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Istanbul. 4-ish days. 60tg. Advice!!

11 replies

Miljea · 29/12/2019 23:54

😊

Following a previous thread (MN, this is not a TAAT! πŸ˜‚) I am thinking about arranging a 3-4 full day trip for DH's 60th to Istanbul.

When should we go? April-Aug? Yes, I know Not August! πŸ˜‚ Hotel, where? Any holiday company recommendations? We usually Airbnb with the DSs, but they're now post-18. And, for a long weekend, I don't want to shop and cook. Beyond coffee and pastries.

We aren't looking 5 star; a basic, well located, clean hotel room with air con and en-suite will do us. No disco or karaoke needed. We never tend to eat at our hotel unless the breakfast is included and reasonable. A central Airbnb apartment is also fine!

We aren't afraid of local transport or cafes, and are happy to walk, so no back to back 'excursions' for us, where you're corralled into one carpet shop, one 'mint-tea experience' etc. We aren't 1980's Americans! 😊

Any thoughts? Any 'must sees' beyond the obvious?

Thanks!

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Miljea · 29/12/2019 23:55

Aaand- spelling mistake in the title πŸ™„

My DH's 60th birthday!

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marialuisa · 30/12/2019 07:21

Swissotel was great but we went in August so we’re very grateful for the pool! 5.Kat bar and restaurant has amazing views over the Bosphorus and is kind of fun. Food was a bit average though.

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The2Ateam · 30/12/2019 07:24

Don’t go in August. April and May are the best times for Istanbul.

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Iwantmychairback · 30/12/2019 07:42

We went December. Perfect weather, so I would say go early or late in the year.
Great place very easy to get around but traffic is so, so busy. Watch out for the street sellers who really pester you, you need to be able to say no and walk away.
We had no lengthy queues to see anything.

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ElloBrian · 30/12/2019 07:49

I stayed at the Empress Zoe, which is lovely and a bit quirky. This hammam nearby is a must!

www.ayasofyahamami.com/

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MercedesDeMonteChristo · 30/12/2019 08:13

I got married at Swissotel. It’s stunning as you walk through the doors and are met with the Bosporus. I’ve normally stayed at the Conrad in Besiktas which is great for walking down to the water, Ortakoy for an evening and Dolmabahce Palace is nearby and the ferry port to get you to Kadikoy on the Asian side to eat at Yanyali Fehmi.

Most likely though, you will want to stay perhaps in Taksim which is the modern part and easy to get to Besiktas but also easy into Sultanahmet where places like Topkapi are. If you see one thing make it this. There is a local theatre that has Sema (Whirling Dervish) shows but I can’t remember the name of the theatre. Yildiz Park by the Conrad is lovely and has a small palace but not sure if you can go in.

There are some lovely golden age/Agatha Christie type places around, though I’ve blanked on those.

You could stay at Beylerbeyi Palace hotel but it’s on the Asian side so needs the ferry trip- but I love the ferry.

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MercedesDeMonteChristo · 30/12/2019 08:13

P.S. I would go April-May.

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Istical · 30/12/2019 08:23

Sultanahmet or Eminonu are the best places to stay for the tourist sites. That said the public transport is so good you can stay anywhere on the metro or tram lines and get into downtown quickly and cheaply. There are literally thousands of hotels offering basic rooms and a Turkish breakfast. If you want something a bit nicer the Dosso Dossi or Pierre Loti both in Sultanahmet are lovely. The Loti has a really nice roof terrace with great views.
It's hot in the summer, and can get as cold as the UK in the winter, so spring is a good time to visit.
If you're using public transport you'll need and Istanbulkart. You can get them at the airport. If you're using the new airport IST rather than Sabia SAW you can use this to get into town for a few TL on the Havaist busses. Much cheaper than a taxi or transfer.

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OceanSunFish · 30/12/2019 08:26

We went in Aug (school holidays) and the heat / crowds were not as bad as I expected. Booking.com is a good website for accommodation options.

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Bobbindale · 30/12/2019 08:27

I'd definitely go in the spring. We went one April, still needed a light jacket most of the time, but much better than doing all that walking in heat. Our hotel was rubbish but if I went again I'd definitely stay near it, right by the Blue Mosque. All the sights are literally next door to each other so it's really not worth staying anywhere but Sultanahmet. The only places we went that weren't right next to each other were the museum (rami koc I think? We really enjoyed it there), Pierre Lotti (lovely views) and Istiklal Avenue. The first two are stops on the tour bus, which would be the easiest ways to reach them I think, they seemed a bit far flung. We also got a museum pass mainly to get into Aya Sofya, which was worth it just to cut the queue. It was heaving even that early in the season, so dread to think what summer would be like. Also a bonus for doing early April is catching all the masses of tulips in Gulhane Park. Hope you have a lovely time! Dead jealous. Smile

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mepan · 31/12/2019 06:13

We went in September for 4 nights and stayed in the sura hagia sophia hotel in the sultanhamet area. Lovely hotel with a pool. All the touristy things just a short walk away and plenty cafes and restaurants in the area. My absolute favourite was the hagia sophia museum. So much history. We bought an Istanbul tourist pass which worked well for us and saw loads in our time there. The people were so friendly and never felt unsafe at any time there. Would recomend Istanbul as a city break.

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