Plan your next holiday in Istanbul, the city that connects east and west, modernity and antiquity, culture and adventure. Whether you’re by yourself, on a trip for two or a full family affair, the many things to do in Istanbul promise to enthral every kind of visitor. Here’s our pick of the best.
Not the first choice when looking for things to do in Istanbul in July, with the summer heat still in the air. But if you’ve planned an early spring, late autumn or winter vacation, this is surely an experience not to be missed.
Choose between a local ferry or private tours and cruise down the Bosphorus strait, one of the most popular things to do in Istanbul. Once on board, you get a lovely perspective of the city, both visually and historically. You can also go sailing on the waters, but that’s preferably one of the things to do in Istanbul in August. So plan accordingly.
The liveliest road in the city is one every tourist should take. It is one of those especially nice things to do in Istanbul in April, when spring weather is at its finest, and you can enjoy everything from cafes to corner-stores.
One of the things to do in Istanbul in May or any other summer month, is watch the whirling dervishes in a mystical religious performance of Sufi traditions. Visit the Galata Mevlevi Museum for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Tip: Shows are held every Sunday and it’s best to book your tickets early to guarantee a seat.
No matter when you visit Istanbul, these are two sights you simply cannot miss. Hagia Sophia or Aya Sofya was once a church, then a mosque and now an iconic museum — a history that resembles that of Istanbul itself. You’ll see wonders from every era beautifully displayed inside.
Tip: Plan your visit for a weekday as it’s less crowded.
The walls of this medieval marketplace could tell you tales of Istanbul like no other. Today, the Grand Bazaar is as lively and eclectic as ever. Get everything from antiques to incense to obscure accessories, there’s over 5,000 shops for you to choose from. It’s one of the most immersive Istanbul sightseeing experiences you can have.