What to do in Istanbul: City guide

What to do in Istanbul: Istanbul is home to over 15 million and there is no way you will get through it all over a day or two. There is no city centre like in London or Paris but the Old city is where it all began over two thousand years ago. Istanbul has a series of centres which are spread across the seaside areas along the European and Asian halves of the city as well as the Bosphorus.

What to do in Istanbul - Outside the Mosque

You have probably heard of the Aya Sophia, Topkapi Palaces, and Blue Mosque. We aren’t going to get into listing all the major landmarks – we would have to write a books worth to really to the city justice. However, it is worth checking out the Sultanahmet, Eminönü and Beyoğlu districts which are steeped in historical treasures on just about every street corner.

Shop until you drop at Grand Bazaar or if you want a more modern experience the city has, check out fancy malls spring up such as Kanyon, İstiniye Park and the Zorlu centre. Istiklal Caddesi

There are lavish Turkish bath such as the Caglayan or Çemberlitaş if you want to relax – it really is an experience!

If the hustle and bustle of the city gets too much you could always jump on the ferry and head over to the Princes Islands which feel like a world away. Motor cars are banned on the islands and they offer a tranquil rest bite and you can take a dip in the Marmara sea.

What to do in Istanbul - photo by Eren Sarigul

If you are travelling over the summer months Istanbul can be very hot and humid but there are several park such as Gezi, Yıldız and Emirgan which offer more serene settings and the city is surrounded by forests if you really want to go on an adventure.

The Kadiköy district is a bustling, hip area on the Asian side. The market area near the port is an assault on the senses. You can sample local food or even pick a fish for an on the spot barbecue alongside the local Raki – be careful, they call this alcoholic drink Lions milk for good reason, it is VERY strong! The nearby Moda area is a trendy part of town while Üsküdar is home to most of the historical sites on the eastern side of the city.