Top Things To Do In Istanbul

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If you’re planning a trip to Istanbul, Turkey, there are plenty of things to see and do in this fascinating city. From its rich history and architecture to its vibrant culture and food scene, Istanbul has something for everyone.

In this article, we’ll cover the top things to do in Istanbul. These are the main attractions in Istanbul and if you are visiting the city you should definitely visit them.

1. Visit the Hagia Sophia

Inside Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia is an iconic landmark in Istanbul and a must-visit for anyone traveling to the city. This former church and museum is now a mosque that showcases the incredible history and architecture of Istanbul. Inside, you’ll find stunning mosaics, intricate carvings, and a fascinating history that spans centuries. It’s a functioning mosque, so be sure to dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering.

2. Explore the Topkapi Palace

Gates of the Topkapi Palace

Another iconic landmark in Istanbul is the Topkapi Palace, which was once the residence of the Ottoman sultans. Today, it’s a museum that offers visitors a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Ottoman rulers. You can wander through the palace’s many rooms and halls, admire the intricate decorations and furnishings, and even see the sultan’s jewels and treasures.

3. Take a Cruise Along the Bosphorus Strait


For stunning views of Istanbul’s skyline and a relaxing way to see the city, take a cruise along the Bosphorus Strait. This waterway separates Europe from Asia and is lined with historic buildings and landmarks, including the Ortakoy Mosque, the Maiden’s Tower, and the Rumeli Fortress.

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4. Visit the Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque is one of Istanbul’s most famous landmarks and is known for its stunning blue tiles that cover the interior walls. It’s a functioning mosque, so be sure to dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering. The mosque is also a popular spot for tourists, so be prepared for crowds.

5. Explore the Grand Bazaar

Ceiling of the Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is a massive market in Istanbul that has been operating since the 15th century. Here, you’ll find thousands of shops selling everything from jewelry and textiles to spices and souvenirs. It’s a great place to bargain for a deal and to immerse yourself in Istanbul’s vibrant culture and history.

6. Take a Turkish Bath

Inside Cagaloglu Hammam

A Turkish bath, or hammam, is a traditional bathing ritual that’s been around for centuries. There are several hammams in Istanbul that offer visitors the chance to experience this unique cultural tradition. You’ll be scrubbed down and washed by a professional bath attendant, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. You can find out about the best Hammams in the city here

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7. Visit the Chora Church

The Chora Church, now a Mosque

The Chora Church, also known as the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora, is a stunning example of Byzantine architecture and art. Inside, you’ll find beautiful frescoes and mosaics that date back to the 14th century. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but well worth the visit.

8. Sample Turkish Delights

Turkish Delight is a great souvenir

Turkish Delights are a type of sweet confectionery that’s popular throughout Turkey. They come in a variety of flavors and are typically made with sugar, cornstarch, and flavorings like rosewater or lemon. You can find them in markets and shops throughout Istanbul, and they make for delicious and unique souvenirs.

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9. Visit the Spice Bazaar

Spice Bazaar has lot to offer

The Spice Bazaar, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar, is another bustling market in Istanbul. Here, you’ll find a wide variety of spices, herbs, and other culinary delights. Istanbul is the meeting point of the East and West and Istanbul Port is one of the centers of Spice trading.

Spice Bazaar is a great place to stock up on ingredients for cooking or simply wander around.


Istanbul is a city that offers something for everyone. Whether you are interested in history, culture, food, or simply exploring new places, Istanbul has it all.

From iconic landmarks like the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque to vibrant neighborhoods like Kadikoy and Karakoy, there is never a shortage of things to do in this incredible city.

Make sure to visit the bazaars, try the local cuisine, take a Bosphorus cruise, and explore the many Mosques and Museums. And don’t forget to take some time to simply wander the streets and soak up the atmosphere of this vibrant and fascinating city.

Istanbul truly is a destination that you will never forget, and with so many incredible things to see and do, it is definitely worth a spot on your travel bucket list. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Istanbul today! If you have any further questions about visiting Istanbul or would like more information about any of the activities mentioned in this article, please check out our FAQ section below.


What is the best time of year to visit Istanbul?

The best time to visit Istanbul is during the spring (April-June) or the fall (September-November) when the weather is mild and crowds are smaller.

What is the dress code for visiting mosques in Istanbul?

Visitors to mosques in Istanbul should dress modestly and cover their arms, legs, and head. Women may be required to wear a headscarf. If you forget to bring a headscarf or proper dress don’t worry, you can borrow some at the entrance of Popular Mosques like Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. The smaller mosques don’t have this service, unfortunately.

Where to stay in Istanbul? There are great accommodation options for every budget in Istanbul. You can check out the following blog posts to make the best possible decision: Top 10 Best Luxury Hotels in Istanbul Top 10 Best Airbnb Locations in Istanbul

Top Boutique Hotels in Istanbul

What is the currency used in Istanbul?

The Turkish lira is the currency used in Istanbul (and throughout Turkey).

Is it safe to travel to Istanbul?

Istanbul is generally a safe city for travelers, but as with any destination, it’s essential to take precautions like being aware of your surroundings and avoiding isolated areas at night.

What is the best way to get around Istanbul?

The best way to get around Istanbul is by using the public transportation system, which includes buses, trams, and ferries. Taxis are also widely available, but negotiate the fare in advance.


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