You have a ticket to Istanbul, have already booked a room in hotel or hostel so you are full of energy and excitement thinking about your trip, we guess. Adventures are ahead and it’s time to make a small plan of things you want to do and to see in Istanbul, then this article is for you.
Sultanahmet is the most famous place in Istanbul and the most visited one, of course. It has become a symbol of the Old historical part and you cannot leave before visiting it. So, the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sohia Museum and the Topkapı Palace definitely should be in your list.
Beyoglu district is for those who like art, antiques, music, parties and shopping – you can find everything of these in the Istiklal Street and narrow streets around it. The length of the street is 3 km and it’s one of the most famous streets in the city. Climb the Galata Tower to get the best views to the city.
The Dolmabahce Palace will impress you with its richness, luxury and glamour. It used to be a residence of the latest Sultans and then the greatest leader of Turkey has lived here and spent the last days of his life. In 1984 the palace was converted into museum and opened for public.
Definitely you should see the Maidens Tower as one of the gems of Istanbul and its Asian side. Also you can visit the restaurant on the top of it.
The Princes’ Islands (Adalar) will be the best place if you are tired of Istanbul’s crowds and want to get some freshness. You can walk around, take a ride on the phaeton or visit one of the beaches there.
Things to do in Istanbul:
Bosphorus that divides Istanbul into Europe and Asia is one of the best things you will see there. It’s beautiful in a sunny weather and when it rains, in summer and winter – and if you’ve visited Istanbul once, you will never forget it. So don’t miss your chance to do the Bosphorus cruise. There are loads of companies that offer trips by ship in Istanbul: it can be a short tour (until the 2nd bridge and back) and long tour (you will be going to the place where the Bosphorus merges into the Black Sea); day tours and night tours, but all of them are very enjoyable.
Turkey is known as a country with the best shopping opportunities and visiting its bazaars is a must in Istanbul. There are many places where you can get ceramic products, herbal teas, spices and Turkish sweets – the biggest one is the Grand Bazaar, then Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar), Arasta Bazaar. Visit one of them and feel the atmosphere of Turkey.
After the busy day get a relaxing massage and take a rest in a Turkish bath that is also called a hamam. It is a traditional Turkish way to unwind, get you’re your body scrubbed cleaned. So hamam is one of the thing that you can enjoy being in Turkey.
Let’s continue with the Turkish food, it deserves several paragraphs. There are some kinds of food that you definitely should try – you cannot find some dishes and dessert anywhere else. Also, there are hundreds of street foods that are really delicious! For example, while walking around get a simit, corn or kestane (fried chestnut). There are unbelievably tasty sweets on the streets as well as ice cream. Try them all! The most famous one is Sutlac. You can go to one of the cafes that sell Turkish delights – lokums, baklavas, etc. and of course you will get lots of sweets on the Spice Bazaar as a compliment from sellers. Doner Kebabs are sold everywhere and in some places they are served with rice and fries. In less touristic places you get one for 3-5 liras but in big expensive restaurants prices start from 20 liras. You can find even Turkish pizza – lahmacun. It’s thin dough with vegetables, meat and cheese on the top.
When you are thirsty, try Ayran which is a cold salty yogurt drink and it’s considered to be a traditional Turkish drink. You can buy very cheap fresh juices right on the streets! There are orange, apple, pomegranate and other fruits juices that are only 1 lira for a glass.
At night try Rakı – Turkish alcoholic drink. Its anise - flavored analog of vodka, drink it while eating fish dishes.
These are only few suggestions of what you can and should do in Istanbul but be sure, here you will find even more and will create your own list.