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My wife and i will be starting a 14 day cruise in Istanbul on 4 august. plan to arrive earlier but question is how much earlier. would 4 days be enough to get rested up after flight from ORD via LHR to IST? and, what should we see. don't want to be all tired out but there are things: ie bazaar, souk, blue mosque, etc. suggestions welcomed. also hotel suggestions. many thanks. terry pilot

I've stayed at the Hali Hotel ( which is nicely located walking distance to the Grand Bazaar. It is kind of basic, but staff is friendly. It would be a good place to recover from jetlag as rooms are comfortable, there are restaurants close by and they have room service.

On a more upscale note - I also like the Ayasofia Konaklari ( which is a group of nine Ottoman houses on a pedestrian street in between the wall of Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sofia mosque. Each house and each room is different and they are all described on the website.

Their garden restaurant is good and you might want to stop there anyhow for a snack or lunch.

Years ago, we stayed at the Hotel Armada Istanbul. We liked its location in the old city -- near the city walls and Marmara sea and within walking distance of the Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque,St Sophia,Topakapi Palace, et al. As I recall, rooms faced either the sea or the old city and were comfortable. Staff was pleasant and helpful. I'd stay there again.

I think that 4 days prior to your trip will be comfortable.
Besides the two famous mosques and the bazaar we enjoyed
a private trip to see the walls and the Church of St. Savior in Chora which is outstanding. It is about half an hour from
downtown Istanbul and we went by cab.

We also went to see the Jewish Temple and followed the worshipers to a simple local taverna for
a modest and pleasant dinner in long communal tables.
Most people don't get to the Crystal Palace but we enjoyed it
although it is not "a most". You may want to read about. I thought it was impressive.

One of the things we most enjoyed was walking around the city, taking a short boat ride
and seeing the Asian and European sides from the water.

This can all be done in 3-4 days without rushing.
For us this was a very relaxing visit after a trip to the Middle East
I hope you have a similar experience.

Be aware that it will be hot then. Be sure to see the Basilica Cistern - very interesting and it will be cool. I stayed at the OsmanHan Hotel. It is small, not many rooms, but the manager is terrific! Fahti gave me lots of advice and told me how to get around by tram so that I did not have to take cabs. It is a fun city, but lots of people and very crowded.