Istanbul Travel Guide – What To Do and See

Istanbul Travel Guide – What To Do and See

Turkey is a country that is rich in culture and history, and it became the 6th best destination to visit in the world, primarily because of the sprawling city, Istanbul.

It is rich in stunning scenery, magnificent structures, and a plethora of attractions. Not only locals but also numerous merchants and tourists flock to the exotic Turkey’s capital, Istanbul, as there are many things to do and see.

Besides the attractions, its shops, bazaars, and goods are things you should not miss looking out for!

All the European citizens can enter Turkey without any visa for a maximum of 90 days. However, there are still many countries obliged to obtain a visa before traveling to Turkey.

Nowadays, it is possible to apply for an online visa instead of a regular one. There is a list of  countries that can be granted the electronic entry permit.

Check if your country is on the list and don’t waste your time in an embassy. Next, go to the website: https://visa-for-turkey.com/ and enjoy an easy and quick application process that will take up only a few minutes!

In the meantime of waiting for your e-Visa to be issued, read this complete travel guide to Istanbul; what to see and what to do on your next vacation to experience the city's true spirit!

Best attractions to try in Istanbul

  • Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern is a magical historical site buried under Istanbul, which still accepts visitors from all around the world. It comes from the 6th century.

However, it has little water now, once it had been a vast water source for the entire Constantinople.

Many culturally famous landmarks are observed here, such as The Sideways Medusa, peacock-eyed column, the ceiling, and the forest of columns.

  • Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is one of the most visited monuments globally, famed due to its impressive art and history of exquisite architecture and of which had once been a church. Its massive dome is an eye-catching structure.

The former church was later converted into a mosque and finally into an outstanding museum. Every day except Monday, this Turkey's prominent landmark is kept open from 9 am- 5 pm, whereas on Mondays, the available hours become longer by 2 hours.

  • Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is a must-visit spot in Istanbul. Due to the interior designs of the walls adorned with blue tiles, it is awarded that name.

This historical mosque which belongs to the Ahmed Ⅰ region of 1609, comprises a hospice, a tomb of the founder, and a madrasa.

  • Topkapi Palace

This is also called the Cannon Gate Palace in the Faith district, which had been a former administrative headquarters in Turkey during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Now it is displayed to the general public as an honorable museum in Turkey with many religious artifacts. The interior is lavishly decorated, along with an abundant nature outside that brings about a sense of serenity.

  • Arcadia Blue Hotel

A brilliant dining spot as well as a superb place to spend a night in Istanbul, which is wrapped with some kind of a modern look amidst a historic district.

Its rooftop bar donates the guests with panoramic views of the Marmara Sea. All the attractions mentioned above are visible on its 9th floor.

Comfy rooms with all the facilities provided make your stay in Istanbul an extra memorable one.

  • Panorama 1453 History Museum

Although this museum was opened in 2009, it houses almost all the artifacts that can relate to the story of conquering Constantinople city.

The main attraction here is the 360 degrees panorama painting which depicts the battlefield of the time when the walls were breached in Constantinople city.

It contains 10,000 figure drawings, elegantly done with attention to detail. We suggest you read all the posters here to understand the history of these battles.

  • Kariye Museum

An old church that has undergone five reconstructions is standing here now as the Kariye Museum. It is a fantastic piece of Byzantine mosaics and frescos in the world.

Since 2020, this is not only a museum but also a mosque that charges an entry fee. But it worth a lot as those vivid, colorful frescoes are a treat to the eyes!

  • Golden Horn

This is the place where the European side of Istanbul gets separated from the Asian side. Overall, it is a natural harbor, full of eye-catching sights and endless photographic opportunities.

As the sun goes down, the Bosporus banks get filled with people who come to witness the golden sunset, hence the name Golden Horn. A river cruise on Bosporus is also a must-do if you have time!

  • Nardis Jazz Club

Check into the Nardis Jazz Club, which is very closely located in the Galata Tower, if you want to end your trip by enjoying the nightlife in Istanbul! It holds the look of an old jazz club in old movies with narrow interiors and super cute delicate decors.

In this cozy venue, there are good acoustics as well. Their fusion of traditional and Turkish melodies gives rise to a different ambiance around the guests who sip wine.

Best restaurants to check out in Istanbul

  1. Tarihi Sultanahmet Koftecisi

Check into this Turkish restaurant, the best dining option in the area, located just opposite the Blue Mosque.

Along with a remarkable history since 1920, Sultanahmet Koftecisi's modesty, respect, tenacity, and love add up for it to be a fantastic place to dine in.

  1. Asitane

Are you looking for some Ottoman cuisine? Check out the Asitane, which is a restaurant after a stroll in the lovely neighborhood.

As it stands in a historic district, its dishes are historic too. Start with an almond soup of the 18th century! Sitting and eating here will make you feel like you are in a practical history class.

  1. Yeni Lokanta

This is all about excellent modern Turkish food with top-notch services at reasonable prices.

Its food is inventive amidst a relaxing vibe. You can find the elegant Turkish wines here. A fried shrimp and the monkfish wrapped in a vine leaf are one of the must-try dishes but can increase your Turkish food cravings.

Final words

As you see, Turkey's capital Istanbul has it all and is suitable for all kinds of travelers. Turkey's travel season begins in May but ends in September, and during this time, a massive crowd of different nationalities visits the attractions.

Turkey's scenic sea coastline, dozens of accommodations and dining options, the exciting history and culture, shopping options, and Turkey's welcoming locals rejuvenate all the visitors for a visit once again.