Things to Do in Istanbul – Attractions & Activities

February 13, 2023 By: Jenny


Istanbul is one of the most beautiful cities in the world that offers both modern and ancient reflection to the travelers. This is the city where the East meets West in many aspects. Travelers can visit different historic landmarks to cherish the beauty and amazing architectural masterpieces. Not just that, there are a lot of other Istanbul attractions that can keep one hooked during the trip.

If you are wondering what to do in Istanbul, just sit back and relax as we are presenting here the best things to do in Istanbul.


1. Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya)

The amazing and beautiful museum (initially a church and then a mosque until converted into a museum) is one of the splendid architectural achievements in the world. Travelers rank Hagia Sophia as one of the best places to visit in Istanbul.

The glorious interior design, stunning architecture, amazing art works and historic significance are what makes the Hagia Sophia one of the most beautiful Istanbul attractions.




2. The Blue Mosque

The iconic Sultan Ahmed Mosque, commonly known as the Blue Mosque, stands a few hundred meters away from Hagia Sophia. Unlike Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque still serves as the Muslims’ prayer place despite being one of the most visited tourist spots in the city.

The beautiful hand-painted blue tiles and the stunning interior make it a classic landmark. The entry is free but you have to dress properly as it’s an active religious place.
The Blue Mosque


3. The Grand Bazaar

Claimed at times as a tourist trap, the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest indoor markets in the world. Formed in the 15th century, the Grand Bazaar holds 5000 shops, 60 streets, multiple restaurants and a number of mosques. You may get lost inside so better keep tracks of the streets you take.

You can find a range of items here that includes carpets, spices, jewelry, leather, ceramics and other items. The vendors are famous for quoting higher prices so you must prepare for great negotiating skills if you really want to buy something in a reasonable price.



4. Take the Bosphorus Cruise

The Bosphorus is a natural strait that connects the Black Sea with the Mediterranean Sea, thus forming a natural border between the European side of Turkey and the Asian side of Turkey. Taking a cruise ride across the Bosphorus strait is one of the most recommended things to do in Istanbul.

You can take a short cruise or a long cruise across the strait. You can also go for the sunset cruise if you want to cherish the beauty of the nature and the city itself.



5. Galata Tower

Want to have a 360 degree panoramic view of the stunning city of Istanbul? Just head over to the Galata Tower to have the most scenic view of Istanbul. This 67 meter tall tower was once the tallest building in Turkey in the olden times. Just climb up to the observation deck at any time of the day and be prepared to get stunned with the views you would definitely love.

galata tower


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6. Topkapi Palace

The historic Topkapi Palace was once the home for the Ottoman Sultans during the Ottoman Empire. The brilliant architecture, fine courtyards and attractive exhibits make the Topkapi Palace as one of the most attractive Istanbul attractions for every tourist.

The main attractions are the Harem (a place where Sultan’s women were kept), the treasury that holds priceless jewels from the Ottoman era and the weapon’s room reflecting the amazing craftsmanship of the workers.



7. Istanbul Archaeology Museum (Arkeoloji Müzesi)

Despite being skipped by many of the travelers, the Istanbul Archeology Museum is a massive, fascinating and a must visit place. The Museum is so massive that it is comprised of three separate buildings that together hold more than a million antique items.

The popular attractions include the astonishing sarcophagus of Alexander the Great with a depiction of different phases of his life, the stunning Tiled pavilion, the sarcophagus of a Crying Women and the Treaty of Kadesh.




8. Basilica Cistern

There are numerous underground cisterns in Istanbul, out of which Basilica Cistern is the most astonishing one. This spectacular engineering masterpiece was built during the Byzantine era to store and provide water to the nearby areas.

The ambience inside is dark with dimmed lights and light music played in the background. You can also hear a spooky sound of dripping water. Fishes swimming in the water can be seen and you can also see the Medusa head upside down under one of the 336 columns in the cistern.

Basilica Cistern


9. Walk Istiklal Avenue to Taksim Square

Explore the culture and life of Istanbul by walking through the Istiklal street which is a pedestrian-only street. There’s a tram running across the street too but it’s better if you take a walk passing by the shops, restaurants and other activities. In the night, this street offers an amazing nightlife experience too. Just walk through this street and reach the famous Taksim Square. It’s where major large public events and protests are held.



10. Nightlife in Istanbul

The nightlife in Istanbul is no less happening than any other lively city of the world. There are a number of clubs and bars where you can enjoy drinks, music and dance. The streets of Istanbul offer a beautiful ambience for tourists to have the time of their lifetime.



Plan Your Trip to Istanbul Now..

Just plan your next visit to this amazing city by getting the best flight fares and choosing the best accommodation as per your needs.