Top 10 Things to Do in Istanbul
Istanbul’s strategic location between Europe and Asia on the ancient Silk Road has made it one of the most important cities in history. A list of points of interest will be long enough to bridge the Bosphorus, so here are the top 10 to make your travel plan more manageable!
1. Hagia Sophia
In Hagia Sophia, the huge dome that turned this church into a museum was an architectural miracle in its time, but it took a lot of trial and error to get to this point: it was destroyed twice!
2. Sultan Ahmed Mosque
The fine Iznik tiles adorning this majestic building, also known as the Blue Mosque, can make it appear bluer than it actually is!
3. Dolmabahçe Palace
The magnificent Dolmabahçe Palace dominates the European shores of the Bosphorus, where it served as the key administrative center in the last days of the Ottoman Empire.
4. Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace, a one-off home for many sultans, not only offers magnificent views of the city but also contains treasures that make Royal Jewels look like Claire’s Accessories!
5. Galata Tower
It is said that in the early 1600s, Ahmet Çelebi crossed the Bosphorus from the top of the Galata Tower. Most visitors will probably be satisfied with the incredible images!
6. Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest markets on the planet. A constant source of curiosity, it is also one of the most visited places in the world. Expect the crowd whenever you want!
7. Suleymaniye Mosque
The magnificent Süleymaniye Mosque was built by the magnificent architect Sinan for Suleiman the Magnificent. If you’re feeling hungry, Ali Baba across the road might be the best restaurant in town for Turkish beans!
8. Spice Bazaar
The Spice Bazaar, also known as the Spice Bazaar, was founded in 1660 and remains the place to go for spices, nuts, Turkish delight, and other divine flavors and scents!
9. Basilica Cistern
One of Istanbul’s most unusual sites, the Roman ruins were seized by Byzantine builders to support this complex system that once brought drinking water to the city.
10. Maiden's Tower
Located on a small islet in the Bosphorus, this historical lighthouse was once a watchtower. Now it also serves as a popular restaurant and café with magnificent views of the city’s coastline.
Planning Your Visit
How many days?
Istanbul is a cartographic labyrinth full of views and experiences that await you at every corner. How long you stay depends on how long you want to dive, but a week should be enough to cover the most famous attractions.
How to get to the city from the airport?
Havataş Shuttle Buses are available from outside the terminal and depart every half hour between 04:00 and 01:00. However, taking a taxi is the easiest and should not be more expensive than a shuttle service between a group of four. Ignore the scammers inside the airport and make sure you get an official vehicle from the taxi stand at the terminal exit.
Where to stay?
The main tourist areas are Fatih and Taksim, where to stay depends on the nature of your stay. Fatih is an old city and is home to many historical landmarks of Istanbul. Taksim, on the other hand, is modern and appeals to those who visit the city to shop, eat and have fun. Traveling between the two is simple, so if you enjoy hitting dance floors after Hagia Sophia, don’t worry!