A brief overview of the very best of Istanbul’s tourist zones, districts & neighborhoods, top places to visit and see, sights and points of interest.
Istanbul is a magical composition of two continents, two Worlds, the East and the West, and so the places to visit and see in Istanbul are endless. Istanbul can be considered as the combination of the old and modern city, as well as Islamic and Mediterranean mixture of cultures in a captivating atmosphere.
The beautiful silhouette of the city combines historical sites and monuments such as Roman aqueducts, Byzantine churches, Venetian towers, Ottoman palaces from the Byzantine, Ottoman and Turkish periods. And the skyline covers monumental minarets with skyscrapers and plazas. And especially the Historical Peninsula and the Bosphorus will cheer up your hearts.
The Historical Peninsula
For the ones who are a true enthusiast of history and want to see the city’s historic sites, we highly recommend you to visit and see the Historical Peninsula of Istanbul (Fatih district), that has been the capital for many civilizations such as the Romans, Byzantine and Ottoman Empire for centuries.
And on the Historical Peninsula, the Sultanahmet neighborhood is the visited sites in Istanbul. A tourist center combining the history, architecture, culture and art, Istanbul’s old city and historical zone, and an important sightseeing, entertainment & shopping area for the tourists for having a nice Istanbul old city walking tour.
Sultanahmet hosts about all of the most visited historical and tourist sites in Istanbul, such as the Sultanahmet Square (Hippodrome), Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Istanbul Archaeology Museums and Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts are situated here and all can be explored by walking.
The Beyoglu District
For the ones who are a true enthusiast of metropolitan city life and enjoy the city’s lively nights and vibrant streets, as well as most visited monumental sites and museums, we highly recommend you to visit and see the Beyoglu district of Istanbul, that houses the popular tourist neighborhoods of Galata and Taksim.
And From Taksim or Galata, you can walk towards Cukurcuma, Cihangir and Karakoy neighborhoods and feel the city life along their narrow streets dotted with historic facades of old Istanbul, as well as best vintage shops in the city.
Galata is located across the Historical Peninsula, and both historic and cosmopolitan region and entertainment & shopping area for the tourists for having a nice Istanbul city walking tour. Galata is famous for its lively atmosphere and of course the Galata Tower, one of the most popular landmark of Istanbul.
Taksim is a cosmopolitan region, communications hub and an important commercial, entertainment & shopping area for the tourists for having a nice Istanbul city walking tour. It is the modern part and heart of Istanbul. And of course, Taksim Square and the world famous Istiklal Street.
The Bosphorus (Bogazici) is a 19 miles long strait separating the two continents, Asia and Europe, as well as Marmara and Black Sea. Bosphorus is one of the world’s most beautifl and charming natural formations and it will sure cheer up your hearts.
You can explore the Bosphorus by cruising along and visiting the shores of both continents lined up with summer palaces, mansions, fortresses, groves, parks and gardens, by motorboats, yachts and public ferries. And so, the Bosphorus Cruises are amongst the best things to do in Istanbul.
For the ones who are a true enthusiast of culture and art, Istanbul museums offers the best of the city’s historical heritage, culture and modern art. Istanbul hosts more than 80 museums and many art galleries showcase all the culture, arts and history; including painting, sculpture, photography and more. Istanbul Archaeology Museums, Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul Modern, Rahmi Koc Transport Museum and Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts are amongst the best museums in Istanbul that won’t want to miss.
All-in-one Cards for Istanbul’s Sightseeing
There are three types of Istanbul passes & cards that you may buy and have access to variety of Istanbul attractions including museums with fixed price and save a lot. We recommend those cards for the travelers that has a stay in Istanbul at least from 3 to 7 days. The most practical and cheapest way to explore Istanbul’s sights.
Istanbul 5-Day Guided Museum Pass
Offers guided tours and fast track entry to 5 Istanbul museums including Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Hagia Irene and Turkish & Islamic Arts Museum. And many pluses.
- 5-Day Guided Museum Pass by Get Your Guide from € 50
- 5-Day Museum Pass and Bosphorus Tour by Get Your Guide from € 56
- Viator’s 5 Days Museum Pass and Bosphorus Boat Tour from € 59
- Museum Pass, Bosphorus Boat Tour and Big Bus Ticket from € 109
- Guided Museum Pass: Skip-the-line Tickets with Guided Tours from € 50
- Istanbul Combo: Museum Pass,Whirling Dervishes Show and Bosphorus Boat Tour from € 69
Istanbul Welcome Card
Offers guided tours and fast track entry to 12 Istanbul museums including Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace Museum and Harem, Chora Museum, Fethiye Museum, Galata Mevlevi House, Hagia Irene Museum, Istanbul Archaeological Museums, Istanbul Mosaic Museum, Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, and the Rumeli Hisar Museum with professional guides. Plus; a cruise on the Bosphorus and card loaded with 10 tickets for public transport.
Istanbul Tourist Pass
The card allows you to choose from 20+ Istanbul attractions so you can pack as much into your stay as possible for a single set price. The card offers guided tours and fast track entry to 8 Istanbul museums including Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace Museum, Basilica Cistern, Chora Museum, Hagia Irene Museum, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and Pera Museum. Plus; BigBus Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour, Bosphorus Dinner Cruise, Whirling Dervishes Show, Bosphorus Boat Trip, Sea Life Aquarium, Princes’ Islands Boat Trip, Hop-on Hop-off Bosphorus Boat Tour, Legoland Discovery Centre, Dialogue in the Dark/Silence, Xtrem Aventures, one way Airport Transfer and Unlimited Mobile Internet Access.
We also recommend you further read out Istanbul’s sights pages in categories, including top Museums, Palaces & Pavilions, Monuments & Towers, Mosques, Churches, Fountains & Cisterns, Parks & Gardens and Streets & Squares.