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What to Do & See in Istanbul?

Updated: Jul 1

Istanbul is a city brimming with history, culture, and natural beauty. A visit to Istanbul promises to be an unforgettable experience, with endless options of things to see and do such as Bosphorus Cruise, Full Day City Tour Asian & European sides & Daily Princess Island. Here, we've broken down some of the top attractions by category, to help you make the most of your time in this remarkable city.

Exploring Istanbul's Rich History

One of Istanbul's biggest draws is its remarkable history, stretching back over 2,000 years. Visitors can explore the hallowed halls of ancient and medieval buildings, as well as the city's Ottoman heritage, all of which make for a fascinating journey through time.

Istanbul, formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, has a rich and complex history that has shaped the city into what it is today. The city was founded in 660 BC as a Greek colony, and over the centuries, it has been ruled by various empires, including the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. Each empire has left its mark on the city, resulting in a unique blend of cultures and architectural styles.

Visit the Hagia Sophia

A highlight of any trip to Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia is a stunning example of Byzantine architecture, having been built as a church in the 6th century. Today, it serves as a museum, where you can wander through its cavernous interiors and admire its intricate mosaics.

The Hagia Sophia has a fascinating history. It was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in just five years, from 532 to 537 AD. It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a millennium, until the Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. After the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople in 1453, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. In 1935, it was turned into a museum, and today, it is one of Istanbul's most popular tourist attractions.

Discover the Blue Mosque

Nearby the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque is another must-visit attraction in Istanbul. With its six graceful minarets and interior lined with blue tiles, this mosque is a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture.

The Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, was built in the early 17th century during the reign of Sultan Ahmed I. It was designed by the architect Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa, who was only 27 years old at the time. The mosque is named after the blue tiles that adorn its interior, which were made in the city of Iznik. The mosque is still an active place of worship, and visitors are welcome to enter outside of prayer times.

Wander around Topkapi Palace

A true Istanbul icon, the Topkapi Palace was the political and cultural hub of the Ottoman Empire for centuries. Visitors can explore its numerous courtyards, stunning rooms, and beautiful gardens, as well as see exhibits of the palace's treasures.

The Topkapi Palace was built in the 15th century by Sultan Mehmed II, who conquered Constantinople in 1453. The palace served as the residence of the Ottoman sultans for nearly 400 years, until the empire fell in 1922. Today, the palace is a museum that showcases the opulence and grandeur of the Ottoman Empire. Visitors can see the sultan's throne room, the harem, and the treasury, which contains priceless jewels and artifacts.

Explore the Basilica Cistern

An eerie yet fascinating attraction, the Basilica Cistern is a massive underground chamber filled with ancient columns and eerie lighting. Built in the 6th century, it once held water supplies for the city.

The Basilica Cistern, also known as the Yerebatan Cistern, was built during the reign of Emperor Justinian I. It is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. The cistern is supported by 336 columns, each 9 meters tall, and it can hold up to 80,000 cubic meters of water. Today, the cistern is open to visitors, who can walk along its wooden walkways and marvel at its ancient architecture.

Experiencing Istanbul's Vibrant Culture

Alongside its rich history, Istanbul is a city known for its dynamic and vibrant culture. From its colorful markets to its lively nightlife, this is a destination where you can truly throw yourself into the local way of life.

Stroll through the Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is a legendary marketplace, famous for its hundreds of shops and stalls selling everything from traditional Turkish rugs to colorful spices. Its narrow winding streets are a sensory overload, with the scent of spices and the sound of haggling filling the air.

Taste Turkish Delights at the Spice Bazaar

Just down the road from the Grand Bazaar is the Spice Bazaar, another bustling marketplace where you can sample the best of Turkish cuisine. Here, you'll find all sorts of exotic spices, nuts, and sweets, as well as souvenirs to take home.

Attend a Whirling Dervish Show

A unique and mesmerizing experience, a Whirling Dervish Show features a traditional Sufi dance, accompanied by music and poetry. Originating in the 13th century, this beautiful and moving performance is a must-see while in Istanbul.

Experience a Traditional Turkish Bath

A Turkish bath, or hammam, is a traditional cleansing ritual that's been practiced for centuries. It involves a series of steam baths, massages, and exfoliations, leaving you feeling refreshed and relaxed.

Enjoying Istanbul's Natural Beauty

Finally, Istanbul is a city that's not just brimming with history, culture, and cuisine, but also natural beauty. From stunning city views to leisurely cruises along the Bosphorus, there are endless ways to appreciate Istanbul's natural splendor.

Cruise along the Bosphorus

One of the best ways to see Istanbul is from the water, and the Bosphorus is a prime spot for a scenic cruise. This waterway separates Europe and Asia and is lined with beautiful palaces and mosques, creating a picturesque backdrop for your journey.

As you float along the Bosphorus, you'll have the chance to see some of Istanbul's most iconic landmarks, including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Topkapi Palace. You'll also get a glimpse of everyday life in Istanbul, as you pass by fishermen casting their lines and locals strolling along the waterfront.

Relax in Gulhane Park

Located in the heart of Istanbul's Old City, Gulhane Park is a verdant escape from the city bustle. This peaceful park has winding pathways, pretty flower beds, and relaxing cafes where you can enjoy an afternoon tea.

Take a stroll through the park and you'll come across historic landmarks like the Gulhane Park Pavilion, which was once used as a summer residence for Ottoman sultans. The park is also home to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, which houses an impressive collection of artifacts from Turkey's rich history.

Take in the Views from Galata Tower

For a bird's-eye view of Istanbul, head up to the top of the Galata Tower, which offers panoramic views of the city and the Bosphorus. This historic tower also has a restaurant where you can dine while soaking in the views.

The Galata Tower dates back to the 14th century and was originally used as a watchtower to spot fires in the city. Today, it's one of Istanbul's most popular attractions, thanks to its stunning views and rich history. From the top of the tower, you'll be able to see all the way across the city, from the Golden Horn to the Sea of Marmara.

Visit the Princes' Islands

Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Princes' Islands are a serene getaway from Istanbul. Just a short ferry ride from the city, these car-free islands have picturesque villages, beaches, and hillside trails to explore.

The Princes' Islands are actually a group of nine islands, but only four are open to the public. The most popular of these is Buyukada, which is known for its charming Victorian-era houses and laid-back atmosphere. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the island or rent a bike and explore at your own pace.

With so much to see and do, Istanbul is a city that truly rewards those who take the time to explore it fully. Regardless of your interests, you're sure to find something that captivates you in this incredible destination. Please Check Out Our Website to Learn More About Sightseeing & Tours Or Easily Reach us out for Customized Travel Plans for you & Your Beloved Ones.

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