Places to visit in Istanbul in one day: must-see attractions

 In Places To Visit, Turkey

Istanbul, the vibrant metropolis bridging Europe and Asia, has a rich culture and immense history that dates back to 3000 years. It was once the capital of the Roman Empire, and the Byzantine Empire and is now the capital of Turkey. As a result, the city is filled with important historical and religious sites making it challenging to see everything in one day. The town is scattered with various remnants of its history, making it a perfect addition to your turkey travel packages, and new avenues that cast a spell on the minds of visitors.

In this guide, we have added a lot of the city’s highlights to explore in just one day. So from timeless mosques to beautiful local neighbourhoods, a lot of places to visit in Istanbul in one day are located extremely close to each other. The most popular way to get around is simply by walking. Thus comfortable shoes are a must.

In this guide, we have provided a comprehensive itinerary to help you make the most of your time in this city. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, Istanbul promises an unforgettable journey filled with discoveries at every turn.

The top 10 places to visit in Istanbul In one day are

  • Sultanahmet park
  • The blue mosque
  • Topkapi palace
  • Hippodrome of constantipole
  • Basilica cistern
  • Bosphorus river cruise
  • The grand bazaar
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Archaeological Museum
  • Galata Bridge & Galata tower

1. Sultanahmet Park


With only one day in Istanbul, an early start is needed to see the top attractions. Situated in the heart of the old city, spanning over 45000 square meters, filled with pretty flower beds, fountains an aesthetic white fence it is the perfect place to sit and watch the city come to life in the morning. 

Originally a part of the Byzantine era, one of its most prominent features is the obelisk of Theodosius, an ancient monument dating back to the 15th century. The park’s central location makes it an ideal starting point to explore nearby attractions like the blue mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace and must-see places to visit in Istanbul in one day. 

Entry fee: Free

2. The blue mosque


The blue mosque stands as one of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks, known for its stunning architecture and history. Completed in 1616, this masterpiece of Ottoman architecture is situated adjacent to Hagia Sophia. 

It is considered to be one of the most popular places to visit in Istanbul in one day which draws tons of visitors towards it due to its breathtaking beauty. This iconic attraction is a must-visit for every traveler and it gives a chance to the visitors to soak into the culture and tradition of the Islamic Ottoman Empire. This historic mosque features wonderfully curvaceous exteriors and six slender minarets. It got its nickname from the blue Iznik Tiles that are present inside the mosque. 

Entry fees: Free

Suggested Read: Top Restaurants in Turkey

3. Topkapi palace


Topkapi Palace, situated in the heart of Istanbul served as the primary residence of the administrative headquarters of the Ottoman Sultan for 400 years. It was constructed in the 15th century buying Sultan Mehmet II.

This palace is one of the most popular attractions in Istanbul and must-see places to visit in Istanbul in one day and served as the administrative quarter of the Ottoman rulers and is a must-see places to visit in Istanbul in one day. This complex features opulent courtyards lined with hand-painted tile work and decorated rooms. The main highlight of Topkapi Palace is the Harem, where the Sultan’s concubines used to spend their time. It also has an imperial council chamber, an imperial treasury, and a sacred safekeeping room.

Today Topkapi Palace stands as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It serves as a museum, inviting visitors to explore its halls, and architectural wonders and immerse themselves in the splendor of Ottoman culture and heritage.

Entry fee: 72 Liras

4. Hippodrome of constantipole


The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a vast chariot racing stadium and social center of the Byzantine Empire. It was constructed in the 3rd century, it underwent several expansions and renovations over the centuries. Spanning over 480 meters in length and 117 meters in width, the Hippodrome of Constantinople could accommodate up to 100000 spectators, making it one of the largest sporting and entertainment venues of its time.

In the Hippodrome there are two obelisks. The Obelisk of Theodosius is the ancient Egyptian obelisk of King Tuthmosis III. It was erected in the 15th century BC at the Temple of Karnak in Luxor. It was moved to Istanbul in the 4th century AD by Roman Emperor Theodosius I. The Walled Obelisk, the older-looking of the two obelisks, is younger than the Egyptian obelisk. It is a must-see places to visit in  Istanbul in one day.

Entry fees: Free

5. Basilica cistern


Basilica cistern was built in the sixth century by Justinian I, this sunken palace originally served as a water reservoir for the Byzantine city. Covering 9,800 m², there is undoubtedly a mystical beauty to the cistern along with an untouched feeling that instantly takes you back over 1000 years. Prominent at 336 support in marble columns that are arranged in 12 uniform rows. 

These were selected from other oldest structures throughout the Eastern Roman Empire and are all unique. When visiting make sure you look out for two columns near the back of the system that famously feature carvings of snake-haired medusa at their base. It is one of the must-see places to visit in Istanbul in one day.

Entry fees: 20 Lira

6. Bosphorus river cruise


Istanbul is home to the world’s narrowest strait, the Bosphorus. As the only passage between the black sea and the Mediterranean, it has always been strategically important. Today, the Bosphorus Strait is still a busy shipping route. Therefore another top places to visit in Istanbul in one day is to take an afternoon river cruise.

More than this a cruise along the Bosphorus allows you to see Istanbul from a different perspective. There is a lot more to discover along the waterway including fabulous Ottoman mansions and more dazzling mosques such as Ortakoy.

 Entry fees: 4900 INR onwards

7. The Grand Bazaar


This is the biggest covered market in the entire world and you can see people haggling to get the best deals. If you’re looking for the best Turkish delight then Grand Bazar is your idol stop and most things to do in Istanbul in one day. 

It consists of thousands of shops where you can buy everything ranging from silk garments to jewelry to leather and carpets. This Bazaar has 40 rest houses, 18 gates,61 covered streets, and 25,000 full-time staff. The 554-year-old Bazaar is the perfect place to end your tour by stocking up some souvenirs for your loved ones. It is an unmissable places to visit in Istanbul in one day.

Entry fees: Free

Suggested read: Places to visit in Turkey.

8. Hagia Sophia


It is only a short walk from the grand bazaar to Hagia Sophia. It is one of the oldest fully intact buildings in the world. It was built in 537AD, it is around 1500 years old. Originally constructed as a church by Emperor Justinian it served the Christian community of Constantinople for 916 years before being converted into a mosque following the Ottoman Invasion.

Turned into a museum in 1934 due to its unique and culturally diverse history, the centerpiece of Hagia Sophia is 30 meters wide dome 56 meters in height. Controversially Hagia Sophia was turned back into a mosque in 2020. Visitors are still welcome.

Entry fees: Free

9. Archaeological Museum


The museum is located in the district of Sultanahmet and is a treasure trove of ancient artifacts spanning thousands of years of history and must-see places to visit in Istanbul in one day. It has three main museums- The Archaeological Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient, and the Museum of Islamic Art. This complex also houses an extensive collection of archaeological finds from various civilizations.

The archaeological museum itself contains artifacts from Ancient Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece and includes sculptures, ceramics, coins, and sarcophagi. 

The Museum of the Ancient Orient focuses on the ancient Near East, displaying Cuneiform tablets and Assyrian reliefs. The Museum of Islamic Art showcases artifacts like textiles and manuscripts.

Entry fee: 100 Liras

10. Galata Bridge & Galata tower


Galata Tower -This medieval stone tower stands tall in the Galata neighborhood of Istanbul. Built by the Genoese in the 14th century as a part of their fortifications, this tower served various purposes throughout its existence, including as a watch tower, fire lookout, and even a prison. Rising to a height of 66.9 m, the Galata Tower offers a beautiful view of the city and the Bosphorus. Today it’s a popular tourist attraction, housing a cafe and observation deck where visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the Istanbul skyline and must-see places to visit in Istanbul in one day.

Galata Bridge – Spread over the Golden Horn, the Galata Bridge connects the neighborhoods of Eminonu and Galata. The current bridge, completed in 1994, replaced earlier iterations dating back to the Ottoman period. The bridge is not only a vital transportation artery, but it’s also a social hub bustling with activity. The Galata Bridge is also famous for its numerous restaurants located on floating pontoons where visitors can get fresh seafood.

Entry fees: 35 Turkish Liras for adults to enter Galata Tower.

Where can I eat during my one-day visit to Istanbul?

To eat Places to visit in Istanbul for one day are historic cafes such as Pierre Loti cafe or Corlulu Ali pasa medresesi for traditional Turkish coffee, sample delicious street food options like Simit, Kofte, and wraps from vendors throughout the city. Enjoy authentic Turkish cuisines at restaurants such as kebabs, and mezes and Turkish desserts such as baklava and kunefe.

What are the newest Day trips in Istanbul?

The newest day trips are the Istanbul modern art tour and Eloping the Asian side of Istanbul where you can visit neighborhoods like Kadikoy and Moda known for their cafes, shops, and markets. 

What are the most affordable Day trips in Istanbul?

The most affordable day trips in Istanbul are visiting Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, Balat, and Fener.

What are the most popular Day trips in Istanbul?

The most popular places to visit in Istanbul in one day are the Bosphorus River cruise, Prince’s Island, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

diu museumphotography-spots-in-varanasi