Planning a Trip to Istanbul!

famous landscape of Istanbul with Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia rising on the ancient walls of Istanbul
The Landscape of Old Town Istanbul with Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque


Considering its long imperial history since the antiquity, Istanbul exhibits one of the richest cultural treasures among the cities of the world. The young and dynamic residents of Istanbul make its streets and squares colorful and full of life. Therefore, the sky is the limit considering the countless options to see and do in Istanbul.   

In short, millions of travelers coming to Istanbul should manage their time as much as possible to get the most out of their experience. A huge portion of Istanbul’s visitors come for 3-Day trips or a “long weekend”, which means like a 60 to 80 hours of traveling time between Friday morning and Monday evening.

Let’s start with an Istanbul program for 3 days recommended by our expert guides to get a good idea. Of course, it is a pretty demanding itinerary. So, you may take a few of the activities as optional or stretch out the list for a 4-Day program in Istanbul, if you have the flexibility.

What to do in Istanbul in 3 Days?

First of all, the good news is that three days might be enough to see great sights of Istanbul, Moreover, you may add a few off-the-beaten track quarters as well with a well-planned schedule. So, the good news is that it might be quite satisfactory and memorable as long as you do not try to catch and see everything at once.

There are a few important things to know to shape your schedule:

Primarily, the location-based planning really matters since Istanbul is a giant metropolitan city. In order to avoid the dangers of losing time and a terrible turn-off in the traffic, we usually suggest daily courses concentrated around one or two certain areas each day.

The tours and activities around three different major parts could be combined for a perfect trip to Istanbul. More specifically, these areas are the ancient square in the old town, the shores of Bosphorus and neighborhoods around Taksim and Galata. must fit well in order to maximize your time while traveling in Istanbul.

Second, timings matter as well for such popular places with timely entrances. For instance, planning an afternoon visit to Hagia Sophia or Blue Mosque is a mistake because of the daily prayer times. On the other hand, for a detailed visit to the Topkapi Palace including the Harem section and/or Hagia Irene, you should be there at least two hours before its closing time.

Another important point to know, to get the most out of your Istanbul trip is keeping a balance between history and today. Istanbul has an unmatched historical heritage except a couple of cities on the world. Therefore, everybody must enjoy witnessing the traces centuries through the marvels of different cultures. But, meanwhile, do not forget about the actual living city around the ancient quarters. Only after blending in contemporary parts, your trip will make you feel complete via with quality food or just people-watching in a café. 

Here you may find our 3-Day Istanbul itinerary centered around the main themes for each day. Of course, consider to change the days according to the days you arrive or to the level of intensity you would prefer at your first day or even to the location of your stay.

To save time and money, consider the services below to execute your travel plans smoothly! 



  Day-1  Day-2 Day-3

Hagia Sophia (Fridays)

Spice Market

Dolmabahçe Palace Museum


Blue Mosque (Fridays)

Bosphorus Tour

Ferry to Asian Side of Istanbul

  Basilica Cistern  

Kadikoy Market


Topkapi Palace (Tuesdays Closed)

Istiklal Street

Turkish Bath – Hammam Experience



Galata Tower


Dinner Cruise

Whirling Dervish