Top 17 things to do & see in Istanbul

Top 17 things to do & see in Istanbul

So you’ve got five days in Istanbul. What to see? Here’s a short guide that probably will give you enough to do if you also want to set some time aside for a long sleep, a cup of coffee or some beers at night time – hence the long sleep.

Hanging out in Beyoğlu:

  • Get a view over the city from Galata Tower for better understanding of the geography.
  • Go for shopping in Galip Dede Caddesi just next to Galata Tower.
  • More shopping in the main pedestrian street of Istiklal Caddesi leading up to Taksim Square.
  • Taksim Square often seen in the news when demonstrations are going on.
  • Get an Hamam (Turkish bath) – ask some locals for the best place.
  • Enjoy a meal in the streets around General Yazgan Sk and maybe go for a drink in the area as well.
  • Enjoy a Shisha (waterpipe) – often served at cafés and bars all over Istanbul.

The main attractions in the Sultan Ahmet area is:

  • The Blue Mosque
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Topkapı Palace
  • Basilica Cistern
  • A walk between The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia in the evening when the tourists are almost gone and the locals enjoy the peacefulness.
  • Shopping in the Egyptian Spice Market and in the Grand Bazaar.

On the Asia (Anatolian) side

  • Çamlıca Hill has a great view over Istanbul and the Bosporus Bridge. When staying on the European side walk to the ferry and sail across to the Asian side. Go by Uber to the top of the hill. Remember to check the weather forecast before. You would need a clear sky.
  • Go by Uber to Kadıköy. This relaxed area full of University students is the most hipster area you will find in town.
  • Go shopping in the streets of Bahariye Caddesi (General Asım Gündüz Caddesi)
  • Get a latte in the café area around Nihal Sokak

Where to sleep

  • Budget @ Taksim Stay Inn Hostel – Beyoğlu area
  • Mid-range @ The Marmara Pera – Beyoğlu area

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