Istanbul is one of the world’s most mesmerising cities, boasting dramatic historic sights amidst a buzzing modern metropolis. Explore on your own or hire an Istanbul guide to learn more about discovering this beautiful city.
Popular attractions in Istanbul
The most popular attractions in Istanbul are centred around Sultanahmet Square, the focus of the Old City. Here, Sultanahmet Mosque – also known as the ‘Blue Mosque’ - stands out, with its distinctive six minarets, striking dome and the alluring blue tile work of its interior. Nearby, the Haghia Sophia towers over the Istanbul skyline and is one of the wonders of the Byzantine kingdom. Once a church but now a mosque, it is home to some of the city’s most striking old mosaics. The grand Topkapi Palace, the Basilica Cistern and the old Roman Hippodrome are also located near Sultanahmet Square.
Venture outside the old city and explore the vibrant area of Galata. Bustling Istikal Street runs through this district, and is one of Istanbul’s most popular areas for nightlife and culture. Attractions in Galata include Galata Tower, which offers stunning views from its parapet, Istanbul Modern art gallery and Istanbul’s largest synagogue.
Amidst its historic attractions, Istanbul is also a great place to go shopping. Pick up a guide to the Grand Bazaar, a labyrinthine array of shops in a covered market, or browse the traditional bazaars of the old city.
A guide to Asian Istanbul
The classic Bosphorous cruise is a mainstay of any Istanbul travel guide. Cross the Bosphorus Strait to find many more dazzling sights to explore. Take a ferry to the Maiden’s Tower to discover a Byzantine landmark built on a river inlet. Beylerbeyi Palace also provides guided tours of its enchanting building and gardens, and Camlica Hill offers sweeping vistas over the city.