Top 10 Things To do in Istanbul, Turkey

Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Istanbul- to say it’s beautiful is so obvious as to be frivolous -Paul Theroux

This magic carpet ride of a city will seduce you with it’s spice laden cuisine and mesmerize you with it’s whirling dervishes. I must admit my ignorance about coming here but quickly got my groove. Here are the top 10 things you should do/see/eat/feel in Istanbul, Turkey.

Top 10 Things To do in Istanbul

  1. Blue Mosque- Most famous landmark in Istanbul, known for the blue tiles adorning the interior. Directly across from Aya Sofya (# 5 on the list).
  2. Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi)- Shopping on crack. 100’s of stalls selling jewelry, hats, harem pants, and various Turkish crafts. Don’t forget to haggle here. On the 1st go, offer 50% less than asking and try not to show too much interest in what you want. Walking away also shows them your serious.
  3. Turkish Bath or Hamam– Most well known and oldest (dating to 1584) is Cemberlitas. 35 TL gets you a royal treatment of special hamam underwear and other accoutrements. Massages and scrubs available for a bit more.
  4. Flower Market (Çiçek Pasaji)- is an area full of restaurants and cafes and serves up some great people watching. Located near Galata Bridge.
  5. Aya Sofya- It’s been a Christian Church, then it was a mosque, now it’s a museum. Directly across from Blue Mosque.
  6. Basilica Cistern- Huge underground Roman water source held up with 336 marble columns covering 9,800 square meters. Very peaceful and worth a look and not too far from Blue Mosque.
  7. Istikal Caddesi (Istikal Road toward Galata)- This is a great pedestrian shopping road. Full of international and local Turkish shops. You start at eyesore of Taksim square and make your way South on Istikal until you reach Galata Tower. Warning: You’ll pass about 5 Starbucks on the way.
  8. Spice Market (Misir Çarisi)-Both are right near the New Mosque, the spice market is just how it sounds, chalk full of spices. Safran is relatively cheap here. Flower Market is an actual market of flowers, not to be confused with the other flower market across the bridge. Tulips were presents from the Dutch and very popular here.
  9. Dolmabahce Palace- Large European influenced palace built 150 years ago dripping in the opulence of it’s time. Sultan’s ruled from this palace for 68 years until the Republic of Turkey was established in 1923. Palace occupies a lot of sea frontage.
  10. Topkapi Palace-Huge palace built in old style with courtyards in Sultanahmet near Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya. Check out the harem room while you are there.

Honorable Mentions: Bosphorus Cruise or ferry ride to Asia side of Turkey where many locals live and commute. Istanbul Modern Museum of Art- very cool museum showcasing some up and coming Turkish artists as well as leaders in the Turkish impressionist movement over the past century. Paintings, video, sculptures are all mediums displayed.



  1. Very nice article Megan! Hope that all is well!

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