Things to do in Istanbul

Popular Things to do in Istanbul

Istanbul is a beautiful fusion of European and Asian traditions that will excite your senses by providing you with a variety of activities. Some of the most fascinating things to do in Istanbul include shopping in the Grand Bazaar's 5000 stores, visiting Hagia Sophia, a mosque that has been converted into a museum, and admiring the city from the tall Galata towers.

All of this will undoubtedly provide you with a spectacular experience and amazing memories to share with your loved ones when you return home. Once the sun sets, Istanbul will undoubtedly take on a new appearance.You may do a variety of things in Istanbul at night, such as partying all night at numerous bars and clubs along the waterfront—the Ortakoy's affluent vibe and shining Istanbul will be a wonderful site for late night parties.

Aside from that, you can spend your evening watching a live football event or going to a fun comedy show to witness local talent amuse the crowd. You may also embark on a night tour of some of the city's greatest museums or enjoy a stroll around the old city's gorgeous streets.

Explore Hagia Sophia

The Emperor's audacious announcement to the world of his empire's wealth and technological skill was the Hagia Sophia, or Aya Sofya in Turkish. According to mythology, the region surrounding the emperor's seat within the chapel was the official center of the world. From its conversion to a mosque after Ottoman armies captured Constantinople, through its subsequent conversion to a museum in the twentieth century, and its reconversion back to a working mosque in 2020, the Hagia Sophia has remained one of Istanbul's most cherished emblems.

You Can Also Checkout: Hagia Sophia Guided Tours

Wander inside the Topkapi Palace

Located beside Bosphorus, Topkapi Palace is a magnificent palace built by Mehmet the Conqueror in the 15th century. It belongs to the era in which the Ottoman Empire's sultans lived and ruled. The immense complex is a magnificent showcase of Islamic art, with opulent courtyards adorned with elaborate hand-painted tilework connecting a maze of lavishly decorated chambers, all surrounded by battlemented walls and towers.

Also Checkout: Topkapi Palace Harem Tour

Climb up Galata Tower

The Genoese built this tower overlooking the Golden Horn in the 14th century. It is still one of Istanbul's most well-known sights today. For generations, the Galata tower was Istanbul's tallest skyscraper, standing 52 meters tall. Due to fire and storm damage, the tower has been restored multiple times throughout the years.Today, the observation deck on the top floor, as well as its restaurant, is one of the best spots to visit in Istanbul for seeing the city's renowned cityscape.

Book Now: Galata Tower Tickets

Visit Basilica Cistern

One of Istanbul's most fascinating tourist attractions is the Basilica Cistern. The imperial water supply for the Byzantine emperors was previously housed in this massive, palace-like underground chamber, which was supported by 336 columns in 12 rows.Constantine the Great started the project, but Emperor Justinian was able to finish it in the sixth century. Many of the columns used in the building were repurposed from earlier classical constructions and have ornate decorations on them.

Also Visit: Basilica Cistern & Hagia Sophia Combo Ticket

Visit the Blue Mosque

This majestic mosque, now known as the Blue Mosque, was Sultan Ahmet I's grand architectural gift to his capital.The mosque, which was built between 1609 and 1616 and featured six minarets, gainrd popularity in the Muslim world when it was completed with the same number as the Great Mosque of Mecca. Mecca was finally given a seventh minaret to calm the crowds. The mosque's decor features tens of thousands of Iznik tiles, earning it the moniker "Iznik Mosque.

Visit More: Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia Small-Group Tour

Visit Dolmabahçe Palace

The opulent and beautiful Dolmabahçe Palace demonstrates the Ottoman Empire's 19th-century influence on European décor and construction. Sultan Abdülmecid I built it in 1854 to replace Topkap Palace as the sultans' principal home. During the early years of the Turkish Republic, Dolmabahçe Palace was also used as an official residence, and Atatürk (the creator of modern Turkey) died here in 1938.

Must Checkout: Dolmabahce Palace Opening Hours

Visit Istanbul Archaeology Museum

This famous museum complex, which is only a short distance from Topkap Palace and can be easily visited afterwards, brings together a variety of antiquities from both Turkey and the Middle East, spanning the region's extensive history.The museum complex is divided into three areas, each of which is worth seeing.The Museum of the Ancient Orient houses a collection of pre-Islamic art and heritage from the Middle East.

Shop in the Grand Bazaar

For many visitors, touring in Istanbul is as much about buying as it is about visiting museums and monuments, and the Grand Bazaar is the place to go. Between the Nuruosmaniye Mosque and the Beyazit Mosque, this vast covered market is essentially the world's first shopping mall, stretching nearly an entire city quarter and protected by thick walls. The Beyazit Mosque, which was constructed between 1498 and 1505 on the site of Theodosius I's Forum and is inspired by the Hagia Sophia, was erected on the site of Theodosius I's Forum.

Admire the Architecture of the Süleymaniye Mosque

The Süleymaniye Mosque, perched high above the Sultanahmet area, is one of Istanbul's most well-known monuments. It was designed by the renowned Ottoman architect Sinan for Sultan Süleyman I (also known as Süleyman the Magnificent; ruled 1520-1566), who is responsible for many of Turkey's famed Ottoman-era structures, including the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne. The interior of the Süleymaniye Mosque, which is dominated by a 53-meter-high dome, is renowned for its perfect proportions and design unity.

Visit Rüstem Paşa Mosque

The Rüstem Paşa Mosque, maybe Istanbul's most beautiful mosque, is home to some of the city's best-preserved Iznik tile panels. The best specimens of these stunningly beautiful hand-painted tiles can be found in blues, reds, and greens. Even better, because it's less well-known, you'll probably be able to see them up close without having to fight crowds.

Cruise the Bosphorus Strait

A vacation to Istanbul isn't complete for many visitors unless they take a Bosphorus excursion ferry and cruise the city's famous waterway, which connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara.The Bosphorus excursion ferries are all about kicking back, relaxing, and soaking in the landscape, and they provide some of Istanbul's most iconic sights. The Long Bosphorus Excursion, which departs daily from Eminönü ferry dock and travels all the way up the strait to the hamlet and stronghold of Anadolu Kava, near the strait's northern mouth into the Black Sea, is the most famous ferry tour.

Take in the Art at Istanbul Modern

This cutting-edge art gallery, proving that Istanbul isn't just about historic landmarks, houses a large collection of Turkish modern art and hosts both local and foreign artists throughout the year. This is without a doubt the best spot in town to get a feel for Turkey's modern art scene. In addition to the galleries, the Istanbul Modern offers a library and a cinema with a film schedule.

You can Checkout: Dolmabahce Palace History

Explore Sealife Aquarium Istanbul

With over 15,000 aquatic animals dispersed throughout 21 zones, Istanbul Sealife Aquarium is one of Europe's largest aquariums. Among the features are a stingray show, a touchpool, a 60-strong school of sharks, and a sea turtle hospital featuring the world's largest turtle weighing 440 pounds (200 kilograms). Don't miss the incredible views from their 83-meter-long Ocean Tunnel's Sea Bed. Shark Kingdom is home to Europe's largest shark collection. In their stunning Interactive Rock Pool you can touch a sea star and other species to get a sense of what it's like. Shark dives, diver shows, creature feeds, and a children's play area are just a few of the attractions at Shark Reef.

Visit Prince’s Island

The Princes' Islands are a group of islands in the Sea of Marmara that serve as a small refuge of quiet in Istanbul and a great spot to relax and appreciate nature. During the summer, we recommend visiting on weekdays rather than weekends because weekends are crowded with locals and tourists. They got their moniker from the fact that the imperial family and discredited aristocracy were exiled to the islands' monasteries during the Byzantine Empire. They became a favorite weekend resort for the Ottoman aristocracy, and numerous Victorian-style homes may still be found there today.

Visit Madame Tussauds Istanbul Wax Museum

Madame Tussauds Istanbul is an entertainment center and a wax museum in Istanbul that is spread across 2,000 square metres and is housed in the Grand Pera building on Istiklal Avenue. Madame Tussauds is a museum chain that exhibits life-size wax replicas of famous people and historical figures., as well as historical and cultural heroes from Turkey's past, as well as present superstars from the arts, sports, and politics. Its headquarters are in London (the original Madame Tussauds debuted in London 250 years ago), and the 26th branch opened in Istanbul in 2016.


How can I spend a perfect day in Istanbul?

  • The Blue Mosque is a must-see.
  • The Grand Bazaar is a great place to go shopping.

  • In the Topkapi Palace, you may live like a king.

  • Stroll through the Cistern of the Basilica.

  • Embark on a voyage through the Bosporus.

  • Take in the breathtaking sunset.

What is Istanbul best known for?

Istanbul is well recognised for being the cultural capital of various monothetic religious sects, each of which claims to have their own unique architectural signature and domes around the city. In Istanbul, there are a number of well-known structures that display a wealth of legends about the city's great ancient kings.

What is the best shopping area in Istanbul?

  • Grand Bazaar
  • Arasta Bazaar

  • Balat

  • Egyptian Spice Bazaar

What is Istanbul famous for shopping?

  • Carpets & Kilims
  • Lamps & Lanterns
  • Ceramics

  • Turkish Metalware

  • Nargile

  • Jewelry.

  • Cushions, Pillows & Other Small Textiles

  • Hammam Accessories

What is the Grand Bazaar Istanbul?

Istanbul's Grand Bazaar is one of the world's largest and oldest covered markets, with 61 covered streets and over 4,000 stores over a total area of 30,700 m2. It attracts between 250,000 and 400,000 tourists everyday.

Is Istanbul good for toddlers?

Turkey is a family-oriented and child-friendly country. Istanbul, as the country's main metropolis, offers not only incredible historical monuments, but also a plethora of enjoyable activities for families with children.

What is the best time to visit istanbul?

The ideal weather and peak-season months are mid-April to June and September to October. You may usually find better bargains and fewer crowds during the off-season, the weather is usually pleasant, and all of the attractions are open.

Is Istanbul safe at night?

Yes, strolling through Istanbul's streets in the evening or at night is perfectly secure.

What are the best things to do in Istanbul?


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