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Places To Visit In Istanbul

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Tourism in Istanbul

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Best time to visit

Mar - Sep

Ideal Duration

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Tourist Places In Istanbul

Straddling the shimmering blue Bosphorus Strait, the city of Istanbul is one of the most significant centres of heritage and culture of the world. It is located right between the Western and Oriental culture, so much so that the city is divided into Europe and Asia itself. The history of the city also reflects its geographical location perfectly. After being the capital of the Byzantine Empire for centuries, it was taken over by the Ottoman Sultanate and renamed as Istanbul. With two such opulent regimes being ruled from its lands, Istanbul is decked with imperial architectures as grand as the reigns.

Mosques of Istanbul

Istanbul is home to some of the best and most beautiful mosques you will ever see. Some say that the Blue Mosque by Sultan Ahmed is as majestic as the one in Mecca. It also had the same number of minarets – six – when it was first built. A seventh minaret was gifted to Mecca to settle a dispute regarding this. Hagia Sophia is hands-down one of the grandest architectures of the world. Suleymaniye Mosque near to the Grand Bazar, Rustem Pasa Mosque near to the Spice Bazar and the New Mosque constructed in the name of the mother of a Sultan are the other visit-worthy mosques in Istanbul.

Markets of Istanbul

Grand Bazar, Spice Bazar, Yesiktaz, Yesilkoy, Bakirkoy, Kadikoy are some of the markets you must see while in Istanbul. The markets are a great place to visit in Istanbul in October-November season, as the pleasanter climate makes it easy to walk through the maze of streets without breaking a sweat.

Here are some of the best Istanbul attractions to see.

1. Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia will always rank first among all the Istanbul sights, even though it gets quite a bit of competition from the Blue Mosque. The colossal architecture, with an even bigger dome dominating the skyline of Istanbul started out as an Eastern Orthodox basilica in 537. It later played the role of a Roman Catholic Church under Byzantine rule and then turned into an imperial mosque for the Ottomans. In 1395 it was finally reopened, not as a place of worship but of culture and education – as a museum. Hagia Sophia is a must-see in Instanbul sightseeing tours.

2. The Blue Mosque

Actually named the Sultan Ahmet Mosque after its founder, the grand architecture of the 17th century got its name from the thousands of blue tiles on its exterior and interior. Tourists throng here in large numbers to see the priceless treasures hidden inside. However, it is still an active shrine and is closed during the five prayers of the day as per Islamic faith.

3. Topkapi Palace

Perched on the side of the Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus Strait and the Golden Horn, this place was once the royal residence of the Ottoman emperors and the office of their daily business. Now it is a collage of the empire’s glorious years – all stored within the richly embellished quarters of the Topkapi Palace.

4. Grand Bazar

Grand Bazar lives up to its name – it is indeed the grandest market in all of Istanbul. Within its maze-like streets there are more than 500 shops lined up, selling everything from mosque replicas, ceramic items, clothes and jewelleries, handcrafted products and many more. Grand Bazar in Istanbul is a good place to visit for a leisurely afternoon.

5. Basilica Cistern

The underground water reservoir system ordered by Justinian I served the royal families of Istanbul over the years. Only a few steps away from Blue Mosque, this architectural and engineering wonder is also known as the Sunken Palace, because of the dark mystic look and the sound of water trickling in the background – a very mysterious setting.

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Basilica Cistern In Istanbul

Cistern is basically a public tank built for storing and supplying water to the inhabitants of the city. Earlier, these cisterns were made up of many materials. Istanbul is one such place where one can find a number of cisterns. One of the most famous cisterns is the Basilica Cistern. The Basilica Cistern is known as one of...

  • Sightseeing
  • Adventure
  • Ideal for friends
  • Ideal for families

Blue Mosque In Istanbul

Also known as the Sultan Ahmet mosque after the name of the Sultan who built it, Blue mosque is one of the major historical places of Istanbul and is functional even today. Built by Sultan Ahmet 1 during 1609-1616, the Blue mosque has a lot of importance in the Istanbul history. This mosque is located at Hagia Sophia and co...

  • Sightseeing
  • Blue Mosque
  • Architecture
  • Ideal for families

Bosphorus In Istanbul

Being a strategic waterway, Bosphorus, Istanbul is a narrow strait which connects the nation with international waters. Deriving its name from the legend of Io, who was one of the lovers of Zeus, Bosphorus is a Thracian word, and denoted the ‘passage of cow’. While, in Turkish language it means- ‘inner strait’. Also known a...

  • Sightseeing
  • Bosphorus Cruise
  • Bosphorous Bridge
  • Romantic
  • Ideal for friends

Dolmabahce Palace In Istanbul

Nestled on one of the most spectacular parts of the Bosphorus, the grandeur of the Dolmabahce Palace leaves everyone in awe. Constructed during the Ottoman area, it later became the Presidential Palace. The attraction still holds a significant place in Turkey. Built by an Armenian architect, Garabet Amira Balyan, Dolmabahce...

  • Sightseeing
  • Dolmabahce Palace
  • Ideal for friends
  • Ideal for families

Galata Tower In Istanbul

No trip is ever complete without a journey to view one of the light towers or normal towers. In Turkey too, there is one such tower in Istanbul, which not only offers a great view but also gives you the ancient chills that one can only feel at the viewing of amazing architecture and scriptures. Apart from these euphoric fee...

  • Sightseeing
  • Adventure
  • Ideal for friends
  • Breathtaking views

Hagia Sophia In Istanbul

A country with both Islam and Christian histories, Turkey is a delight to visit; and Hagia Sophia is one of the go-to places in Turkey. Located in the old capital Istanbul, it is a cathedral that was later found out to be a mosque and now runs as a museum, mainly as a tourist spot that runs on the visits of foreigners as we...

  • Sightseeing
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Museum
  • Ideal For Family

Suleymaniye Mosque In Istanbul

A tribute to Suleiman- the Magnificent, Suleymaniye Mosque is one of the most famous mosques of Istanbul. Built in between 1550- 1557, its construction took almost 8 years; however, the architectural design of Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul is still worthy of appraisal. Designed by the architect Mimar Sinan, the mosque attrac...

  • Sightseeing
  • Suleymaniye Mosque
  • Religious Tour
  • Ideal for friends

Topkapi Palace In Istanbul

Looking for a great time exploring the royalty of the Turkish kings or sultans? Look no further. ‘Topkapi Palace’ is the place to be. Of the many things to see in Turkey, mainly Istanbul, the museum is definitely a must-see. Its ancient carvings are one to watch out for. Topkapi Museum is the subject of many colorful storie...

  • Sightseeing
  • Topkapi palace
  • Adventure
  • Ideal for friends
  • Ideal for families

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    Authentic Traveler Reviews for Istanbul

    Read on to find out why our customers love us!

    View All
    • Trip to Istanbul

      Was organised well, went as planned. Abhishek was very helpful in customising the week long holiday. Was very prompt in replying to all our queries and ensured that there was no need to contact him during our vacation. His local knowledge came very handy in addressing our queries. Istanbul Skyline from Galata tower and the cruise along the Bosphorus was awesome.
      NR

      Nagarajan Rajagopalan

      Chennai, 3 days ago

    • Trip to Istanbul

      This was our honeymoon trip and we booked the turkey experience with offbeat trippers. We went to three cities and had the most amazing tour experience. All hotels provided where really good in terms of interior, food and the central location from where all major tourist attraction where in a walking distance. The different city tours were really well organised and focussed on the experience part for the tourist. All pickups and drops were exactly on time. Special thanks to Abhishek for taking care of all small details. We visited Istanbul, capadoccia and Antalya and it was an unforgettable experience.
      AA

      Asad Abrar

      Bangalore, 3 months ago

    • Trip to Istanbul

      Turkiye Cumhuriyeti! (i.e. Turkey!) It was an amazing experience. Thnz to Mr Sunil Sahu. The trip was properly planned out: flights, transfers, hotels and tours - all was well sorted and Sunil had advised and helped us right from getting the visa done. All the stays were fantastic, the airport transfers were royal and tours were enjoyable. Apart from one or two hiccups, our honeymoon was memorable! Once again, thnz to Mr Sahu, Aionz Sojourn, for his professional management. Antalya is a beautiful town! Hot air balloon was an amazing experience. Do book atleast a month in advance as prices will shoot up very high later. Istanbul too is a very clean city. You get to experience Europe at half the price and half the distance from India!
      RP

      Rucha Pathari

      Mumbai, 4 months ago

    • Trip to Istanbul

      We have always been travelers who like to explore city at their own pace, but this time around with a toddler we decided to take a guided tour to Turkey and it was the best decision we took. Coming to the tour, overall, it was a good experience with few let downs .There were some issues pertaining to our Cappadocia trip where , the itinerary stated it to be a two day tour but given the domestic flights that were booked , we only got one day to cover Cappadocia. Nevertheless , tour operator compensated by giving us 1 day private tour at Cappadocia , which helped us cover everything and a complementary Turkish Bath ! As we hadn't planned to experience Turkish Bath initially , it was very relaxing and helped us rewind during the travel . So no regrets there :) We were most disappointed with our experience at Grand Yavuz Hotel ,Istanbul, the staff seemed unhelpful . As we were travelling with a toddler , we had constant need of warm water for Preparation of Milk and food , but the hotel staff didn't seem to help , unresponsive and rude . Thankfully there was a very nice cafe just adjacent to Grand Yavuz - Mivan restaurant, where the staff was very courteous and helpful , they arranged hot water for the baby food every-time we went there.. We were so impressed by their service that we ended up having all our meals in Istanbul there - -It's a must visit and a gem hidden in the old city. To summarize , it was a good experience all in all barring few hiccups . Thumbs up to the tour operator for his punctuality and very good tour guides under him ,who were very helpful and understanding and tried to work with our pace ; not rushing through sightseeing ;)
      SS

      Saloni Sood

      Delhi, 4 months ago

    • Trip to Istanbul

      We have always been travelers who like to explore city at their own pace, but this time around with a toddler we decided to take a guided tour to Turkey and it was the best decision we took. Coming to the tour, overall, it was a good experience with few let downs .There were some issues pertaining to our Cappadocia trip where , the itinerary stated it to be a two day tour but given the domestic flights that were booked , we only got one day to cover Cappadocia. Nevertheless , tour operator compensated by giving us 1 day private tour at Cappadocia , which helped us cover everything and a complementary Turkish Bath ! As we hadn't planned to experience Turkish Bath initially , it was very relaxing and helped us rewind during the travel . So no regrets there :) We were most disappointed with our experience at Grand Yavuz Hotel ,Istanbul, the staff seemed unhelpful . As we were travelling with a toddler , we had constant need of warm water for Preparation of Milk and food , but the hotel staff didn't seem to help , unresponsive and rude . Thankfully there was a very nice cafe just adjacent to Grand Yavuz - Mivan restaurant, where the staff was very courteous and helpful , they arranged hot water for the baby food every-time we went there.. We were so impressed by their service that we ended up having all our meals in Istanbul there - -It's a must visit and a gem hidden in the old city. To summarize , it was a good experience all in all barring few hiccups . Thumbs up to the tour operator for his punctuality and very good tour guides under him ,who were very helpful and understanding and tried to work with our pace ; not rushing through sightseeing ;)
      SS

      Saloni Sood

      Delhi, 4 months ago

    • Trip to Istanbul

      We had a wonderful 12 nights , 13 days stay in Turkey. We visited Cappadocia , Kusadasi , Pamukkale, Antalya and Istanbul. Each place was unique and memorable , taking us back several hundreds of years back in history. Mr Mehmet Erdem did a really good job organising things for us. We did face an issue with our luggage allowance on the flight from Istanbul to Kayseri- we were allowed 20kgs per passenger but the Turkish airlines computer system was only allowing 15kgs per passenger. So we had to pay for an extra 7 kgs @ TRY 8 - however this was not on account of Mr Erdem' s oversight but due to some problem with Turkish airlines. We also took a day tour to Bursa and this wasn't a great experience as the place was too far away. Shopping in Istanbul was fun and inexpensive. Our hotels were good and all pick up were generally at the scheduled time . Thanks Mr Erdem Istanbul was an absolute delight and the must see places are theTopkapi (including the room of the holy relics)and Dolmabahce palaces . We also thoroughly enjoyed the Bosphorous day and night cruise. In all Turkey is a place where the 'ancient ' sits beautifully with the 'modern'
      PJ

      Paul James Sandys

      Kolkata, 5 months ago

    • Trip to Istanbul

      It was a short but sweet trip suitably catered around our areas of interest. We were very impressed with the Hotel in Istanbul particularly it's location which gave us the opportunity to explore the city within a short span of time. Visit to Hagia Sophia, Bosphorus boat ride and close visit to the cave houses in Cappadocia
      PM

      Pujarini Maulik

      Bengaluru, 5 months ago

    • Trip to Istanbul

      Booked Turkey tour via aionzsojourn(sunil sahu). He made all the right suggestions and even changed our hotel at 11th hour in Istanbul. Good agent with decent knowledge of the country. Had a great trip
      RK

      Rahul Kadian

      Delhi, 5 months ago

    • Trip to Istanbul

      1. Hotels and service in Capaddocia & Kusadasi were fabulous 2. Istanbul & Antalya hotels could have been better 3. Co-ordination and communication of tour schedules by Fez could have been better including missing Pamukkale tour due to wrong communication by Fez Travels SPOC 1. Hotel stay & services at Kusadasi and Cappadocia 2. Excellent guides in Ozhan ( Istanbul) , Deliz( Capadoccia) & Faizullah( Kusadasi)
      PC

      Pramod Chandrasekhar

      Bengaluru, 5 months ago

    • Trip to Istanbul

      horrible support from traveltriangle agent and their agent (holiday ink). dinner cruise istanbul shows
      SS

      Saurabh Sharma

      Bangalore, 6 months ago

    Property Types in Istanbul

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    FAQ's of Istanbul

    Read on to find out why our customers love us!

    Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Basilica Cistern are the three major attractions of Istanbul, followed by Suleymaniye Mosque and Hippodrome of Constantinople.

     

    For a packed itinerary 3-5 days is enough to see the prime attractions of Istanbul. If you want a more relaxed vacation, take a week off.

    The Marmaray Commuter Rail is the most commonly used transportation to travel across Bosphorus from Asia to Europe and vice-versa. There are cruisers and Catamaran ferries as well, if you want to travel above the water surface.

     

    Turkish Lira or TRY is the official currency of Turkey. It comes in notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200.

    March-April and September-October is the best time to visit Istanbul. June-August is too hot and crowded, while the winter months get a lot of rainfall.

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