The early start is worth it, to spend the day in this fascinating metropolis on the Bosphorus Strait – the only city in the world located on two continents. Due to its strategic location, Istanbul has attracted hordes of marauding armies over the centuries and it's thanks to the Greeks, Romans, Venetians and Ottomans that it has such rich cultural diversity.
The domes and minarets of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque dominate the city skyline, while inside the high ceilings are decorated with more than 20,000 azure tiles that give the building its Blue Mosque nickname. Next, head to the Hippodrome Park, where you'll visit the German Fountain and Egyptian Obelisk before making your way to Topkapi Palace, a huge and lavish residence which housed Ottoman Sultans for hundreds of years.
After some free time to haggle for spices and souvenirs in the Egyptian bazaar, you can end the day with an optional boat trip along the Bosphorus Strait that splits the city in half and forms the border between Europe and Asia.