- Visit Sultan Ahmed Mosque (aka Blue Mosque). This stunning mosque is a must-see for anyone visiting Istanbul. It is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city, and its architecture is simply breathtaking.
- Explore the Grand Bazaar. This ancient bazaar has been around since the 15th century and is filled with hundreds of shops selling everything from Turkish carpets to jewelry to spices. It’s a great place to find unique souvenirs.
- Take a cruise on the Bosphorus River. You can choose from several different types of cruises, ranging from dinner cruises to sightseeing tours, and they are all sure to be memorable experiences as you take in the views of both Europe and Asia along the way.
- Visit Topkapi Palace, former home of Ottoman sultans and now a major museum complex with amazing architecture and incredible artifacts from throughout Turkey’s history
- Stroll around Taksim Square, central hub for entertainment in Istanbul with plenty of cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs that make it a lively spot day or night
- Visit Galata Tower for an amazing view of Istanbul from above, as well as its own unique history dating back centuries
- Explore Istiklal Avenue for plenty of shopping options as well as cafes, bars, clubs and entertainment venues
- Visit Hagia Sophia Museum Complex which houses one of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks: The Hagia Sophia Church which was built by Emperor Justinian in 532 AD
- Take a tour through the Basilica Cistern which dates back to Byzantine times and offers beautiful lighting displays while you learn more about its fascinating history
- Enjoy some traditional Turkish cuisine at one of many restaurants throughout Istanbul – try dishes such as mezes (appetizer dishes), kebabs or köfte (meatballs)
- Relax at Gülhane Park or Emirgan Park for plenty of green space surrounded by majestic trees where you can enjoy some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city
- Visit Galata Mevlevi House Museum dedicated to Mevlevi Sufism order founded by Jelaleddin Rumi in 1273 AD
- Visit Pierre Loti Hill for sweeping views over Golden Horn Bay as well as an interesting cable car ride up the hillside
- Learn more about Ottoman history at Miniaturk which features miniature replicas of important historical sites throughout Turkey. Miniaturk website
- Take a ferry across Marmara Sea between two continents – Europe and Asia – for an unforgettable experience
- Shop at Spice Bazaar where you can find all kinds of exotic spices as well as dried fruits and nuts
- Experience nightlife in Beyoglu district with many bars offering live music or just people watching
- Explore Chora Church featuring beautiful mosaics depicting scenes from Christian bible stories
- Visit Rahmi M. Koç Museum dedicated to industrialization in Turkey with various interactive exhibits
- Eat fish sandwich while watching fishermen cast their nets along Golden Horn Bay – it doesn’t get more local than this!
I hope this list helps you plan your trip to Istanbul! Enjoy your stay!
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