My 5-Day Istanbul Itinerary
Fascinating, noisy, crowded, big, cosmopolitan — it’s impossible to describe Istanbul using just one word.
Like Janus, the Ancient Roman god who is depicted as having two faces, Istanbul has a twofold nature: it’s the only city in the world that’s spread over two continents, Europe and Asia.
Here is where the East meets the West, where modernity meets tradition.
I spent 5 days in Istanbul and I was really enthralled — I encourage everyone to visit the modern Constantinople if they have the opportunity.
I will tell you more about my trip, sharing a few useful travel tips along the way.
Day 1 — Galata Tower & Neighbourhood, Karaköy
First off, before I get into describing what I think is an ideal 5-day Istanbul itinerary, I will tell you where I, with my husband and a friend, decided to stay.
🏨 Istanbul is huge and there are many different areas. Personally, I recommend staying in the Beyoglu district. Beyoglu and adjacent Galata are nice neighbourhoods full of shops, bars, and restaurants, and they’re two of the city’s best spots for nightlife. My hotel was also very close to Istiklal Caddesi, a popular shopping avenue which runs from Taksim Square all the way to the Galata Tower. The flip side is that the area is quite busy (and noisy) both day and night.
✈️ I travelled from Athens, Greece, landing at the Istanbul airport (which is the biggest airport) on the European side. There is also another, smaller one on the Asian side. Both are quite far from the city centre, and unfortunately not well-connected. We took a private shuttle, which I had previously arranged through the hotel. Other safe and comfortable options are taxis, car rentals, and airport shuttles. Getting to the city centre should take around 40 minutes, but roads are very crowded and traffic is usually congested, so it may take much longer.