Top 10 Things to Do in Istanbul, Turkey

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Istanbul is Turkey’s financial and cultural hub and its most populous city. Clearly, it is where all sorts of fun and exciting things are happening.

Top 10 Things to Do in Istanbul

Top 10 things to do in Istanbul

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1. Hagia Sophia

top 10 things to do in Istanbul
View of the Hagia Sophia Museum. Istanbul, Turkey

If you were to do just ten things in Istanbul, these should be on your list: Marvel at the history and architecture of the Hagia Sophia, the world’s largest cathedral almost a thousand years, right until the Seville Cathedral was completed.

There’s history in every inch of this historic site, and you will be wrapped in wonder the moment you step inside its lofty dome.

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2. Topkapi Palace

top 10 things to do in Istanbul

Experience the glory of the Ottoman Empire at the Topkapi Palace. The 15th-century structure was turned into a museum in 1924, with beautiful Ottoman buildings on display and an extensive collection of artifacts, weapons, paintings, and letters from the Ottoman Empire

3. Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern, (Yerebatan), Istanbul, Turkey.

A trip to Istanbul is incomplete without an underground tour of the Basilica Cistern, an ancient cistern system that is considered the world’s most extensive.

It is where clean water supplied to the Great Palace of Constantinople and other buildings come from, making it a source of life for many. Seeing this is a different kind of experience.

4. The Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Get your fix of amazing craftsmanship at the Blue Mosque, where walls of hand-painted tiles are housed. Visit when sunlight filters to the 200 or so of glass windows and enjoy a dazzling display.

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5. Bird’s Eye View From Galata Tower

Galata Tower, Istanbul, Turkey
Sunset view of Galata Tower with lights. Istanbul, Turkey

Head to the top of the Galata Tower for a bird’s eye view of the Bosphorus Strait toward Sultanahmet.

Here, you can easily see the top of the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace. And don’t worry, you don’t need to climb a long stretch of stairs. The tower has an elevator. There’s a restaurant on top too.  

6. Turkish Sweets and Candy

sweets and candy in istanbul, Turkey

Got a sweet tooth? You’d be in heaven at the Altan Şekerleme, a classic candy shop that sells age-old sweets.

You know what that means, a taste of the past here and now. You’ll find the real deal in this shop, so skip the posers along the way.

7. Take a walk along the intricate walls of Constantinople

Before the Ottomans, there were the Byzantines whose emperor gave Constantinople.

Take a walk along the intricate walls of Constantinople and you’ll have a greater appreciation for the Byzantine Empire, especially because the structure is considered the most impressive and complex.

8. The Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

Put your haggling hat at the Grand Bazaar and take home a host of goodies from Istanbul.

From candy to jewelry, there’s something wonderful to buy here. What’s even better is that shopkeepers are not too pushy so you can shop around without the pressure.

9. The Spice Bazaar

Best Places To Visit When In Turkey
Bazaar in Istanbul,Turkey

If you’d rather buy spices, you’ll find everything you need and more at the Spice Bazaar.

Shopping here will be an aromatic experience, with mounds of various spices and herbal remedies surrounding you. Turkish Viagra, anyone?

10. Experience the city in a tram or on a ferry

Best Places To Visit When In Turkey

Experience the city in a tram or on a ferry. The former is best done in the Taksim Square that is packed with cafes, restaurants, and shops.

The latter is best done at sunset and with a 3-course dinner to fill you up during your cruise. Whether you choose to do one or both, you’ll be treated to an awe-inspiring view of the city.

10 is just a small number of activities you can enjoy while in Turkey. Book an extensive tour and you’ll get to do and see more.


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