What to do in Istanbul

What to do in Istanbul?  The question should really be, What not to do in Istanbul!!  Istanbul is an amazing city with something new to do or find each time we visit.  The city is packed with history, culture and shopping!  If you go to Istanbul and tell me you were bored or couldn’t find anything interesting to see or do I can only assume you spent your time in Istanbul in the hotel room.  There is something for everyone in Istanbul from history tours, theatre and music and of course shopping and eating.  There is never a dull day in Istanbul.

The following are a few is on What to do in Istanbul and the things that we love to do when we visit Istanbul.

Tea and Toast in the Gülhane Park

The alfresco tea house looks out over the Bosporus looking towards the Bosporus Bridge and the Kiz Kulesi.

Fish and Salad Sandwiches at the Galata Bridge

This is a must the fish is caught locally and grilled while you wait.  You can visit one of the street sellers or visit one of the restaurants under the bridge.  The sandwiches are cheap and tasty and a great snack.

Going to the top of the Galata Tower

If you want a bird’s eye view of Istanbul the Galata Tower is the place to head to and enjoy the 360 degree view of the Golden Horn, Sultanahmet, Galata Bridge and the city.

Exploring İstiklal Street

İstiklal Street is one of the longest shopping streets in the world.  The street stretches 3 km from Taksim Square going down towards the Galata Bridge.  You can find a great mixture of designer, high street and local shops along the main street.

Visiting the Sultanahmet

If you are going to be a tourist in Istanbul then you must head to the Sultanahmet and my bet is you will be staying in a hotel in this area.  Here you will find the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, The Basilica underground cistern, Topkapı Palace and of course the Grand Bazzar.

Exploring the Grand Bazaar

For the ultimate shopping experience you have to visit the Grand Bazaar you will find Jewellery, Antiques, nick naks to take home, clothes, carpets and much more.  Even if you are not an avid shopper just the history and atmosphere of the bazaar is well worth the visit.

I have just touched briefly on some of our favourite things to do in Istanbul and I hope to expand on a few of them in my next few posts to give a bit more insight and information.

My top tip however is don’t just stick to the beaten path, explore some of the side streets and remember to keep your eyes open and remember to not just look ahead of you but look up sometimes in a city the best things are above you.

Have you been to Istanbul?  Are you travelling to Istanbul soon?  I would love to hear your stories, what you loved about Istanbul and what you would be your top things to do in Istanbul.

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© 2011 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.

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6 Responses to “What to do in Istanbul”

  1. 10th April 2011

    Jake Olson Reply

    I’m with you on Galata Tower. It seems that a lot of people who visit Istanbul miss out on that one, but for me, it’s been a real highlight. I love the little area its in, and it really feels like such a cool structure to be inside of. and the views are amazing.

  2. 16th May 2011

    Roving Jay Reply

    Kerry – most of these were on my list already – glad they made it to your list too. Have you been on a boat ride to the Asian side — wondering if I should go to Ushkudar or Kadikoy? RJ

  3. 17th May 2011

    Kerry Arslan Reply

    Hi Jay

    I have been to Kadikoy but didn’t explore the area as much as I would have liked, but have not been to Ushkudar. I would really like to visit the Islands around Istanbul which are meant to be lovely. Most our visits seem to be in the winter time and not the time to head out to the Islands but it’s is a plan for the future.

    Let me know where you go and tell me about your trip would love to hear more.

  4. 21st June 2011

    Roving Jay Reply

    Loved my trip to Istanbul. It exceeded all of my expectations. I took 1,000’s of photo’s and have a back-log of Blog posts to write and edit! After Istanbul, I went to our house on the Bodrum peninsula for a week of beach-living, so have lot’s of blog posts for there too… need to give up my day job to get it all done.

    I loved the top of the Galata Tower – the view was great. The life blood of Istanbul is definitely the Golden Horn and Bosphorus.

    • 23rd June 2011

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Jay looking forward to seeing all your great pictures and reading your news posts. Maybe you would like to write one for earth laughs as well and give us your top things to do in Istanbul.


  5. 12th July 2011

    Roving Jay Reply

    One place I discovered, that hadn’t popped up in any of my research or recommendtions about Istanbul – was French Street – have you been there?

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