Things to do on New Year’s Day 2021 in Istanbul (Top Attractions, Ideas)

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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 2021 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 2021 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

Things to do on New Year’s Day 2021 in Istanbul (Top Attractions, Ideas)

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

Things to do on New Year’s Day 2021 in Istanbul (Top Attractions, Ideas)

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. Visit Galata Tower, admire stunning views of the city and take walking tour of the neighborhood

Things to do on New Year’s Day 2021 in Istanbul (Top Attractions, Ideas)

This is offered by Istanbul Welcome Card and we highly recommend. You’ll experience and enjoy the city from one of the best point of views on top of the Galata Tower. You’ll also enjoy a short walking tour with a guide along the touristic Galata neighborhood. Galata has the living memories of different cultures, nationalities, religions.

Things to do on New Year’s Day 2021 in Istanbul (Top Attractions, Ideas)Highlights:

  • Benefit from fast track entry
  • Skip the ticket lines and save 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 360 Breathtaking view of the city
  • Discover the neighborhood
  • Witness the great cultural diversity
  • Ride on the 2nd oldest subway

Ticket price: €18
Notice: Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount. Just click the red button below and make sure you see the discounted price on the official page.
Meeting Hours: Wednesdays to Sundays at 09:30

Galata Tower & Walking Tour with Tickets and Guide


4. Visit Ortakoy and eat baked potatoes by the Bosphorus

Things to do on New Year’s Day 2021 in Istanbul (Top Attractions, Ideas)

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. See the sights on Hop-on Hop-off Tourist Bus

Things to do on New Year’s Day 2021 in Istanbul (Top Attractions, Ideas)

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…

Take Big Bus Istanbul via Get Your Guide Book Big Bus Istanbul via Viator


6. Visit the charming Museums of Istanbul

Things to do on New Year’s Day 2021 in Istanbul (Top Attractions, Ideas)

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

Things to do on New Year’s Day 2021 in Istanbul (Top Attractions, Ideas)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.

Book Sea Life Istanbul Tour via Get Your Guide Sea Life Istanbul Admission Ticket via Viator

Things to do on New Year’s Day 2021 in Istanbul (Top Attractions, Ideas)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.

Book Istanbul Aquarium Tour via Get Your Guide Istanbul Aquarium Admission Ticket via Viator


8. Relax with historical Turkish Bath (Hammam)

Things to do on New Year’s Day 2021 in Istanbul (Top Attractions, Ideas)

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.

Book Historical Turkish Bath Experience


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

Things to do on New Year’s Day 2021 in Istanbul (Top Attractions, Ideas)

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…

Book Whirling Dervishes via Get Your Guide Book Whirling Dervishes Ceremony via Viator


10. Rooftop Terraces to enjoy the New Year’s Day

Things to do on New Year’s Day 2021 in Istanbul (Top Attractions, Ideas)

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)

Things to do on New Year’s Day 2021 in Istanbul (Top Attractions, Ideas)

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…

Book Rhythm of the Dance via Get Your Guide Book Rhythm of the Turkish Dance via Viator


Insider Tips for First Time Visitors

* For time visitors to Istanbul should check and well plan the area to stay, best time to visit the city, best places to see and top attractions, how to save money, where to go for eating and shopping, airport transfer and public transportation, etc. to make the most of their Istanbul visit easy, budget, convenient, and safe.

* We recommend you to have some essential information first, before arriving Istanbul. Make sure you read our pages below. * You can explore the majority of the sights and sounds of the city on foot. You will mostly need to take a tram as for transportation in between old and modern city.

* So get an IstanbulKart as you can have access all the public transportation network of Istanbul. One ride is only 3,5 TL (about €0,5), and you can obtain this card (with 6 TL initial fee) at the ticket machines at any tram station.

* There are also guided tours with professional local guides that you can save yourself from the beggars, and people coming beside and ask for helping with guidance around or for money.

* And with a guide you will learn each detail and story, and have a detailed look at the architecture, mosaics, construction, galleries of the sights coming from the thousands of years.

* You can general admission tickets at ticket windows on location but it will cost you about at least 1 to 2 hours waiting in the line. And this will effect your future sightseeing calendar.

* We recommend you buy your attraction tickets online. This is by far the easiest and great value for money.

* Below, you’ll find our pick of the best and great value for money discount cards, and attraction tickets. You can be sure that we only suggest the proven and top rated ones with travelers’ comments. Our website visitors will also get extra 5% discount in some of the tours and tickets.

Tourist Discount Cards & Tickets Advice

Istanbul has several tourist discount cards. You'll have access to variety of major Istanbul attractions and services with a fixed price and save a lot. This is by far the most practical and cheapest way to explore Istanbul, as well as get airport transfer, public transportation card, unlimited internet, etc. Below you can see our recommendations. There is also Museum Pass for museum lovers.

Istanbul Welcome Card Deluxe

The is an innovative city pass. It includes fast track entry to 12 museums (Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Harem, Basilica Cistern, etc), 3 tours with historian guide20 rides with public transportation (IstanbulKart), Bosphorus Cruise and digital guide book and city map. It also offers 20% discounts at the most important Istanbul attractions on their shop. With this card you’ll skip the long ticket lines and not have to pick anything up.

Buy Istanbul Welcome Card Deluxe

Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount.


Istanbul Welcome Card Premium

Valid for 7 days, free delivery to your hotel/airport pick-up and includes; Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace fast track entry tickets with 30 minutes guidance and Audio Guide App in 10 languages, Istanbulkart with 10 Rides, Bosphours Cruise (1,5 hours), Digital Guide Book and City Map.

Buy Istanbul Welcome Card Premium

Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount.


Combo Tickets for Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern

Valid for 3 days, digital pass, no need a printed ticket, guidance service with certified guides.

Buy Combo Tickets

Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount.


Istanbul Tourist Pass

This is a digital travel discount pass that is delivered to your phone upon your purchase online, and will be ready to use at your arrival. It includes 30+ attractions and services including skip the line access and guided museum tours, dinner cruise, hop-on & hop-off Bus, airport transfer, unlimited mobile internet, etc.

Buy Your Istanbul Tourist Pass


Guided Istanbul Highlights Tours Advice

We recommend this kind of tours, especially for first time visitors. You are able to make the most of the city's sights and sounds with a private guide and save yourself from the hassle of making an ideal one day to 3 days plan. All will be made by professionals and you'll get skip the lines tickets, as well as pick-up and drop-off hotel transfer.

Highlights of Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour

This is Get Your Guide's top selling and certified tour, which means it has gained one of the best traveler experiences.

You'll discover the magic of Istanbul on a private 1 or 2-day walking tour with skip the line tickets. Enjoy a river cruise and guided tour of the city highlights, including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Dolmabahce Palace, and Istiklal Street.

Duration: 7 hours - 2 days
Live tour guide: English, Spanish, German, Japanese
Pick-up from the front desk of your hotel in Istanbul

Book Highlights of Istanbul Guided Tour


Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private Guided Tour

This is also Get Your Guide's top selling tour. Has great traveler ratings and comments.

You'll see the sights of Istanbul that most interest you on a customized tour with private guide. Marvel at some of the city's most significant sights including Topkapi Palace, Chora Church, Basilica Cistern, Fener-Balat neighboorhood, and many more.

Duration: 7 hours - 3 days
Live tour guide: Spanish, English, French, German, Italian
Pickup is available from centrally-located hotels in Istanbul, by your guide on foot.

Book Istanbul 1, 2 or 3-Day Guided Tour


Istanbul in One Day Highlights Tour

This is our collaborator Istanbul Welcome Card, providing in-depth guided tours in English to Istanbul's most visited attractions. Has great traveler ratings and comments.

You'll visit the iconic sites such as the Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Spice Bazaar, Topkapi Palace and Harem, learn the highlights of Istanbul from a local guide and discover the historical peninsula and learn the whole story of Istanbul.

Your local guide picks you up at 09:00 from your Hotel in Sultanahmet or Taksim area and together you will start discovering the city like a local with public transportation.

A 6-7 hours tour. A great value for money. You can cancel the reservation free of charge 14 days before departure.

Book Your Istanbul in One Day Highlights Tour


WiFi, Internet & SIM Card Advice

If you will stay in Istanbul for at least 1 week10 days or more, and need to make and receive local calls, than you can buy Turkey SIM cards.

TURISTCELL Prepaid SIM (Free Airport or Hotel Delivery, 15 GB Data, 4G Internet Service, 1000 Min. International Calls, Free Unlimited Local Calls, 100 SMS, Internet access all over Turkey) seems to be by far the most easy and convenient option for you to have data and communication with good value of money.

Order Your Turkey PrePaid SIM Card

Wanna learn more on Turkey SIM Card?

If you only need internet/data, no need for calls, than we don’t recommend buying Turkey SIM card, we recommend Pocket WiFi for Istanbul. And with pocket WiFi, you can also make and receive voice calls from Whatsapp or Skype.

Pocket WiFi, is a portable and high-speed small device that enables you to make and receive voice calls worldwide, so that you won’t need to purchase a local SIM or open your phone to roaming.

The device has unlimited 4G internet that will let you stay connected anywhere you travel in Turkey. You’ll also be able to share this high-speed and secure connection with up to 10 mobile devices (your laptop, phone, etc.) or friends at the same time.

Check out & Buy Your Pocket WiFi

Wanna learn more about Pocket WiFi?

Airport Transfers Advice

Istanbul has two international airports. You'll find all the transportation opportunities such as Airport Shuttle, Metro, Train, Taxi, Private Shuttle, etc. from the airports to the city center and vice versa from our pages below. Istanbul's both airports are located about 45 km. from the city center. You can take a 1 hour taxi for about €30, 1,5 hours HAVAIST Airport Shuttle for 18 TL (about €2,7), 1 hour shared shuttle for about €15 or 1 hour private shuttle for about €40. There are No direct metro lines to the airports.

Shared Shuttles

This is by far the most convenient, budget friendly, safe, fast and cozy ways to get to your hotel from the airports with comfortable vans and minibuses. It is a one way airport to hotel service.

With a shared transfer, you'll reach your hotel in a van or minibus with other people who have similar arrival time. All travelers will be dropped off one after the other regarding the location of their hotels.

This is much cheaper than a private shuttle transfer, but note that it can involve a waiting time at the airport about 5 minutes to maximum 45 minutes.

Departure Times: in every 30 minutes (high season), every 60 minutes (low season).

Book New Istanbul Airport Shared Shuttle Transfer

Book Sabiha Gokcen Airport Shared Shuttle Transfer

Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount.


Private Shuttles

If you are a group or a family with kids or having lots of luggage with you, than we highly recommend you to take private shuttle transfers for your hotel as they offer a fixed rate, comfortable and safe transfer that include meet-and-greet airport pickups and luggage assistance to your hotel from the airports or vice versa.

This is a good option as while the Airport Shuttles or Public Buses will bring you only to the city center and you’ll need to take a taxi to reach your hotel which will seem to be harder for you, private shuttles will drive you just to the entrance of your hotel.

As for private shuttle transfers, we can recommend Kiwi Taxi as we recently tested them and had a great trip to our hotel. We didn't see any bad comments on internet. They have large selection of comfortable taxis, minivans, luxurious cars and 6-19+ passenger minibuses.

You can check and book your transfer from the below red buttons.

Book New Istanbul Airport Private Shuttle Transfer

Book Sabiha Gokcen Airport Private Shuttle Transfer


We'd be so glad by giving us a like below and join our Facebook page, where you can also ask any questions, share your Istanbul experiences, pictures, yell out complaints, and chat with thousands of Istanbul travelers.



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