Things To Do in Istanbul

When a regular traveler or new tourist plans a unique tour somewhere, the first thought comes where to travel in that particular country or city. We all know that Istanbul is spread over two continents and many attractions and places to visit. While considering that it is challenging to cover all of the sites in a short time, Istanbul E-pass provides you the best list of THINGS TO DO in Istanbul on your trip.

Updated Date : 26.08.2021

Things To Do in Istanbul

Istanbul is one of the world's most attractive cities, offering you a sneak peek into the past. At the same time, you get a beautiful blend of modern architecture infused with technology applications. The city is full of exciting places, so you get many things to do in Istanbul. The beautiful attractions, the historical legacy, and the mouth-licking food offer you countless opportunities for things to do in Istanbul. 

From mosques to palaces to bazaars, you won't want to miss the opportunity to visit as many places as you can once you are in Istanbul. So here we list for you the most exciting things to do in Istanbul. 

Hagia Sophia

Let's start with Hagia Sofia, which is one of the most attractive places in Istanbul. The Hagia Sofia mosque occupies a special place in the architectural heritage of the country. Moreover, it signifies the interaction of three periods starting from Byzantine to finally the Muslim era. Therefore, the mosque is also known as Aya Sofya. 

During its periodic changes of possession, it has remained an Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, a museum, and a mosque. Currently, Aya Sofya is a mosque open to people from all religions and walks of life. Even today, Aya Sofia displays the majesties element of Islamic and Christianity, making it highly attractive for tourists looking for exciting things to do in Istanbul. 

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace remained the abode of the Sultans from 1478 to 1856. Therefore, its visit is among the most exciting things to do when in Istanbul. Shortly after the end of the Ottoman era, the Topkapi palace became a museum. Thus, offering an opportunity to the larger public to visit the brilliant architecture and majestic courtyards and gardens of the Topkapi Palace. 

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosques is another attractive place to visit in Istanbul. It stands out due to its structure that highlights the blue color in its blue tile work. The mosque was built in 1616. The mosque does not charge an entrance fee and but donations are welcomes at your own will. 

Visiting the blue mosque is among the most exciting things to do in Istanbul. However, like all well-maintained public places, the mosque has some rules and guidelines to follow for entrance. Therefore, to avoid any inconvenience, we advise you to pay attention to the rules of the blue mosque. 

Hippodrome

Hippodrome dates back to the 4th century AD. It is an ancient stadium of Greek times. At that time, it was used as a site where they raced chariots and horses. The Hippodrome was also used for other public events like public executions or public shaming. 

Istanbul Archaeology Museum

Istanbul Archaeology Museum is a collection of three museums. It consists of the Archaeology Museum, the Tiled Kiosk Museum, and the Museum of Ancient Orient. When deciding on things to do in Istanbul, Istanbul Archaeology Museum is an exciting place to visit and spend quality time. 

The Istanbul Archaeology Museum has almost a million artifacts in it. These artifacts belong to various cultures. Although the interest to collect artifacts goes back to Sultan Mehmet, the Conqueror, the emergence of the museum only started in 1869 with the establishment of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. 

Grand Bazaar

Visiting one of the most exciting places on the earth and not shopping or collecting any souvenirs, is it even possible? We hardly think so. Therefore, the grand bazaar is a must place for you to visit when in Istanbul. Grand Bazaar Istanbul is one of the biggest covered bazaars globally. It has about 4000 shops offering ceramics to jewelry, to carpets, to name a few. 

The Grand Bazaar Istanbul features a beautiful decor of colorful lanterns that illuminate the streets. You will need to spare some time to visit 60+ streets of the grand bazaar if you want to have a thorough visit to the place. Despite an overflowing crowd of visitors in the Grand Bazaar, you will find yourself at ease and going with a flow when going from shop to shop. 

Spice bazaar

Spice bazaar is another attractive place to visit in Istanbul. It regularly gets a large number of visitors. Unlike Grand Bazaar, the spice bazaar is also open on Sundays. If you are interested in buying spices from the spice bazaar, many vendors can also vacuum seal them, making them more travel-friendly. 

The bazaar is much smaller than the grand bazaar. Moreover, there are fewer chances of getting lost as it consists of two covered streets making a right angle to each other. 

Galata tower

Built-in the 14th century, the Galata tower was used to surveillance the Harbor in the Golden Horn. Later, it also served as a fire Galata tower to locate fires in the city. Therefore, if you want to get an opportunity to get the best view of Istanbul, Galata tower is your desired spot. Galata tower is one of the tallest and the ancient towers in Istanbul. Therefore, its lengthy historical background is enough to attract tourists to it. 

Maiden's tower Istanbul

When you are in Istanbul, not visiting Maiden's tower, Istanbul should never be an option. The tower has a long history that dates back to the fourth century. Maiden's tower Istanbul seems floating on the water of Bosphorous and offers an exciting view to its visitors. 

It is one of the most famous landmarks of the city of Istanbul. The tower acts as a restaurant and a cafe during the daytime. And as a private restaurant in the evenings. It is a perfect place to host weddings, meetings, and business meals with breathtaking scenery. 

Bosphorus Cruise

Istanbul is a city that extends over two continents (Asia and Europe). The divider between the two continents is the Bosphorous. Therefore, Bosphorus Cruise is an excellent opportunity to see how the city spans over two continents. The Bosphorus Cruise starts its trip from the Eminonu in the morning and goes towards the Balck sea. You can have your midday lunch at the small fishing village of Anadolu Kavagi. Additionally, you can visit nearby places like Yoros Castle, which is just 15 minutes away from the village. 

Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace attracts a large number of visitors due to its breathtaking beauty and rich historical background. It is sitting with its full majesty along the Bosphorus. The Dolmabahce Palace is not very old and was built in the 19th century as the residence and administrative seat of the Sultan towards the end of the Ottoman empire. This place should be on your things to do list when planning a trip to Istanbul. 

The design and architecture of the Dolmabahce Palace offer a beautiful amalgamation of European and Arab designs. The only thing that you find lacking is that photography is not allowed in the Dolmabahce Palace.

Walls of Constantinople

The walls of Constantinople are the collection of stones that were made to protect the city of Istanbul. They present an architectural masterpiece. The Roman Empire built the first Walls of Constantinople by Constantine the Great. 

Though many additions and modifications, the Walls of Constantinople are still the most complicated defense system ever built. The wall protected the capital from all sides and saved it from attack from both land and sea. Visiting the Walls of Constantinople is one of the most exciting things to do in Istanbul. It will take you back in time in the blink of an eye. 

Nightlife

Taking part in the nightlife of Istanbul is again one of the best things to do for a traveler looking for fun and excitement in Istanbul. The nightlife is indisputably the most exhilarating experience, with the opportunity to eat savory Turkish food, late-night parties, and dancing. 

Turkish food will tantalize your taste buds at the mere sight of them. They hide a lot of wonderful flavors and aromas in them. The tourists experiencing nightlife often spend it a tasting variety of Turkish food. If you want your stomach to get familiarized with Turkish culture and life, Turkish food is among the best things to do in Istanbul. 

Nightclub 

A nightclub is another fun aspect of Turkish nightlife. You will see many nightclubs in Istanbul. If you are searching for excitement and fun things to do in Istanbul, a nightclub will never fail to grab your attention. Most of the nightclubs are located in Istiklal Street, Taksim, and Galata Tunel line. 

Istiklal Street

Istiklal Street is one of the famous streets in Istanbul. It caters to many pedestrian tourists so that it can get crowded sometimes.
You will see multi-story buildings on both sides with shops for quick window shopping on Istiklal Street. The Istiklal Street looks very different from other places in Istanbul. However, it can potentially grab your attention and take you to another world. 

The Final Words

Istanbul is full of places to visit and offers a chance of many things to do. The combination of history with modern architecture attract tourist from around the globe. Those mentioned above are some of the most notable things to do in Istanbul. Make sure to plan your trip with Istanbul E-pass, and don't miss a chance to explore every unique attraction in Istanbul.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are some of the most attractions to visit in Istanbul?

    Istanbul is full of attractive locations that give you a tour of the past. Others offer you a combination of the past meeting the present. Some notable places are Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Istanbul Archaeology Museum, Grand Bazaar.

  • What is Hagia Sofia, and What does it mean?

    Hagia Sofia or Aya Sofia is one of the ancient mosques in Istanbul. It was built as a cathedral by Byzantines in the sixth century. Later converted into a museum and then a mosque. Aya Sofia means holy wisdom. 

  • Is there any difference between Hagia Sofia and Blue Mosque?

    No, they are not. Both are majestic structures of past time and stand opposite to each other. The blue mosque is also called the Sultan Mehmet Mosque, while Hagia Sofia is also known as Aya Sofia. 

  • Is Istiklal Street in Istanbul very long?

    The street is 1.4 kilometers long, which is not too much as the street's beauty and architecture completely capture your attention. The Istiklal Street houses many boutiques, food places, and bookstores, so you won't even notice when you reach the end. 

  • When were the Walls of Constantinople built?

    The original walls were built in the 8th century after the founding of Byzantium by Greek colonists from Megara. The walls offered protection to the byzantine city of Constantinople from the land and sea attacks. 

  • Is Nightlife of Istanbul worth looking forward to?

    The Nightlife of Istanbul is exhilarating and provides excellent opportunities for having fun. From food to dancing to nightclubs, the nightlife is everything that you can look forward to.

  • What is unique about Grand Bazaar?

    Grand Bazaar is one of the largest covered bazaars in the world. It houses more than 4000 shops and is pided into 60+ streets. 

  • Is Spice Bazaar the same as Grand Bazaar?

    No, both are different places. The Spice Bazaar is much smaller in size than the grand bazaar. It is also less crowded than the former one. However, both have their unique place, and visiting them can be placed on your things-to-do list. 

  • Does Topkapi Palace still exist in Istanbul?

    Some of the parts of the Topkapi Palace are still functioning. They include imperial treasury, library, and mint. However, the palace was converted into a museum after the 1924 government order. 

  • Is there any entrance fee for the Topkapi Palace?

    Yes, the palace charges a fixed entrance fee of 150 Turkish Lira. If you want to visit the Harem section, there is a separate ticket of 100 Liras for that area. Furthermore, you can also visit the Hagia Irene Museum with an additional token of 80 Turkish Lira. Combine ticket for Topkapi Palace, Hagia Irene and Harem Section is 285 Turkish Lira. Get a chance to explore all these free with Istanbul E-pass.

  • Should you spend your time visiting Dolmabahce Palace?

    This is one of the most beautiful palaces in Istanbul. The breathtaking architectural and attention-grabbing interior worth a visit. It is a relatively recent place as it was built in the 19th century. 

  • Is there any story behind the Maiden´s tower Istanbul?

    The maiden palace has an interesting story behind it. It was built by the Byzantine emperor who heard a prophecy that a snake would kill his daughter. Therefore, he made this palace across Bosphorus and kept her daughter there so no snake would bite her. 

  • Why was the Galata tower built?

    In the 14th century, the Galata tower was used as a surveillance post for the Harbor in the Golden Horn. Later the tower was also used to locate fires in the city. 

  • Why is Spice bazaar famous in Istanbul?

    Spice bazaar is an ideal place to buy Indian, Pakistani, Middle Eastern, and halal groceries. You will big overflowing shops selling food and spices. 

  • If you are visiting the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, is it necessary to book in advance?

    It is recommended to book the place in advance as many tourists visit the museum daily. If you go without booking, it might be challenging to get a spot. 

Popular Istanbul E-pass Attractions

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