Where east meets west, Istanbul spans over two continents and blends together a fusion of rich history, traditions and cultures. Famed for its mosques and magnificent architecture, lively bazaars, vibrant nightlife, melting pot of history and culture and breath-taking views, Istanbul is a city you can’t afford to miss!
With so much to do and see in Istanbul, it can difficult to know where to start! To help you out, we’ve put together our top 5 favourite things to do and see when visiting Istanbul.
1. Explore Sultanahmet
The historical heart to the city, Sultanahmet is home to Istanbul’s top attractions. No trip would be complete without visiting them. If you’ve got limited time, see our suggested must-sees:
The Blue Mosque is possibly one of the grandest buildings to visit, and is made up of 6 minarets and covered with over 20 000 handmade blue tiles.
Set on top of a hill, steeped in history and opulence, the Topkapi Palace gives you a glimpse into Sultans of the Ottoman Empire lives.
Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) was formerly a Church, which was then converted into a Mosque for over 480 years, and since the 1930’s is now a museum. Top tip, remember to go upstairs to get the best insta-worthy pictures from its balconies.
2. Cruise along the Bosphorus
What better way to see Istanbul skyline from the Bosphorus river! See the Asia and Europe side of the city, whilst getting a glimpse of all the main sites.
3. Haggle you way through the Grand Bazaar
Get lost in the hustle and bustle of the Grand Baazar! With a labyrinth of over 4000 stalls selling anything from beautiful hand-made rugs to brightly coloured lamps or even yummy Turkish delight. A total sensory overload!
4. Experience a traditional Hammam
Don’t miss out on a traditional Turkish Bath (or Hamman). Turkish baths usually follow a three step process which includes a sauna and steam, and then a full body scrub, often finishing with a massage. You’ll have silky soft skin by the end of it!
5. Visit The Princes’ Islands
Only a few kilometres from the shore, Princes’ Islands is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city (and all the traffic)! The most famous of the Princes’ Islands Büyükada should be your first spot to tick off. Make sure to take a ferry, as there are no cars allowed on the island and enjoy a day of sightseeing and chilling out.
So, you’re interested in travelling to Istanbul? Of course you are! Travel Talk offers 8-12 day tours to Turkey, that all start and end in Istanbul so you have plenty of time to explore this epic city! Check them out here.