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Istanbul: 7 hour layover - where to go?

Istanbul: 7 hour layover - where to go?

Old Nov 23, 08, 12:13 am
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Istanbul: 7 hour layover - where to go?


in december, I'll have a 6:45hr layover in Istanbul. My incoming flight arrives at 3:05PM and my connecting flight leaves at 9:50PM.

I have never been to Istanbul and I'd love to go visit at least a little bit of it. It's definately going to be more interesting than spending all that time in an airport terminal.

I researched a bit on google and generally speaking, people suggest to go to either the Sultanahmet district or Taksim square.

Given the short amount of time that I have, I'd rather go see a place that can show me how life in the center of Istanbul is. I am not too interested in going to visit monuments or museums. Should I just go to Taksim Square?

How far are the two locations from each other by cab?

Also, how long is it going to take me to go through immigration and to get to the city and back? Given that I have 7hrs, will I have enough time to go to the city and come back on time? I hear traffic is crazy. However, even just an hour to spend in Instambul would be ok with me.

Thank you!!

Last edited by Aelx2k; Nov 23, 08 at 1:23 am
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Old Nov 23, 08, 2:00 am
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Transfer time between Airport and old city with cab is about 40 Minutes each direction.
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Old Nov 24, 08, 4:08 pm
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I would go to the Sultanhamet, including the Grand Bazaar (or the Covered Bazaar, as some locals know it). If you have more time, you can walk or take another taxi to Eminonu and the Spice Bazaar, which is much smaller but more interesting in some ways than the Grand Bazaar.

Taksim is farther away, across the Golden Horn -- it could be another 30 minutes with moderate traffic, or much more. Plus there is not as much to see if this is your first time in Istanbul. If you want to walk around and see restaurants and shops (mostly touristy, but some local ones, too), you can try this. If you're going to Taksim, you can also go down the hill to the Bosphorous strait, through Besiktas and on to the Ortakoy area. This is a pier area with some attractions as well, and a good bit of local flavor.

Immigration can be slow, but probably shouldn't be horrible at that time of day, maybe 15 minutes. You're right that traffic can be bad. Keep in mind that it will be cold and possibly snowy, so dress warmly.
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