Travel: 48 hours in Istanbul

Istanbul. Picture: AP
Istanbul. Picture: AP
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Saturday, 6pm Arrive at Istanbul Ataturk Airport.

• 9pm Check in at the Sumahan on the Water hotel.

• Sunday, 8am After breakfast, take the free launch to the Kabatas pier, then a tram to Sultanahmet, in the heart of the old city. Tram tokens, jetons, cost TL3 (Turkish lira).

• 9:30am Explore Aya Sofya, its vast marble columns supporting one of the world’s largest cathedral domes.

• 11am Wander through the gardens, marble pavilions and jewel-crammed treasuries of the vast Topkapi Palace.

• 1:30pm Grab a bite to eat at the Pudding Shop buffet restaurant (tel: 0212 522 2970,

• 3pm Visit the Sultan Ahmet Camii, a stunning Muslim place of worship (“the Blue Mosque”).

• 4pm Head back to Eminonu, take the ferry to Uskudar and a yellow taxi back to Cengelkoy and the Sumahan.

• 6pm Watch the sun set over the Bosphorus.

• 8pm Stroll to Cengelkoy and pick a simple grill restaurant.

• Monday, 8am Cross to Kabatas to be guided through the labyrinthine lanes of the Kapali Carsi (Grand Bazaar).

• 11am Board a tram to Eminonu to stock up on saffron, sumac and other spices in the Egyptian Bazaar.

• 1pm Cross the Galata Bridge to Beyoglu and the Galata House (tel: 0212 245 1862, Kulesi Sokak 61), serving Russian, Crimean and Georgian food.

• 3pm Cab it back to Sumahan for a couple of hours of pampering in the hotel’s sybaritic hamam (steam bath).

• Tuesday, 6am An early start for the 9:10am flight to Edinburgh.


Exclusive Escapes offers three nights from £720pp including flights, transfers and a half-day’s private city guide. Turkish Airlines flies from Edinburgh to Istanbul Ataturk Airport four times a week from around £260 return,