Istanbul in 2 Days: The Perfect Two Days Itinerary

So many things to do and see, it can be overwhelming to plan a short trip to this enchanting city. But worry not, as this 2-day itinerary will guide you through the must-see attractions and experiences, ensuring you make the most of your time in Istanbul.

Day 1: Exploring Sultanahmet

Hagia Sophia

Start your day with a visit to the iconic Hagia Sophia, a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture that has served as a cathedral, mosque, and now a museum. Marvel at its stunning mosaics and the massive dome that seems to float above the vast interior.

Blue Mosque

Just a short walk from Hagia Sophia, you’ll find the Blue Mosque, another architectural gem. Admire its six minarets and the beautiful blue Iznik tiles that adorn its interior.

Topkapi Palace

Next, head to Topkapi Palace, the opulent residence of Ottoman sultans for centuries. Explore its lavish courtyards, chambers, and the famous Harem, where the sultan’s wives and concubines lived.

Basilica Cistern

Delve underground to visit the Basilica Cistern, an ancient subterranean water storage system. Walk among its 336 marble columns and be sure to spot the two Medusa head column bases.

Grand Bazaar

End your day with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets. Wander through its labyrinthine alleys, bargaining for souvenirs, spices, and textiles.

Day 2: Discovering Modern Istanbul

Taksim Square

Begin your second day in Istanbul at Taksim Square, the heart of modern Istanbul. Surrounded by shops, restaurants, and historic sites, it’s a bustling hub of activity.

Istiklal Street

Stroll along Istiklal Street, a lively pedestrian boulevard lined with shops, cafes, and galleries. Don’t miss the historic tram that runs along its length.

Galata Tower

Head to the Galata Tower for stunning panoramic views of Istanbul. This medieval stone tower offers a bird’s-eye view of the city’s skyline, including the Bosphorus Strait and the Golden Horn.

Spice Bazaar

Visit the Spice Bazaar, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar, to immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and fragrances of spices, teas, and Turkish delight.

Bosphorus Cruise

Finally, cap off your 2-day itinerary with a relaxing Bosphorus cruise. Sail along the strait that separates Europe and Asia, taking in the stunning views of Istanbul’s skyline, waterfront mansions, and historic sites. With this 2-day itinerary, you’ll experience the best of Istanbul, from its historic landmarks to its modern charms. So pack your bags and get ready to explore this captivating city that offers a unique blend of cultures, flavors, and experiences.


Is it worth going to Istanbul for 2 days?

Yes, while 2 days is a short time to explore the richness of Istanbul, you can still experience some of its key attractions and get a taste of its unique blend of cultures. Even a brief visit to this historic city is memorable.

What is a must-try in Istanbul?

There are many must-try experiences in Istanbul:

  • Historical Sites: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace.
  • Bazaars: Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar.
  • Cuisine: Try traditional dishes like baklava, kebabs, manti, and Turkish delight. Don’t forget the Turkish tea and coffee.
  • Bosphorus Cruise: A boat ride on the Bosphorus gives a unique perspective of the city and bridges two continents, Asia and Europe.

How many days are best to visit Istanbul?

Ideally, spending 4-7 days allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the history, culture, and daily life of Istanbul. This provides time to explore major tourist spots, bazaars, neighborhoods, and enjoy the local cuisine at a comfortable pace. However, even with shorter stays, one can still have a fulfilling experience.