar Mehmet Ağa Cd., 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Savvy to the hippodrome, We Greek in Turkey As we roam. A place to drive the camels and the horses Dromedary dallying as we ruminate on Rumi And the tallying of cultures that can accrue In a region’s history. Races to pass the time Different...
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Istanbul, Turkey
One morning outside Sultanahmet I saw what I believe to be a suffi. He looked somewhat like a Turkish version of Santa Claus (which was odd because it was late December), but I don't really know what else he would be with that beard.
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Cankurtaran Mh., Tevkifhane Sk. No:8, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
My ultimate favourite thing to do to end a perfect day in Istanbul is to scale the heights of Sultanahmet’s buildings to find a rooftop restaurant – known as a terrace restaurant. Some terraces, such as the Seven Hills Restaurant on Tevfikhane...
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No 54, Sultanahmet Mh., İstiklal Cd. No:50, 34435 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The hottest invite in Istanbul this summer seems to be, “Shall we meet at Mama Shelter?” And, when you arrive to the venue, high above the streets of bohemian Beyoglu, you can see why it’s popular with Istanbul’s sophisticated set. This vibrant,...
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Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Kulesi Sk., 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The medieval round Galata Tower built in 1348 has played many roles for Istanbul over the years: A watchtower for Bosphorus trade, an observation deck for spotting fires, the setting of a legendary flight across the Bosphorus, and now a tourist...