Istanbul
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Top Tours & Activities in Istanbul

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Top 10 things to do in Istanbul

Istanbul's strategic location between Europe and Asia on the ancient Silk Road has made it one of history's most important cities. A list of its points of interest would be long enough to bridge the Bosphorus, so here's a top 10 to make your itinerary more manageable!

Hagia Sophia

In Hagia Sophia, the immense dome crowning this church turned mosque turned museum was an architectural miracle in its time, although it took a lot of trial and error to get to that point: it collapsed twice!

Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Also commonly known as the Blue Mosque, the fine İznik tiles adorning this magnificent structure may make it appear bluer than it actually is!

Dolmabahçe Palace

The glorious Dolmabahçe Palace dominates the European shoreline of the Bosphorus where it served as the key administrative center in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire.

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace, the one-time home of many Sultans, not only offers spectacular views of the city, but also houses treasures that make the Crown Jewels look like Claire's Accessories!

Galata Tower

As early as the 1600s, Ahmet Çelebi is said to have flown across the Bosphorus from the top of the Galata Tower. Most visitors will probably be content with the incredible views!

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest markets on the planet. A constant source of wonder, it's also one of the world's most visited places. Expect crowds at any time!

Süleymaniye Mosque

The stunning Süleymaniye Mosque was built for Suleiman the Magnificent by the great architect Sinan. If you're feeling peckish, Ali Baba across the road might be the best restaurant in town for Turkish beans!

Spice Bazaar

The Spice Bazaar otherwise known as the Egyptian Bazaar was created in 1660 and remains the place to go for spices, nuts, Turkish delight, and other divine tastes and smells!

Basilica Cistern

One of Istanbul's most unusual sights, Roman relics have been reappropriated by Byzantian builders to support this complex system that once brought drinking water into the city.

Maiden's Tower

Perched on top of a tiny islet in the Bosphorus strait, this historic lighthouse was once a watchtower. It now also serves as a popular restaurant and café with splendid views of the city's shoreline.

Planning Your Istanbul Visit

How many days?

Istanbul is a cartographical labyrinth with sights and experiences awaiting you round every corner. How long to stay depends on how immersed you want to get, but a week should be enough to cover the most famous attractions.

How to get from the airport to the city?

Havataş Shuttle Buses are available from outside the terminal and leave every half an hour for Taksim between 4:00AM and 1:00AM. Taking a taxi is, however, the most convenient way, and shouldn't be more expensive than the shuttle service between a group of four. Be sure to ignore the hustlers inside the airport and take an official vehicle from the taxi rank at the terminal exit.

Where to stay?

The key touristic areas are Fatih and Taksim, and which to stay in depends on the nature of your stay. Fatih is the old town and home to many of Istanbul's historic landmarks. Taksim, on the other hand, is modern and appeals more to those visiting the city to shop, dine, and party. Traveling between the two is simple, so don't worry if you fancy hitting the dancefloors after the Hagia Sophia!

Good to Know

  • Language
    Turkish
  • Currency
    Turkish Lira (₺)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+02:00)
  • Country Code
    +90
  • Best time to visit
    The weather is good at all times of the year, but it may be a good idea to avoid the summer if you do not like extreme heat.

Things to Do in Istanbul

Top Attractions in Istanbul

Other Sightseeing Options in Istanbul

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What People Are Saying About Istanbul

Memorable tour excellent arrangements a nice photo album to remember

It is a nice tour with full of entertainment an opportunity to meet people of various countries under one roof The presenter was very good humorous and friendly who knows his job very well

Orient Bosphorus Dinner and Show Cruise Reviewed by Muhammad, 11/26/2016

Great entertainment with fabolous views.

A good way to see the Bosphorus sights at night while enjoying a nice meal and great entertainment.

Istanbul Evening Cruise with Dinner and a Show Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer, 11/22/2016

Outstanding service with complete flexibility in agenda.

A great service and the Guide was outstanding, knowledgeable and very flexible. Will use the service again, and if back in the same location (Istanbul and surrounding area) will work with same guide.

Private Guide in Istanbul - Custom Made Reviewed by Michael, 10/13/2016

a great way to discover all the best about the Grand Bazaar!

We really enjoyed Alp, our guide, and all of the crafts people he introduced us to. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the Grand Bazaar, we felt that after the tour we could get around on our own. We thoroughly enjoyed the day!

Super Excellent Tour - thanks to our guide Fatih.

The hidden tour was one of the best days we spent in Istanbul. My friend and I were the only two in the group and Fatih - our guide - was very flexible in accommodating our requests. He is very passionate about his job, and proud of Turkeys historical achievements. Fatih met us at the pick-up point on time, and informed us of the schedule. My friend and I were very impressed by Fatih's level of knowledge. We enjoyed listening to the details and wanted to hear more. Fatih's communication skills and English proficiency was unexpectedly perfect. I would highly recommend you ask for Fatih to be your guide for the tour when booking online through GetYourGuide. Wishing you all the best and an unforgettable hidden tour memorable experience.

Hidden Istanbul Walking Tour Reviewed by YASMIN, 09/29/2016

Istanbul
4.2
Based on 2,281 reviews by GetYourGuide customers