Majority of the iconic and tourist attractions and popular activities of Istanbul can easily be enjoyed on the 1st of January. Below we put together some of the top things to do on New Year’s Day in 2020 in Istanbul. Make sure you check the opening times in advance. And with our guide, you can make the most of the first day of 2020 in Istanbul with these New Year’s Day events and activities.
From the city’s magical sights and sounds, special tours and festive activities, to January sales, iconic attractions and city walks, you can find are plenty of reasons to get out in Istanbul on the New Year’s Day.
Istanbul New Year’s Day activities
1. Take a stroll in the lively Istiklal Street
Located in the Taksim neighborhood, Istiklal Street (Istiklal Avenue) is probably the most famous street and entertainment area in Istanbul. It is a long colorful pedestrian street full of all kind of shops, restaurants, cafes, street shows and more. Continue reading…
2. Shop the January sales at Istanbul’s Shopping Malls
Istanbul also hosts more than 200 modern shopping malls. And some of them are really very huge and amongst the best shopping malls in Europe. As it is one of the winter sales time in Istanbul, we recommend you to visit many of the popular shopping malls and make shopping. Also make sure check the top department stores and main shopping areas of Istanbul. Continue reading…
3. See the sights on Hop-on Hop-off Tourist Bus
BigBus Istanbul tour is a cheap way to discover and explore the popular zones of Istanbul which you just couldn’t walk to and see in one day. It drives through the popular sights along the interesting and different districts and neighborhoods of Istanbul and offers informative pre-recorded commentary that is available in 8 languages. The open topped double decker tourist bus really looks cool. Continue reading…
4. Visit Ortakoy and eat baked potatoes by the Bosphorus
Ortakoy is a popular, lively and attractive neighborhood of Besiktas, located just by the Bosphorus and under the Bosphorus Bridge. Strolling around the Ortakoy Sqaure, watching the crowd, having a rest and drinking tea or coffee at the various cafes and restaurants by the Bosphorus are top attractions here. The lively nights at the weekends are also fantastic. Many locals prefer to buy baked potatoes and enjoy it by the beautiful views of the Bosphorus. Continue reading…
5. Visit Galata Tower and admire stunning views of the city
Galata Tower is an old Genoese tower overlooking the beautiful Istanbul and has a luxurious restaurant at the top. Traveler may enjoy the excellent panoramic views of Istanbul, Golden Horn and Bosphorus. Continue reading…
6. Visit the charming Museums of 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. Continue reading…
7. Visit Sea Life Aquarium or Istanbul Aquarium
Sea Life Istanbul Aquarium is the 5th largest aquarium in the world. Visitors may experience and enjoy the lovely sea creatures, the largest collection of sharks in Europe, the Digital Aquarium, the Turtle Hospital where you may see the injured turtles are getting healed, thematic zones, school trips, birthday parties and much more.
Istanbul Aquarium, located in Florya district of Bakirkoy, is one of the best theme parks in Istanbul. With its 6,000 square meters area, a special-themed and 1,2 km long travel route originating in the Black Sea towards the Pacific, the fish species, rain-forest, a gift shop with an area of 470 square meters, 1 restaurant having the Panama Canal view on one side and the sea view on the other, it is also one of the best aquariums and theme parks in Europe.
8. Relax with historical Turkish Bath (Hammam)
This will is one of the one time experiences on your Istanbul visit. With a Turkish bath, also called Hammam, you can enjoy an authentic experience, relax your muscles, refresh your body. The traditional bath mostly include a 15-minute massage. It can a be unique experience for you in these cold days.
Istanbul New Year’s Day after dark
You can find plenty to do on New Year’s Day in Istanbul as night begins.
9. Mystical night out at the Whirling Dervishes Show
Whirling Dervishes Show or Ceremony (“Sema” in Turkish) is one of the most visited attractions in Istanbul with the tourists. It is because that this ceremony is a very unusual event for the tourists and when they hear about it, majority of them try to catch this one hour show and witness the miracle of the whirling dervishes. The best performances take place at the Hodjapasha Culture Center in Sirkeci, Eminonu. Note that as this show is very popular among the majority of the tourists, you should buy your tickets at least 2 or 3 days before the show. Continue reading…
10. Rooftop Terraces to enjoy the New Year’s Day
There’s nothing better than to enjoy the Istanbul’s NYE evening in one of the best terrace or rooftop restaurant or bar, in the company of panoramic views of the city. We recommend you avoid the New Year’s Eve crowds and both relax and party with your family and friends in one of Istanbul’s best bars, pubs, or enjoy the New Year evening with a cocktail at a rooftop bar. See best rooftop restaurants and bars in Istanbul.
11. Fun night out at the Rhythm of the Dance Show (Turkish Dance)
The Rhythm of the Dance Show, also called as Turkish Dance, is one of the one time experiences in Istanbul for the tourists in an exclusive and cozy show atmosphere. This is a unique event that visitors may experience and enjoy the traditional dances from Turkish folklore with unique costumes and live music. The show takes place at the famous Hodjapasha Cultural Center in Sirkeci, within a 550 years old historical building that was once an Ottoman bath. Note that as this show is very popular among the majority of the tourists, you should buy your tickets at least 2 or 3 days before the show. Continue reading…
Tours & Excursions
You may explore Istanbul via daily tours made by the local travel agents with professional guides. It is a very good option if you don’t want to go through the hassle of making all the arrangements including the tickets, waiting at the long queues and 2-ways transportation by your own. And we recommend the two world brands GetYourGuide or Viator, with insurance and easy cancellation process.
Istanbul’s Tourist Discount Passes & Cards
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 Tourist Pass
Rather than paying for each item individually, this digital Istanbul Tourist Pass allows you to choose from 30+ Istanbul attractions so you can pack as much into your stay as possible for a single set price. It is the most popular and recommended discount tourist pass in Istanbul that you will get valuable discounts of up to 70%. You’ll also get 3-days of unlimited mobile internet access with your pass along with WhatsApp traveler support, and one way airport transfer. Highly recommended for travelers that will stay more than 3 days in Istanbul.
Istanbul Welcome Card
This is a travel discount card that offers combo attractions for less for individual, family or group during their Istanbul visit. And you will get valuable discounts of up to 50%. There are four types of Istanbul Welcome Card (Classic, Premium and Deluxe), and all are valid for 7 days. You’ll also get unlimited mobile internet access plus free public transportation rides.