An Istanbul Day Trip Itinerary

Istanbul: Day Trip Itinerary

I’ve now been to Istanbul three times, but never for more than 48 hours at a time. It’s not enough. The first time I visited I had just 6 hours and, although I saw a whole load of amazing things then, I was left wanting more of this enchanting, exotic and frenetic city. The following two visits allowed me to experience some of the things I’d missed the first time, which also happen to be the main attractions of Istanbul. Follow my Istanbul day trip itinerary for a guide to seeing the main attractions of the city in one day – and check out my video at the end! I’m delving into the world of vlogging and I’d love for you to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

The Blue Mosque

Istanbul: Day Trip Itinerary

One of the biggest icons of Istanbul, The Blue Mosque is too beautiful to capture in photos. From the dramatic exterior with its six slender minarets to the incredible interior that’s plastered in colour, it’s larger than life and even more stunning in person than you could imagine. But before you go, make sure you know the following important information:

Istanbul: Day Trip Itinerary

Check prayer times. The Blue Mosque is not a tourist attraction; it is a place of worship, and locals and visitors alike come here to pray five times a day. The Mosque closes for around 90 minutes at each of these times, the first being at sunrise and the last at sunset, so those times will change at various times of the year.

Wear appropriate clothing. For guys this is fairly easy; long trousers and a t-shirt should do the trick. But for girls it’s a bit trickier as you’ll need your head, shoulders and legs covered loosely, i.e. no tight jeans. My recommendation is a maxi skirt, a t-shirt with a modest neckline and a scarf over your hair. If you’re not dressed according to the mosque rules, they will provide a headscarf, skirt, or full-length cover-up for you to use – this is free of charge and you simply return it at the end of your visit.

Grand Bazaar

Istanbul: Day Trip Itinerary

You know, I have to be honest here: I’m not a huge fan of the Grand Bazaar. I was expecting something similar to the souks of Marrakech, but instead I found a slightly ramshackle mall with a few pretty sections of tiling on the ceiling. It was just a bit…meh. Sure, you can buy all manner of spices and lamps and trinkets, but do you know where else you can buy those things? At the Spice Bazaar. It’s just down near Galata Bridge, and it’s beautiful. There’s a buzz about it; an authenticity, and I highly recommend it over the Grand Bazaar.

Basilica Cistern

Istanbul: Day Trip Itinerary

I first heard of the Basilica Cistern when I read Dan Brown’s Inferno, and I wanted to visit ever since. The Cistern used to supply water to the whole city, but now it’s just a beautiful tourist attraction. There’s not much to see as such, but there’s a walkway to stroll around the watery underground cavern and at the back, a pair of medusa heads support two of the cistern’s columns. It’s hard to describe in words, and even harder to capture in photos due to the low light, so you’ll just have to see it for yourself. And don’t be put off by the long queue to get in; it moves very quickly.

Istanbul: Day Trip Itinerary

Rooftop Terrace

Istanbul: Day Trip Itinerary

If you’re in Istanbul for lunch, the only place to enjoy the break is on a roof terrace overlooking the Blue Mosque and beyond. Grab an Efes beer, a kebap and, most importantly, a baklava to finish. Soak it all in and don’t let the day pass you by without taking a moment to realise that you’re in one of the most incredible cities in the world!

Check out my vlog from this day trip in Istanbul:

*Just letting you know: Celebrity Cruises generously provided me with a trip on board their fabulous Equinox ship (which included a stop in Istanbul) in exchange for blog posts about the destinations I visited. My writing and my opinions, as ever, are all mine.

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Travel Tuesday: Cape Town Edition

I knew I liked Cape Town before my recent visit – I’ve been a number of times before and it’s the kind of city that’s impossible not to like. But I didn’t expect to fall deeply, madly in love with the place. In just 6 days (4 really, as two were knocked off my time due to a nasty stomach bug) I was smitten, and am trying to plot how I can get back there ASAP. I’ll be posting more about my time in South Africa soon, but here’s a taste of what Cape Town has to offer:

What to wear for a day in Cape Town:

Cape Town can be beautifully sunny one moment, and incredibly windy the next, so it’s important to layer up (especially if you’re heading up Table Mountain). Its also a trendy city with pockets of hipster cool – so it’s not a destination for khaki shorts and t-shirts. This cute little outfit is comfortable, trendy and works for hot or cooler weather. Don’t forget your lipstick!

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Travel Tuesday: Cruise Stop Edition

As I’ve mentioned before, destinations are one of my favourite parts of a cruise. Having just a day (or a few hours) in a new place means you need to make the most of your time to see and do what you can without exhausting yourself. Instead of trying to tick off loads of sights, I try to stick to one or two attractions and I spend the rest of my time walking, absorbing the atmosphere and, of course, sampling local food. If you’re not sure how to maximise your time on shore, here are a few resources to help you explore a new destination with confidence!

What to pack for a cruise shore day:

Aside from the obvious items you’d take (camera, money and your SeaPass), here are a few things to pack in your day bag: water is a must, as sometimes it’s hard to find while you’re walking around and you’ll dehydrate quickly in a hot destination. It’s always a good idea to pack swimming gear too, because you never know when the opportunity to jump into a beautiful pool or ocean will present itself. Pack a pair of comfy, flat shoes (these FlopZ come in their own bag so you won’t get your other stuff dirty) for beach walks or in case you end up with blisters. And finally, stay sun smart, stylish travellers! Sunglasses, hat and sunscreen should always be in your bag.

Cruise Shore Day

1. Sunglasses / 2. Monsoon Tote Bag / 3. FlopZ flip flops / 4. Water / 5. Braided Fedora / 6. Supernova Galaxy Bikini / 7. Sunscreen

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10 Reasons to Love Travelling on a Cruise

10 Reasons to Love Travelling on a Cruise

If you’ve never been on a cruise before this whole way of travelling may seem like a bit of a mystery to you. Cruises certainly seemed mysterious to me before I tried one for myself. Beforehand, I wasn’t quite convinced that a cruise was for me but now, having been lucky enough travel on three, I’m hooked. If you have cruised before I’m sure you’ll agree with all of the below but in case you’re still unsure, here are 10 reasons to love travelling on a cruise: Continue reading

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Lake Tahoe: Should You Visit in Summer or Winter?

by Brendan Croft

When people ask me to name my favourite place I’ve travelled to, I cannot help but mention Lake Tahoe. For me, this place is the epitome of all things I love about a travel destination. The tranquil and relaxing setting of the lake and surrounding mountain ranges are paired with endless amounts of activities and nightlife, which is a heavenly combination.

Lake Tahoe: Summer vs. Winter

The big question I am always asked is whether I prefer the summer or winter in Lake Tahoe. This may sound like an odd thing to ask, but this is one of the very few destinations in the world that will give you a completely opposite experience in both seasons. In the name of research, I have been there to experience both seasons, and here’s what each one has to offer: Continue reading

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Travel Tuesday: The Safari Edition

I was born in South Africa to a father who is one of 14 children. Consequently, I have an enormous family, and it’s little wonder that we barely get to see one another. Every 3 or 4 years we try to get together in one part of the world or another, and this year it’s time for a reunion in South Africa. I’m leaving on Thursday for two weeks, starting with a few days in the Drakensberg for the family fun, then a three day safari (I’m not sure I could be any more excited about this part) and finally a week in Cape Town with more family. I’ll be writing all about it when I get back but for now, here’s some safari inspiration…

Stylish Travel: What to wear on an African safari

Those old khakis you see in films aren’t just some weird retro fashion statement; neutral tones mean you won’t draw attention to yourself in the wild. That doesn’t mean you have to look like David Attenborough though; here’s my perfect safari look for a comfortably chic day of game spotting!

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Travel Tuesday: Cruise Edition

I’ve just returned from a week on Celebrity Equinox, a cruise ship that took me from Venice to Dubrovnik, then to Mykonos and finally Istanbul. There’ll be details about my trip live soon but for now, I have cruising on the brain, and have compiled a roundup of the best cruise content you can find on the net.

Stylish Travel Look: a day at sea

A day at sea on a cruise ship is a time to explore all that the ship has to offer as well as concentrating on some serious relaxation. Whether you’re hitting the pool, the spa or the restaurants (or all three) you’ll want to be comfortable, practical and, of course, cute. Here’s the perfect sea day look:

Stylish travel: a day at sea Continue reading

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On travel writing, blogging and a bit of fiction

When Frankie of As the Bird Flies nominated me to take part in this little writing blog hop (kinda like a chain letter, but way cooler and less spammy) I jumped at the chance. Why? Well, to begin with I kind of love Frankie. I first met her at a conference in Brighton where she was wearing an incredibly pretty pink vintage polka-dot dress as she spoke about going freelance; a talk that has seriously shaped my future as you’ll read shortly. Also, she writes books. And she’s lovely.

travel writing

Anyway, the other reason I wanted to take part in this is because I’ve never really talked about my writing on this blog. It’s something I’m focusing on a lot more these days, so it makes sense to talk about it. This is just a little insight into my writing career so far: Continue reading

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Chicken and Waffle for Breakfast at Fremont Diner, Sonoma

The rain was pouring down as we left Sonoma.

It was February after all, and even though we were in California the rains still came. The weather seemed fitting, given our feelings about the famous wine region we’d just visited. When researching, we’d heard that Sonoma was the more down to earth version of its famous neighbour, Napa. That sounded like our kind of wine region but when we arrived, we discovered that the snootiness must have rubbed off.

Chicken & Waffle for Breakfast at Fremont Diner, Sonoma

Sonoma is cute, don’t get me wrong. Continue reading

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