The top 10 things to do in Istanbul, Turkey
Straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul is home to stunning monuments, mosques, bridges and bazaars which attract visitors from all over the world.
If you are planning a trip to Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, book a guided tour
1. The Statue of Medusa
Walk the incredible water storage system with its tunnels dating back to the 6th Century and be sure to look out for the statue of Medusa hidden in the corner.
2. The Blue Mosque
Probably Istanbul´s most famous sight, the Blue Mosque boasts 260 stained glass windows and over 21,000 blue tiles. The Mosque is situated in Sultanahmet Square.
3. Aya Sofia
The golden tiles of the ancient cathedral of Aya Sofia attract visitors from all over the world. The cathedral was built in AD 537 when Istanbul was still known as Constantinople. The building became a mosque then a museum.
4. The Harem at Topkapi Palace
Make sure you pre-book to enjoy this fascinating tour. This is the oldest palace in the world and is similar in size to the Alhambra Palace in Spain´s Granada. This harem consists of a maze of rooms where the wives and concubines of the Sultan once lived.
5. Selimye Barracks
This is where Florence Nightingale once tended to the troops and casualties of the Crimean War, way back in the 19th Century and the Selimiye Museum is still home to two of her famous lamps.
6. Sunset at Galata Bridge
If you are lucky enough to catch sunset at Galata Bridge, you will have treasured memories for years to come. The bridge spans old and new Istanbul, and visitors can enjoy the sunset from a walkway which is lined with cafes and bars.
7. The Grand Bazaar
If you want to bag a bargain, the Grand Bazaar is home to one of the largest covered markets in the world, and over 5,000 shops are situated in 60 streets. From leather goods to spices and decorative plates to incense, whatever you are looking for you will find in the Grand Bazaar.
8. The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
This fascinating museum hosts one of the most artistic Turkish Carpet displays in the world, and if you want to immerse yourself in Turkish culture and Art, this is definitely the place to come.
9. Ferry across the Bosphorus
Catch a ferry across the Bosphorus and enjoy great views of Istanbul from the narrow waterway which divides European Istanbul on the western shore with the Asian part of the city in the east.
10. A Turkish bath
There is no better place to relax than in a Turkish bath. If you want to make the most of an authentic experience, chill out in the steamy surroundings of the Cemberlitas Baths which date back to the 1500´s.
The best way to enjoy Istanbul is to take a guided tour of the city, a gastronomic tour, an adventure tour or a historical tour and discover some of the hidden gems within the centre.