Plan to do walking tours, see the major sights.
Previously I've found 5 days in the following has been ideal: Rome, Barcelona, Vienna.
2 days: Madrid, Lisbon, Stockholm
3 days: Hong Kong (based on 16 hours a day nonstop sightseeing)
[ Edit: Edited on 16-Feb-2009, at 06:56 by boulderman ]
Personally I would say Athens 2, Istanbul 4.
I've never been to Athens, but you could easily fill up 4-5 days in Istanbul and be busy. You should spend at least two days exploring Sultanahmet--the Blue Mosque, Ayasofya, Topkapi Palace (you could spend a whole day there), the archeology museum... Of course you have to visit the bazaars. I also recommend a Bosphorus cruise--we took the daily ferry and got off before the last stop, and then took a bus to Rumeli Hisari, which was one of our favorite sites. An amazing fort!
There are lots of great neighborhoods, too, for just relaxing, enjoying, eating/drinking. Ortikoy is filled with waterfront cafes and is the best place to watch the sun set. Beyoglu is filled with hip restaurants and bars.
For more info and pics from our trip: http://patrinadoestheglobe.blogspot.com/2008/12/istanbul-turkey.html
Have a great time!
When are you planning to be in Istanbul?
If it is in April-October you can visit the islands.
Also there are two other palaces that haven't been mentioned Dolmabahce and Yildiz.
If you like modern art you can go to Istanbul Modern, great location for a museum and good exhibitions most of the time.
4 days in Istanbul would be tiring, you would have to be visiting tourist sights 8am-17:00 in order to finish all this.
Topkapi Palace and Grand Bazaar are very time consuming.
I haven't seen more than what Katrina has listed for Istanbul. I think 4 days is sufficient, personally, though granted you probably could spend longer.
I've been to Athens three times and to be quite honest i've always found it a little underwhelming, from a tourist perspective. The only two bits that I really enjoy are the acropolis (which is definitely worth a visit) and the cobbled area around Plaka/Monastiriki which is quite pretty, particularly at night during the summer when everything's lit up and you can sit outside and eat or drink or whatever until the wee hours.
In my opinion, 4 days is enough to see the highlights of Istanbul. At least the touristic area. But you will want to come back some other time. I am sure about that.
have a great time.
Thanks, however, how easily is to be get to the sights which are ...1hour(?) 3 hours? away fro the city worth seeing?
Is it a hassle, do you need local buses, or a tour trip organsied via a travel agency their?