The Blonde Abroad: Exploring Istanbul in 24 Hours

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We don’t always have the option to spend a great deal of time in every destination we travel to. In my case, I had a 24-hour window in my travel schedule to extend my layover in Istanbul so that I’d have enough time to see the city. While 24 hours doesn’t seem like much time to discover a new destination, with the help of a Walks of Turkey walking tour, I was able to see the best of Istanbul in just one day!

Flying from NYC to Istanbul

I was so excited to fly Turkish Airlines business class for the first time because of their incredible reputation for comfort and customer service. As I awaited my flight in the business-class lounge, I organized my credit cards in my OtterBox Strada Series folio case. The magnetic cover is perfect for securing your boarding pass to your phone so that everything is easy to find in your bag.


My flight on Turkish Airlines was unbelievable. With full lie-flat seats, fine wines and delicious food (including a candlelight dinner), I was in mile-high heaven!

The flight “flew by” and I landed in Istanbul with a few hours to spare in the day. But, I got straight to bed to prepare for a full day of discovery the next morning!


Exploring Istanbul with Walks of Turkey

I got an early start to begin my tour around Istanbul. My guide, Guney, had a full day planned for us, including the top tourist destinations, along with some local activities as well!

We had to get a bit creative with the tour since our day was spotted with gloomy weather, but nothing was going to stop me from seeing as much as possible!

We ended up covering 13 miles, visited markets, took a boat along the Bosporus Strait and even climbed a few rooftops!


Here are some of the highlights from a fun-filled 24 hours in Istanbul!


The Blue Mosque


One of the most famous and iconic tourist destinations in Istanbul is commonly referred to as the Blue Mosque. It was built in 1616 and there are over 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles!


The Grand Bazaar


One of my favorite stops on my “Istanbul in a Day” tour was the Grand Bazaar. It is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world — built in 1461 — stretching 61 streets and consisting of over 3,000 shops!


Istanbul by Rooftop

The best way to see Istanbul is from a rooftop and there is no shortage of epic opportunities in the city. Most rooftop locations are safely guarded by locals, so it was an amazing experience to have one all to myself.


Turkish Coffee Stop

A trip to Istanbul wouldn’t be complete without a pit stop for a cup of Turkish coffee. Turkish coffee is the rocket fuel of caffeinated concoctions. It’s a bit thicker in consistency than espresso and has a distinct flavor of cardamom.

The grounds left after drinking Turkish coffee can also be used for fortune-telling!



Have you been to Istanbul?

What are your favorite things to see and do in Istanbul?

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About the author

The Blonde Abroad

The Blonde Abroad

Hi! I’m Kiersten, a California native, who, not too long ago, left my career in corporate finance to become a world traveler. Since then, I’ve traveled to 40 countries and have knocked some big adventures off my bucketlist. I hope to inspire you to live a life you love and settle for nothing less than extraordinary.

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