3 Amazing Days in Istanbul Part II

View of Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul

Missed Day I? Check it out here!


View of Galata Bridge

After spending the first day in Istanbul in the Old City, visiting mosques and palaces and the Grand Bazaar, it’s time to continue our historic stroll and slowly move toward a different kind of shopping. We’ll start at the Galata Bridge (maybe after a quick snack in Eminonu, before crossing the bridge (I recommend doing it on foot, to thoroughly enjoy it).

After making it across the bridge, it’s time to climb up the stairs and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city that the Galata Tower will treat you to (see above). If you love taking photos from up top, Galata Tower will be to your liking. It also might be the place to eat, if you want to take in the city while enjoying your meal. But if you’re following this guide, there won’t be any time for it!

But don’t worry, you’d still get to enjoy delicious Turkish food later on! Focus on spotting the places you’ve already seen or those you are planning on visiting later on that day.

Galata Tower view from a ferry boat ride across continents

Galata Tower view from a ferry boat ride across continents

The next stop is Dolmabahce Palace (Dolmabahce Sarayi), an architectural jewel bending the Ottoman style with elements of Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical architecture. Home to six sultans and presidential residence for Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, this is the one Istanbul attraction you just don’t want to miss! That means you’ll have to be a bit smarter than me 🙂 I’ve been to Istanbul three times so far. You’d think I’ve visited the palace and you’d be wrong! The first time there was no time, the second time we were careless enough not to check the schedule and went on our last day – a Monday, when everything was closed, and the third time… Well, I didn’t feel very well that day! Check the visiting hours here. Also, keep in mind that there is a daily visitor limit of 3000, so try to get there as early as possible.

View of Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul

View of Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul

The palace will take quite a bit of your time, so you might be in for a rather late lunch that day. Make sure you don’t skip breakfast! When you’re done, we’re getting back around the Galata Tower general area and heading to Taksim. View of Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul and the surrounding area are famed for their shops, restaurants and hotels.

The square is also home to the Monument of the Republic and… the one place in the world where yours truly got to enjoy her very first Starbucks coffee (an addiction to later develop to maturity in New York City). Taksim Square is also the place for public events and concerts. On my second trip to Istanbul, we attended the New Year’s Eve concert, fireworks and generally wild celebration here.

New Year Eve Party Taksim

New Year Eve Party in Taksim


As you’re definitely hungry by now, make your way to the Istiklal Avenue (Istiklal Caddesi or Independence Avenue), a very long and very lively pedestrian street where you’ll have your choice of restaurants and shops. We just randomly entered a restaurant that was empty (then full 30 minutes into our meal) and enjoyed a delightful dish called Iskender. Have your choice of beef or lamb, either way you will love it! It’s then time to stroll down the street and enjoy your Istanbul shopping session. We were mostly interested in sampling all kinds of Turkish delight and drooling over… well, you have to see it to understand!

Mysterious dessert being prepared.

Mysterious dessert being prepared.


Yeah! Huge and sweet and I still immediately start drooling the moment I see this and remember the delightful aroma you could feel from outside! While you’re enjoying the treasures of Turkish cuisine and get fully immersed in your shopping experience, make sure you also spot the historic red tram that goes up and down this street and the world’s second-oldest subway station, Tunel (The Tunnel), which entered service in 1875. The Tunnel is located on the southern end of the street.

Taksim, Istanbul

Taksim, always super busy

It might be wise to avoid this particular area during the weekend, unless you don’t mind huge crowds. About 3 million people stroll up and down this street on any weekend day.

If you still have time before your dinner (again, just pick any restaurant in the area, they’re all bound to be good and they’re not that expensive given the popularity of the area), check out Taksim Park, the Atatuk Cultural Center or the Opera House.

Continue your adveture here:

3 Amazing Days in Istanbul — Part III

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3 Amazing Days in Istanbul Part II 3 Amazing Days in Istanbul Part II