Although not the official capital of Turkey, Istanbul is still very much the heart of all activities in the country. It is Turkey's largest and most populated city and also the centre of tourism. Istanbul is located on both sides of the Bosphorus and thus lies in both Europe and Asia.
Istanbul is known for the marvellous structures of Hagia Sophia, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Topkapi Palace and the Dolmabahe Palace. Almost all of these buildings today serve as museums, providing insight into the grand lives of the emperors and kings, and the spectacular Byzantine and later European architecture. Istanbul also has some splendid gardens, such as the Gulhane and the Emirgan, which come alive during spring when the tulips start to bud, and the colours start to flourish. Cruises along the Bosphorus Strait is a hugely popular activity with spectacular views of the cityscape. Istanbul is also a shopper's paradise, with one of the world's first shopping malls, the Grand Bazaar, and several streets dedicated to small stores and stalls.
Known as Byzantium and Constantinople throughout history, Istanbul has always been one of the most important European cities. Today, it is the 7th largest city in the world and one of the most heavily populated. Its vibrance and imperial heritage make it one of the most beautiful cities to visit. It served as the capital of the Byzantine and the Ottoman empires, and the numerous cathedrals, mosques and palaces erected by the rulers can still be seen all over the city. The Bosphorus Strait, the thin dividing waterway between Europe and Asia, divides Istanbul into different parts. Most of the beautiful historical structures are located around Sultanahmet Square (old city). The New Istanbul is the main business district of the city housing skyscrapers, mansions and picturesque neighbourhoods. Across the Bosphorus is the Asian side while off the coast of the Asian Side is the Princess' Islands.
Things To Do In Istanbul
1. Hagia Sophia
Arguably the most spectacular example of Byzantine architecture, Hagia Sophia has been a cathedral, a mosque, and today is a museum and one of the country's biggest attractions. The intricate mosaics and frescoes throughout this majestic mosque are marvellous. There are several points of interest here, such as the Lustration Urns, the supposedly supernatural Wishing Column, the Marble Door, and the Loge of the Empress. There are continuous restoration works going on in the building since it deteriorated due to neglect over the years, but nevertheless, it is Turkey's busiest museum.
2. Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque)
This huge and beautiful Sultan Ahman Mosque sits right opposite the Hagia Sofia and houses hundreds of thousands of detailed decorations. It is famous for its blue interiors and is also known as the Blue Mosque. It is Istanbul's most picturesque building, complemented by the breathtaking architecture inside. The mosque gets its unofficial nickname from the fact that it has more than 20,000 blue Iznik tiles adorning the interiors, displaying many stunning designs. There are upwards of 200 stained glass windows for natural lighting, all showcasing different patterns and works. The mihrab itself is beautifully carved out of marble. On the outside, the mosque has a collection of domes and 6 towering minarets. It has a huge courtyard which gives you a perspective of the grandeur of the mosque. The mosque is still commonly used for worship and is closed for tourists or visitors during the 6 prayer times in the day.
3. Cruise the Bosphorus
The Bosphorus Strait is the dividing waterway between Europe and Asia. With Europe on one side and Asia on the other, it makes for an ideal cruise for some scenic views of most of Istanbul's landmarks. The Hagia Sofia and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque are also visible from the cruise. The Bosphorus is an international strait of huge strategic importance. Along the coast, you can also witness the old wooden houses from Ottoman times. There are two suspension bridges connecting the two continents across the strait as well. The Bosphorus Strait cruises are considered to be one of the best and the most scenic tours of Istanbul.
4. Shopping at Grand Bazaar
Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is one of the oldest and largest markets in the world. The Bazaar encompasses 64 streets, 4000 shops, restaurants, and banks, making it almost its own little city. It is often considered to be among the very first shopping malls in the world. It can be reached through the Beyazit-Kapalicarsi tram station.
5. Topkapi Palace
The Topkapi Palace is a majestic building which served as the main residence of the Ottoman emperors for nearly 400 years. Today it serves as one of the most important museums in Istanbul. It contains some of the rarest items in the world. Though the complex has several hundred rooms, halls and chambers, only the most significant of them are open to the public. This huge complex is a great way to gain some perspective on the extravagant lives that the Ottoman rulers lived is divided into several sections and places of interest. Mainly, these are the First Courtyard, which you enter when you cross the Imperial Gate of the palace; the Second Courtyard, which has things like the Imperial Carriages, the Palace Kitchens and their collections, the Imperial Stables and Treasury, and the Gate of Felicity; through the Gate of Felicity you enter the Third Courtyard, which has the Miniature and Portrait room containing portraits of the Sultan, the Audience Chamber where the Sultan would meet and receive gifts from his subjects, and the Enderun Library, which was the library of Ahmed III, among other chambers; the Harem is perhaps the most important of these, it was the main area of residence of the Sultan and has 6 floors of which only one is accessible, and contains a ton of important chambers, courtyards and many rooms; and then there is the fourth and final courtyard, which has many pleasure pavilions and also a terrace restaurant.
6. Explore Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern is the largest cistern in the city of Istanbul, built underneath the Stoa Basilica. It has hundreds of decorated columns and is a simply breathtaking piece of architecture. There is only a few feet of water in the cistern today, above which platforms are built for people to tour it.
7. Explore the Hippodrome (Sultanahmet Square)
Sultanahmet Square, also known as the Hippodrome, is the centrepiece of Istanbul's Historical Peninsula. It is located a few minutes' walk away from the Sultanahmet tram station. It leads to the city's most fantastic attractions, including the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia and Ibrahim Pasa Palace. Sultanahmet Square is also lined with hotels, restaurants and other places of accommodation and leisure.
8. Golden Ferry to Chora Museum
Chora Museum, also known as Kariye Museum, is popular as one of the most beautiful Byzantine churches of the 16th-century. For many, the importance of the Chora Museum is as great as Hagia Sophia. The best way to get to this part of town is to catch the Golden Horn ferry from Karakoy.
9. Whirling Dervishes Ceremony at Galata Mevlevi House
Located in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul, the Galata Mevlevi House is a former dervish tekke (lodge). It has been converted into a museum on the Mevlevi Sufi Islam sect and is home to a wide variety of artefacts. One can witness dervishes “whirling here” as a form of devotion to God; Galata Mevlevi House is one of the only places in the city where one can see them.
10. Dolmabahe Palace
The Dolmabahce Palace was the main residence of operation for the Ottomans after the Topkapi. It is built along the Bosphorus Strait and is another stunning imperial structure which today serves as a major tourist attraction. It is home to the largest collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers in the world. This imperial structure was completed in 1856, and used elements from the Baroque, Neoclassical and Rococo styles. It was the final residence of the Ottomans in Turkey and is the largest palace in the country. The palace is extravagantly decorated. More than 14 tonnes of gold were used in the ceiling itself! Furthermore, the palace is home to the largest collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers in the world. In fact, the stunning Bohemian crystal chandelier hanging in the Ceremonial Hall is the largest such chandelier in the world! And it doesn't stop there, there is also a crystal staircase, and precious stones such as Marmara marble, Porphyry and onyx marble are used extensively in the decorations. The palace also has on display a huge collection of oil paintings by many European and Turkish artists. The palace can only be accessed via a guided tour, which will take you through the breathtaking Medhal Hall, the rooms of the secretariat, and the bedroom of Kemal Ataturk, where he spent his final years.
11. Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam
One of the most notable historical sites in Istanbul, the Hurrem Sultan Hamam, is a Turkish bath located at the heart of the old city of Sultanahmet. It offers the best spot for a relaxing and rejuvenating afternoon with its many hammam and massage packages under the expert assistance of the Hammam ladies. A basic 30-minutes Hamam treatment starts at 55 Euros and goes up to 185 Euros with more advanced packages.
12. Enjoy Panoramic View from Galata Tower
Galata Tower is one of the most popular attractions of not just Istanbul but Turkey itself. Also known as Galata Kulesi in Turkish, it makes its place in the skyline of Istanbul as one of the oldest and tallest towers in the city. A restaurant and a cafe sit on the top floors of the building from where you can enjoy your meal with a spectacular view of the city.
13. See the Tulips at Gulhane Park
Gulhane Park is one of the biggest and most beautiful parks in Istanbul, popular among locals for picnics and recreation. It's especially known for its tulips and attracts many during the Istanbul Tulip Festival.
14. Suleymaniye Mosque
The Suleymaniye Mosque is the largest mosque in Istanbul. It took 7 years to build till 1557 and is an iconic landmark of the city. The interiors of the building are simple yet breathtaking.
15. Istanbul Spice Bazaar
Misir Carsisi, or the Spice Bazaar, is one of the largest markets in Istanbul, a close second to the Grand Bazaar. It offers a wide array of rich and colourful flavours with more than 85 shops selling Turkish delights, sweets, herbs and spice mixes along with a blend of covered and open streets.
16. Discover Restaurants & Cafes at Cicek Pasaji
Cicek Pasaji, also known as Flower Passage, is a historic passageway and a covered arcade on Istiklal Avenue in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul. It is primarily visited for its many restaurants, cafes and wine houses and is also well-known for its lively nightlife. Some of its popular restaurants include Sevic Restaurant, Mahzen Restaurant, and Kimene Restaurant.
17. Observation Deck at Camlica Tower
Camlica Tower is a telecommunications tower located in the Uskudar district of Istanbul. Inaugurated in May 2021, it is the tallest structure in Istanbul as well as in Europe. The skyscraper has 49 storeys with an observation deck, a small café and a restaurant.
18. Rustem Pasha Mosque
An archetype of the Ottoman Mosque, Rustem Pasha Mosque is located close to the Spice Bazaar in the Tahtakale neighbourhood of Fatih district. This Ottoman mosque is another of the stunning works of imperial Mimar Sinan, with various intricate details and designs all over.
19. Ortakoy Mosque
The Ortakoy Mosque is one of Istanbul’s most beautiful mosques and one of the most popular ones in the Bosphorus. Built sometime in the mid-19th-century, it is situated in the Besiktas district of Istanbul and is officially called the Buyuk Mecidiye Camii. The mosque is best seen from the Bosphorus Cruise which takes tourists from the Asian to the European side of Istanbul on a ferry boat.
20. Stroll Through Istiklal Avenue
Isktiklal Caddessi or Istiklal Avenue is the busiest street in Istanbul filled with a long stretch of cafes, restaurants, shopping centres, bars, cinemas and galleries. Estimated to have been visited by over 3 million people on the weekends, it is the best way to experience the vibrant, hustling side of the city.
21. Vialand Theme Park
Vialand, also known as Isfanbul Theme Park, is Turkey’s first mega theme park with exciting rides and shopping outlets. Located in the Eyup district, it sprawls across 600 square metres and houses Nefeskesen, the 4th biggest rollercoaster in the world. It also houses an exhibition centre, a shopping complex, eateries and a luxury hotel.
22. Boat Tour to Maiden's Tower
Maiden’s Tower is an iconic tower and landmark situated on a small islet off the coast of Uskudar. Also known as Leander’s Tower, it houses a museum, a cafe and a restaurant offering scenic views of the Bosphorus. It is easily accessible via a ferry or boat.
23. Take Photographs at Column of Constantine
The Column of Constantine or Cemberlitas is a 35m tall honorific column in Istanbul, Turkey that was built by the Roman emperor Constantine. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Istanbul’s oldest surviving monuments, it is set in the centre of what was formerly the Forum of Constantine. It is one of the only edifices here that is representative of Roman architecture. It also makes for an ideal photography spot.
24. Beylerbeyi Palace
Beylerbeyi Palace is a 19th-century Imperial Ottoman summer residence situated in the Uskudar district of Istanbul, Turkey, that has now been converted into a museum. The palace is an impressive edifice constructed using white marble built in the Second Empire style of architecture.
25. Istanbul Archaeology Museums
Istanbul Archaeology Museums is an incredible museum complex of 3 buildings that houses archaeological collections of more than 1 million items. It contains collections of items dating back thousands of years from ancient Mesopotamia, pre-Islamic Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula.
26. Eyup Sultan Mosque
The Eyup Sultan Camii or Eyüp Sultan Mosque in Istanbul’s Eyup district is the oldest and holiest mosque in Turkey. It is known for its two half domes and elegant interiors which feature chandeliers. Within the mosque complex is a mausoleum where Prophet Muhammad’s standard-bearer and friend Abu Ayyub al-Ansari is believed to have been buried. Large crowds also visit the mosque for the Eyup Cemetery which is right up the hill.
Miniaturk is a fascinating miniature model park of Turkish buildings. It is one of the largest such parks in the world. It is a representation of some of Turkey's most important buildings and has a total of 122 models, on a 1:25 scale.
28. Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art is an art museum situated in the Fatih district’s Sultanahmet Square. Located in the former palace of Pargali Ibrahim Pasha, it is filled with collections of manuscripts and inscriptions in calligraphy, Islamic paintings, traditional handwoven and detailed fabrics, and ancient artefacts. It is also famous for the best rug collection in the world, with some being rare 13th-century Seljuk carpets.
Uskudar is a region on the Asian side of the city with less concrete and more nature. With the small empty streets, beautiful parks, less crowded markets and a collection of history, Uskudar is the place for all the peace and nature lovers.
30. Little Hagia Sophia
The Little Hagia Sophia mosque is a former Greek Orthodox Church located between the Cankurtaran and Kadirga districts, in the west of the Sultanahmet neighbourhood in Istanbul. It is one of the original buildings in Istanbul, belonging to the early Byzantine period, known for its stunning architecture. The beautiful marble columns on the ground floor and the gallery on the second floor are a must-see.
31. Yedikule Fortress
Also called Fortress of the Seven Towers and the Dungeons of the Seven Towers, Yedikule Fortress is one of the oldest forts of Istanbul. Located 3 miles south-west from Sultanahmet, it is quite popular among tourists for its dreadful history and fantastic views.
32. Belgrad Forest
Belgrad Forest is one of the greenest spaces in Istanbul situated on the easternmost point of the Thracian Peninsula. Open to the public, it is known for its picnic spots, diverse flora and fauna and also for its 9 nature parks including the Bentler Nature Park, Irmak Nature Park and Ayvat Bendi Nature Park. There is a 6 km walking trail within the forest which is surrounded by a serene lake that is ideal for walking, jogging and hiking.
33. Istanbul Modern Art Museum
Istanbul Modern Art Museum, commonly known as just Istanbul Museum, is temporarily located in the Beyoglu district while the new building in Karakoy undergoes construction. It is an artist’s paradise and Turkey's first modern and contemporary art museum.
34. Fatih Mosque
The Fatih Mosque is an Ottoman inspired mosque in Istanbul with one of the most beautiful inner courtyards in the city. Located in Fatih, on Fevzipasa Avenue, the mosque complex houses a hospice and the tombs of Mehmet II and his wife Gulbahar. On Wednesday, the Fatih Mosque hosts the largest street market in Istanbul (Fatih Pazari) selling food, clothing as well as household goods.
35. Pera Museum
Pera Museum is w well-known private art museum located in Beyoglu district’s Tepebasi quarter in Istanbul, Turkey, the Pera Museum. It was founded by the Suna and Inan Kirac Foundation and is most popular for its focus on Orientalism in 19th-century art. The museum is housed in a beautiful 19th-century building that was once the historic Bristol hotel.
36. Emirgan Park
This sprawling park of more than a 117 acres is a splendid example of the Turkish gardens from the Ottoman empire.
37. Anatolian Fortress
The Anatolian Fortress on the Anatolian (Asian) side of the Bosporus in Istanbul, Turkey is a medieval fortress and an open-air museum. It is also known as Guzelce Hisar or the Beautacious Castle. Istanbul’s oldest surviving Turkish structure, it dates back to the 14th century and was built as a watch fort made of bricks and square-cut block stones. Although a museum, one can only visit its outer walls; the main road passes through it.
38. Obelisk of Theodosius
The Obelisk of Theodosius is an Ancient Egyptian obelisk situated in the Hippodrome of Constantinople in Istanbul, Turkey. The structure was built by the Roman emperor Theodosius in the 4th century AD to commemorate the victory in Mesopotamia. It is made out of red granite and stands tall at a height of about 84 feet or 60.8 feet without the marble pedestal.
39. Rumeli Fortress
Rumeli Hisari or the Rumeli Fortress is a medieval 15th-century fortress now converted into an open-air museum. It is located on the European banks of the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey. The fort is known for its magnificent views of the Bosphorus Strait, the Sultan Mehmed Fatih Bridge and the Asian part of Istanbul.
40. Istanbul Toy Museum
The Istanbul Toy Museum or Istanbul Oyuncak Muzesi is a toy museum located in the Kadikoy district of Istanbul, Turkey in a former historical mansion. Established in 2005 by the Turkish poet and author Sunay Akin, the museum houses over 4,000 toys from Turkey and more than 40 other countries, many of which date back to the 1700s and were bought at antique shops and auctions.
41. New Istanbul Mosque
The New Mosque, originally called the Valide Sultan Mosque, is an Ottoman Imperial mosque situated in the Eminonu quarter of Istanbul, Turkey, specifically on the Golden Horn. This 17th-century edifice is one of the city’s most prominent mosques, famous for its magnificent architecture. It is also known as the “bird mosque” since there are numerous birds within the complex at all times.
42. Istanbul Akvaryum
The Istanbul Akvaryum is the biggest thematic aquarium in the world situated close to the Atatürk International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. The aquarium houses over 1,500 land and water species and is divided into 17 themes. Some of the most popular species here include Gentoo penguins, Capybaras, Cownose rays, Musky caimans, Lemon sharks and Redbelly piranhas.
43. Kucuksu Palace
Kucuksu Palace is a former summer pavilion turned into a museum, situated in the Beykoz district of Istanbul, Turkey. Visited for its architecture and artefacts, the palace was constructed under Sultan Abd-ul-Mejid’s reign and was used by the Ottoman Sultans for short stays. The palace was built in the new-baroque style and has 2 main floors and 1 basement.
44. Cagaloglu Hamam
Cagaloglu Hamam is a famous historic Turkish bathhouse situated in Eminonu in Istanbul, Turkey. One of the city’s last major hamams to have been built during the Ottoman Empire, it is constructed in the Ottoman Baroque style of architecture and comprises a bathhouse for women and men. The entry to the women’s section is through a door which is on a side street called Hamam while the entry to the men’s section is from the main road.
45. Legoland Istanbul
Located within the Forum Istanbul Mall in Bayrampasa, the Legoland Discovery Centre is a fun and interactive entertainment park. Enjoyed most by families of children aged between 3-10 years, Legoland’s activities include rides, play zones, workshops, a LEGO 4D theatre, and more. Some other wonderful attractions are Miniland, a mini Lego city built with replicas of famous monuments of Istanbul.
46. Yoros Castle
Yoros Castle is a ruined fortress from Byzantine rule, located to the north of Joshua’s Hill in Istanbul. Also known as Genoese Castle, it is one of the most beautiful castles in the city. Only the exterior of the upper castle is open to the general public. Located on Macar Bay, one can enjoy breathtaking views of the conjoining point of the Marman and the Black sea from the top.
47. Nuruosmaniye Cami
Nuruosmaniye Mosque is an 18th century Ottoman Mosque located close to the Grand Bazaar in the Cemberlitas neighbourhood, Fatih district. It derives its literal name “the light of Osman” from the 174 windows adorning the mosque's interiors. It boasts of prime Ottoman Baroque architecture and stands tall with the fourth largest dome in the city and unique minarets made up of bronze instead of the usual stone.
48. Pelit Chocolate Museum
The Pelit Chocolate Museum in Esenyurt, Istanbul conjures images of childhood tales of Hansel and Gretel. This is the only chocolate museum in Turkey! Located near the Pelit Chocolate Factory all items on display here are created from chocolate. This includes an entire village, animals, mosaic paintings or human figures depicting a shoemaker, chestnut seller, fruit seller, and more, all made using chocolate in different forms and colors.
49. Mall of Istanbul
The Mall of Istanbul or MOI is one of the largest malls in Istanbul, located in Mahmutbey. There are more than 350 shops inside the mall, including some of the biggest and leading brand outlets. You can shop your heart out or enjoy at MOI Park one of the largest indoor theme parks with swings, games, amusement tunnels, speed shuttles, a horror-themed restaurant, and more.
50. Hagia Irene
Also known as Saint Irene, Hagia Irene is the oldest Byzantine church situated in the outer courtyard of Topkapi Palace. The second-largest in Istanbul after Hagia Sophia, it is now converted into a museum and concert hall. Easily accessible by tram with the nearest stop being Sultanahmet, its atrium offers spectacular architectural beauty with structures such as a narthex, three-nave naos and abscissa.
51. Madame Tussauds Istanbul
Madame Tussauds Istanbul is a museum chain for wax replicas of historic icons & celebrities located on Istiklal Caddesi (the Independence Avenue). There are nearly 60 figures of well-known celebrities, including statues of Suleiman the Magnificent, Muhammad Ali, Fatih Sultan Mehmet, Leonardo Da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Ronaldo, Neymar, Beren Saat, and more.
52. Tiled Pavilion Museum
The Tiled Kiosk Museum or Glazed Kiosk is located within the outer walls of the Topkapi Palace near Gülhane Park in Istanbul, Turkey. It is a museum that is currently home to about 2,000 artefacts including tiles and ceramicware from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods, divided into 6 rooms. It is the oldest of the 3 museums within the Istanbul Archaeological Museum complex.
53. Museum of Innocence
Museum of Innocence is a 19th-century house converted into a museum based on the famous novel Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk. It is located in the Cukurcuma neighbourhood of the Beyoglu district of Istanbul. It entirely recreates the novel and houses a collection which corresponds to the 83 chapters of the novel, presenting what the characters wore, used, collected, saw and heard in the novel. The museum can be enjoyed irrespective of whether you have read the novel.
54. Bulgarian St.Stephen Church
Bulgarian St.Stephen Church or Bulgarian Iron Church is an Orthodox Church in Balat belonging to the Bulgarian minority community in the area. This church is one of the hidden gems of Istanbul. It was constructed during the 19th century following a Bulgarian nationalist movement. It is easily accessible via a bus or a Golden Horn boat trip.
55. Beyazit Mosque
Bayezid Mosque or Beyazit Mosque is a 16th-century Ottoman selatin mosque located in Beyazit Square close to the Forum of Theodosius’ ruins. It is one of the most famous mosques in Istanbul. The mosque's interior is replicated after one of the most famous mosques in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia.
56. St.George's Cathedral Istanbul
St.George's Cathedral is an Eastern Orthodox church situated in Fener in the Fatih district of Istanbul. Commonly known as Patriarchal Church of the Great Myrrh, it was constructed as a dedication to the Christian martyr, Saint George. Though it is a relatively smaller church, it is in no way lacking beauty and grandeur. The interior of the church house a fragment of the Pillar of the Flagellation.
57. Istinye Park
Istinye Park is a luxurious shopping complex situated in the Istinye quarter of Istanbul and divided into 3 separate sections. The first section has 280 stores laid out in a blend of enclosed and open space along with lush-green gardens. Its entertainment centre, The Grand Rotunda, has a four-level arena space with a moving stage and kinetic water sculptures. The third section, The Turkish Food Bazaar, consists of numerous fine-dining restaurants and fast-food eating outlets.
58. Ural Ataman Classic Car Museum
Ural Ataman Classic Car Museum is a private vintage-car museum located in the Sariyer district of Istanbul. It houses over 60 classic cars, trucks and motorcycles from the 1920s to the 1970s. Some of the famous ones here are a 1952 Jaguar XK120 Roadster, a 1954 Chevrolet Corvette, a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, a 1955 Ford Thunderbird Convertible, and a 1960 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II.
59. Istanbul Zorlu Center
Zorlu Centre is a vast multi-purpose complex in the Besiktas district. It is home to a high-end shopping centre, Raffles hotel, offices and Zorlu PSM. The centre is a four-tower structure with over 200 shopping outlets including Balenciaga, Dolce & Gabbana and Bvlgari and many restaurants and cafes.
60. Museum of Great Palace Mosaics
Museum of Great Palace Mosaics, also known as Istanbul Mosaic Museum, is an exquisite mosaics museum located in the heart of Sultanahmet Square at Arasta Bazaar. The mosaics displayed here date from 450-550 AD and depict everyday life, nature and mythology.
61. St Anthony of Padua Church
Sent Antuan Kilisesi or St. Anthony of Padua Church is a basilica and church located in the Beyoglu district. It is the largest Roman Catholic church in Istanbul and one of the three Levantine parishes in the area. It is famous for its unique architecture, which includes a gilded wooden statue of St. Anthony by Luigi Bresciani and mosaics depicting the Baptism of the Lord.
62. Panorama 1453 History Museum
Panorama 1453 History Museum is a historical museum located in the Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul. It is the world’s first fully panoramic museum known for Cyclorama, a 360° painting exhibited in the museum. It is made up of 10,000 figure drawings which give a 3D experience to visitors standing in the middle of the viewing platform.
63. Pammakaristos Church
Pammakaristos Church, also known as the Church of Theotokos Pammakaristos, is a well-known Byzantine church and museum located in the Carsamba town of Fatih district. It houses the third-largest Byzantine mosaics in Istanbul after Hagia Sophia and Chora Church which visitors can see along with Constantinople's Palaiologan architecture.
64. Palace of the Porphyrogenitus
The Palace of the Porphyrogenitus is also known as Tekfur Sarayi in Turkish. It is located in Ayvansaray, Istanbul, and remains one of the better-preserved structures built by the Byzantine Empire. The highlight of the palace is its architecture. There is also a museum within the palace premise.
65. Santral Istanbul
Santral or Santrallstanbul is situated in the Golden Horn, Eyup district within the campus of Istanbul Bilgi University. An energy museum the complex also has concert halls, an amphitheater, and a public library, making it an educational, cultural, and art hub. There are also interactive exhibits and games on both the floors of the energy museum.
66. Laleli Mosque
The Laleli Mosque is one of the smaller Ottoman imperial mosques located in Faith district of Istanbul. Also known as the Tulip Mosque, it was built by Sultan Mustafa III in the 18th century. The complex houses a mosque, madrasa, a fountain, and the tombs of Sultan Mustafa III and his family. The central dome is quite an attraction as are the minarets and the metal decoration on top of them.
67. Rahmi M Koc Museum
Situated on the northern shore of the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey, the Rahmi M.Koc Museum is a private industrial museum dedicated to communication and transportation items. It houses the private collection of Rahmi M.Koc, a member of Turkey’s wealthiest dynasty and a prestigious conglomerate.
Shopping Malls in Istanbul
There are numerous shopping malls, entertainment and performance space in Istanbul, such as Istanbul Cevahir Mall, Viaport Asia Outlet Shopping Mall, Historia Shopping and Life Center, Ozdilek Park, Emaar Square Mall, City's Nisantasi Shopping Center, Capacity Shopping Center, Akasya Mall, Buyaka Shopping Center, Marmara Forum, Watergarden AVM, Vialand Shopping Mall, Torium AVM, Akbati Mall, Metropol Istanbul, Zeruj Port Shopping Mall, Kanyon Shopping Mall etc. You will surely have the time of your life at these places.
Best Time To Visit Istanbul
March to May and September to November is the best times to visit Istanbul. This is the autumn and spring season when the weather is pleasant, and the humidity is bearable. It is the best time for sightseeing, visiting beaches like True Blue and enjoying a Bosphorus cruise. July is the hottest month of the year in Istanbul, while December is considered the wettest period. Thunderstorms in the summer are usually followed by drizzling. The light spells of rain will certainly not derail your travel plans.
Must Know Before You Visit Istanbul
- Istanbul Museum Pass: A cash-on-delivery pass with 120 Hour 5-day validity period. It includes free admission to over 12 museums and discounts on activities and other tourist attractions.
- Accommodation: Moderate and budget hotels are available in Taksim and Sultanahmet Square while pricey hotels can be found in western suburbs and on or overlooking the Bosphorus. Harbiye is also a popular place to stay.
- Sim Cards of Vodafone, Avea or Turkcell are available at kiosks at the airport and around the city.
- Free public wifi is available in most city centres and squares.
- Grand Covered Bazaar is closed on Sundays.
- Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays.
- Blue Mosque is being visited from outside on Friday mornings because of noon prayer.
- Dolmabahce Palace is closed on Mondays.