Top Things to See and Do in Turkey.
As a city that straddles the boundary between Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a one-of-a-kind mix of both continents’ cultures. Many of the best things to see and do in Istanbul take advantage of its location, captivating culture, and rich history, which is still being discovered! From Istanbul nightlife to its outstanding cuisine, there is something for everyone!
With so much history, this historical city is brimming with wonders to experience. These are the top things to see and do in Istanbul, Turkey.
One of the most beautiful buildings in the world, the Hagia Sophia was built between 532 and 537. It is one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture on the planet.
Explore the Bazaars:
Travelers who want to have a unique, touristy experience should walk the Mısır Çarşısı, or Egyptian Spice Bazaar, to find a nice selection of spices, sweets, nuts, cheese, and souvenirs. There are lots of tasty treats to try!
A great place to visit to get a sense of Istanbul’s past is the Basilica Cistern, the city’s largest surviving Byzantine-era cistern. The cavernous underground reservoir dates back to 532 AD and supplied water to the Grand Palace of Constantinople and other important buildings.
The cistern is known for its 12 rows of 28 columns each. Two of the columns are supported by inverted Medusa head statues. While it’s one of the best things to see and do in Istanbul, visit with a tour group to avoid the lengthy queues!
One of the best things to see and do in Istanbul is to enjoy Turkish cuisine. I highly recommend the terrace seating and the kebabs, especially the succulent Iskender kebabs!
Those who want to enjoy a view of the Bosphorus strait should make reservations. Their mouthwatering mixed platter, which consists of juicy lamb, veal, and pistachio kebabs, is utter perfection. Also try their baked pastry with cheese and syrup for dessert!
If there’s one landmark that has come to symbolize Istanbul around the world, it’s the Blue Mosque. Its blend of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, complete with multiple domes and minarets, easily make it one of the top 10 things to see and do in Istanbul.
This 17th-century mosque, built by Sultan Ahmed I, gets its name from the over 20,000 handmade blue Iznik tiles that decorate it. Note that mosque visitors must remove their shoes before entering and women must wear a headscarf.
I love to get a bird’s-eye view of the cities I visit, and the perfect place to do that in Istanbul is Galata Tower. This sentinel-like Genoese fortification was used as a lighthouse in the 6th century before it was rebuilt and modified until it took its current form in the 14th century.
This gorgeous, unique city at the crossroads between Europe and Asia is unlike any other city on Earth. Its markets, museums, attractions, and historical sites have an allure that’s bolstered by the kindness and charm of its people. Book a trip to Istanbul to experience it for yourself!