The building is still a functioning mosque, so though it is open to visitors, it closes during prayers each day, and appropriate mosque dress (legs and shoulders covered, hair covered for women) is required to enter. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions. Istanbul is home to some famous historical sites — the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, and Spice Market. Set just a short walk away from the Grand Bazaar, a peek inside is definitely worth adding to your list of fun things to do in Istanbul! As the oldest surviving Byzantine cistern in Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern is definitely worth a visit! Going to a Harbiye Open Air Concert If you’re a fan of the novel The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk, a visit to the real-life museum that was conceived in tandem with the book is a must–luckily, it’s located in the heart of Istanbul! Having tea with a shopkeeper is a common practice in Istanbul and an incredibly fun way to explore the city–so don’t be surprised when you get offers of tea left and right while out shopping! See more fun & games in Istanbul on Tripadvisor. Top 4 Things to See and Do in Istanbul’s Old Town 1. Today, you can visit the tower for beautiful views of Istanbul and to eat at the restaurant on the ground floor or cafe on the second. Don’t worry! Visit top-rated & must-see attractions. Book your tickets online for the top things to do in Istanbul, Turkey on Tripadvisor: See 1,291,444 traveller reviews and photos of Istanbul tourist attractions. Besides the café, Pierre Loti Hill has several restaurants, a cemetery and many historical buildings. Ever since our amazing walking tour in Medellin, one of the first things we do in a new city is take a free walking tour. Built in the mid-19th century, the Beylerbeyi Palace is, at first glance, perhaps a bit less striking than Topkapi and Dolmabahce–but it does have an interesting history considering its relatively short (by Istanbul standards, anyway) lifespan. Simply wander around the streets, soak up the history and have a chat with the friendly locals. 10. A food tour is the perfect way to start wrapping your head around the best foods in the city, and we recommend taking one as early in your trip as possible–that way, you can use your newfound food knowledge to inform your shopping and ordering choices for the rest of your time in Istanbul! At or near the top of most itineraries, Istanbul’s Blue Mosque is a great way to kick off your stay in this exotic city. was once part of a monastery that stood outside the walls of Constantinople–and today, it is a beautiful museum showcasing the decor of the Byzantine-era Greek Orthodox church. Highly unlikely… but the tower lives on. Will accepting an offer of tea, especially in touristic areas, up the pressure to buy something? Caddebostan Dalyan Park. This can be a fun way to get to know the local culture and try new dishes. Looking for something? When looking for things to do in Istanbul, many tourists will only visit the common attractions and move on to their next destination. Built in the 14th century, the Galata Tower looks out over the Bosphorus Strait toward Sultanahmet, and you can easily pick out features like the grounds of the Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque from the top of the tower. Take flight from Istanbul to see the best of Turkey by air, on this private, 4-day, 3-night all-inclusive sightseeing tour of Cappadocia and the North Aegean provinces. This park is all about the tiny things: take a stroll through the park to visit tiny versions of plenty of Turkey’s best-known features, including replicas of the Blue Mosque, Istanbul’s airport, Cappadocia, and more! From its compelling (and lengthy) history to its thriving culture to its delicious food and its distinct neighborhoods, Istanbul is completely addictive–and there is definitely no shortage of fun things to do in Istanbul. Your kids (and you) will be amazed by the amount of huge aquariums. Hi, we’re Kate and Jeremy Storm! In Istanbul, it’s possible: book a Bosphorus Dinner Cruise and enjoy watching the sunset over the city while you indulge in a delicious meal that takes place not in Europe or Asia, but in a fleeting place in between the two. A post shared by Kate & Jeremy ? Descending into the Basilica Cistern is a bit like entering another world: it’s damp, it’s dark, you can hear water dripping, and the rows of columns seem to extend into the abyss. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, an architecture lover, or simply a traveler who loves to meander through beautiful neighborhoods, Istanbul has something for you. your ticket to see the Whirling Dervishes, Fun & Ridiculous Moments in Vilanculos, Mozambique, One Day in Florence: How to See Florence in a Day, Magical Valladolid, Mexico: Things to Do + Travel Guide, 25 of the Best National Parks in the USA (Beautiful + Diverse! I've lived, studied and worked in Turkey, the US, Ireland and Bali. Head to Karakoy. If you’re looking for a fantastic and popular breakfast spot that’s popular with locals and tourists alike, you can’t beat Van Kahvalti Evi (or their prices)–we ate there at least a dozen times while in Istanbul. Here are some of the most fun things to do in Istanbul. Though it’s a bit pricier, we also loved Privato Cafe near the Galata Tower–every dish was delicious, the serving sizes were enormous, and the literal dishware itself was incredibly beautiful–great for those Turkish breakfast photos that every trip to the city requires. If you want to see the most attractive places for locals in Istanbul, you shouldn't leave Istanbul without seeing and exploring Moda. Where to stay in Istanbul depends a lot on the kind of trip you’re looking for. Take a Free Walking Tour of Istanbul. Istanbul is home to a plethora of semi-stray cats that are fed and cared for by the public. As you cross the Galata Bridge heading toward the Galata Tower, you’ll be entering Beyoglu: this is one of the biggest and busiest districts on the European side of Istanbul and is often cited as a great place to stay in Istanbul. The streetcar runs the length of Istiklal, dead-ending into Taksim Square before turning around. Historical mosques and buildings make for gorgeous vacation photos, but the city was thrust into the tourism limelight due to an influx of world-class restaurants, stylish bars, art galleries and a hip fashion scene. A church, a mosque, a museum–originally built in 537 AD, the Hagia Sophia has had a long and storied life. Made up of several different spreads, cheeses, breads, olives, honey, and more, plus eggs and sausage if you’re feeling particularly hungry, plus unfathomable amounts of Turkish tea, Turkish breakfast is a gut-busting and incredible meal. The definitive guide to the essential sights, activities, shopping, restaurants and nightlife in Istanbul To rent a voice guide is highly recommended. Unlike many historical towers, the Galata Tower has an elevator installed that is used to transport visitors most of the way up–so a visit to Galata Tower doesn’t actually involve much climbing at all. It’s right by the sea, it’s green and it’s surrounded by beautiful old wooden houses. However, if you’d like to stay in a hotel in Beyoglu, we’d recommend somewhere close to the Galata Tower for convenience during your 2 days in Istanbul. Today, you can still buy a fish sandwich right under the Galata Bridge, wrapped in paper and ready for you to munch on it while you wander around the docks and admire the view of the Galata Tower and Bosphorus Strait. Turkish paper marbling is a method of aqueous surface design that can create patterns similar to marble, hence the name. If your kids like art, this would be a good place to spend a few hours having fun and learning at the same time. Open since 1461 and nearly constantly busy ever since, the Grand Bazaar is the perfect place to enjoy the hustle and bustle of Istanbul in a beautiful setting. If you’re looking for a Turkish lamp, some candy, a cup of tea, fabric, jewelry, shoes, suitcases, or just about anything else, you can find it at the Grand Bazaar. If you fancy fishing with locals, you can buy a rod and bait from vendors on the bridge. I’m partial to this neighborhood–it’s pretty and centrally located–and think it’s a great place to stay while in Istanbul. While you are drinking and eating something, you can enjoy the views of … Enter your email address and we'll email you a link that you can use to log in. The most popular things to do in Istanbul with kids according to Tripadvisor travellers are: Suleymaniye Mosque; Sultanahmet District; Hagia Sophia; Basilica Cistern; Istanbul Life Cultural Tours/Day Tours - Senguler Travel; See all kid friendly things to do in Istanbul on Tripadvisor € A traditional experience includes a scrub down and massage from a masseur (who will be the same sex as you), and though the experience can be intense bordering on painful, the amount of dead skin that can be removed is nothing short of remarkable–you’ll leave feeling silky smooth! ). Home to more than 4,000 stores covering 60 streets, the Grand Bazaar most certainly lives up to its name. by Orhan Pamuk, a visit to the real-life museum that was conceived in tandem with the book is a must–luckily, it’s located in the heart of Istanbul! If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. He was held there for six years until his death in 1918. If you’d like to avoid any potential awkwardness, though, we suggest waiting to accept an offer of tea from someone you’re planning on making a purchase from–or even someone you’ve already finished doing business with! This well-reviewed Bosphorus Cruise includes dinner, drinks, entertainment & amazing views! The three archaeological museums are the Museum of the Ancient Orient, the Archaeological Museum, and the Museum of Islamic Art. Sultanahmet is the heart of old Istanbul and the home of many fun things to do in Istanbul. Hagia Sophia was a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica (church), later an imperial mosque, and now a museum (Ayasofya Müzesi) in Istanbul, Turkey. Things to do in Istanbul. Istanbul’s long and storied history and the fact that is has been ruled by several of the world’s great empires makes it a positive treasure trove for history buffs. We really didn’t have a bad meal. Toward the end of the Ottoman Empire, Beylerbeyi Palace was used as a summer home for the sultan and his family and was also used to entertain visiting heads of states, including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The Roman Empire is well-known worldwide for their aqueducts, and that extended to Constantinople. Ä°stanbul offers magical activities and thrilling city tours for every kind of point of interests. Some links throughout this site are affiliate links. while in the city… if for no other reason than that the cravings you’ll get for them once you leave will be nearly unbearable (ask us how we know…). We’ve rounded up some of our best suggestions for free things to do in Istanbul we think you will love. As the cats are strays, always be cautious when approaching them, but many relish pets and human attention, and visiting with them as you sip a cup of tea at a cafe is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Istanbul. They are stunning, important historical sites to see and experience. If you like to see the city from a hidden rooftop behind the locked doors, have a look at it. Things to do with kids is a common issue and sometimes a big trouble for families travelling with kids, especially in winter times. This is also where you’ll find the Museum of Innocence. Istanbul is a city of neighborhoods, each one with a unique character and style. No list of fun things to do in Istanbul could be complete without the earnest suggestion to eat, as many of these breakfasts as humanly possible. Thanks to its long history of having multiple cultures living side-by-side, Istanbul’s food scene is varied, gigantic, and full of incredibly delicious options. Jeremy once had a delightful hour-long conversation with a shopkeeper who we dropped our laundry off with, and we went through a couple of cups of tea each in the camera shop we visited to purchase a new lens. Istanbul Aquarium is located in Florya, not far from the airport, hence a bit far from the city center. Located in the middle of the Bosphorus Strait, this small, Byzantine-era tower is better known for its legends than any solid history. This 1000-year-old church (older if you count previous buildings that stood in its place!) Wanting to spare his daughter that fate, he built the Maiden’s Tower and placed her in it to keep her far away from any snakes. While you are drinking and eating something, you can enjoy the views of Old Istanbul, Princess Islands and passing sailboats. @ancient_iran_and_world … Shop at Firca Handcraft Centre. Find what to do today, this weekend, or in January. From this piece of history springs forward the famous and intricate walls of Constantinople, which were said to be some of the most intricate and impressive barriers of their time. Bosphorus Cruise ... 50 FUN things to do in Wexford. You can find retro typewriters, huge chandeliers, old postcards, furniture… Have a chat with the owners and try to bargain with them for your extra special souvenir! We have reviews of the best places to see in Istanbul. Kadikoy is located right on the shores of Istanbul’s Asian side, and if you take the ferry over, you’ll be dropped off right at Kadikoy’s doorstep. After visiting the mosque you can also go to Miniaturk Museum containing small models of all the historical monuments in Turkey. We definitely recommend grabbing breakfast at the nearby Cafe Galera!

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