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Istanbul Top 10 Things To Do

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The biggest problem most visitors to Istanbul face is trying to decide between the multitude of attractions on offer. We at My Destination Istanbul have compiled a list of some ‘not-to-miss’ experiences while visiting this magnificent city.

My Destination
1. Take in the Treasures of Sultanahmet

Boasting many of Istanbul’s most visited sites- including the Blue MosqueHagia Sophia, the Basilica Cistern, Istanbul Archaeological Museum, the Byzantine Hippodrome, the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum and Topkapi Palace - it’s easy to see why many tourists never venture further than the historical centre of Istanbul.

My Destination
2. Cruise Along the Bosphorus

One of the best ways to experience Istanbul is by water. It’s as easy as a hop, skip and a jump onto one of the many public and private ferries departing from Eminönü. From there take a cruise along the length of the Bosphorus, admiring the palaces, Ottoman mansions and sleek cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs along the way. Read more...

My Destination
3. Soak up Some Holy History at One of Istanbul’s Mosques

The sleek minarets and curvaceous domes which dominate Istanbul’s skyline give the city a majestic air. And any visit to Istanbul would be incomplete without a peek inside the city’s most well known mosques including the Blue Mosque, the vast Suleymaniye Mosque and the New Mosque.

My Destination
4. See the Bazaar Side of Life

Take your wallet and some patience and immerse yourself in one of Istanbul’s bazaars. These ancient shopping malls provide a taste, smell and sight of life as it was centuries ago. Join the crowds as they move through the spices, sweets and souvenirs of the city’s famous Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar, haggling furiously for all things Turkish.

My Destination
5. Get Lost in a Cloud of Smoke with a Nargile

You will often smell the nargile (Turkish water pipe) before you see its billowing smoke. An endearing symbol of the Ottoman Empire since the 17th century, nargile smoking has been a popular form of socialising and relaxation for both young and old Turks for centuries. Read more...

My Destination
6. Feel Your Head Spin with a Night of Whirling Dervishes

Seeing a whirling dervish dancer in action is a magical experience. With right arms raised up to God and left arms transferring them to earth, they revolve together, white skirts flared in a deeply spiritual and highly ritualistic celebration of existence. Read more...

My Destination
7. Go Crazy at a Meyhane

For a night of authentic Turkish fun, put aside a night and head to a Meyhane- a traditional Turkish tavern- where food, drink and music come together in a vibrant celebration of the good things in life. Read more...

My Destination
8. Chill Out in Turkish Style at a Hamam

No visit to Turkey is complete without a hamam (Turkish bath) experience. At once invigorating and purifying, if not a little intimidating for the uninitiated, visiting a hamam nonetheless provides a window into traditional Turkish culture. Read more...

My Destination
9. Cross Continents with a Ferry to the Asian Side

Getting from Europe to Asia couldn’t be easier in Istanbul. And what better way to do this than by taking the Eminonu Kadiköy ferry, one of the fastest, cheapest and loveliest ways to experience the two sides of Istanbul. Read more...

My Destination
10. Live Like a Royal on the Princes Islands

When the heat and chaos of the city gets too much, head to the Princes’ Islands for a glimpse into life as it was in Istanbul. Jump aboard one of the signature horse-and-carts as they trundle down the narrow cobbled streets, past the waterfront fish restaurants and delectable ice cream stalls of these Marmara Sea gems. Read more...

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Istanbul Photos

  • Grand Bazaar

    Grand Bazaar

  • Eyup ©Helen Simpson

    Eyup ©Helen Simpson

  • Bosphorus Cruise by Mista Riggs

    Bosphorus Cruise by Mista Rigg...

  • Leander's Tower

    Leander's Tower

  • Bosphorus ©Helen Simpson

    Bosphorus ©Helen Simpson

  • Bosphorus © Yildirim Incealemdaroglu

    Bosphorus © Yildirim Incealemd...

See all Istanbul photos »


"People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home" - Dagobert D. Runes