Best things to do in Istanbul

Istanbul city view Blue mosque

Istanbul’s magnificent beauty is one to wow you regardless of the times you’ve toured this city.

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey thus serving as the country’s cultural, historic, and economic hub. It is also the most populous city in Europe as well as the world’s 15th largest city.

Founded during the Neolithic era, the city of Istanbul has always blended its culture and history pretty well; a trait that has attracted thousands of travellers each year. Beyond that, Istanbul is a great option for history buffs, tourists who love sightseeing and outdoor adventures, a quiet environment to relax, and exciting nightlife.

And that’s not all, if you are planning to visit this magical city where over 15 million residents call home, here are some of the best things to include in your itinerary.

Explore the Spice Bazaar

The Spice Bazaar also known as Egyptian Spice Bazaar is one of the oldest bazaars in Istanbul. Though a little bit chaotic and disorganized, the Spice Bazaar is an exciting and fragrant spot to explore. Located in the Fatih District within walking distance of Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque, it is one of the largest bazaars and the most famous coveted shopping complex in the city after Grand Bazaar.

The bazaar was built in the 1960s Turhan Sultan and since then it’s been one of the most popular attractions in Turkey. This historical building has been serving both the visitors and people of Istanbul with all their spices needs. Even if you are not going to buy anything (but at least you should for the memories) Spice Bazaar is a great attraction to explore and learn a few things about spices. The site also provides beautiful sights for photography. So make sure you take enough pictures when you visit.

The Spice Bazaar is open every day of the week and you are guaranteed to get different types of spices from herbal and essential oils, licorice, dried herbs, roots, shells, ginger, and lime among many others. There are also tourist shops selling embroidered touristic and folkloric clothes, ceramics, jewelry tile plates, hookahs, ornate living room pillows, etc. Inside this Egyptian Bazaar, you can find incredible items to take back home.

Blue mosque Istanbul

Blue Mosque

You don’t have to be a Muslim to include this gorgeous mosque in your itinerary. With an array of minarets or narrow towers, domes, and semi-domes, Blue Mosque is indeed a sight to behold and one of the most visited attractions in Istanbul.

Since the mosque can get too busy during the day, if you want to get the best architectural views of the mosque both inside and outside, schedule your visit early in the morning. Also, remember this is still an active religious site. Thus, dress appropriately. Women must wear headscarves as it’s the Muslim custom. But don’t worry or forgo your visit if you forget one because you can as well borrow from the mosque.

Gülhane Park

Gülhane Park is among the largest and most beautiful parks in Istanbul. The park lies alongside the famous tourist attraction, Topkapi Palace. Once accessible to the royal court only, this gorgeous park is now open to the public. You can come here at any time of the day and explore its breathtaking grounds and gardens. It’s actually one of the hottest spots in Istanbul when you want to enjoy some of the most stunning sceneries and fulfilling views of the the Bosphorus.

The beauty of this park has earned it incredible popularity for tourists and locals alike. As a matter of facts, this is one of the best spots in Istanbul visitors and tourists get an opportunity to interact.

This is also the best place to think of when you want to rest, relax and re-energize. The atmosphere is cool plus the surroundings of fountains with lush green spaces, groves of trees dotted about and pretty flower beds won’t give you a chance to remember any of your troubles.

You can then wrap up your visit to this awesome park with a tour of the Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam and the remarkable Sublime Porte; a special rococo gate that was once used by the royal family to access the outermost court of the palace.

red tram in Istanbul

Taksim Square

Taksim Square lies right in the heart of the center of the city. The square is surrounded by historic sites, countless shops, restaurants, and hotels. The square is also home to one of the few remaining green spaces in the area. In addition, the square encompasses the impressive Republic Monument with the majestic modern Taksim Mosque right behind it.

This is one of the busiest attractions in Istanbul. It is also a major transportation hub and it also hosts a lot of public events such as parades and protests which take part within the city.

When it comes to Taksim Square, its innumerable establishments are not the only attractions thanks to the bordering multi-purpose Ataturk Cultural center famous fr hosting plays, concerts, and operas.

Galata Bridge

Galata Bridge is among the most cherished landmarks in Istanbul. It is in fact featured in countless novels, paintings, plays, and poems over the years. The bridge connects the city center important institutions such as the Imperial Palace, Blue Mosque, and Hagia Sophia.

This iconic bridge was constructed in 1992. It is 42 meters wide and almost half a kilometer long. It consists of three lines for vehicles and each line has a wide walking path. So strolling around the bridge isn’t a problem. It is actually the best way to explore this magical bridge.

Although the bridge doesn’t connect Europe and Asia, it does connect Eminönü and Karaköy districts in Istanbul.

The Galata Bridge is a lively hub you don’t want to miss during your stay in Istanbul. The bridge can be fully packed with people but that doesn’t take away the fun. It’s mesmerizing to see the boats go by and fishermen do what they’ve specialized in over the years. Plus the ocean breeze will uplift your spirit.

Moreover, you can go hungry here even for a minute. The bridge is surrounded with so many restaurants, food courts, and coffee shops. Get in any restaurant and order the fish sandwich commonly known as balik ekmek if you are a fan of seafood; you’ll definitely be wowed by the great taste.

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

Hagia Sophia Museum

Its stunning architecture, historical significance, and glorious interior views are some of the things that have made Hagia Sophia Museum one of the most visited attractions in Istanbul. It was built in 537 and served as a church for nearly a thousand years. However, turn of events saw it serve as a mosque from 1483 to 1935 but today it’s a secular museum.

One of the most impressive things about this mosque is the way the fascinating Christian mosaics and the brilliant mosaic calligraphy coexistence beautify and make this structure one of the most admired buildings around the globe.

Have fun in Istanbul

Istanbul is a modern city that’s welcoming to visitors of all kinds. The city itself is attraction and well organized. Different standards of accommodation and means of transport are also available to suit your needs and budget. Therefore, if you are looking for a destination to give you a mesmerizing experience during your vacation, Istanbul is the best choice.

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