As the vibrant colors of summer gently fade away, Istanbul unveils a captivating autumn tapestry that beckons you to explore its enchanting streets, historic treasures, and hidden gems. If you’re planning a visit to this magnificent city during the fall season, you’re in for a treat. Here we’ll take you through the top things to do this autumn in Istanbul truly unforgettable.
Explore the Enchanting Autumn Vibes of Istanbul
Explore Istanbul’s Historic Attractions
The Historical Peninsula, Istanbul’s oldest inhabited area, comes alive in the autumn. Embark on a journey by starting your day along the Golden Horn and exploring the entire Historical Peninsula. Visit museums, historical landmarks, and savor unique flavors at local eateries, all while soaking in the charm of this historic district.
Insider Advice: Kickstart your Istanbul adventure with the Istanbul E-Pass or Istanbul Tourist Pass. These passes provide free access to around 70+ top attractions, tours and essential local services in the city with around 70% savings.
As the leaves change from green to brilliant shades of gold and crimson, embark on a journey through Istanbul’s historic heart – the Peninsula. Marvel at the Hagia Sophia, revel in the grandeur of the Topkapi Palace, and lose yourself in the intricate beauty of the Blue Mosque. The cool, crisp air of autumn adds a touch of magic to these iconic landmarks.
Families will have a blast exploring the city. These passes will allow sightseeing and savings at top attractions, making it a great choice for families.
City Walking Tour
Historical Pera Tour
Formerly known as Pera, today’s Beyoğlu has always been the heart of Istanbul. Its winding streets still hold countless stories and historical gems. On a pleasant autumn day, set out to explore Pera. Wander through the historic streets of Beyoğlu, the famous Istiklal Street, visit the many museums along the way, and discover the rich tapestry of this vibrant neighborhood.
Street Art Exploration in Karaköy
Karaköy, a trendy neighborhood, is a hub for street art enthusiasts. Stroll through its streets adorned with colorful graffiti and murals. Every corner holds a surprise, and you’ll find a fusion of contemporary art amidst Istanbul’s historic backdrop.
Walking around Fener-Balat
Discover the lesser-known but equally enchanting neighborhoods of Fener-Balat. Wander through their narrow, winding streets adorned with colorful houses and quaint cafes. These neighborhoods offer a glimpse into Istanbul’s artistic and multicultural heritage.
No Regrets Booking Advice
Walking from Ortaköy to Bebek
This is a wonderful coastal walk that offers magnificent views of the Bosphorus and some of Istanbul’s most attractive neighborhoods.
Having Breakfast by the Bosphorus
One of the most delightful things to do in Istanbul is to have breakfast by the Bosphorus. The city offers several lovely spots where you can enjoy a leisurely meal while gazing out at the beautiful strait.
Breakfast by the Rumeli Hisari Shore
Picture this: A crisp Sunday morning, the scent of the sea, and you, sipping Turkish tea while gazing at the Bosphorus. Start your day early, take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Rumeli Hisari shore, and then settle down at one of the delightful breakfast spots lining the coast. Enjoy a mouthwatering breakfast with a breathtaking view.
Tea and Simit in Çengelköy
Çengelköy, one of Istanbul’s most beautiful historical neighborhoods, is a delightful destination any time of year. To fully embrace autumn in Istanbul, visit Çengelköy’s seaside. Enjoy a traditional Turkish tea with crispy simit at the iconic Çınaraltı Çay Bahçesi, and then wander through the charming streets adorned with historic houses in nearby Kuzguncuk.
Ortaköy Waterfront Promenade and a Warm Cup of Tea
Conclude your autumn day with a leisurely stroll along the Ortakoy waterfront. The dazzling view of the Bosphorus Bridge at night is a sight to behold. Find a cozy cafe by the water, sip on a warm cup of Turkish tea, and watch as the city comes alive with lights, casting a mesmerizing spell over the waters.
Istanbul is a treasure trove of history, having hosted various cultures over centuries. Take advantage of the quieter autumn days to visit the city’s numerous museums. Explore art, history, and culture while enjoying a culturally enriching weekend.
Istanbul Modern Art Museum and Coffee with a View
Art enthusiasts will find solace at the Istanbul Modern Art Museum, where contemporary art takes center stage. After immersing yourself in the world of art, treat yourself to a cup of coffee while gazing at the sparkling sea. The museum’s location along the Bosphorus provides a serene backdrop for reflection and relaxation.
We Highly Recommend These Fantastic Night-time Activities
Rahmi Koç Museum and Miniaturk: A World of Mini Wonders
Located on the shores of the Golden Horn, the Rahmi Koç Museum is a delightful place to explore. This museum houses a fascinating collection of miniature vehicles, bicycles, machines, and more. You’ll not only be entertained but also gain knowledge as you wander through this unique museum. Plus, it boasts a spacious and beautiful garden. Right nearby, along the Golden Horn, you’ll find Miniaturk, where miniature replicas of Turkey’s most iconic landmarks are on display.
Wander at Beautiful Parks
Autumn is the perfect time to explore Istanbul’s many beautiful parks and gardens. Visit the iconic Emirgan Park, where you can walk amongst the vibrant tulip fields or simply enjoy a leisurely picnic in the sun. Visit Gulhane Park (Rose Garden) is one of the most beautiful parks in Istanbul for both tourists and locals, or visit Yildiz Grove, one of the most beautiful parks in Istanbul consists of many beautiful pools, waterfalls and ponds, as well as fascinating gardens and trees, or Fethi Pasha Groove, a great place to have a rest with your drink and watching the beautiful views of the city and the Bosphorus.
Gülhane Park: A Tranquil Retreat in Sultanahmet
As autumn blankets Sultanahmet Square, Gülhane Park transforms into a vibrant tapestry of colors. Beyond the historic charm of this part of the city, you’ll embark on a scenic journey that captures shades ranging from lush green to fiery reds and yellows. Stroll through the park and embrace the breathtaking views. There is also a Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam in the park, a unique one in the world that worth a see.
Emirgan Grove Stroll
In the autumn, Istanbul’s mild, refreshing weather makes it perfect for exploring parks and groves. Wake up early on a Sunday morning and head to Emirgan Grove to immerse yourself in its lush greenery. After a delightful walk, indulge in a hearty breakfast and soak up the sea breeze at Emirgan coast.
Yıldız Park: A Serene Stroll in Ortaköy
For one of the most picturesque autumn walks, head to Yıldız Park in Ortaköy. Enjoy a leisurely walk amid the lush greenery, and consider having breakfast or sipping tea and coffee in one of the park’s charming pavilions. If you continue your walk downhill from the park, you’ll reach Ortaköy. Explore artisan craft stalls and savor the refreshing Bosphorus breeze.
Sunset at Pierre Loti Hill
Pierre Loti Hill offers a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Take a cable car ride to the top and enjoy a cup of tea at the café named after the famous French novelist. As the sun sets over the Golden Horn, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking view of Istanbul.
Take a Unique Sightseeing Tour
Hop on the nostalgic tram along Istiklal Street for a different perspective of the city.
Or opt for a Hop-on Hop-off City Sightseeing Tourist Bus Tour, a cheap way to discover and explore the popular zones of Istanbul which you just couldn’t walk to and see in one day.
The sightseeing bus runs every 30/60 minutes and lets you see the most popular popular sights along the interesting and different districts and neighborhoods of the city. And what is great that you can all do it in a couple of hours.
For a twist, try a scenic Bosphorus Cruise, and learn about the city’s rich history and architecture while sailing between two continents.
The Bosphorus strait, a lifeline of Istanbul, transforms into a masterpiece in the fall. Hop on a Bosphorus cruise and witness the city’s skyline adorned with hues of orange and red. The majestic palaces, waterfront mansions, and charming fishing villages come alive against the backdrop of Istanbul’s autumnal glory.
Catch one of the tour boats from districts like Eminonu, Kabatas, Besiktas, or Ortakoy, and enjoy the sea breeze as you soak up the stunning views.
Discover the Asian Side: Üsküdar and Kadıköy
Cross the Bosphorus to explore Istanbul’s Asian side. In Üsküdar, visit the Maiden’s Tower and enjoy serene walks along the waterfront. Head to Kadıköy for a vibrant atmosphere filled with hip cafes, local markets, and a taste of contemporary Istanbul life.
The Princes’ Islands, which are stunning in every season, truly shine in the autumn. With fewer crowds and pleasant weather, it’s the perfect time to hop on a ferry and explore one of these enchanting islands. Rent a bicycle, explore the island at your own pace, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty.
Venture to Polonezköy, where every shade of green comes to life during the autumn months. Enjoy a delightful breakfast or a barbecue at one of the charming spots in Polonezköy. Take a nature walk in the heart of the countryside and consider staying overnight in one of the cozy Polonezköy hotels for a unique experience.
Istanbul’s forests are cool and vibrant in the autumn months. A leisurely nature walk is a perfect way to enjoy the autumn air and rejuvenate your mind. You can choose locations like Atatürk Arboretum or Belgrade Forest for such an adventure. With its variety of tree species and quaint ponds, Atatürk Arboretum is an ideal spot for walking!
Atatürk Arboretum: A Botanical Wonderland
Nestled along the Sarıyer Bahçeköy road lies the enchanting Atatürk Arboretum, a place where you can immerse yourself in a kaleidoscope of flora. In my opinion, this is where you can capture the most stunning autumn landscape photographs. With its mesmerizing shades of red, yellow, and green, Atatürk Arboretum showcases the finest hues of autumn foliage.
Autumnal Hike at Belgrad Forest
Escape the city’s hustle and bustle with a trip to Belgrad Forest. A nature lover’s paradise, this serene forest is a haven of tranquility. Hike the trails, have a picnic by the serene lakes, and immerse yourself in the soothing sounds of nature.
Turkish Bath (Hamam) Experience
Indulge in a traditional Turkish bath, a time-honored ritual that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. There are many historical hammams in Istanbul where you can enjoy a relaxing steam bath and invigorating scrub by expert attendants.
Turkish Coffee and Fortune Telling
Experience the art of Turkish coffee. Sip this rich, flavorful brew in a traditional coffeehouse while chatting with locals. Then, have your fortune told by reading the coffee grounds left at the bottom of your cup, a fascinating glimpse into Turkish traditions.
Explore Outdoor Attractions
Make your way to Miniaturk, an open-air miniature park. Get breathtaking views of Istanbul by climbing the historic Galata Tower or take a funicular ride up to Pierre Loti Hill for an unforgettable sunset.
Taking the Cable Car to Pierre Loti Hill
Pierre Loti Hill offers a panoramic view of the Golden Horn. The cable car ride to the top is a fun experience, and once you’re there, you can enjoy a cup of tea at the famous Pierre Loti Café.
Watching Istanbul from Çamlıca Hill
Camlica Hill is the highest point in Istanbul, offering a breathtaking view of the city. It’s a fantastic spot to take in the city’s skyline and escape from the bustling city center.
You can also enjoy Istanbul’s autumn by indulging in some retail therapy. You can find great shopping scene at the fantastic shopping malls of the city. But if you fancy a more historic shopping experience, the streets of Beyoğlu offer a delightful alternative. Here, you can enjoy a pleasant shopping experience, with quaint boutiques and local shops set against the backdrop of historic buildings.
Grand Bazaar Shopping Spree
Wrap up your autumn adventure with some retail therapy at the Grand Bazaar. As the weather cools, the bustling alleys and stalls of this historic market become even more inviting. Explore the labyrinth of shops, find unique souvenirs, and savor the aromas of Turkish spices and delights.
Spice Up Your Day at the Spice Bazaar
Immerse yourself in the intoxicating aromas of the Egyptian Bazaar, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar. This bustling market is the ideal place to shop for exotic spices, dried fruits, sweets, and Turkish delights. It’s a sensory journey that captures the essence of Istanbul’s culinary heritage.
Visit Istanbul Aquarium and Aqua Florya Shopping Mall
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, it is also one of the best aquariums and theme parks in Europe. You can also enjoy a great leisure time in the Aqua Florya Mall.
Shopping on Bagdat Avenue
Bagdat Avenue is one of Istanbul’s most prominent shopping districts, known for its upscale shops, chic cafes, and restaurants. It’s an ideal location for a day of shopping and dining.
Visiting Boutiques in Nisantasi
Nisantasi is a fashionable neighborhood known for its luxury boutiques, designer stores, and sophisticated dining options. Exploring its boutiques is a must-do for fashion lovers.
Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Private Yacht
You can enjoy an exclusive sightseeing experience on the Bosphorus from the private deck of your yacht on a 2 to 3 hours private cruise past some of Istanbul’s most famous sites. You’ll admire the beautiful scenery with 360 degree views from the spacious upper fly-bridge, or enjoy relaxing in comfort on the sun deck or in the comfortable outdoor and indoor lounges.
During the cruise, you’ll just sit back and unwind as you enjoy a cup of tea, coffee or enjoy sipping an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage or cocktail. A comfortable option than the Bosphorus day cruises, especially during hot these autumn days.
We recommend the below ticket options for the great value for money.
- Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Private Yacht – our favorite, you can join the cruise with max 6 people, a minimum of 2 person is needed for renting the yacht, 2,5 hours cruise, snacks, non alcoholic drinks, fresh fruits
- Best Bosphorus Private Yacht Cruises – a list of all the best ones on Get Your Guide
Enjoy Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Entertainment
This is one of the most popular night time entertainments in the city. Mostly preferred with the tourists who want to experience a unique attraction specific to Istanbul. Typical dinner cruises start from the Kabatas pier daily at about 20:00 pm and goes for about 3 hours.
Mesmerizing Whirling Dervish Show
Experience the mesmerizing Sufi tradition with a Whirling Dervishes Show. The tranquil yet captivating dance is a spiritual ritual that allows you to witness a unique cultural expression of faith. Check local listings for performances happening during your stay.
There are two popular venues that you can watch this show. Book your tickets online in advance as they are selling out quickly.
Istanbul Autumn Festivals and Events
You can follow the calendar of exhibitions and events of our pick of top Istanbul venues from below.
- Istanbul Museum of Modern Art in Beyoglu (art, exhibition, film)
- Pera Museum in Taksim (art, exhibition, film)
- Sakip Sabanci Museum in Emirgan (art, exhibition, film)
- Salon IKSV in Beyoglu (concert)
- Bomontiada in Sisli (concert, theater)
- Akbank Sanat in Taksim (art, exhibition, film, concert)
- Zorlu PSM in Besiktas (concert, musical)
Unforgettable Music Experiences
Below festivals and events add an extra layer of excitement to your autumn adventure in Istanbul. Whether you’re indulging in art, music, literature, or the thrill of the marathon, Istanbul’s vibrant cultural scene ensures there’s always something captivating happening in the city during this enchanting season. Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Istanbul’s autumn festivities.
Istanbul International Biennial (September – November)
For art enthusiasts, the Istanbul International Biennial is a must-visit event during the autumn season. Held every two years from September to November, this prestigious art exhibition showcases contemporary works by both Turkish and international artists. Explore thought-provoking installations, paintings, and sculptures at various venues throughout the city, making it an ideal time to immerse yourself in Istanbul’s thriving art scene. More info on bienal.iksv.org/en
Enjoy Akbank Jazz Festival (October)
Jazz aficionados, get ready to groove to the rhythm of the Akbank Jazz Festival! Taking place annually in October, this festival transforms Istanbul into a hub of musical creativity. Enjoy electrifying performances by world-class jazz musicians in venues across the city, from intimate jazz clubs to open-air stages. Let the soulful tunes and vibrant atmosphere infuse your autumn in Istanbul with a harmonious melody. More info on www.akbanksanat.com/en
Istanbul International Puppet Festival (October – November)
Prepare to be enchanted by the Istanbul International Puppet Festival, an annual event spanning October and November. This whimsical festival brings puppetry to life in the most imaginative ways. Witness captivating puppet shows, from traditional marionettes to innovative modern creations. It’s a family-friendly event that will ignite your sense of wonder and make your autumn visit to Istanbul truly magical. More info on www.istanbulkuklafestivali.com/en/
Istanbul International Book Fair (November)
Bookworms and literary enthusiasts, mark your calendars for the Istanbul International Book Fair, held annually in November. This literary extravaganza gathers authors, publishers, and book lovers from around the world. Explore a treasure trove of books, attend book signings, and engage in stimulating discussions and literary events. Whether you’re a passionate reader or simply curious about the world of literature, this fair promises an enriching experience. More info on www.istanbulkitapfuari.com/en/
Experience the exhilaration of the Istanbul Marathon, a thrilling event that takes place in November. Join thousands of participants from around the globe as they run across the iconic Bosphorus Bridge, connecting the continents of Europe and Asia. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a first-timer, the marathon offers various categories to suit different fitness levels. It’s an opportunity to be part of a monumental sporting event and witness the city’s energy and unity in motion. More info on www.maraton.istanbul
Venture into the Optical Illusion World at the Museum of Illusions
Interactive exhibits and optical illusions await at this unique museum, perfect for a family outing.
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.
- The best area to stay in Istanbul.
- How to get from New Istanbul airport to city center, Sabiha Gokcen airport to city center , or Galataport to city center quickly?
- How to get around the city easily?
- How to obtain IstanbulKart, city’s public transport card?
- Where to find discounted attraction tickets, and skip the lines, best guided tours, or sightseeing tours?
* 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.
* 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.
* We recommend you buy your attraction tickets online. This is by far the easiest and great value for money.