Nine Hours in Istanbul
May 1, 2009 6:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm arriving at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul nine hours before my connecting flight. I was wondering what recommendations people had for how to spend this time? I can't do anything too involved as I need to be back at the airport a few hours before my flight, but I would like to see something of the city! Thank you!
posted by slowcat to Travel & Transportation around Istanbul, Turkey (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
That's not a lot of time, but I think you should be able to see something. The nice thing about Istanbul is that a lot of what you want to see is right in one place, the old city. Taking a cab into the old city and just walking around could be really nice. See where the Hippodrome used to be, the Hagia Sophia, and the Sultanahmet. If you've got enough time, the seeing the inside of the Sultanahmet doesn't take too long. The Hagia Sophia is a longer tour, probably a couple hours to really see the inside well. On the other hand, just seeing the outside of the buildings and wandering around is a really good experience.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:02 AM on May 1, 2009

Depending on *which* nine hours you have during the day, you might take a 20-30 min cab ride to the old part of the city. You could check out the park between the Hagia Sophia and Sultan Ahmed (Blue Mosque), wander through one or both, and grab some food from a nearby restaurant before heading back to the airport.
posted by Fin Azvandi at 7:05 AM on May 1, 2009

do the normal touristy things. cab rides are cheap and max of 20 minutes. go see the blue mosque and hagia sofia (across the street from one another). from there its a short walk to the market (can't remember the name, its "The Market" will be easy to find). the cisterns. all fun, cheap or free, an awesome Turkish experience, and easily accomplished with the time you have.

posted by chasles at 7:06 AM on May 1, 2009

d'oh (failure to preview is fail)
posted by Fin Azvandi at 7:07 AM on May 1, 2009

I'd say see the old part if your only here for the day. I'm not sure how close the redline goes, but I'd guess 1 hour by subway & tram, so a cab is faster. If your there over night, you can visit the clubs in the pedestrian zone near Taksim.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:23 AM on May 1, 2009

Take a taxi to the Grand Bazaar, grab a few trinkets, walk down to the Blue Mosque/Hagia Sophia area. Take a photo standing in front of the benches way in front of the Blue Mosque. Then go to one of the hotel roof terraces right behind that area. Drink wine and inhale beauty. Plan a longer trip to one of the coolest cities in the world.
posted by monkey!knife!fight! at 8:31 AM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

I second the bazaar and I would go to one of the many hookah bars along the river (tabacco).
posted by nuke3ae at 10:55 AM on May 1, 2009

No need for a cab -- the Metro now connects the airport with Zeytinburnu, where you catch the tram on to Sultanahmet. I'd avoid the Grand Bazaar (you might get lost in there) and just head for the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia -- easy enough in several hours, even factoring in a delaying mishap.
posted by Rash at 4:25 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

What Rash said. Grand Bazaar isn't something to worry about on limited time. The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia are reasons alone to visit Istanbul.
posted by Goofyy at 9:07 AM on May 4, 2009

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