A minaret-strewn cityscape and a pulsating nightlife make Istanbul a truly seductive city for world travellers. There’s an enviable range of things to do in Istanbul that make it ideal for a weekend break or a much longer holiday.
Soak up the energetic atmosphere of Beyoğlu when you stay at our boutique hotel in Istanbul. The Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah offers comfort-filled guest rooms and complimentary Wi-Fi internet in the heart of the city’s cultural quarter.
Essential Istanbul attractions
With so many things to do in Istanbul, it’s hard to know where to begin. Start at Sultanahmet, the city’s central mosque, and marvel at the blue tile work that gives it the nickname ‘the Blue Mosque’. Facing this is the Haghia Sophia, once the glory of the Byzantine World and a former church. Almost all visitors to Istanbul visit these attractions, but don’t miss the city’s other mosques, including the wonderful Suleymaniye and Eyup.
The Grand Bazaar, a hectic network of thousands of shops, is another favourite attraction in Istanbul, and recently featured in the James Bond film Skyfall. Other bazaars, like the Egyptian Bazaar and Arasta Bazaar are also worth exploring if you’re looking for souvenirs like spices and dried fruit.
For an insight into the way the Ottomans lived, visit Istanbul’s medley of palaces, including the stunning Topkapı Palace in Sultanahmet Square. And to better acquaint yourself with Istanbul’s geography, a Bosphorous Cruise, which takes you across the harbour that separates the city, is one of the most popular things to do.
Unwinding in Istanbul
If you’ve spent the day sightseeing in Istanbul, there’s no better way to unwind than with a hamam, or Turkish baths. Similar to a sauna, the hamam experience usually includes a scrub or massage, and gives you the chance to see inside these fantastic old buildings.