Istanbul ranks as one of the world’s most spectacularly situated cities, alongside New York, London, Paris and Sydney. Its location is simply stunning, situated on two continents and one of the biggest and most vibrant cities in Europe.
The cosmopolitan city of Istanbul is named 2010 European Capital of Culture and many historic buildings and mosques in the city, including the historic Spice Bazaar and the Hagia Sophia have been restored.
First-time visitors should check out the list below of 10 great things to see and do in Istanbul. A Great list for anyone who wants a quick list of the best things to see and do when you are in Istanbul. Things you don’t want to miss.
Truth is there are way more than 10 great things to see in Istanbul, so just leave a comment if you know a few extra. Enjoy!
1. Istanbul Blue Mosque
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul. It is the national mosque of Turkey and is one of the several Mosques known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior.
2. Topkapi Palace
Once the seat of Ottoman power for over three centuries. At least half a day is needed to explore the Topkapi Museum; and given the high entrance fee you might want to take a full day to get your money’s worth. The must-see features are the Harem, Imperial Treasury and the views from the innermost courtyard.
3. Haghia Sophia
The truly breathtaking Haghia Sophia was first a Byzantine church, then Ottoman mosque and now a Turkish museum. Today the mosaic walls and vaulted chambers merely hint at its former glory.
4. Grand Bazaar
Istanbul Grand Bazaar three hours is about the minimum needed for a purchasing expedition. Choose your vendor from over 5,500 and prepare for an onslaught of courting and cajolement.
5. Istanbul Archaeology Museum
The Istanbul Archaeology Museum actually consists of three museums. Those are the main Archeology Museum, the Old Eastern Works Museum and the Enameled Kiosk Museum. It houses over one million objects that represent almost all of the eras and civilizations in world history.
6. Istanbul Modern
Istanbul Modern has 8,000 square metres of exhibition space, housed in a former customs warehouse on the waterfront in Karaköy. Istanbul Modern also has a great restaurant which is a big hit in its own right with its stunning views across the Bosphorus to the minarets of Sultanahmet and out to the Marmara Sea.
7. Santral Istanbul
Santral Istanbul a major new contemporary art museum located in an old power plant which has been fully preserved. Santral istanbul incorporates spaces for contemporary artistic and cultural activities.
8. Istanbul nightlife
No matter your taste in evening activities, Istanbul nightlife can accommodate. Reina and Sortie are the superclubs of choice for the summer months, filled with super-rich crowd of models and celebrities. Anjelique is perhaps the most tasteful of the lot, while Blackk is the upmarket newcomer.
9. Istanbul Princes Islands
Set in the Marmara Sea off Istanbul’s Asian Shore, the Princes Islands are where Istanbul’s mainly non-Muslim elite built their summer houses and pleasure palaces.
10. Istanbul Hamams
Hamams were always intended to purify and are strongly linked to the Islamic tradition of ablutions. Stick to the tourist-savvy Çemberlitaş Hamamı, Cağaloğlu Hamamı and the historic Galatasaray Hamam (oldest Turkish bath since 1481).