We've hand-picked the best things to do in Istanbul.
8 Attractions in Istanbul:
Hagia Sophia Museum (Ayasofya Muzesi)The architectural gem served as a church during the Byzantine Empire, then a mosque during the Ottoman Empire. In 1935, it was converted into a museum and now sees over 3 million visitors through its doors each year to marvel at the 11th-13th century mosaics, frescos, and exquisite architecture, and to say hello to resident Instagram star, Gli the cat.
Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi)Tallest building in the world at the time of its construction in 1348. Provides panoramic views of Istanbul at 67 meters high. Previously used as a jail, observatory and watchtower during the Ottoman period.
Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnici)The largest surviving water cistern running underneath Istanbul city constructed in 532 AD. This example of the Byzantine Empire’s engineering prowess is 459 feet long, 229 feet wide, and can hold 100,000 tones of water.
Sultan Ahmet Mosque (The Blue Mosque)Intricately designed mosque constructed in the early 1600s. One of the most recognizable religious building in the world. As an active place of worship, all visitors must wear long pants and women must also cover their heads and shoulders.
The Grand BazaarOne of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world which began as a hub for Mediterranean trade in the 17th century. Now covers over 60 streets with over 4000 stalls. Find everything from clothes, fine jewellery, and knick-knacks to sweets, tea leaves, and spices.
Galata BridgeWatch dozens of local fishermen throw their lines over the bridge from dawn to dusk. Dine at a seafood or traditional Turkish restaurant below the bridge. Admire the city from a cruise along the Bosphorus Strait.
Taksim SquareThe centre of modern Istanbul surrounded by dozens of restaurants, hotels, and retail stores. Home to the Independence Monument, constructed in 1928 to memorialize the founding of the Turkish Republic.