IL TakeCare app – For all your insurance & wellness needs

Policy purchase, claims, renewal & more


Best Places to Visit in Istanbul

Istanbul, the vibrant and culturally rich city that straddles Europe and Asia, offers a mesmerising blend of history, architecture, and diverse experiences. Let’s dive into the exploration of Istanbul’s must-visit destinations.

  • 16 Jun 2023
  • 2 min read

Istanbul, the vibrant and culturally rich city that straddles Europe and Asia, offers a mesmerising blend of history, architecture, and diverse experiences. From awe-inspiring mosques to bustling bazaars, Istanbul has something for every traveller. In this post, we will explore the best places to visit in Istanbul, including the top Istanbul tourist places and the exciting things to do at each location. Whether you are searching for the best Istanbul places to visit or seeking recommendations for places to visit in Istanbul, this guide will provide you with a comprehensive list of the city’s most captivating attractions. Let’s dive into the exploration of Istanbul’s must-visit destinations!

Top Places to Visit in Istanbul

  • Sultanahmet
  • Taksim Square
  • Bazaar
  • Bosphorus Cruise
  • Spice Bazaar and Eminonu

1. Historic Sultanahmet

Nestled in the heart of Istanbul, the Sultanahmet District beckons visitors with its timeless charm and captivating history. This district is a treasure trove of iconic landmarks and historical sites that transport you to ancient times. From the awe-inspiring Hagia Sophia to the majestic Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet offers a glimpse into Istanbul’s rich cultural heritage. Immerse yourself in the enchanting ambience as you wander through its narrow streets, marvel at the breathtaking architecture, and soak in the stories that echo through the centuries.

Things to Do in Sultanahmet District:

  • Visit the Hagia Sophia: Marvel at the stunning Byzantine architecture and exquisite mosaics of this ancient church-turned-mosque-turned-museum. In 2020, the Hagia Sophia became a mosque once again.
  • Explore the Blue Mosque: Admire the impressive domes and six towering minarets of this magnificent mosque, known for its intricate blue tiles.
  • Discover the Topkapi Palace: Step into the opulent world of Ottoman sultans as you explore the palace’s lavish rooms, courtyards, and the Harem.

2. Vibrant Taksim Square

For a taste of modern Istanbul, head to the bustling Taksim Square, one of the must-visit Istanbul tourist places. This vibrant district is the city’s centre of entertainment, shopping, and nightlife. Indulge in a fusion of cultures as you wander through lively streets, dine at chic restaurants, and explore trendy shops. Taksim Square perfectly showcases Istanbul’s contemporary side, making it one of the best places to visit in Istanbul.

Things to Do at Taksim Square:

  • Explore the lively Istiklal Avenue and indulge in retail therapy at Istanbul’s top shopping destination.
  • Experience Istanbul’s vibrant nightlife at popular bars and clubs in Taksim Square, one of the best places to visit in Istanbul.
  • Enjoy panoramic views from the Galata Tower and visit the nearby Galata Bridge, one of the top Istanbul tourist places.

3. Grand Bazaar

Among the best places to visit in Istanbul, the Grand Bazaar is a shopaholic’s paradise that should be on every traveller’s list. This iconic market offers a labyrinth of narrow streets filled with shops selling everything from exquisite carpets to aromatic spices. As one of the top Istanbul tourist places, the Grand Bazaar showcases the city’s vibrant atmosphere and rich cultural heritage. Explore this bustling marketplace, immerse yourself in the art of striking a good bargain, and indulge in the diverse array of Turkish delights.

Things to Do at Grand Bazaar:

  • Shop for Unique Souvenirs: Get lost in the maze of shops and look for exquisite Turkish carpets, traditional ceramics, spices, jewellery, and more.
  • Enjoy Turkish Delights: Treat your taste buds to the traditional Turkish delight sweets available in an array of flavours at the bazaar.
  • Witness the Vibrant Atmosphere: Immerse yourself in the lively ambience of the Grand Bazaar, observing the hustle and bustle of merchants and shoppers.

4. Bosphorus Cruise

Embarking on a scenic Bosphorus cruise is an absolute must for anyone exploring the best places to visit in Istanbul. As one of the top Istanbul tourist places, this enchanting experience allows you to witness Istanbul’s mesmerising skyline from the shimmering waters of the Bosphorus Strait. Glide along the strait and marvel at iconic landmarks, such as the majestic Dolmabahce Palace and Maiden’s Tower.

Things to Do at Bosphorus Cruise:

  • Cruise along the Bosphorus: Enjoy breathtaking views of Istanbul’s landmarks, including Dolmabahce Palace and Maide’s Tower.
  • Experience a Sunset Cruise: Witness the city bathed in golden hues as the sun sets behind the stunning skyline.
  • Explore Waterside Neighbourhoods: Discover charming neighbourhoods like Ortakoy or Bebek, known for picturesque charm and waterfront cafes.

5. Spice Bazaar and Eminonu

When it comes to exploring the best places to visit in Istanbul, one should not miss the Spice Bazaar and Eminonu. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of these iconic Istanbul tourist places, where traditional markets and historical sites await. Spice Bazaar and Eminonu truly embody the essence of Istanbul and are must-visits for those seeking the best places to visit in Istanbul.

Things to Do at Spice Bazaar and Eminonu:

  • Wander through the Spice Bazaar: Engage your senses as you stroll through the market, inhaling the fragrant aromas of spices, teas, and Turkish delights.
  • Visit the Rustem Pasha Mosque: Admire the intricately decorated interior of this small yet stunning mosque adorned with beautiful Iznik tiles.
  • Try Street Food Delicacies: Indulge in delicious street food such as simit (sesame-covered bread rings) or balik ekmek (grilled fish sandwich) along the waterfront.

Best Time to Visit Istanbul

While Istanbul is a year-round destination, the best time to visit Istanbul is during mid-spring in April and May, as well as in the fall from September to October. These seasons offer pleasantly mild weather, with temperatures ranging from around 62°F (17°C) to 77°F (25°C). Visiting during these periods allows you to enjoy the city without the large crowds typically seen during peak season, making it easier to explore top tourist draws like the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

Travel Insurance for Istanbul

When planning your visit to the best places to visit in Istanbul, it is crucial to prioritise your safety and well-being. One important aspect often overlooked is obtaining comprehensive travel insurance. Whether exploring Istanbul’s iconic tourist places or venturing off the beaten path, adequate coverage can provide peace of mind. Ensure your travel insurance policy covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost belongings. By safeguarding yourself against unforeseen circumstances, you can fully enjoy the enchanting city of Istanbul and make the most of your memorable journey.

Also read:

  • Looking for tailored advice?

    Schedule a call with our insurance advisors

  • OR
  • Call us:

    1800 2666
Please enter valid name
Please enter a valid mobile number
Please select the Category

Subscribe to our newsletter

Understand insurance better by reading our helpful guides, articles, blogs and other information.

Please enter valid name
Please enter valid Email