Nearly 10 million tourists enjoy Istanbul in some way. In some way, because each of them is looking for something else- for relaxation, shopping, history, religion, a night out, just a break and more. But in order to generalise we have come up with a list of our recommendations for the top 10 attractions in Istanbul here:

  1. The historical Sites of Istanbul; There are so many historical sites in Istanbul so we put this at the top of our list. Sites like: Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, the Blue Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque, Dolmabahçe Palace, the Basilica Cistern, Archaeology Museum, Chora Church and so on.
  2. Bosphorus Night Cruise: The Bosphorus, which makes Istanbul bi-continental, offers some of the greatest natural views for travellers.  While you are on Bosphorus Cruise at night, the views and city lights will no doubt charm you.

    Bosphorus Ferry in Eminönü Port - Photo by Erhan Taskiran

  3. Istiklal Street (Taksim): The most popular nightlife district for both locals and tourists. Full of shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars on an authentic historical street.
  4. Grand Bazaar and Shopping: One of the oldest malls in the world, the Grand Bazaar is still standing after centuries and offers something of a paradise for traders and shoppers. Imagine a mall with 3600 shops, 64 avenues and streets, 22 gates, 20,000 workers and more than 300,000 people visiting it each day. It is the Grand Bazaar! You should also check out the historical Spice Bazaar. By the way, there are more than 40 modern shopping malls in Istanbul for you to shop at.
  5. Delicious Tastes: Bringing together a heavenly blend of Byzantium, Ottoman, Turkish, Greek, Armenian, Kurdish, Aegean and Middle-Eastern cuisines all in one city, Istanbul is a true melting pot of cultures.  Sample the jaw-dropping array of tasty treats on offer, from kebabs to baklava, Turkish coffee, Turkish Delight, mantı, dried fruit, snacks, mezes, raki and milky sweets. Your only worry will be putting on too much weight!
  6. Relax at a Hamam: Turkish Bath culture offers a wonderful opportunity for relaxation at one of its many hamams.
  7. Enjoy a Turkish Style Night: Wander along Istiklal street with thousands; sample some of the tasty street food; order some mezes with raki in Nevizade; listen to the Romany street musicians while you dine, and end the night at a club near the Bosphorus.
  8. Bosphorus Villages: The Bosphorus is not a river or a sea; it just divides the city and lets you check out Asia from Europe or Europe from Asia. Ortaköy, Kuzguncuk, Çengelköy, Rumeli Hisarı, Arnavutköy and Beylerbeyi are among the best districts to admire the Bosphorus and Istanbul’s different continents.
  9. Princes’ Islands: These five small islands close to Istanbul in the Marmara sea let you take in the serenity with its old villas, churches, cafes and charming village life without so much as a care .. So get yourself a horse carriage (Fayton) and tour around in the nature while taking in what Istanbul has to offer.
  10. Let you decide the 10thattraction: Watching a whirling sufi dervish; smoking nargile (waterpipe) at Corlulu Ali Paşa Madrasah; watching the sunset from the Maiden’s Tower; shopping in Nisantasi, attending an amazing art gallery in Istanbul Modern or something else… what do you suggest? Let us know.