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1 best things to do in Istanbul 2023

best things to do in Istanbul 2023

Each traveler who arrives in Istanbul has their own experience, and of course it is a city that leaves no one indifferent. History and culture are not lacking, but neither are new ideas. This list to do in Istanbul does not end and we keep adding new ideas.

1. Do in Free Walking Tour is Spanish

The Free Walking Tours in Spanish are still not many if we compare it with those that are available in English , but we have spoken with several companies and most of them plan to offer them soon.

2. Know the 10 reasons to visit Istanbul


Istanbul is a city of chaos and paradoxes that somehow manages to display a charm that every visitor cannot help but be affected by.

The beautiful Bosphorus, the remnants of empires and different cultures at every turn, incredible food, and the youthful vigor of its younger population make Istanbul wonderfully dynamic. Here are a few more reasons to book that trip.

3. Enter the basilica-turned-mosque of Hagia Sophia

The Basilica of Hagia Sophia is a postcard of the city of Istanbul , even without having ever traveled to the city, we can recognize the image because we have seen it many times.

It is the most spectacular monument of Byzantine art built during the rule of Justinian between the years 532 and 537.

Its four minarets and its dome of more than 30 meters in diameter form an iconic image of the city. It is impossible to imagine Istanbul without the presence of Hagia Sophia.

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4. Follow our one and two day tours in Istanbul

Lucky those who can spend a season in this beautiful city. Two days is really not enough, but some planning can go a long way!

5. Take a guided tour

If we do not have much time or we want to have more information about the most important places, we can book a tour of Istanbul with a guide in Spanish , or a private tour with a guide, choosing the places we prefer to visit in the city.

6. Climb the Galata Tower and have the best views of the city

Galata Tower , originally built as a lighthouse in the year 528 , was converted by the Genoese to watch over the ships and find out what kind of merchandise arrived in the city before anyone else.

During the Ottoman times it was used as a place to imprison prisoners of war and after the end of the time as a fire watchtower. It is located halfway between the Galata Bridge and Taksim Square.

7. Find the best area to stay

We tell you which are the best areas and neighborhoods to find accommodation in Istanbul , as well as our experiences in hotels and hostels in this city.

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8. Go up the cemetery on the hill of Eyüp

Located on the hill of the Golden Horn , it is a very frequented Muslim cemetery, as it is one of the holiest sites in Istanbul , where thousands of pilgrims come to visit the most special and unique cemetery in the country.

9. Visit the remains of the ancient Hippodrome of Constantinople

The Roman Hippodrome is located in Sultanahmet , very close to the main tourist monuments of the city, so you can visit it without having to deviate from your route.

Although hardly a few stones are preserved, a visit to this area of ​​Istanbul cannot be missed. Along with the Serpentine Column, you can admire the Obelisk of Theodosius, the Obelisk of Constantine or the German Fountain.

10. Marvel at the Ortaköy Mosque

Built on the banks of the Bosphorus in 1856, it is one of the best things to see in Istanbul . Also called the Great Imperial Mosque of Sultan Abdülmecit since it was the sultan who ordered it to be built, he used to approach it by crossing the Bosphorus in a gondola to pray in it.

11. Sail on a cruise through the Bosphorus Strait

This trip allows us to see Asia on one side and Europe on the other. We can also book an evening dinner cruise .

12. Stroll through the Beyazit neighborhood

The popular Beyazit neighborhood is located a short distance from the historical center of the city, where some of the emblematic monuments of Istanbul are located .

It is located in the area between the Grand Bazaar and the University of Istanbul , whose beautiful main access door is at one end of Beyazit Square, the heart and nerve center of the neighborhood.

13. Visit Cappadocia

Landscapes from another planet like the fairy chimneys or the Goreme Valley. We can do the 4-day tour by bus or the one-day tour by plane .

14. Tour the city’s breweries

Istanbul does not have a great beer tradition, at least if we compare it with other big capitals.

But in recent years and as tourism increases, more stores are opening. Most are owned by foreigners, especially Englishmen, who bring their styles of beer to the city.

15. Try the best breakfasts

Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day for Turks and is definitely taken seriously in this city.

Plus they have a lot of variety and always the table is filled with many varieties of cheeses, olives, jams, baked goods and of course eggs with sucuk and turkish coffee.

16. Know the 10 dishes that you have to try in Istanbul

Istanbul is the perfect place to enjoy the rich diversity of Turkish cuisine. As travelers that we are, one of the main pleasures is to try the specialties that the place offers and it is clear that Istanbul is one of the best cities in the world for this.

17. The Tea Route in Istanbul

Turkey has the highest per capita tea consumption in the world , making it an ideal place to try all possible flavors.

18. Do our route through Galata and Karaköy

Galata and Karaköy are two trendy neighborhoods in today’s Istanbul , where hip cafes mingle with neighborhood bakeries and family businesses.

They border the southernmost area of ​​Beyuglu, in European Istanbul . Presided over by the glittering contemporary art museums SALT Galata and Istanbul Modern.

In recent years, new bazaars, fashion artisan workshops and boutique shops have been installed in this part of the city.

19. Get to know the old Istanbul

On this Istanbul history tour , we will see the lesser-known historical attractions, such as ancient columns, underground water reservoirs and places with great archaeological value.

20. Visit the best Italian restaurants in the city

We have made a list of the best Italian restaurants in Istanbul, where you can taste homemade pasta, which is an indispensable dish of Italian cuisine, risotto, and of course, pizza that is cooked in a special way to turn them into authentic dishes.

21. Go out to listen to live music in Istanbul

22. Travel to old Edirne

Edirne is the third city in the country that receives the most travelers, after Istanbul and Antalya. It is located northwest of Turkey, on the coast of the Sea of ​​Marmara.

Edirne is a city with a very ancient origin. Due to its geographical location, between the Maritsa and Tunca rivers, it has been inhabited since classical times.

23. Visit the best bookstores in Istanbul

With a sizeable expatriate population living in the city, along with students studying in other languages, Istanbul has made a clear effort to provide books in languages ​​other than Turkish.

24. Tour Topkapi Palace with a guide

Once the home of the Ottoman sultans, Topkapi Palace today is known for its ornate architecture, beautiful gardens, panoramic views of the Bosphorus Strait.

25. Visit the archaeological museums

The Istanbul Archaeological Museums are located on what used to be the outer grounds of Topkapi Palace … which means they are so close to so many other things to do in Istanbul.

The three archaeological museums are the Museum of the Ancient Orient , the Archaeological Museum , and the Museum of Islamic Art .

26. Visit the Princes’ Islands

This small archipelago of islands located just outside of Istanbul makes the perfect day trip to get away from the noisy city, especially during the hot and beautiful weather of summer. Ferries leave daily from the European and Asian sides of Istanbul to the Princes’ Islands , making a visit an easy and fun thing to do in Istanbul.

27. Try the best desserts

As a cosmopolitan city, Istanbul’s dessert scene ranges from the best version of Turkish classics to excellent international options. We picked the best places for dessert in town for you to indulge your sweet tooth.

28. Know where they serve the best coffee in Istanbul

Istanbul has seen a flood of new coffee shops springing up all over its neighborhoods , waving the banner of the third wave. However, not all of Istanbul’s new coffee shops are worth your time and only a few serve quality coffee.

29. Ride the commuter ferry for $1

For the best budget Istanbul experience, take the commuter ferry from Eminonu across the Bosphorus River to Kadikoy. This roundtrip tour takes about an hour and when we did it, it was only $1 per person . If you don’t have time for the full-day Bosphorus River cruise, this trip on the commuter ferry is the perfect alternative.

30. Walk Istiklal street

Istiklal street is a famous street in the new district of Istanbul . It is a pedestrian street that can be very busy. This area definitely feels different from the rest of Istanbul. It is here that you will find Gap and Starbucks and Nike. But it’s a beautiful street, especially with the tram running up and down the street.

31. Listen to the call to prayer between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

The most beautiful prayer call I heard took place between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. One muezzin would sing part of the prayer and then the second muezzin would answer from the other minaret. It was a magical thing to experience, so if you happen to be in the area during prayer time, I suggest you sit on one of the park benches and listen.

32. Ride the red tram

One way to see Istiklal Avenue without having to fight your way through the crowds is to take the tram from one end of the avenue to the other . The tram has a decidedly vintage feel to it and makes for a pleasant ride through the commercial center of Istanbul.

33. Try the best doner kebab

In a city full of tasty doner kebabs, not all are created equal.

34. Read our 10 reasons to visit Istanbul

Istanbul is a city of chaos and paradoxes that somehow manages to display a charm that every visitor cannot help but be affected by.

The beautiful Bosphorus, the remnants of empires and different cultures at every turn, incredible food, and the youthful vigor of its younger population make Istanbul wonderfully dynamic.

35. Take a boat tour on the Bosphorus

If you only have a few days in the city and know you won’t be able to cover all the top attractions , taking a Bosphorus cruise is a great way to catch a glimpse of Istanbul’s top sights.

You’ll pass Dolmabahçe Palace, Rumeli Ruins, Maiden’s Tower, and many mosques, mansions, and gardens along the way.

36. Enjoy the best views at Galata Konak Cafe

Istanbul several cafes with the best views in the world . We recently recommended a visit to Pierre Loti located on a hill in Eyup. Now it’s up to Galata Konak Cafe one of our favorite places in the city.

Why climb the Galata Tower if for the cost of a coffee we can have incredible views of Istanbul.

37. Know where to eat well in Taskim

The restaurants in the bustling center of the city, called Taksim Square, offer magnificent views and tasty cuisines.

38. Know where to go at night in Istanbul

Even though the famous bars and nightclubs of Istiklal Street no longer exist , Istanbul’s nightlife has adapted to the new neighborhoods where great cocktails are accompanied by DJ music.

39. Visit the best Museums in Istanbul

The city of Istanbul has many interesting museums to visit. Many times overshadowed by the mosques or the large markets, the city’s museums are another reason to travel to this part of the world.

40. Visit the New Mosque (which is 400 years old)

The New Mosque in Istanbul is very close to the Galata Bridge and a few meters from the Spice Bazaar .

Despite its name, it is almost 400 years old since it was built between 1597 and 1663 by order of the mothers of the sultans Mehmet III and Mehmet IV respectively after a series of political, religious and financial problems.

41. Follow our three-day route in Istanbul

We are going to tour a lot of the best of the city. Going from Europe to Asia, ending in the Eyüp neighborhood.

42. Know the best plans to do in Istanbul with children.

This list features places like museums, workshops, outdoor activities, and much more that you can enjoy with children. The best activities for children to spend their holidays in the city . In fact, there are dozens of activities you can enjoy together.

43. Sail the Bosphorus to Anadolu Kavagi

One of the most interesting tours to do by boat from Istanbul. The Bosphorus is traveled from Istanbul, leaving the terminal that is on the right side of the Galata bridge , in winter they only leave at 10:30 a.m. and return at 3:00 p.m., they stop in three towns,   Sariyer , Kamlica and Anodolu Kavagi .

44. Fill up on classic sweets in Altan Şekerleme

Opened in 1865 , this classic candy store is a blast from the past and a relic in a city that changes by the minute. This shop has been in the hands of the same family since the beginning and has a variety of age-old sweets that are hard to come by in Istanbul these days.

45. Pause for a moment of reflection in the church of St. Antoine

The largest and most prominent Catholic church in Istanbul , the majestic St. Antoine on Istiklal Caddesi was built between 1906 and 1912 in the Venetian Gothic Revival style.

46. Try authentic Russian food in 1924

Picking up where the iconic Russian restaurant Rejans left off when it closed after its 80 years of operation here, 1924 is a restaurant that blends old and new , paying homage to its forerunner without relying entirely on the past.

47. Admire the tulips in Gülhane Park

Located next to Topkapi Palace at the tip of Istanbul’s historic peninsula, Gülhane Park is one of the largest and most beautiful parks in the city . A popular weekend destination with local families, the park is a sanctuary in the crowded and dense old city.

48. Stroll through the passage of flowers

Built in 1876 , Çiçek Pasajı (Flower Passage) is easily one of the most beautiful galleries in Istanbul. Its beautiful interior is worth a stroll, even as the waiters valiantly try to lead you to the beer halls and meyhanes lined up on the sides.

49. Feel the nostalgia of the Museum of Innocence

Inspired by renowned novelist Orhan Pamuk’s novel of the same name, the Museum of Innocence is located in the picturesque neighborhood of Çukurcuma , where much of the book takes place.

50. Listen to live jazz at Nardis

Known for being perhaps the favorite jazz bar in Istanbul, Nardis is located at the foot of the Galata Tower.

51. Follow our itinerary through Eminonu

Eminonu and neighboring Sirkeci are also some of the most popular tourist areas in Istanbul. We can also call the area as eastern district. It is one of the main transport hubs of Istanbul. Here’s a quick guide to exploring Eminonu and Sirkeci with the best things to do and see, plus insider tips.

52. Touring Fatih and Fener

The two historic suburbs of Fatih and Fener are only a couple of kilometers from the center of Istanbul, but they are very different in character.

These neighborhoods are home to more mosques, churches and synagogues than any other city in the world and are an important testimonial to the religious tolerance of the Ottoman sultans.

53. Find the best sushi in Istanbul

Although Turkish cuisine is made up of a million different styles of delicious food , there may be times when you just feel like something a little different. If you are looking for authentic Asian food, you may want to try one of the many sushi restaurants in Istanbul.

54. Try the menu at one of the 5 oldest restaurants

It is a well known fact that Istanbul is one of the most historic cities in the world.

That’s why it should come as no surprise to learn that there are many historic and old-fashioned restaurants here, some dating back more than 170 years.

The best part is that many, but not all, of these older Istanbul restaurants are located in the Old City , which means you can walk to them from your Sultanahmet hotel.



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Ahmed Shady

My name is Ahmed Shady and I am a biomedical engineer who loves to travel a lot.
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My name is Ahmed Shady and I am a biomedical engineer who loves to travel a lot.

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