Discover Istanbul – An Ultimate 4 Days Itinerary

Istanbul, the vibrant capital of Turkey, is a city full of charm where the past coexists with the present, and each step reveals a reminder of days gone by.  From the historic sites of Sultanahmet and the 19th-century European eloquence of Beyoglu to the high fashion of Nişantaş, Istanbul has everything to make your trip blast.

So if you want to travel to Istanbul, then there is no need to plan a one-month trip when you make it all in just 4 days by staying within your budget. And in this article, we will provide you with a precise plan for a 4-day Istanbul Itinerary itinerary, including what to do and where to eat and stay.

So let’s hover over your short 4-day trip plan to the largest city in Turkey.

Istanbul Top Tips 

  1. Local Sim: Vodafone is what I used and the most reliable provider according to locals and even for tourists. This package (the only option available to foreigners) includes 20GB of data, calls and texts, and unlimited access to Whatsapp for 350 Turkish Lira. Take a hard copy of your passport with you for registration. You can even purchase it at Istanbul Airport or Sabiha Gökcen Airport
  2. Public Transport: If you want to take public transport (bus, metro, ferry, tram, etc.) during your stay in Turkey, you will need a transport ticket (Istanbul Kart for the city of Istanbul). A single fare with the IstanbulKart costs 7.67 TRY.
  3. Taxi: All local taxis in Istanbul are equipped with meters, the meter starts at 5 Turkish Lira (just over US$1) and is usually very safe. I even used Taxi apps such as ITaksi, BiTaksi and Uber
  4. Best time to visit: Avoid visiting in summers, the city attracts almost 14 million visitors during this time. Best time to visit is between April-May or September-October.

An ultimate 4 day Istanbul Itinerary

Day 1 

Explore The Old City Of Sultanahmet

Strolling through Sultanahmet’s tranquilizing and ancient streets, paved with culture and imperial history, antique bazaars abound with world-class eateries and much more to explore. It is a great yet stunning destination to start your Istanbul trip.

1. Explore Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque

Hagia Sophia is hailed as a masterpiece of architectural design. The exterior of the building is just as crucial to see as the mosque’s interior. With its courtyards, gardens, and private areas, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable beauty. To explore this magnificence, you don’t need to pay any entry fee.

Hagia Sopia Istanbul_WhereSachi

2. Visit The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque, or Sultan Ahmet Camii, is an exemplary symbol of this historical peninsula. The interior of the majestic Ottoman mosque is covered in Blue Iznik tiles. With its exquisite pattern of climbing domes and six minarets, and the use of modern architectural and ornamental features, Blue Mosque is a must-see attraction. Entry to the mosque is free of any required cost.

3. Get to the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts displays artifacts from the Ottoman Empire, the Seljuk empire, and earlier eras. It exhibits an amazing collection of tiles, rugs, glassware, ceramics, and calligraphy. It is known to be one of the most significant museums in the world. It has the world’s richest collection of carpets, the reason owing to its popularity.

4. Explore Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern is the largest underground cistern in the great city of Istanbul. It has 336 columns, with each one being 9 meters long. A plethora of cultural traits can be seen in each column’s heading. You will be amazed to find 2 Medusa sculptures placed inside the cistern.

Basilica Cistern_WhereSachi


Tip for visiting mosques: Both men and women should be dressed modestly according to Islamic culture. Please keep in mind there are five times for prayers; visit outside these times.

Day 2 

Travel To Bazaar District and Explore Bosphorus

Istanbul boasts extraordinary architecture. On your second day of this 4-day expedition, explore the other side of Istanbul. It’s time to wander around the colorful markets of the city. Some serious shopping should be on any tourist’s itinerary.

1. Visit the City’s Biggest Market

When you are planning your Istanbul Itinerary include Spice Bazaar as it is considered to be one of Istanbul’s biggest markets. One of Istanbul’s most vibrant bazaars sells a wide variety of spices, Turkish sweets, caviar, dried nuts, and other items. Without visiting the evocative Spice Bazaar, no trip to Istanbul is completed.

Isntabul itinerary

2. Explore the Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar blends the classic with the contemporary and serves an exciting experience for dining, shopping, and entertainment. Experience the thrill of shopping in a traditional souk by strolling around the sparkling bazaar. Rich tapestries, carpets, and exquisite handicrafts with various cultural influences are found there.

Istanbul Grand Bazaar_Wheresachi


3. Experience Bosphorus Sunset Cruise

The Bosphorus Sunset Cruise offers its visitors the chance to discover and enjoy the distinct historical charms of the Bosphorus in an exciting atmosphere. Magnificent mosques, famous sites, and the Galata Tower, which dominates the metropolis, can be seen while on the cruise. Bring your camera so you can catch the gorgeous Istanbul skyline.

Isntabul itinerary

4. Whirling Dervish Experience

When planning your Istanbul Itinerary, Whirling Dervish is a must-visit! It is a traditional Sufi dance that originated in Konya, Turkey, and is still performed today in Istanbul. It is considered a must-visit because it is not only a beautiful and mesmerizing dance performance, but it also has a deep spiritual significance and cultural importance.

Day 3 

Day To Explore The Modern Landmarks, Sunsets and Relax

On the third day of your Istanbul trip, you need to travel to Turkey’s modern landmarks. It’s time to explore attractions like the National Palaces Painting Museum and the Dolmabahçe Palace. And a lavish sunset cruise on the Bosphorus River will end the day.

1. Stroll Around Dolmabahçe Palace

The Dolmabahçe Palace is located in the Besiktas neighborhood. It is adorned with gold and gems. The palace is currently one of Istanbul’s most popular tourist destinations. Visitors to the palace can ogle the opulent interiors, wander through the courtyards, and discover what it was like for the sultans and their families in the 19th century.

2. Visit the National Palaces Painting Museum

The museum opened at the Crown Prince Residence of Dolmabahçe Palace in 2014. With more than 553 unique works of art from the Ottoman era, the National Palaces Painting Museum has swiftly established itself as a hub of art and culture in Istanbul. The museum showcases a rich collection of art pieces from famous artists and painters.

3. Indulge in a traditional bath at Aga Hamami

You have to include a Hamami experience as part of your Istanbul Itinerary. Aga Hamami is a traditional Turkish bathhouse located in Istanbul. It was built in the 15th century during the Ottoman Empire and has been restored to its original grandeur. Aga Hamami also features a stunning domed ceiling, intricate tile work, and traditional architecture that gives visitors a glimpse into Turkey’s rich cultural history. It’s a must-visit and should be part of your istanbul itinerary.

Day 4 

Wander Around The Street and experience the best Views Of Istanbul

On the last day of your unforgettable journey, add the best of the places to your Istanbul Itinerary. As these sites are scattered away, we advise you to take a private cab and live most out of the last moments.

Let’s make the final day more leisurely and less frantic.

1.  Istiklal Street, Beyoğlu and Taksim Square

Walk down Istiklal Street and a pedestrian-only street that is lined with shops, restaurants, cafes, and historical buildings. It’s a great place to take a leisurely stroll and people-watch. Istiklal Street and Beyoglu are known for their vibrant nightlife. There are numerous bars, clubs, and music venues to choose from with Galata Tower being right around the corner on the next road. Also check out Taksim Square, hosting some of the best and popular eating spots, shopping places and a buzzing vibe!

2. Galata Tower

Galata Tower is one of Istanbul’s most stunning and well-known landmarks. Make sure to peruse the area’s many small, independently owned-stores. The tower offers a breathtaking view of the Historical Peninsula nearby.

Isntabul itinerary

3. Explore the colorful roads at Balat and Fener

Explore one of Istanbul’s hottest neighborhoods, Balat/Fener. These colorful districts with Jewish and Greek roots are both known for their antique shops, tiny laneways and vibrant/colourful painted houses

4. Enjoy Sightseeing at the Princes’ Island

On your journey to Istanbul, prepare to discover Heybeliada and Buyukada, Turkey’s two largest Princes’ Islands. While traveling in a horse-drawn carriage, see the islands’ aesthetic surroundings and discover more about their history.

Explore how Princes’ Island was previously utilized as a haven for exiled dignitaries and nobility and what it was like to live in a monastic community during the Byzantine-Christian era.

Where to Eat at Princes Islands?

Here are some famous restaurants’ suggestions to dine at in the Princes’ Islands:

Where to Stay?

End your trip by spending a night at the best luxury hotels on Princes’ Island.

Where to eat in Istanbul

Istanbul is known for its incredible cuisine, which is a fusion of Turkish, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern flavors. Known for its kebabs, mezze, donors, meats and turkish delights, Istanbul is a hot spot for all food lovers! You can check out this article I have written rounding up the 17 best restaurants you must try in Istanbul.

Where to Stay in Istanbul

  • Budget

Agora Guesthouse: This charming guesthouse is located in the trendy Beyoglu neighborhood and offers private rooms and dorms at a reasonable price. It’s a great option for budget-conscious travelers who still want to be in the heart of the action.

  • Mid-Range

Hotel Amira Istanbul: Located in the Sultanahmet neighborhood, Hotel Amira Istanbul offers spacious and comfortable rooms and suites at a mid-range price point.

  • Boutique

CVK Taksim: Featuring elegantly decorated rooms with individual characters, this 4-star hotel towers over Taksim Square, in the heart of the Beyoğlu district. Its glass-walled Mediterranean restaurant offers sweeping Bosphorus views.

  • Luxury

Shangri-La Bosphorus: Located on the banks of the Bosphorus, this luxurious hotel offers spacious and elegant rooms and suites with spectacular views of the water.

A Goodbye Note

So what do you think of your Istanbul Itinerary now? Do you think you need more than four days to explore it all? We know your answer and that our guide will help you plan your trip amazingly. So why wait? Just book your tickets and explore Istanbul like a pro in just four days.
















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Discover Istanbul – An Ultimate 4 Days Itinerary