With so much charm and character in Istanbul, how do I decide which things to do?
There’s no denying the infinite charm of Istanbul. Upon arrival I felt the energy and dynamic vibes. With so much charm and character in one city, how does a visitor decide what to do when you can’t do it all?
Here are my top 5 things to do when visiting Istanbul:
- Hagia Sophia (also pictured above)
Hagia Sophia “Holy Wisdom” is a grand piece of architecture located in the busy city center and tourist hub. It is best known for its association with the Ottoman Empire. Hagia Sophia comes recommended to those who enjoy historic tales and vast intricacies of architecture that lends itself to stunning photographs.
2. Sultan Ahmed Mosque, better known as the Blue Mosque
Without a doubt, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (masjid) better known as the Blue Mosque is noted as the single reason tourist flock to Istanbul. Its disposition dominates the city’s skyline offering cascading domes and sleek minarets.
3. Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace is the largest palace in Istanbul. It was once home to the Ottoman’s Sultan for nearly 400 years. There are various sections of the palace and gorgeous courtyards. A restaurant and coffee shop are available for tourists. Be advised that some areas of the palace can not be photographed.
4. Grand Bazaar
Visiting the Grand Bazaar is just a rite-of-passage for tourists. This massive collection of souvenirs, spices, clothes, and authentic culture décor will leave one plentiful as well as exhausted.
5. Bosphorus Cruise Day Trip
If you’re exhausted from the previous shopping experience, a relaxing cruise will certainly put you in great spirits. The mid-level yacht offers scenic views of Istanbul, with English narration, and a stop in a quaint village mid-way.
Some cities are just a one stop pops, but others, like Istanbul, are worth exploring time and again.
For more suggestions, Lonely Planet gives an extended list.