Are you looking for the 10 best things to do in Istanbul, Turkey?
Look no further! Istanbul, one of the world’s most vibrant and exciting cities, has plenty to offer.
From visiting iconic landmarks like Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace to exploring the city’s lively nightlife scene and indulging in delicious Turkish cuisine, there are endless ways to experience all this incredible city has to offer.
Read on for 10 must-do activities if you’re visiting Istanbul.
1. Visit Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia, one of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks, is a must-see. Originally an Orthodox Christian Cathedral, it has been converted into a mosque and now serves as a museum.
Hagia Sophia is a stunning architectural wonder that must be seen while in Istanbul. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was first built as a Christian church in 537 AD and served as an imperial mosque from 1453 until 1935. Now open to the public, visitors can admire the beautiful mosaics and artworks inside this breathtaking building.
The grandiose structure and its incredible history are what draw visitors from all over the world. Inside, you will find stunning frescoes and mosaics, including depictions of Jesus Christ and Mary.
There are also detailed manuscripts that provide insight into the historical figures who lived in the area during different eras. Visitors can take guided tours to learn more about this incredible building’s past, or simply wander around at their own pace to explore all the wonders Hagia Sophia has to offer.
With its spectacular architecture and diverse cultural influences, there is no wonder why Hagia Sophia is widely regarded as one of the 10 Best Things to Do in Istanbul Turkey.
Don’t forget to snap some pictures during your visit – you’ll definitely want to remember this extraordinary experience.
2. Explore the Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar is a magical place that will delight any visitor to Istanbul. Stroll through the winding alleyways and explore the thousands of stalls featuring everything from textiles, jewelry, carpets, antiques, and more! Try your hand at bargaining with locals for some truly unique souvenirs from your visit.
Another must-do activity in Istanbul is exploring its lively nightlife scene. Whether you’re looking for traditional Turkish music or modern clubbing experiences, there’s something for everyone here in Istanbul. Check out bars like 360 Istanbul for panoramic views of the city and chic vibes or head to Moda Sahnesi for live music performances.
The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is definitely the most popular tourist destination in the city. It is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, with over 6000 shops located within its walls.
This vibrant bazaar is packed with an incredible array of goods from spices to jewelry and many more, making it a great place for shopping.
You can also find restaurants, cafes, and tea houses throughout the market, allowing visitors to take a break while they explore this amazing market. It’s truly a must-see when visiting Istanbul.
3. Marvel at the Blue Mosque
This masterpiece of Islamic architecture features six minarets and blue tiles that give it its name.
The Blue Mosque, officially known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is one of Istanbul’s most iconic and recognizable landmarks.
It was built in 1616 by the Ottoman Empire’s Sultan Ahmed I and is considered to be a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. The mosque is renowned for its six slender minarets, the ornate interior filled with intricate blue tiles, and the towering central dome with an ottoman-style chandelier hanging from it.
Aside from its religious significance, it also serves as a popular tourist attraction where people can stroll around the gardens, explore the complex’s courtyards and fountains, or take part in the numerous guided tours available.
4. Take a Bosphorus Cruise
For stunning views of Istanbul’s skyline, take a boat ride up the strait that divides Europe from Asia.
Bosphorus Cruise is a great way to explore Istanbul’s magnificent skyline. Seeing the city and its many wonders from the comfort of an opulent boat while gliding down the Bosphorus River makes for a truly unforgettable experience.
You can witness the beautiful views from both sides of the river, including palaces, bridges, fortresses, and mosques.
There are plenty of different cruise options available, so you can choose one that best suits your style and budget. Also, be sure to try some delicious Turkish food onboard.
5. Tour Topkapi Palace Museum
Once home to sultans, this sprawling complex holds priceless treasures in its vast courtyards and pavilions.
This stunning palace was once the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans and their court. It offers visitors a chance to explore 500 years of history and learn about the culture and lifestyle of its rulers.
The palace has four main courtyards, each with its own attractions such as art galleries, mosques, archaeological finds, and monuments. There are also several historic buildings within the palace grounds including an armory, library, kitchen, and harem.
Visitors can take guided tours through the different parts of Topkapi Palace Museum for a more engaging experience. Additionally, there are various shops nearby selling souvenirs that make for great mementos from your trip to Istanbul.
This is an experience you do not want to miss when visiting Istanbul, and a must-see for history buffs.
From the spectacular architecture of the palace itself to its fascinating exhibits and artifacts, Topkapi Palace Museum provides an unforgettable journey through time. Don’t forget to take lots of photos and soak in all the beauty that this incredible place has to offer.
6. Climb the Galata Tower
Built-in the 14th century, this is a great spot to get panoramic views of Istanbul’s skyline.
This famous tower provides breathtaking views over the city of Istanbul – it’s hard not to be mesmerized by its beauty.
The iconic building was built as part of a defense system for Byzantine Constantinople and today stands as one of the most well-known landmarks in Istanbul.
Guests can take an elevator up to the observation deck, located on the ninth floor, and admire panoramic views that stretch from the Marmara Sea all the way to Sultanahmet Mosque.
On clear days, visitors can even see across Asia! For those who are feeling adventurous, make sure you take a tour of Galata Tower’s rooftops for a unique experience.
Not only is Galata Tower a great place to take in the views and learn about Istanbul’s history, but there are also plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafes in the complex for you to explore.
Whether it be picking up a souvenir or enjoying a Turkish coffee overlooking the city, this is definitely one of the top things to do in Istanbul.
7. Relax at Taksim Square
This vibrant square is often called “the heart of modern Istanbul” and it’s a great place to people-watch.
Taksim Square is the perfect place to relax and take in all the hustle and bustle of Istanbul. It is one of the most lively places in all of Turkey, filled with plenty of cafes, restaurants, and shops.
The area is home to one of the biggest pedestrian malls in Europe – Istiklal Avenue – where you can find everything from trendy boutiques to delicious street food.
If you want a break from exploring, just head over to Taksim Square and sit back while watching people going about their lives. There are also several monuments around the square that are worth visiting such as the Ataturk Cultural Center and Monument of Independence (Ataturk Aniti).
8. Visit Suleymaniye Mosque
Suleymaniye Mosque is one of the most beautiful and historic religious sites in Istanbul, Turkey. Another impressive mosque, built by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1550, with its four grand minarets and intricate decorations.
The mosque was built by the famous 16th-century Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I and is located on the Third Hill of Istanbul at the edge of the Golden Horn. The mosque complex consists of a number of other buildings such as a madrasa (teaching school), baths, hospices, fountains, and bazaars.
What makes this site so special is its elaborate architecture which includes four minarets, two courtyards with domed structures, and a grand central dome that rises over 56 meters high into the sky. A visit to Suleymaniye Mosque should not be missed for anyone looking to get an understanding of the city’s rich history.
There are also multiple restaurants and cafes at the mosque complex that offer stunning views of Istanbul’s skyline, making it an ideal spot to relax after a tiring day of sightseeing.
9. Explore Dolmabahce Palace
This lavish 19th-century palace was once home to Ottoman sultans and now houses an impressive collection of art and antiques.
Dolmabahce Palace is one of the 10 best things to do in Istanbul. It was built as a stately home for the Ottoman sultans and their court between 1839 and 1856, replacing the Topkapi Palace as their primary residence.
This historic palace stands on a huge estate that includes lush gardens, ornate fountains, marble terraces, courtyards, and hundreds of rooms—each with its own unique design and purpose. The palace’s most impressive feature is its main entrance hall which is decorated with grand staircases, sparkling chandeliers and walls adorned with European paintings.
Visitors can also explore some of the other interesting features such as an indoor swimming pool, clock tower, and the famous Imperial Hall. The latter is known for hosting extravagant banquets and ceremonies to celebrate important state occasions.
The Dolmabahce Palace also houses a museum featuring items from the palace’s historic past including furniture, artworks and artifacts.
10. Take a Walk in the Sultanahmet District
This historic neighborhood is home to many of Istanbul’s most important sites, including the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Blue Mosque.
Sultanahmet District is one of the most important areas in Istanbul. It is located on the historical peninsula, and it’s home to many of the city’s iconic sites, including Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, and The Blue Mosque.
This area is bustling with tourists all year round, so there’s plenty to do here. From visiting some of the oldest monuments in Istanbul to exploring the lively bazaars and markets, Sultanahmet has something for everyone.
If you’re looking for a unique way to experience this part of town then take a Bosphorus sightseeing cruise or try out one of their world-famous Turkish baths. Whether you’re an art lover or an adventurer, Sultanahmet offers something special that you won’t find anywhere else.
Thoughts and Conclusion
With 10 of the best things to do in Istanbul, Turkey, you can experience this vibrant city like never before! Whether you want to explore palaces and mosques or take a Bosphorus cruise for stunning views, there’s something for everyone in this crossroads between East and West. So make sure to add these 10 must-see attractions to your travel itinerary!
Whether you’re looking to explore historical sites, indulge in delicious cuisine, or experience the city’s vibrant nightlife scene, 10 Best Things to Do in Istanbul Turkey offers something for everyone! There is no better way to get a taste of this beautiful city than by doing these 10 must-do activities. So what are you waiting for? Start exploring today.
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