36 Things to do this summer in Istanbul 2024

Istanbul has a lot of history, delicious food, lively markets, and a culture mix that you can only experience for yourself. With our summer guide to the city, you can find the city’s secret gems when it’s the warmest. Find out the best things to do in Istanbul this summer. Enjoy open-air museums, historic sites, sunset boat tours, and lively festivals, all with the beautiful Istanbul skyline as a background.

Bask in the Summer Sun: Top Outdoor Activities

The energy in Istanbul heightens during the summer months, so make the most of the plentiful sunshine with these open-air activities and events.

Explore Istanbul’s Historic Attractions

See how majestic Hagia Sophia is, how gorgeous Topkapi Palace is, or how beautiful the blue tiles are in the Blue Mosque.

Sultanahmet

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.

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.

City Walking Tour

Walking around Fener-Balat

This is a historic district on the Golden Horn, known for its charming old houses, Byzantine and Ottoman-era landmarks. A walk around Fener-Balat is like taking a trip back in time.

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.

Visit Ortakoy and enjoy the outdoor cafes 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.

Museum Tour

Istanbul is a city that has been home to various civilizations over the centuries, and a treasure trove of historical beauty. Many of these gems are housed in Istanbul’s many museums, while others lie in the city’s charming streets. For a cultural excursion on a warm summer day, consider embarking on a museum tour.

Wander in Bloom at Beautiful Parks

Summer 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, 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.

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.

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.

We recommend the below ticket options for the great value for money.

  1. Hop On Hop Off Istanbul (best price, audio guide will lead you for all)
  2. 1-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour with Commentary (top selling one)
  3. 1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket and Scenic Cruise (combo – good for both bus and cruise trip)
  4. Two Continents Evening Bus Tour with Commentary (evening bus tour is also fantastic)

Wanna learn more about Istanbul Hop-on Hop-off Bus?

For a twist, try a scenic Bosphorus Cruise, and learn about the city’s rich history and architecture while sailing between two continents.


Bosphorus Cruise

Another delightful summertime activity in Istanbul is the Bosphorus cruise. The city’s magnificent colors come alive with the first rays of the sun, and there’s no better way to witness this spectacle than on a Bosphorus tour.

Bosphorus cruise

Each offers a unique experience. From areas like Eminonu, Kabatas, Besiktas, or Ortakoy, you can take a tour boat and enjoy the sea breeze while taking in the fantastic views.

For a romantic and beautiful experience, choose a sunset cruise.

  1. Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Show with Private Table (the best dinner cruise, over 12.000 reviews, check them and enjoy)
  2. Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on Luxury Yacht 1 (the best sunset, on yacht, don't miss)
  3. Bosphorus on Yacht Cruise with Stopover on Asian Side (great with stopover at Kanlica, we highly recommend)
  4. Sunset or Daytime Yacht Tour w/AudioGuide & Snacks (superb yacht cruise)
  5. Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on Luxury Yacht 2 (another great sunset, on yacht, don't miss)
  6. Bosphorus Luxury Catamaran Cruise with Dinner Show (superb dinner cruise on a catamaran, don't miss!)
  7. All Inclusive Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Private Table (great dinner cruise, check it out)
  8. Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on Luxury Yacht 3 (superb sunset, on yacht, don't miss)
  9. Maiden's Tower Ticket w/ Transfer & Audio Guide (cheapest price, the only Maiden's Tower fast track entry online ticket)

Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on Luxury Yacht

This is one of the best and the most attended Bosphorus cruises. 2,5 hours cruise on a 25 meters luxury yacht. It is made on a luxury yacht and has a badge of excellence with over 400 5/5 stars reviews on Viator, and 335 excellent reviews and stars on GetYourGuide.

  • Highlights: Complimentary drinks and canapés are provided while you sail, find out about the history of Istanbul’s landmarks from your on-board guide, a cruise for all seasons: set sail at any time of the year, weather permitting, set out from an easy-to-find waterfront meeting point near public transport
  • Includes: Professional tour guide, Light snacks, Cookies, Baklava, Fresh seasonal fruits platter, Homemade lemonade in the summer months, Fresh fruit juice in the winter months, Bottled water, Tea, Coffee, Small group cruise
  • Departure: Kabatas pier (see location map)

Free cancellation with a FULL REFUND up to 24 hours in advance

Book Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on Luxury Yacht by Viator

Book Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on Luxury Yacht by GetYourGuide

Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Show with Private Table

This is one of the best Bosphorus night cruises with dinner and entertainment. Take in sights of the Bosphorus on board a mega yacht. Enjoy the city view with a 3-course meal while you listen to live music and watch stage performances at private tables. You can easily see that this Mega Lufer Yacht sells the most and has over 10,000 five star reviews.

Hotel pickup and drop-off is from Sultanahmet, Taksim, Sirkeci, Sütlüce, Kağıthane, Kabataş, Eminönü, Şişli, Aksaray, Karaköy, Levent and Beyoğlu areas. Please wait in the hotel lobby 10 minutes before your scheduled pickup time.

Book Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Show with Private Table

Princes’ Islands Excursion

Summer is the perfect time to visit the charming Princes’ Islands. The islands offer numerous activity options including cycling, swimming, and walking. Spend a day wandering around the streets filled with historic houses, cycling, and savoring the warm weather.

Nature Walks

Istanbul’s forests are cool and vibrant in the summer months. A leisurely nature walk is a perfect way to enjoy the summer 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!

Swimming – Beach Clubs

During the hot summer days, you can enjoy and lounge in the sun, swim in the sea and sip cocktails, and after dark, you can enjoy the beach clubbing atmosphere at the beach clubs and beach bars on the popular Istanbul beaches.

While certain areas of Istanbul’s waters aren’t suitable for swimming due to pollution, there are quality beaches with chic beach clubs further from the city center, such as Kilyos, Princes’ Island, Sile or Riva, that offer clean, inviting waters. For those who prefer a poolside experience, there are numerous swimming pools scattered throughout the city providing an excellent alternative to beat the heat.

Explore Outdoor Attractions

Miniaturk

Make your way to Miniaturk, an open-air miniature park, or experience the thrill of the various roller coasters at Vialand Theme 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.

Galata Tower

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.

Istanbul Summer Festivals and Events

Top Venues

You can follow the calendar of exhibitions and events of our pick of top Istanbul venues from below.

Whirling Dervishes Show

Whirling Dervishes Show is one of the most visited Istanbul attractions 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.

There are two popular venues that you can watch this show. Book your tickets online in advance as they are selling out quickly.

Buy Whirling Dervishes Show Tickets at Hodjapasha Culture Center

Buy Whirling Dervishes Show Tickets at Orient Express Hall

Wanna learn more about Whirling Dervishes Show?

Unforgettable Music Experiences

The summer music scene in Istanbul is unparalleled. Enjoy a series of concerts at the Harbiye Open Air Theater or witness the spectacle of the world-renowned Istanbul Music Festival and Istanbul Jazz Festival.

Attending Open-Air Concerts in Harbiye

The Open-Air Theater in Harbiye is a popular venue where Turkey’s most famous artists perform during the summer. After the concert, you can head to Istiklal Street and finish your night enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of Nevizade or Asmalimescit. Attending an open-air concert is a favorite among evening activities in Istanbul.

Istanbul International Music Festival

Istanbul’s International Music Festival is about 3 weeks long music festival, organized by IKSV in June 2023. At this top music festival, you can enjoy remarkable performances of the leading international and local artists, as well as classical music performances inc. Philharmonic Orchestras, baroque music inc. Bach, Vivaldi and Handel and many others, at the several great historical venues such as Hagia Irene Museum, Sureyya Opera House, Rahmi Koc Museum and more. More info muzik.iksv.org/en

Enjoy Istanbul’s International Jazz Festival

Istanbul’s International Jazz Festival is a 3 weeks long music festival, organized by IKSV in July 2023. You can enjoy a showcase of the leading international jazz, soul and blues artists in the city, at the several great venues. We highly recommend you to take part in the night out jazz parties, jazz boat and FREE jazz in the park concerts. More info on caz.iksv.org/en

Venture into the Optical Illusion World at the Museum of Illusions

Interactive exhibits and optical illusions await at Museum of Illusions, perfect for a family outing.


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