Istanbul in January 2025 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Festivals)

January is the coldest month in Istanbul, together with February, and with an average temperature of 8°C and precipitation 105 mm. Although you will face low temperatures, you can be sure that there are not much snow and it rarely gets below freezing in Istanbul. The snow is low and rainfall is medium.

City Life & Weather

You can also see the sunshine half of the month. As it is cold winter in Istanbul during January, we recommend you to explore and enjoy indoor places like museums, palaces, art centers, etc. We recommend you to bring a winter coat and portable umbrella when traveling to Istanbul in January.

The days are shorter than the summer months, the sun set around 17:30. (Average Max Temp.: 8°C – Average Max Temp.: 3°C)

Public holidays, Festivals & Events

  • New Year’s Day

Top Venues

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

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.

Istanbul’s January Top 10 Attractions

Things to do in Istanbul are endless and it is not possible to mention all the best attractions in Istanbul. We just put together below the most fascinating ones that best suit for January. We also recommend you check out our Istanbul attractions opening hours & admissions, one day Istanbul itinerary or 3 day Istanbul itinerary to have a better idea before you plan your days in Istanbul.

1. Visit Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern Trio

Explore Hagia Sophia

Located in the Sultanahmet neighborhood, Hagia Sophia is a former church and museum, now a mosque. It is one of the world’s greatest architectural works and accepted as the 8th wonder of the world, experience the history in the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires.

Famous Hagia Sophia in the evening sun rays, Istanbul, Turkey

It’s like stepping into the holy world of Christianity and Islam, merged on the shell-like apse and under an impressive dome, in a mysterious and mystical ambiance, and a wide range of architectural and art works coming from thousands of years. Such as the golden Christian mosaics and colorful frescoes from the Byzantine era.

Tips:

  • Visit early in the morning to avoid long queues.
  • Dress modestly and be respectful of the mosque’s customs.

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

  1. Hagia Sophia Skip-the-Line Ticket (fastest option and cheapest price on net)
  2. Combo: Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern & Hagia Sophia Tour (one of the best)
  3. Hagia Sophia: Guided Highlights Tour and In-App Audio Guide (great one)
  4. Combo Ticket & Tour (all in one - Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern, our favorite, no need to look for else, trust us)
  5. Hagia Sophia: Entry with Guided Tour (good one)

Wanna learn more about Hagia Sophia?


Visit Topkapi Palace Museum

Topkapi Palace is a magnificent oriental palace and one of world’s richest museums that is situated on a triangular promontory dominating the Bosphorus & Golden Horn.

This is a magnificent oriental palace and one of the world’s greatest architectural works. Once a residence of the Ottoman Sultans, it is also one of world’s richest museums.

It was the residence of the Ottoman Sultans from 15th century to mid-19th century. It has four courtyards, terraces with astonishing views, as well as precious collections, one of the top tourist attractions in the city.

It houses the finest samples of seal, book binding, jewelry and box craftsmanship as well as inscriptions, as well as the finest collection of Chinese porcelain in the world.

Tips:

  • Allow several hours for your visit to fully appreciate the palace.
  • Don’t miss the breathtaking views from the palace terraces.

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

  1. Skip-the-Line Admission ticket to Topkapi Palace & Harem Section (One of the best and cheapest price on net)
  2. Topkapi Palace Ticket, Tour, Audio App (great one, guide and audio app will lead you for all)
  3. Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Historian Guide (if you want a pro-guide with you inc. Harem)
  4. Combo Ticket & Tour (all top-3 one - Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern, our favorite, no need to look for else, trust us)
  5. Istanbul Must See Highlights Tour (another combo with Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque & Bosphorus Cruise)
  6. Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace Half Day Tour (good one)
  7. Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Entry Ticket (good one)

Wanna learn more about Topkapi Palace?


Explore the famous Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern Museum is one of the most impressive and mystical buildings in the city. The two Medusa Heads, which are used as supports under the two columns at the northwest edge of the cistern, take the most interest and attracts the visitors.

The cistern is a very quiet and peaceful place conveyed by the columns through impressive arches.

Tips:

  • Visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
  • Capture the atmospheric reflections on the water’s surface.

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

  1. Skip-the-Line Tickets to Basilica Cistern (quick entrance + 30 mins. with guide)
  2. Basilica Cistern Skip the Line Tickets + Tour (quick entrance + 30 mins. with guide)
  3. Basilica Cistern Skip the Line Tickets + Tour (another quick entrance + 30 mins. with guide)
  4. Combo: Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern & Hagia Sophia Tour (one of the best)
  5. Combo Ticket & Tour (all top-3 one - Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern, our favorite, no need to look for else)
  6. Basilica Cistern Tour and Skip The Line with Guide (another great one with guide)

Wanna learn more about Basilica Cistern?

We highly recommend you to visit and see all these three museums at once. It would take about 3 hours total. And you should get Skip-the-line-tickets to save yourself from the long queues.

Combo Tickets: Hagia Sophia + Topkapi Palace + Basilica Cistern

This is a great combo ticket. Our favorite. You can visit the above top 3 most visited sights in Sultanahmet with this combo ticket, with skip the lines access. Great value for money. Book your tickets online in advance as they are selling out quickly.

Buy Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern Combo Ticket

Click the red button to buy Combo online tickets and skip the lines.


2. Mystical night out with 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?


3. Catch the winter sales at Istanbul’s Shopping Malls

Istanbul also hosts more than 200 modern shopping malls. And some of them are really very huge and among 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. Continue reading…


4. Enjoy Istanbul’s lively nights with its bars, pubs and clubs

Entertainment in Istanbul revolves around many of the entertainment venues that the city has to offer. The nightlife in Istanbul has really come alive in recent years and the locals will all tell you that the nightlife spreads out in all directions throughout the city.

With its numerous rooftop restaurants and cafes, music clubs, bars or pubs, cafes, night clubs, music venues and restaurants of Istanbul, you can easily spend the night bouncing from one venue to the next.

Warm Up with Turkish Delights at Istanbul’s Cafes

Café Culture – Cozy Retreats: November is the perfect time to explore Istanbul’s thriving café scene. Seek refuge from the chilly weather in the city’s charming cafes, where you can enjoy traditional Turkish delights, pastries, and hot beverages like Salep and Sahlep.

Tips:

  • Visit historic districts like Beyoğlu and Kadıköy for the best café experiences.
  • Try the iconic Turkish dessert, Baklava, paired with a steaming cup of Turkish tea.

5. Historical Turkish Bath (Hammam) experience

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, rest in a steam bath, refresh your body. It will a be unique experience, as well as you will be freshened up. There are many historical hammams in Istanbul where you can enjoy a relaxing steam bath and invigorating scrub by expert attendants.

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

  1. Turkish Bath at Cemberlitas Hamam by Getyourguide
  2. Famous Hurrem Sultan Hamam Experience (on the Sultanahmet Square, on the site of the ancient public baths from 100-200 AD)
  3. Turkish Bath & Spa at Catma Mescit Hamam (great experience at historical hamam close to Galata Tower)
  4. Grand Hotel de Pera Turkish Bath (very good one along Istiklal Street)
  5. Doubletree by Hilton Sirkeci Hotel Turkish Bath (another very good one along Sirkeci)
  6. Turkish Bath Package at Beyoglu Aga Hamami (very good one too)

Wanna learn more about Turksh Bath & Hammams in Istanbul?


6. Enjoy the lively atmosphere at Istiklal Street

Istiklal Street is probably the most famous street and entertainment area of the city. It is a long colorful pedestrian street full of all kind of shops, restaurants, cafes and street shows. You can visit the fantastic Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, the amazing St. Anthony of Padua Church and Pera Museum there.

In between strolling the Istiklal Street and enjoying the lively atmosphere, you can have a lunch/dinner/snack in one of the pretty restaurants along the way.

Wanna learn more about Istiklal Street?


7. 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 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. You can also enjoy a great leisure time in the Aqua Florya Mall.

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

  1. Istanbul Aquarium Ticket & Shuttle Bus from Taksim (great one with fast entry and shuttle service)
  2. Istanbul Aquarium, Wednesday Bazaar & 212 Mall (Solo – Group)
  3. Istanbul Aquarium and Aqua Florya Shopping Mall Tour (good one)
  4. Istanbul Aquarium and Aqua Florya Independent Shopping Trip (good one)

Wanna learn more about Istanbul Aquarium?


8. Visit Dolmabahce Palace

One of the most glorious palaces situated on the banks of Bosphorus in Besiktas. The whole palace building is breath taking. The palace houses more than 50,000 objects along its hundreds of rooms. The interior of the palace reflects the grandeur of the epoch, and designed like the luxurious European palaces.

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

  1. Dolmabahce Palace Admission and Guided Tour (superb one, quick entrance, pro guide will lead you for all)
  2. Guided Istanbul Tour: Bosphorus Cruise with Dolmabahce Palace Ticket (very good combo)
  3. Dolmabahce Palace Entry with Guided Tour Skip The Ticket Line (good one)

Wanna learn more about Dolmabahce Palace Museum?


9. Get Lost in the Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar – A Shopper’s Paradise, with its labyrinthine alleys and over 4,000 shops, beckons for exploration. In October, embrace the thrill of haggling while discovering unique treasures, from textiles to ceramics and jewelry.

Wanna learn more about Grand Bazaar?


10. Visit Rahmi Koc Transport Museum

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.


Share post:

Best of Bosphorus Cruises

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Reading
READ MORE

Istanbul during Ramadan (2024 Guide + Best Areas, Festivities)

Here you'll find insider guide and helpful information on...

Top Best Bars in Istanbul (Insider Guide Advice)

The lively night time scene of Istanbul with variety...

Top Best Irish Pubs in Istanbul (Insider Guide Advice)

The lively night time scene of Istanbul with variety...

Top 7 Best Beaches in Istanbul (Picks for Tourists, Entrance Fees)

Istanbul offers lovely beaches in its several beautiful coasts,...

Things to do on New Year’s Day 2024 in Istanbul: Top Attractions, Ideas

Majority of the iconic and tourist attractions and popular...

Istanbul in October 2024 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Festivals)

October in Istanbul is a mesmerizing tapestry of colors,...

13 Best Autumn day trips from Istanbul to fall for

Find out the best autumn day trips in Istanbul...

Istanbul in March 2024 (Top 10 Things to Do & See, Festivals)

March is the coolest of the spring months in...

Top Festivals & Events in Istanbul (2024 Calendar, Venues, Prices)

Istanbul's yearly calendar offers variety of lovely festivals and...

Kilyos – Top Things to Do, See & Stay, Beaches

Located on the northern coasts of Istanbul, by the Black...

Most Popular Now in Istanbul

Tourist Passes & Discount Cards
DON'T MISS

Istanbul Tourist Pass® Review: Is It Worth It? Insider Tips

The Istanbul Tourist Pass is one of the four...

Istanbul E-Pass (Worth It? How To’s? Fares, Insider Tips)

The Istanbul E-Pass is one of the four common...