Begin your day in the neighbourhood of Ortaköy with breakfast at a local café. You can sip a cup of Turkish coffee while you take in views of the water. Nearby, the local flea market is filled with crafts and souvenirs from area merchants. Not far from Ortaköy, the extravagant palace of Dolmabahçe is a symbol of the area's vibrant past. Dating from the 19th century, it served as a residence for Ottoman sultans. The French-inspired structure blends baroque and rococo styles and is open for tours.
After you pass palaces, you can have a sip of Turkish coffee at one of the trendy cafes in the popular district Karaköy. After a short walk crossing the historical Galata Bridge on the Golden Horn you will feel “Where East meets West”: At the far end of bridge, the famous Spice Market fills the air with the fragrant scents of spices and herbal teas. On the left, a big modern city and on the right, the old city with palaces and mosques.
Start the evening with a walk in the historic Sultanahmet district, home to some of Istanbul's most famous buildings. Topkapı Palace was a royal residence of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 400 years. Nearby, the famed church of Hagia Sophia is not to be missed. Be sure to shop for jewellery, ceramics and textiles at the Grand Bazaar, then relax with a traditional Turkish bath at Cağaloğlu Hamam. If time allows, explore the Bosphorus. Boat tours leave from Eminönü Pier next to Galata Bridge.
Ataturk (the founder of the modern Turkish Republic) stayed here when in Istanbul and died here on the morning of November 10, 1938. Clocks throughout the palace are permanently stopped at five minutes past nine, the time of his death.
The Grand Bazaar (Covered Bazaar)
The Grand Bazaar is the oldest covered bazaar in the world, with more than 3,500 shops.
The Tunel Metro is the shortest underground railway in the world and also one of the oldest, built in 1871-76. It takes just 90 seconds to travel between Tunel square and Karakoy Square.