Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

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Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

Come fall in love with beautiful Istanbul – a silhouetted city which has a confluence of many cultures, bi-continental city of Eurasia where West meets East. So let’s read some of the best things to do in beautiful Istanbul City tour – a complete Istanbul guide in this post. A bi-continental city with Bosporus Strait dividing this city by Marmara and the Black Sea into the European region and Asian region has wonderful historic past since 660 BCE.  Known by many names during ancient times like   Augusta, Antonia, Nova Roma, Byzantium, and Constantinople this city has experienced many cultures due to many invasions by Greeks, Romans and Ottoman empires.  That is why you feel multi-cultural vibes here with a perfect combination of the Mediterranean and Islamic cultures. This magical city has a vibrant city life and mesmerizing evenings. The numerous attractions like Byzantine churches & museums, Venetian towers, Roman aqueducts(cisterns), majestic Ottoman palaces, splendid rugged skyline across seven hills, minarets with blue waters of Bosporus Strait & the Golden Horn.  Let’s read about beautiful places to visit in Istanbul and popular tourist attractions in Istanbul for first-timers. 

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Bosphorus Cruise during Golden Hour
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Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

VISA TO TURKEY

Turkey gives e-Visa to 99 countries. You can click this link to check and apply for your e-Visa done. Indians having valid USA Visa get e-Visa of Turkey within 2 to 3 working days by applying online. 

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

WHERE TO STAY IN ISTANBUL

Istanbul located on seven hills and surrounded by three seas is a huge city with many vibrant neighborhoods. According to many surveys, this city is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the whole world.  Therefore it has many hotel stays and apartment stays in the whole of Istanbul.  Plenty of charming neighborhood with quirky vibes have wonderful stays and for first-timers, I would suggest don’t experiment much and book your stay near or at –

SULTANAHMET – All major historic attractions are located here. Old Town in European side. 

Things to do in Beautiful Istanbul - Sultanahmet view from top

Click here to book at perfect location in Sultanahmet.

TAKSIM SQUARE & ISTIKLAL STREET – Famous for vibrant nightlife, shopping, street plays & performers – Modern town on the European side.

Click here to book stay near or at Taksim Square.

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

GALATA TOWER – For quirky Cobbled stoned streets, shopping & nightlife. It is a neighborhood between Sultanahmet and Taksim Square.

Click here to book hotels near Galata Tower – 

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
Galata – Karakoy neighborhood

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

HAGIA SOPHIA

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Hagia Sophia

Also known as Aya Sofia. A former church, then a mosque and now a museum is the most famous and visited attraction in this city. Also, it is the 8th wonder of the world due to its wonderful architecture. 

FACTS ABOUT HAGIA SOPHIA –

  • Built-in 325AD which was collapsed two times.
  • Once upon a time, it was the world’s largest place of worship.
  • Converted to a mosque in 1453 when Constantinople was conquered by Ottoman.
  • It is a museum since 1935.
  • Constructed by East Roman Empire at first and was the biggest church in that period.
  • Interiors of this museum are enriched with holy works of Christianity & Islam.
  • Witness splendid Christian mosaics and frescoes from the Byzantine area with Islamic calligraphy holy phrases.
Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
Interiors of Hagia Sophia

FOR TICKETS – Click here to buy skip the line ticket or take Istanbul Welcome Card for fast track entry.

HOW TO REACH HAGIA SOPHIA

Take T1 Tram towards Bagcilar direction from Kabastas direction and get down at Sultanahmet. You can reach by bus, ferry, and public taxis.

THE BLUE MOSQUE

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

One of the most beautiful mosques in Turkey and also in the world.

FACTS ABOUT BLUE MOSQUE

  • Built-in the 17th century under the ruler of Sultan Ahmet I.
  • It is named as Blue Mosque due to blue tiles – “Iznik” in its interior.
  • This unique mosque has 6 minarets which you will not find in another mosque.
  • Located in the historic neighborhood of Sultanahmet square in Faith district.
  • It is closed temporarily on Friday for Friday prayers.
  • Please wear respectful clothing.
Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
Interiors of Blue Mosque

FOR TICKETS – The entrance is free.

HOW TO REACH BLUE MOSQUE

Take T1 Tram towards Bagcilar direction from Kabastas direction and get down at Sultanahmet. You can reach by bus, ferry, and public taxis.

BASILICA CISTERN (SUNKEN PALACE)

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

Very unique and unusual museum as it is underground. It is a mystical place with a very unique concept of grand architecture under the ground.

FACTS ABOUT BASILICA CISTERN

  • A water reservoir built in the 6th century with 336 columns.
  • It was used to meet the water requirement from forests 16 km far to the palace through ducts.
  • Known as Basilica as this site was church once upon a time.
  • Byzantine type of architecture with beautiful columns and corridors.
  • At present columns are illuminated with special lighting which makes this place very unique and beautiful.
  • Famous for two upside down and sleeping heads of Medusa. There is mystery why Medusa heads are found in this cistern. Many myths are associated with these heads.

FOR TICKETSClick here to purchase tickets.

HOW TO REACH BASILICA CISTERN

Take T1 Tram towards Bagcilar direction from Kabastas direction and get down at Sultanahmet. You can reach by bus, ferry, and public taxis. Located beside Hagia Sophia after you cross the roads towards the Sultanahmet tram stop.

TOPKAPI PALACE

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

“Topkapi” means Cannon Gate and once upon a time, it was the residence of Ottoman Sultans (Head or King). It is said that beneath the palatial ground lies the remains of huge Byzantine Acropolis(same as Athens) from the Greek period.  This palace is located on the peninsula and is surrounded by three seas – the Marmara Sea, the Bosphorus Sea, and the Golden Horn.

FACTS ABOUT TOPKAPI PALACE

  • Built-in the 15th
  • One of the world’s richest museum.
  • For Harem and Hagia irene(formerly a church) you need to buy separate tickets.

FOR TICKETS – Click here to purchase tickets in advance to avoid huge queues in peak season. Or purchase Welcome Card for guided tours and fast track entry.

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
Interiors of Topkapi palace

HOW TO REACH TOPKAPI PALACE

It is adjoining to Hagia Sophia and so take Tram T1 towards Bagcilar direction from Kabastas direction and get down at Sultanahmet. You can reach by bus, ferry, and public taxis.

GALATA TOWER

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
Galata Tower in day time

A medieval cylindrical stoned tower in the Galata / Karakoy neighborhood of Istanbul. A very iconic, unique monument which adorns the beautiful skyline of Istanbul.  It is located on the conjunction of Bosphorus and the Golden Horn which means from the top you get a 360 ° panoramic view of this splendid city which is worth it.

FACTS ABOUT GALATA TOWER

  • It was built many times as it was destroyed with fire and earthquake.
  • The present tower was rebuilt in the 14th century by the Genoese and first, it was made by 528 in the Byzantium period.
  • It served as many offices like The Fire Tower, the Ottoman Military Band and used as a prison too.
  • Earlier it was named as Tower of Christ by Genoese which is a conical shaped tower.
  • Strategically location makes it a perfect place for having a view on its Observation Deck.
  • It has a total of 9 floors and till 7 floors elevator takes you up and after that, you have to climb 2 floors by a spiral staircase.
  • The view from this tower during the early morning, or at sunset is amazing.
Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
View from the top of Galata Tower

FOR TICKETS – Click here to book tickets in advance. Opens from 9:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.

TIP – Go early morning to avoid huge rush/crowded queues on a clear day.  Evenings during sunset view are a splendid view but you have to face a huge rush.
Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
Galata Tower in Evening

HOW TO REACH GALATA TOWER

  • By Tram T1(Bagcilar-Kabastas route) and get down at Karakoy. From here you have to climb some colorful steps or hike the narrow cobblestoned ramp to this tower as it located on the small elevated hilly region.
  • From Taksim Square/Beyoglu neighborhood it is at a walkable distance or you can catch the vintage red-colored tram from Taksim to the end of Istiklal street and then descend down across Galip Dede street to reach here.

BOSPORUS BRIDGE & BOSPORUS CRUISE

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
Bosporus Bridge

Bosporus Bridge is built on Bosporus Strait which connects two continents – Europe and Asia. The most iconic bridge due to this fact and also adds the charm to this city by forming the unique skyline of Istanbul.

FACTS ABOUT BOSPORUS BRIDGE

  • It is 1.5 km long and is not a pedestrian bridge. The lifeline of this city which carries lots of vehicles daily.
  • Also known as Marty’s bridge.
  • It is lit with glittering LED lights at the night.
  • One of the world’s famous bridge as it joins two continents.
Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
Bosporus Bridge with sunset

HOW TO REACH BOSPHORUS BRIDGE

You will cross this bridge many times when you come from Sahiba Gokcen airport or when you cross from the European region to the Asian region or vice-versa. It can be done through a taxi but you get fabulous view through Big Bus and can also pass underneath through cruise or ferries.

BOSPHORUS CRUISE

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Cruising with Turkish Tea

Take the tour of this silhouetted city with views of magnificent skyline consisting of minarets & monuments by cruise. Istanbul’s Golden hour is very famous and so taking evening cruise across Bosphorus strait must be the most beautiful thing to do here. The cruise is generally of 60 or 90 minutes and there are many other options from which you can select as per your likings like dinner cruise, entertainment cruise, or public ferries. The cruise passes along the beautiful sights of Dolmabache Palace, Ciragan Palace, Galata Tower, Beylerbeyi Palace, Rumeli Fortress, Anadolu fortress, Bosphorus bridge, Suleymaniye mosque lighted up and the backdrop of setting sun.

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
Sunset Cruise with beautiful skyline of Istanbul

HOW TO REACH PORT TO CATCH CRUISE

There are huge pier and dock to catch public ferries and various cruises at Eminonu Pier from where you get many varieties of ferries, cruises, yachts, and public water transport. Eminonu Pier can be reached through Tram T1 by getting down at Tram stop – Eminonu. You can reach this point by public ferry, public bus or taxi.

Click here to purchase Istanbul Bosporus Dinner Cruise with Entertainment.

GRAND BAZAAR

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

More than 500 years old covered ancient style of the market is worth visiting for shopping and to admire the ancient style of business skills. It is one of the largest and oldest markets in the world.

FACTS ABOUT GRAND BAZAAR

  • Considered as the most ancient shopping mall in the world.
  • The layout of shops and narrow passages forms a maze and therefore it becomes very confusing and also fun to solve this maze while passing through beautiful and colorful shops.
  • Colorful ethnic and local products of Turkey are sold here.
  • Not only shopping, but you can also admire the tiled ceilings and pillars with some ancient style of works on them.
  • Opens from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
Interiors of Grand Bazaar

HOW TO REACH GRAND BAZAAR

  • By Tram T1 (Bagcilar-Kabastas route) and get down at Beyazit stop.
  • You can also reach here by public buses.
  • If you take the funicular and public ferry then after you have to take the same tram T1 to reach here.
  • Taxis can also be taken.
TIP – Shop dry fruits, ethnic jewelry, lamps, carpets, Turkish silk scarves & cotton towels, Turkish styled colorful pottery.
Want to know more about SHOPPING IN ISTANBUL THEN CLICK HERE TO READ Full Shopping Guide.

ISTIKLAL – TAKSIM SQUARE

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

The most famous, vibrant, colorful and crowded pedestrian street of Istanbul. It looks like a grand boulevard styled street which is located in the Beyoglu neighborhood. It starts at Taksim Square and ends at the Galata Tower. All funky bars, quirky cafes, colorful buildings, night entertainment, street performers, boutique shops, branded shops are found here. Most crowded street as it is very popular among locals and tourists too.

FACTS ABOUT ISTIKLAL TAKSIM SQUARE

  • The splendid architectural buildings on both sides of streets were palaces, mansions in ancient times which are now converted into shops, restaurants and famous eateries.
  • You can also locate Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, a famous church, historical passage – Flower Passage, vibrant bylanes and many night entertainment spots.
  • The most famous vintage-styled red-colored tram of Istanbul also passes through this street. People love this tram so much that they take selfies with it while hanging out and children for a fun take rides while hanging on the stairs as the speed of tram is very slow. This tram ride takes you back to olden times and so it is like a time machine that transports you back to the olden era.
  • This street is one of the most photogenic streets of Istanbul for architecture, fun, vintage-style transport, eating out and colorful – modern shopping.

HOW TO REACH ISTIKLAL STREET

Drop down at Karakoy Tram stop by Tram T1 near Galata Tower and then climb up by ramp or stairs to reach here. Or you can take the underground metro to Taksim Station and then walk down this beautiful 1.5km stretch.

TIP – Shopping is fun here, especially jewelry, shoes, Turkish delights – sweets (from Hafiz Mustafa) and clothes.

DOLMABAHCE PALACE

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

Located on the banks of the Bosphorus Sea in Besiktas neighborhood, this magnificent and grand palace was used to be residence of Ottoman Sultans after their residence in Topkapi Palace.

FACTS ABOUT DOLMABAHCE PALACE

  • It has European Baroque style architecture.
  • Built-in the 19th century. 
  • Interiors are adorned with luxurious chandeliers, crystal glass, marble work, and beautiful carpets.

FOR  TICKETS – Click here to buy tickets.

HOW TO REACH DOLMABAHCE PALACE

Take Tram T1 and get down at Kabastas station. 

SULEYMANIYE MOSQUE

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Bosphorus Cruise during Golden Hour

Located in Faith district which and this mosque is the most prominent feature in Istanbul’s skyline. It is said that this is the most beautiful mosque in Istanbul.  This mosque looks most beautiful during the sunset.

ENTRANCE – FREE

HOW TO REACH SULEYMANIYE MOSQUE

Take Tram T1 and get down at Eminonu station. While cruising across Bosphorus strait you can also admire its beauty with sunset.

UNIQUE THINGS TO DO IN ISTANBUL – VISIT BALAT REGION IN ISTANBUL

balat1.jpg

Admire colorful houses on the southern part of the Golden Horn. This area is known for colorful houses, buildings, cafes, restaurants, street art and now becoming more and more popular among tourists for funky colorful tours of Istanbul.

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Colorful houses of Balat

WHAT TO DO IN BALAT

  • Get lost into zig-zag streets on hilly slopes of this neighborhood.
  • Admire or take photos with colorful houses in hilly regions.
  • Comes under UNESCO Cultural Heritage Project.

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

HOW TO REACH BALAT

Take the bus from Eminonu and tell the bus driver to drop you at Balat by showing the Google location as they will not understand English much.  Taxis are the most convenient way to reach here.

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
Colorful lanes in Balat
Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
Colorful lanes cafes in Balat

WHAT TO EAT IN ISTANBUL FOR VEGETARIANS – VEGETARIAN FOOD GUIDE IN ISTANBUL

Vegetarians will get a lot of varieties like grilled vegetables cooked in curry style and served with white rice or saffron rice.

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
Curried spicy Turkish style Vegetables on hot skillet and Rice

Like Greek dish Moussaka you will also get grilled eggplant with spices and curry on sizzler plates with Turkish loaves of bread.

Stuffed bread with spinach or cheese  – Gozmele is worth trying out.

Veggie Pide – Boat-shaped Turkish Pizza

Lots and lots of Turkish sweets, Ice-cream and drinks like Anar(Pomegranate) juice, pineapple juice, Grapefruit juice, Turkish tea & coffee.

My suggestions for vegetarian-friendly restaurants with many varieties are ALEMDAR & GLAMOUR CAFÉ. Buy sweets from Hafiz Mustafa with many outlets found everywhere in the city. 

Almedar Restaurant is at walking distance from Hagia Sophia & Basilica Cistern towards Gulhane Tram station direction. They have a special vegetarian menu with Turkish style of lower seating on carpets & cushions with authentic local décor.

And if you want to have Turkish vegetarian food with a view of Bosphorus bridge, Istanbul skyline then I would suggest Glamour café near Hodja Pasha Cultural Center at Sirkeci Tram station.

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
View from Glamour Lounge & Cafe

WHERE TO HAVE THE BEST SKYLINE VIEW – ISTANBUL SKYLINE

  • Observation Deck of Galata Tower
  • Eminony Ferry station
  • Top of Glamour café
  • From Bosphorus Cruise
  • Karakoy Bridge
  • While driving across Bosphorus Bridge
  • Many hotels offer skyline view rooms and so you book this kind of stay. Or you can have dinner with a view at several cafes and restaurants in this city.
  • Camlica Hill on the Asian side.

WHERE TO SHOP IN ISTANBUL

Shops nearby iconic Sirkeci railway station, Grand Bazaar, Istiklal street, shops nearby Gulhane Tram station in Old Town area.

Istiklal street and shops near Galata Tower in the new town region.

HOW TO SPEND AN EVENING IN ISTANBUL?

Istanbul is known as the city that never sleeps. So there is multiple choice of evening entertainment for all tastes and styles. You can book whirling Dervishes Sufi shows, sunset tours, a Dinner cruise with belly dance, music concerts, street entertainment on Istiklal street, dinner with a view from a stylish restaurant and many more activities.

  • Click here to book the show of Whirling Dervishes to witness a unique Sufism show at HodjaPasha cultural center. Book tickets in advance as sometimes this show is full.  Or you can book Whirling dervish show  at historic station of Sirkeci Railway station from where Orient Express  story originated.  Click here to book this show. Or you can book entertaining Turkish dance at HodjaPasha cultural centre which are held only on specific days. Click here to book Turkish danceBest Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
  • Nearby HodjaPasha Cultural Center there are beautiful narrow alleys with quirky Turkish restaurants having colorful – funky seating areas with outdoor and indoor options. This lane is known as Hocapasha Restaurant’s lane. Vegetarians too get their food here. 

    Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
    HocaPasha Restaurant lane

  • Istiklal street on Taksim square for quirky pubs, bars, and shopping.
  • Galata neighborhood for colorful bars, pubs, cafes & restaurants across the slopy cobblestoned street. Also, you can book your dinner at the top of Galata with special shows with a 360-degree view of the whole city. 

    Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
    Colorful restaurants in Galata neighborhood

  • Bosphorus Night Cruise with Dinner and Entertainment to admire the glittering skyline.

BEST TIME TO VISIT ISTANBUL | Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

April to September – Summer and Peak tourist season.

March to October are shoulder season.

November to March – offpeak season due to winters. Less crowded and more affordable.

COMMUTING IN ISTANBUL

Public Transport is very well developed and highly efficient to reach from one place to another. The whole city is connected through the network of buses, ferries, trams, metros, and funicular. The frequency of this transport also is very good and you don’t have to wait a long to catch the other tram or bus if you miss one.

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

Ticket costs 2.67 TK(Turkish Lira) for one ride and commuting in public transport is safe with normal precautions.

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You can also hire yellow-colored cabs which run on meter and you pay accordingly. The problem in this will be the driver does not understand much English, so with the help of a handwritten address or Google map, they will drop you to your destination.

Don’t think about self-drive as this city is very crowded and you will always get stuck in traffic jams or signals. Also getting a parking slot is a big task here.  

HOW TO REACH ISTANBUL?

By Air –

Istanbul has two International Airports – Sahiba Gokcen Airport and a new International Airport. They both are well connected with many flights from all over the world.

By Road –

There are many roadways to reach this country either from the Asian side of the European side.  Many buses or rent a car take you to Turkey through roads from neighboring countries of Turkey.

By Rail –

This city can be reached through trains while coming from the European side only.

By Sea –

As this city is located on three seas, waterways are very efficiently developed here. You can reach to Karakoy Port of Istanbul from many cruises offering Istanbul by sea tours.

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
Colorful city of Istanbul would truly enchant you – Discover your favorite corner in beautiful Istanbul……

GENERAL FACTS & TIPS ABOUT ISTANBUL | Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

  • The currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL). You will find many exchange houses across the city which are reliable and you can exchange them from here. Don’t carry too much exchanged currency from your home as you get good rates here.
  • If you want to avoid International roaming then purchase local SIM card from the airport. You will get choices from Vodafone, Turkcell, and Turk Telekom. Activate your SIM from the booth where you buy the card and in the city at many places there are free WiFi spots.
  • Istanbul is a city of past, present, and future and so there are many things to do. You will at least need 3 to 4 days to see most of the major attractions but for wholesome fun, you need a week here.
  • As Istanbul is huge and very historic, you have to walk a lot. Wear comfortable footwear and on average, you would walk 15000 or 20000 steps daily. My average was 18000 steps daily in Istanbul, though I used public transport a lot.
  • Many people assume Istanbul is divided by water into two regions but water divides Istanbul into three regions – European side Old Town region, European side New Town by the Golden Horn & Asian side by Bosphorus Strait. 

    Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide
    View of Golden Horn from top of Galata Tower

  • Istanbul is built on 7 hills, 2 continents and is surrounded by 3 seas. So it has a unique charm and magic.
  • Tulips famous in the Netherlands originated from this place.
  • The famous suspense novel of Agatha Christie – “Murder on Orient Express” was conceptualized and written here at Hotel Pera Palas. You can also spot that famous station of Constantinople quoted in this book, just opposite to Sirkeci Tram station.
  • Istanbul has more than 3000 mosques.
  • Grand Bazaar attracts more 250000 to 400000 tourists daily.
  • This city was damaged by fire, earthquakes, invaders many times and got rebuilt too many times by different cultures. So you can see the influence of all cultures here.
  • People of Turkey are very fond of Bollywood(Indian Movies), especially its superstar “Aamir Khan”.
  • The world’s oldest underground railway system is located here – The Tunnel.
  • This city is very huge and crowded and so once you enter this city for a few hours or for a day you will not feel adjusted or think overrated tourist place. But after a day you would love this city and its magic. It has a unique charm to be-spell you.

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

DAY TRIPS FROM ISTANBUL | Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

I hope you loved these Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide. If you want to purchase the Istanbul Welcome card which covers many attractions and public transport then read my analysis with all the pros and cons of it.

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So, till then KEEP TRAVELING……………… KEEP EXPLORING…………………………………………………… 

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65 Comments

  1. Fantastic tips for first time travelers, for example, myself. I havent reached this beautiful city yet but this guide has given me some ideas. I still want to do the boat trip across from Europe to Asia and to check out that mosque! That looks so stunning. But the trams even look classic and a delight to take a ride on!

  2. I recently started thinking more about Turkey and Istanbul has come up time and time again as a must see city. It looks so nice and the food is what really interests me. My friend’s mother just moved to Turkey so maybe I have to definitely go now

  3. I meet a fellow traveller in Georgia recently and told me about Istanbul. Know that I read you blog. Im fully convince. Hopefully I could visit next year. Love the photos also. 🙂

  4. Great tips, I’ve been wanting to go to Istanbul for years and am saving this post for when I do go! I stayed with a Turkish couple in the states for awhile and also loved all the food they cooked for me.

  5. OMG, every time I see something about Istanbul it reminds me of the They Might Be Giants song. Of course I had to play it while reading your post. 🙂 Great tips about what areas to stay in and when to visit the attractions like Galata Tower and Grand Bazaar. Wow, 18,000 steps a day! That’s a lot of walking.

  6. Istanbul is still on the travel wish list! Would love to visit there. Thanks for the review of the different areas and places to stay. Often hard to pick a hotel in a new city blindly. Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are definitely on our list of places not to miss. We love to see a new city from different perspectives so will definitely want to do a Bosphorus cruise. And strolling along to Taksim Square would be a great treat. Glad to know it is not just filled with tourists. Definitely a post to re-visit if we get Istanbul on our travel plans.

  7. Istanbul truly is one of the most magical cities in the world. This is a great post on all the fantastic things to do in Istanbul. The Hagia Sophia was a definite highlight on my visit and I reallly enjoyed doing a cruise along the Bosphorus Strait. I can also highly recommend staying at the Swisshotel.

  8. This is a very thorough guide to Istanbul. I like how you’ve included all the info we need like pricing, local facts, best times to visit and so on. The Galata Tower intrigues me, I’d love to have a look at that if I ever make it to Istanbul

  9. Great post, so much information! I would love to visit the Bosphorus Bridge, I find it so cool that it connects 2 continents. The Grand Bazzar also sounds like a lot of fun! Also would love to see the cobblestone streets, those are always a favorite of mine.

  10. I absolutely loved Istanbul and managed to see most things on your list. I really loved the Blue Mosque although most of it was under repair at the time. The Suleymaniye Mosque is also really amazing.

  11. What a comprehensive guide to Istanbul. From pre-planning to the trip itinerary, you have covered it all. Loved your tips on commuting around and what to eat. I also, loved the list of places to see – of course, a few that I knew of but quite a few that I did not know of. Thanks for this. Bookmarking it for my own trip,

  12. What a fantastic tour you had! Your tips for first time travelers are really helpful. I am dying to get to this beautiful city someday. Saving this guide link for my trip there which I hope will happen soon. Trams there reminded me of the ones I saw in Lisbon. I also liked the vegetarian food guide you gave.

  13. Istanbul has been part of our bucket list and we’re planning to visit this 2020. I am so thankful to find your post as this is the most detailed and helpful article I have read. Checking the hotels you mentioned near Galata Tower.

  14. Istanbul is one of my favorite cities in the world. It’s so rich in history! We’ve spent there a week some years ago, but I can still remember every place we visited. My favorite was Hagia Sophia. I’d love to return to Istanbul someday.

  15. Hi Yukti, that is a very comprehensive guide on Istanbul and you’re pretty much covered everything I could think of as well. I absolutely loved Istanbul when I visited too, for the architecture, the food, and the vibe! Taksim Square and Istiklal street were an absolute delight, I loved strolling there, having their famous Turkish Icecream, sitting in one of the patio bars, and visiting the boutiques. Of course, the landmarks such as Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, Galata Tower, etc were amazing to visit as well.

  16. Istanbul is definitely on my bucket list after reading this. Such a fascinating place. I love the rich culture and marvellous architecture. Topkapi Palace is beautiful and I really want to see it. The Grand Bazaar sounds like so much fun, although I probably would get lost in it. Turkish food is one of my favourite foods, so I would certainly relish eating here. Great post.

  17. I would absolutely love to visit Istanbul and I feel as though your post covers everything for the first time visitor like me. I think I would start with the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the whirling dervishes and the colourful houses!

  18. I loved reading this! I have been dreaming about visiting Istanbul for a long time already, and I see how much there is to see and do. I definitely want to smell all the spices in Grand Bazaar and try all the turkish delights. I have been to Turkey before but never in Istanbul, and I´m so excited about it. I love it that you gave an detailed explanation how to get around there.

  19. This is such a timely post for me, as we’re planning on visiting Istanbul next year. A tour’s a great way to see the best sights, and in just a short amount of time. The blue mosque is stunning in photos as is the grand bazaar and I can’t wait to visit. Also, I’m crazy about Turkish food, so would love to try everything when I visit!

  20. I have only been to Istanbul’s airport in transit but before I could step foot in the city, I realised I can’t just do this city in a transit – it has to be a dedicated getaway. Your post succinctly describes all that one is needed to do in Istanbul covering the Blue Mosque and its highlights. I didn’t even know that water divides Istanbul into three regions – that’s pretty cool!

  21. I haven’t thought much about visiting Istanbul. I usually travel to Europe and have missed so much of the world. I am all about the Grand Bazaar! I would like to visit Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The interiors look incredible and I love that the Istanbul welcome card gives fast track entrance to Hagia Sophia. I enjoy seeing the city from the water and from above so a visit to the towers observation deck and cruise are must do’s. Gosh, there is so much to see and do in Istanbul!

  22. Great post!! Istanbul has always been in my list since I started my travel journey and gladly I am current;y planning my trip to Istanbul for next year and I would love to include some recommendation you mentioned especially SULEYMANIYE MOSQUE it looks something from the movie Aladdin.

  23. I found the interior of the Blue Mosque is similar to interior of the Hagia Sophia. I wonder if it got influences from the Ottoman or the Roman, or both. The sleeping heads of Medusa are intriguing, so I won’t miss this museum as well when I get a chance to visit Istanbul. The city is so beautiful and rich in history. No wonder Istanbul is one of the most popular cities in the world.

  24. I travelled to Istanbul many years ago and this broke back loads of memories to start with but you know what I really do want to the visit it again. My favourites like most people who visit this city would be the Sophia Hagia and the Blue Mosque. I remember spending a lot of my time in these and your photos just transported me back in time. The Topkapi Museum is another place which interests me and it does have a lot of history and a great collection in it. A tour on the Bhosphorous and a visit to the souk would be high on my list ‘this time which I missed on my last visit. Thanks for bringing back great memories

  25. Wow, so much to do in Istanbul. I would love to visit one day. Huh, I never knew the city was divided in three regions. I always thought it was only two. Good to know it is a walking city. I love big cities where you can get around on foot. I also never knew that the world’s largest underground railway system was in Istanbul.

    1. You would come to know many wonderful facts about Istanbul after visiting this city. Even I was also knowing about division into two parts but when visited this place, came to know about 3 parts.

  26. I can see why you fell in love with this ancient city. It is beautiful and rich in history and architecture. The 8th wonder of the world would be a wonderful site to tour, as well as, all of those options for a city view vantage point. I love the fact that it is a walkable city, with daily 15,000 to 20,000 steps, it just means you can easily burn off calories sampling the Turkish cuisine. This is definitely on my travel list and serves as a great guide. I have pinned for future reference.

  27. That’s an interesting fact about Indian passport holders with valid USA Visa. I wonder if the same is applicable for Schengen Visa holders. I need to check that.
    Hagia Sophia is the main reason why I want to visit Istanbul. Basilica Cistern too has been added to my wishlist. thanks to Dan Brown! Lolz.
    I’m so glad to read about the multiple options for vegetarians. The food doesn’t look too different from Indian cuisine as well. I hope to visit Istanbul soon! Thanks for the inspirations.

    1. I too find Turkish cuisine has many similarities with Indian food. Also a history buff would love this place with so many historical and cultural influences.

  28. Thank you for such a complete guide! I’ve always wanted to see the Blue Mosque and knowing that I never check schedules, I probably would’ve visited on a Friday and been disappointed. Definitely some great tips and good to know’s. All the architecture looks amazing too and I’d definitely love to do a cruise tour during sunset.

  29. Istanbul has been a place I have wanted to visit for ages and seeing your pictures makes me want to get there soon. I never realised how European looking it looks. I want to visit the Hagia Sophia, the blue mosque and so many other places. I also want to do a cruise at night so I can see the city all lit up. Am going to look at flights now.

  30. I visited Istanbul in June and I simply loved it, but I wish I had read this beforehand 😛
    This is really helpful, loved the read, so thank you for sharing!
    And Happy New year! 😀

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