The 15 Best Things to Do in Istanbul

Wandering Wheatleys

The magical city where East meets West, Istanbul is home to a staggering number of impressive attractions that have stood the test of time.

With so many wonderful things to see and do in the city, it can be tricky to know where to begin. To help you make your decision, we’ve put together a list of the best things to do in Istanbul.

The Hagia Sophia is one of the most important and famous buildings in Istanbul. Built in the 6th century, the Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world until the Seville Cathedral was built in 1520.

Be awestruck by the Hagia Sophia

One of the best things to do in Istanbul in the evening is to watch a whirling dervishes show. There are several places throughout the city that put on the traditional show, but you’ll struggle to beat the offerings of the Galata Mevlevi House Museum.

Watch the famous whirling dervishes

This breakfast is inconceivably huge and will probably be the largest, most comprehensive, and most varied breakfast you’ll ever have in your life!

Indulge in a traditional Turkish breakfast

The Bosphorus River is what separates the half of Istanbul that’s in Asia from the half that’s in Europe. When you sail across the river, you’re literally crossing two continents!

Relax on a Bosphorus River cruise

Held every two years, this festival is one of the best international art events in the world and is also hosted by other major cities, such as Sydney, São Paulo, and Venice.

Admire works of art at the Istanbul Biennial

When you need a break from all the Istanbul sightseeing, pop into the nearest cafe and order a “cay.” The local name for a cup of Turkish tea, cay is a type of strong tea that’s served black in small glass cups.

Sip a cup of cay

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