10 Top Things To Do In Istanbul
Istanbul, a meeting place of east and west. Long history, capital of culture and beauty at every corner. You could spend days wondering it’s streets, but if you are here for a limited time, here are things you cannot miss in Istanbul! If you follow our 5 day itinerary guide for Istanbul you’ll visit these places.
- Got time? Here is a 5 day itinerary!
- How to get around in Istanbul?
- How to stay connected in Istanbul?
- Best time to visit Istanbul?
- Where to stay in Istanbul?
- Watch our Turkey video
1. Hagia Sofia
The interior of Hagia Sofia is grand as it’s history that dates back to the Middle Ages. It opens at 9 AM and the mornings are the best time to visit it when there are still no tourist groups. The entrance fee is 60 TL (~8 €) but it is worth it. The interior is grand and majestic.
2. Blue Mosque
It is known as a Blue Mosque for its blue interior. We recommend visiting it in the morning from 8:30 AM to avoid crowds, the entrance is free. You’ll need to cover your hair while entering, and they offer the covers for free at the entrance.
3. Kobbe Istanbul rooftop
Sunrise or sunset at this rooftop offers you a unique view on Istanbul. Some kids redecorated the rooftop and you can get a perfect picture here for a price – 100TL (~13 €). The roof nearby is free and offers an amazing view as well, so be sure to use it for great pictures.
4. Grand Bazaar
This is a shopping maze. But you can get anything and everything at a cheap price. You need to haggle a little, but they expect that, so don’t be shy. Perfect place to buy a rug or a lamp, if you are in need of one 😀
5. Suleymanya Mosque
It is built on seven hills, and you can see it from almost every corner. Many people don’t come here, so be sure to visit it. The gardens of the mosque offers a beautiful view of Istanbul and Golden Horn.
6. Walk trough colorful streets of Balat
A walk through the city of Istanbul and take it all in. For a lovely walk, we recommend Balat neighborhood, a colorful hidden gem in Istanbul. With its colorful houses, cute little cafes, they will win you over.
7. Spice Bazaar
Also known as the Egyptian Baazar offer variety of spices, nuts, sweets, and dried fruits. This is a perfect place to buy souvenirs, a dash of Istanbul in the form of tea or spice.
8. Galata Tower
This is the a medieval stone tower that you see on postcards. The view from tower is overlooking the whole city. The entrance fee is 25 TL (~3 €).
9. Sunset boat tour
A sunset boat tour following European and Asian coast. You will cross under one of the bridges connecting these two continents. You will see many landmarks and buildings that you usually can’t see when on the ground. The boat tours start at the docks right next to Galata Tower, and it’s pretty cheap, 20 TL, and you will get some awesome views of Istanbul.
You have to try some of the most amazing dishes this country has to offer. From kebabs on skewers or in pot, to pides covered in the most amazing and rememberable spices. Also, don’t forget baklava. Pro tip: don’t eat too much baklava, it will put you in sugar coma 😀
Some of our favorite restaurants:
- Van Kahvaltı Evi – breakfast place
- Ortaklar Kebap Lahmacun – lunch and dinner
- Kucukoglu Barbecue Restaurant – lunch and dinner
- Berekt Doner – for a quick snack
How to get around in Istanbul?
Istanbul actually has a very good and cheap public transportation system. All you need is Istanbul kart. You can get it at the airport in stands that look like yellow boxes. It costs 7 TL (~1 €). Covers busses, trams, metro, cable car. You can also get from the airport to the city center for just 30 TL (~4 €) in a very comfortable bus. You just charge it and use it as you go.
How to stay connected in Istanbul?
Hotels usually have free wifi, but of course, you’ll need something extra to help you around. Turkey has many telecoms that offer more or so the same thing. We choose Vodafone cause of its great coverage across the country. We paid 250 TL (~33 €), which is quite a lot for 20 GB.
Best time to visit Istanbul?
Late spring and early autumn are the best time to visit Istanbul. Temperatures are warm and cosy but not too hot. There are a few to none rainy days. The streets are not that busy, but don’t expect to be the only tourist in the city. Istanbul is an all year attraction.
Where to stay in Istanbul?
We stayed the whole time in one hotel Boss Hotel Sultanahmet. The location was great cause everything was within walking distance. The hotel offers free breakfast that was delicious, and had many options.