10 Things to do in Istanbul

Photo of 10 Things to do in Istanbul by Ahmet Y.

Istanbul, the mesmerizing city where East meets West, is a captivating destination that offers an array of experiences for every traveler.

With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture, Istanbul has something to offer to everyone. Whether you're a history buff, a food lover, or an adventurer seeking new experiences, this city will leave you awe-inspired.

Here are 10 things to do in Istanbul to make the most of your visit:

Photo of Hagia Sophia, Fatih by Ahmet Y.

1. Visit the Hagia Sophia

Begin your journey in Istanbul by exploring the iconic Hagia Sophia.

This architectural masterpiece has witnessed the rise and fall of empires and has seamlessly transformed from a church to a mosque.

Step inside to admire its breathtaking dome, intricate mosaics, and impressive architecture that reflect both Byzantine and Ottoman influences.

Photo of The Blue Mosque, Fatih by Ahmet Y.

2. Explore the Blue Mosque

Just across from the Hagia Sophia stands the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, famously known as the Blue Mosque.

Marvel at its stunning blue-tiled interior, grand domes, and elegant minarets.

Take a moment to appreciate the serene atmosphere and witness the locals and visitors alike coming together for prayers.

Photo of Grand Bazaar, Fatih by Ahmet Y.

3. Wander through the Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world.

Explore its maze-like streets filled with shops selling a wide range of goods, including textiles, jewelry, ceramics, spices, and carpets.

Photo of Bosphorus, Türkiye by Ahmet Y.

4. Take a Bosphorus Cruise

Take a scenic cruise along the Bosphorus Strait, the waterway that divides Istanbul between Europe and Asia.

Sail past iconic landmarks, including the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Rumeli Fortress, and picturesque waterfront mansions.

Capture stunning photos of the Istanbul bridges connecting the two continents. You will admire the breathtaking views of the city's skyline.

Photo of 10 Things to do in Istanbul by Ahmet Y.

5. Enjoy Turkish Cuisine

Istanbul is a food lover's paradise, offering a tantalizing blend of flavors and aromas.

Sample traditional Turkish delights such as kebabs, mezes (appetizers), baklava, and Turkish tea.

Explore the vibrant street food scene and savor dishes like simit (sesame bread rings), balik ekmek (fish sandwich), and doner kebab.

Don't forget to try a cup of rich Turkish coffee and experience the art of fortune-telling.

Photo of Topkapı, Fatih by Ahmet Y.

6. Step into the Topkapi Palace

Visit the Topkapi Palace, once the residence of the sultans.

Explore the palace's stunning courtyards, opulent chambers, and impressive collections of treasures, including dazzling jewelry, intricate manuscripts, and sacred relics.

Take a moment to wander through the palace gardens and enjoy panoramic views of the city and the Bosphorus.

Photo of Egyptian Bazaar, Fatih by Ahmet Y.

7. Discover the Spice Bazaar

Delight your senses at the Spice Bazaar, a vibrant market filled with aromatic spices, dried fruits, teas, and Turkish delights.

Experience the bustling atmosphere as you navigate through the colorful stalls, and interact with friendly shopkeepers who will happily offer you samples of their products.

Don't miss the chance to purchase fragrant spices, traditional teas, and unique souvenirs.

Photo of Basilica Cistern, Fatih by Ahmet Y.

8. Uncover History at the Basilica Cistern

Descend into the depths of Istanbul and explore the ancient Basilica Cistern, an underground marvel built during the Byzantine era.

Discover the fascinating stories behind this hidden gem. Enjoy the peaceful ambiance and let your imagination transport you to a bygone era.

Photo of Istanbul Archaeological Museums, Fatih by Ahmet Y.

9. Visit the Istanbul Archaeological Museums

Step back in time and explore the fascinating history of Istanbul at the Istanbul Archaeological Museums.

This complex is comprised of three museums: the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient, and the Tiled Kiosk Museum.

An extensive collection of ancient artifacts, including sculptures, ceramics, and treasures from the ancient civilizations of Anatolia and the Middle East will amaze you.

Photo of Kadıköy, İstanbul by Ahmet Y.

10. Discover the Asian Side of Istanbul

Cross the Bosphorus to the Asian side of Istanbul and discover a different side of the city.

Explore the trendy neighborhoods of Kadikoy and Moda, known for their vibrant food scenes, bohemian atmosphere, and lively markets.

Visit the beautiful Uskudar district, home to historic mosques and Ottoman-era architecture.

Take a stroll along the scenic Moda Seaside Promenade and enjoy breathtaking views of the city.