Best Things to Do
left-leaf
trip-best
Best Things to Do
right-leaf
Best Things to Do
Annual
2024 Global 100
Annual
2024 Asia 100

Trip.Best Popular Best Things to Do in Istanbul [2024]

Explore the best things to do in Istanbul! Uncover top activities and experiences for an unforgettable visit.
Updated Jun 2024
  • top_1
    󰺂10
    4.8/5
    2757 Review
    From26.41
    taCommentScoreUrlbased on 45102 reviews
    "Ayasofya is not just a place to see. You should see and feel it. You can find something there from yourself:)"
    Istanbul.Old City Sultanahmet
    457m from downtown
    Featured in 2024 Trip.Best Global 100
    Highlights: The Hagia Sophia Museum was originally an Eastern Orthodox cathedral in the Byzantine Empire. Its construction began in 537 AD at the beginning of the Middle Ages and then converted into a mosque during occupation by the Ottoman Empire. It has now been secularized and converted into Turkey’s most visited museum, with preserved murals covering the plaster walls. Most have been restored to resemble their original appearance. The building is a true spectacle featuring the overlap of Christianity and Islam, and is a very special site well worth visiting.
    Show Less
  • top_2
    󰺂10
    4.6/5
    115 Review
    Free
    taCommentScoreUrlbased on 10716 reviews
    "The old town of Istanbul is so spectacular that you can laugh, especially the city of Istanbul seen from the Suleimanie Mosque is a spectacular spot and highly recommended. It's a spot you should definitely go to! !!"
    Istanbul.Old City Sultanahmet
    434m from downtown
    Highlights: Istanbul consists of two parts: the new city and the old city. In 1985, the old city was listed as a world cultural heritage. This historical area with many monuments and museums is also the essence of Istanbul tourism, covering Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Torre Pukapa Palace, Basilica Cistern and many other famous attractions. Looking around here, you can see the vicissitudes of historical sites, witnessing the historical evolution of Istanbul for thousands of years. The Grand Bazaar, Egyptian Market, Galata Bridge and other areas are always full of people and a thriving scene. Since there are many important attractions in the old city, it takes less than 1-2 days to visit. Many tourists will choose to live here and walk to the major attractions. Of course, there are also trams that shuttle between the undulating ramps, making it very convenient to travel. In addition, the various hardware facilities in the old city are also very suitable for tourists, and there are many travel agencies, money exchanges, restaurants, small shops and so on.
    Show Less
  • top_3
    󰺂9.6
    4.7/5
    1658 Review
    Free
    taCommentScoreUrlbased on 35259 reviews
    "The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, renowned for its stunning blue tilework and grand domes, offers a serene and awe-inspiring experience. It's a must-visit landmark rich in history and beauty.Reasons to Recommend: Historical, architectural, cultural, spiritual, iconic.Tips: Dress modestly, remove shoes, and visit early to avoid crowds.Downside: Unfortunately most of the time is Crowded, noisy, restoration, limited access."
    Istanbul.Old City Sultanahmet
    20m from downtown
    Featured in 2024 Trip.Best Global 100
    Highlights: Situated on the bank of the Bosphorus Strait is one of Istanbul's landmarks, the Blue Mosque. It features a magnificent and eye-catching, enormous round dome. The Blue Mosque, also called the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, was built under the rule of Sultan Ahmed during the Ottoman Empire. The Blue Mosque derives its name from the more than 20,000 blue ceramic tiles used to decorate its interior. These exquisite blue ceramic tiles are one of the mosque's highlights. The tiles are engraved with rich patterns and Arabic inscriptions, which are the perfect embodiment of the unique features of Islamic art.
    Show Less
  • No.

    4

    󰺂8.6
    4.6/5
    495 Review
    From25.26
    taCommentScoreUrlbased on 32073 reviews
    "The Basilica Cistern in Istanbul is a mesmerizing underground marvel. Its serene, atmospheric ambience, illuminated by soft lighting, showcases stunning columns and a unique Medusa head. Perfect for history enthusiasts and photographers alike, it's a must-visit for its beauty and intriguing historical significance.Itinerary Scheduling- Visit early morning, explore the history, admire the columns, and enjoy a peaceful atmosphere.Tips: Visit early, wear comfortable shoes, and don't miss Medusa heads.Reasons to Recommend: Intriguing ancient architecture, mystical ambience, unique experience, historical significance, photo opportunities."
    Istanbul.Old City Sultanahmet
    355m from downtown
    Featured in 2024 Trip.Best Asia 100
    Highlights: The Basilica Cistern is located next to the Hagia Sophia Museum and was built under the orders of Byzantine Emperor Justinian. It has a capacity of 80,000 cubic meters of water, served as an underground reservoir used by the Byzantine and Ottoman Palaces and is still in use today. The Basilica Cistern is now a famous tourist attraction due to its historic importance and architectural beauty. In the dim light of the Basilica Cistern, thick Corinthian stone pillars support massive brick vaults engraved with exquisite reliefs. Sometimes you can even find fish swimming about. Because of the unique air of mystery here, it has served as a filming site for both the James Bond installment, “Skyfall”, and Jackie Chan’s “Secret City”.
    Show Less
  • No.

    5

    󰺂8.0
    4.7/5
    615 Review
    Free
    taCommentScoreUrlbased on 10462 reviews
    "The Bosporus Strait, which divides Istanbul in two, is also known as the Strait of Istanbul. It connects the Black Sea in the north to the Marmara and Mediterranean Sea in the south, splitting Turkey into a European side and an Asian side. Both sides are famous historical districts in Istanbul."
    Istanbul
    27.2km from downtown
    No. 1 of Night Attractions
    Highlights: The Bosporus Strait, which divides Istanbul in two, is also known as the Strait of Istanbul. It connects the Black Sea in the north to the Marmara and Mediterranean Sea in the south, splitting Turkey into a European side and an Asian side. Both sides are famous historical districts in Istanbul. A common way to enjoy the Bosporus is by tour cruise. Sailing down the Bosphorous offers a great view of scenic spots on each side of the strait accompanied by the beauty of the water itself, especially at sunset when the scenery becomes particularly mesmerizing.
    Show Less
  • No.

    6

    󰺂7.7
    4.6/5
    428 Review
    From39.61
    taCommentScoreUrlbased on 28084 reviews
    "Topkapa Palace is one of Turkey's most famous palaces, with Beijing Palace, Paris Versailles, Moscow Kremlin and other known as the world's top ten palaces, located in the heart of Istanbul, just behind the Hagia Sophia. Like the Forbidden City, Topkapa Palace is also very large, and a young man has to spend most of the day if he wants to visit the entire palace in detail. There are palaces and buildings large and small in the palace, and there are many exhibits. The innermost palace can see the Istanbul Strait and the mountain view on the other side of the Strait. In addition to the big, the entire palace is surrounded by flowers and vegetation everywhere, which is very beautiful. Tickets 🎫 are 950 lira, which is more expensive, more expensive than the Forbidden City, but it is worth a visit. At the same time, the Palace also provides audio guides in multiple languages, and you can get them by showing your passport 🪪, which is very convenient."
    Istanbul.Old City Sultanahmet
    974m from downtown
    Highlights: Topkapi Palace was the official residence and main residence of the Ottoman sultans in the city from 1465 to 1853. Now it has been transformed into a museum, showing the past and amazing treasures of the royal life to the world. The palace was ordered to be built in 1459 by Sultan Mehmed II, who conquered the Byzantine Empire. The famous emperor chose this highland on the left side of the Bosphorus, where the magnificent Marmara can be seen. With a panoramic view of the sea and the Golden Horn, its history and grandeur are the jewels of Turkey. There are many historical sites in the old town of Sultan Ahmed, where Topkapi Palace is located, including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul Archaeological Museum and other attractions nearby. Entering the Palace Museum, take the streetcar T1 and get off at Gulhane Station, walk to the Hagia Sophia, walk on the inner side road for a few minutes and you will see a gate like a city wall. There is a Rococo style Sultan Ahmed at the door. The III fountain, with a little Islamic style, is more unique. There are many people around and there are many tourists. This is the entrance of the Topkapi Palace scenic spot. There are also soldiers with guns standing on both sides of the entrance. This was originally the gate of the palace at the beginning, when only the sultans could enter and exit, it was called the gate of the emperor. After passing through the gate, you enter the first courtyard, and walking along the path, you can see a Holy Peace Church built in the Byzantine period on your left. Keep going and you will see the ticket office on the right. After purchasing the ticket, you will arrive at the welcome gate. This is a city gate with octagonal towers on the left and right. When you look up, you can see a passage from the Koran engraved on the gate. After passing the security check, we entered the second courtyard. Looking at the large grass and flower beds, standing at the entrance, there is a glass window on the right hand side, showing the scale model of the palace. Before visiting the second courtyard of the Harem is the entrance to the Harem, and the row of rooms on the right used to be the imperial kitchen, and now displays the exquisite ceramics collected by the Sultan. There are more than 10,000 pieces of Chinese porcelain from the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, including more than 40 pieces of precious Yuan blue and white, which are priceless treasures. Here you can enter the harem to visit first. The first thing you see is the eunuch's room, then pass the laundry room, then walk through the corridor and between the various rooms, and then go to the queen mother's room, the residence of the four wives, each has their own world, Life is also protected. The Ahmed III restaurant in the harem is painted with exquisite flower and fruit patterns, the royal hall is decorated with exquisite Chinese porcelain, and the Murad Thirty Secret Room is decorated with brightly colored mosaic tiles, showing Islamic style everywhere. aesthetic. In addition, the quadrangular column in front of the harem built the Tower of Justice, which was used to monitor the urban area and defend against foreign enemies. Passing through the gate of happiness is the audience room in the third courtyard. Back then, the sultan, the grand vizier and the generals discussed politics here four days a week. Today it is a showcase for the museum's collection of precious handmade rugs. On the south side of the third courtyard of the Palace Treasure Hall is the Topkapi Palace Treasure Hall, which houses the treasures and clothes of the Sultan. There are 4 rooms in total, with nearly 200 treasures on display. Except for the collections in the fourth room, the rest of the city Replace regularly. In the fourth room, you can see the fisherman's spoon diamond, one of the largest diamonds in the world, which is a large 86-carat diamond surrounded by 49 small diamonds, set in the shape of teardrops, which is dazzling. You can also see the Topkapi dagger, inlaid with 3 huge emerald gems weighing 3 kilograms, and the deep green seems to have magic. From the treasure hall, there is a small viewing platform overlooking the beauty of the Marmara Sea. The view is very good. You can take pictures with the blue sea behind and the buildings on the opposite bank. Looking at the Golden Horn Bay in the sea view restaurant, you pass through the third courtyard and enter the fourth courtyard. There is a sea view restaurant on the right hand side, where you can enjoy the view and eat, so the business is very good. To the left is the Tulip Garden, where tulips bloom in April and May. At the end is the Baghdad Pavilion, which was built to commemorate the capture of Baghdad in 1638. The interior is decorated with Iznik tiles, which is very ornate. On the edge of the platform there is a small pavilion Yvtaye with a golden roof, from which you can overlook the Golden Horn and the new urban area opposite. The fourth courtyard is relatively empty, and there are benches between the flowers and plants. In a leisurely afternoon, you can even see tourists reading here, and the wind is caressing, which is very comfortable.
    Show Less
  • No.

    7

    󰺂7.7
    4.6/5
    290 Review
    From31.28
    taCommentScoreUrlbased on 10031 reviews
    "We went to the Galata, built in 1348, and after queuing in, the elevator went directly to the 6th floor, and then walked 2 floors to the top floor. Overlooking Istabul, the blue sky and blue sea green trees and red roof are very beautiful. After watching, you can only walk down. Every floor has some to visit, although the visibility is not strong."
    Istanbul.Taksim
    2.3km from downtown
    No. 2 of Night Attractions
    Highlights: The medieval Galata Tower gives a fairytale feeling to the hilly Beyoelu district, on the north part of the Golden Horn. Topped by a conical tiled steeple and gold finial, the 67 meter high stone tower was built by the Genoese in 1348. Explore the outdoor observation place at for a marvelous panorama reaching to Sultanahmet, have dinner or a snack at the tower-top restaurant, or view a Turkish belly-dancing show inside the nightclub.
    Show Less
  • No.

    8

    󰺂7.7
    4.4/5
    338 Review
    Free
    taCommentScoreUrlbased on 12468 reviews
    "Very busy market of spices, jewellery and fake designer goods! You can get good deals and will be beckoned into every place you pass."
    Istanbul.Old City Sultanahmet
    959m from downtown
    Highlights: Bazaar means bazaar, which in Turkish means "covered market". The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest bazaars in the world and has been the urban center of the entire Istanbul for centuries. You can't say you've been to Turkey if you haven't been here. The Grand Bazaar is close to Istanbul University and the Blue Mosque, and its entrance is so ordinary that tourists can easily miss it. But once you enter it, it is another scene. People come and go in the room, and the meaning of visiting is greater than the meaning of purchasing. The huge bazaar adopts a fully enclosed design, with about 65 streets and more than 4,400 shops in the interior, receiving tourists from all over the world every day. A whole set of lockable gates and fences has been installed at the market so that it can be safely closed at the end of the day at the end of the day. The several-kilometer-long passage is like a labyrinth, extending in all directions. You can walk from left to right and front to back when visiting, so that you won't miss any shop. A wide variety of commodities The commodities here are basically similar in every shop, and there are probably several types of things, such as tea sets, spices, celestial stone pendants, porcelain, carpets, small gold and silver jewelry, lamps, paper art, etc. Some shops also sell some local Turkish delicacies, such as barbecue and burritos, you can try them if you are hungry. Shopping needs to be haggled. The rent of the big bazari store is more expensive, and the fee is basically charged according to the popularity of the store location. The owners of many shops will be very enthusiastic to stand at the door and invite you in. Visitors will be quickly brought into the traditional shopping customs and environment. Of course, you must adjust your mood at this time. Home comparison, so as not to be beheaded. The shopkeepers here generally speak several languages, so don't worry about communication. However, because the place is really too big, too dizzy, too noisy, and the types of things are relatively similar, it is usually about the same for more than 2 hours.
    Show Less
  • No.

    9

    󰺂7.1
    4.6/5
    316 Review
    Free
    taCommentScoreUrlbased on 5992 reviews
    "Istanbul's Independence Avenue is one of the liveliest streets in Turkey, bringing together tourists from all over the world, with a flow of people, not only local specialties, but also a variety of shopping mall clothing."
    Istanbul.Taksim
    3.2km from downtown
    Highlights: The Turkish Independence Street is about 4 kilometers long and is located in the new urban area of Istanbul. It is a downhill road from Taksim Square to the south, all the way to Galata Tower. This area is considered a high-grade area of Istanbul and is very famous among tourists.
    Show Less
  • No.

    10

    󰺂7.1
    4.7/5
    289 Review
    From44.9
    taCommentScoreUrlbased on 8185 reviews
    "It's the modern days Royal palace of the late Ottoman Empire and early Republic of Turkiye. Last kings of the Ottoman Empire. And caliph Abdulaziz and the founder of Turkiye Mustafa Kemal Atatürk have been there. The museum is a little bit expensive and it's forbidden to take pictures. The behaviour of security was not professional and friendly. Painting was so special even though there were George Washington's paintings. I definitely suggest you also visit the art gallery."
    Istanbul.Besiktas
    4.3km from downtown
    Highlights: Dolmabahce Palace is located in the new city of Istanbul, also commonly known as the new palace of the Ottoman Empire. The palace is tall, broad and magnificent, vaguely revealing the splendor and wealth of the once prosperous Ottoman Empire. "Dolmabahce" in Turkish means courtyard built with earth. This palace was built by Mohammed II on the original port structure in the mid-19th century. It is located on the waterfront and has beautiful scenery. It is attached to the European coast of the Bosphorus Strait. The seat of government in Sudan. The extravagant European palace palace architectural style adopts the European palace style. The mature architectural level makes the palace wall 600 meters long, the inner wall is covered with gold leaf, and the main body is made of white marble and Egyptian alabaster, which is extremely luxurious. Through an ornately decorated gate, you enter the palace surrounded by gardens. The flowers and trees in the garden are carefully cared for. There is also a baroque clock tower in the garden. It is speculated that this clock tower also served as a warning tower. effect. Since the palace is still used by government agencies, there are still guards standing guard at the entrance, and the access control is strict. Follow the tour guide to visit the palace The palace is mainly composed of two parts, namely the Palace of Ceremonies (Selamlık), the Harem and the Court of Concubines (Haremlik), with a total of 285 rooms, 43 halls and 6 Turkish baths, which are magnificent masterpiece. You must visit both places on a guided tour and cannot walk alone. The tour is generally divided into two lines. The tour guides are all in English or Turkish. Basically, the tour time of each line is about 30-40 minutes. If you are pressed for time, it is recommended to only visit the Palace of Etiquette. After entering the Palace of Etiquette and Crystal Stairs from the main entrance of the palace, the first thing to visit is the Palace of Etiquette. There are reception halls for receiving envoys from various countries, waiting rooms, rooms for secret meetings with government officials, bathrooms and children's rooms. The crystal lamps that decorate the interior are luxuriously shining, and the Turkish carpets, crystal candlesticks, ivory, gold and decorations presented by various countries are also worth watching carefully. In particular, the stair hall here, the pillars supporting the stair handrails are made of crystal, so it is called "crystal ladder". When sunlight enters the interior from the glass curtain ceiling, it presents a dazzling scene. The crystal lamp hanging down from the ceiling weighs about 2.5 tons and is crystal produced in Pacala, France. The luxurious emperor hall is the emperor hall walking from the stair hall, which is also a large and luxurious room in the palace. The sultan's coronation is held here, and you can see the sultan's throne inlaid with gold. The crystal lamp hanging from the big dome was presented to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. It has 750 light bulbs and weighs 4.5 tons. It is the largest crystal chandelier in the world. In addition, the Red Room, the Ambassador's Room and the Sultan's bathroom also remember to pay attention to appreciate it. After the Harem and the Court of Concubines left the Palace of Etiquette, the Harem occupies most of the northern part of the palace. This is a place where men are not allowed to enter except for the sultan and the prince. This harem is separated from the previous imperial hall by an iron gate. The rooms here are decorated in different styles according to the preferences of the concubines, which are filled with a strong Western style. For example, the Yellow Hall is the place where the ladies of the harem meet. This is a large room in the harem. The rooms of the first lady to the fourth lady are arranged in order in the concubine's bedroom. There is a children's room at the back of the bedroom, and everything is small and exquisite, and the shape is quite cute. In addition, there is also the death room of Ataturk, the founding father of Turkey. The bed is covered with the Turkish flag made of silk, and the clock on the wall is always stuck at 9:05, the time of his death. Other attractions After visiting the above two routes, you can also go to the Crystal Palace and the Clock Museum if you have time. The palace also has a 160-meter-long pier along the strait. It is said that ships were the main means of entering and leaving the palace in the past. Of course, it has been put on hold now. You can stand here to take a look at the beautiful scenery on the other side and take a group photo. In addition, there is an open-air cafe next to the clock tower in the garden. If you are tired, you can sit down and have a cup of coffee, look at the blue sky and blow the sea breeze.
    Show Less
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

FAQ

What are some Best Things to Do in Istanbul?
Some Best Things to Do in Istanbul include:Hagia Sophia, Historic Areas of Istanbul, The Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Bosphorus
What are some highly-rated Best Things to Do in Istanbul?
Some highly-rated Best Things to Do in Istanbul include:Hagia Sophia:4.8, Historic Areas of Istanbul:4.6, The Blue Mosque:4.7, Basilica Cistern:4.6, Bosphorus:4.7
At what locations in Istanbul can Best Things to Do in Istanbul be found?
The Best Things to Do in Istanbul are mainly located in:Hagia Sophia:Istanbul, Historic Areas of Istanbul:Istanbul, The Blue Mosque:Istanbul, Basilica Cistern:Istanbul, Bosphorus:Istanbul
󰴉