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

March is the coolest of the spring months in Istanbul, and with an average temperature of 11°C and precipitation 72 mm. It snows in the recent years, but it rarely gets below freezing in Istanbul.

City Life & Weather

Although March is the start of the spring months, it passes cold and you should precaution before traveling to Istanbul in March. You can enjoy more sunny and clear days compared to winter months.

We recommend you to take the most attractions at the indoor places like museums, shows, exhibitions, concerts, movies and more. We also recommend you to bring a medium coat and portable umbrella. Also take sweater for some warmer days.

The days are started to get longer than the winter months, the sun set around 18:45. (Average Max Temp.: 11°C – Average Max Temp.: 4°C)

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.

Public holidays, Festivals & Events

  • Akbank Short Film Festival (film)

Top Venues

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

Istanbul’s March 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 March. 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.
Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount.


2. Akbank Short Film Festival

Akbank’s Short Film Festival is a 10 days long film festival, organized by Akbank Sanat (Art). One of the leading arts and culture events in Istanbul in March. Highlights include various workshops, interviews, master classes and experience-sharing platform between cinema professionals and visitors. The Festival takes place at the Akbank Sanat Art Venue, in the Beyoglu district. More information on www.akbanksanat.com/en


3. 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?


4. Get Lost in the Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar – A Shopper’s Paradise, with its labyrinthine alleys and over 4,000 shops, beckons for exploration.

You are able to find about anything here in Grand Bazaar from the finest silky shawls and scarves in traditional patterns to traditional items, from antiques, leather goods, ceramics to the famous carpets, from spices, beautiful handicrafts to gold and jewelry.

Wanna learn more about Grand Bazaar?


5. 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.


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 Sakip Sabanci Fine Arts Museum

Located in Emirgan, on the Bosphorus European Side, the Sakip Sabanci Museum is a private fine arts museum in Istanbul that hosts great collections that include Ottoman Calligraphic Art, religious and state documents, paintings of the Ottoman era, archaeological and stone works, collection of furniture and decorative arts and more.. Continue reading…


8. Visit Forum Istanbul Shopping Mall and visit Sea Life Aquarium inside

Forum Istanbul is the largest Shopping and Residential Center in Europe. 495.000 m2, 286 domestic & international brands. Cinemaximum Movie Theaters, Funlab Entertainment World, Atlantis Bowling, Tiox Entertainment Center, Flyride Helicopter Simulation and Sand Castle apart from large-scale and tailor-made playgrounds. In addition, the famous Sea Life Istanbul Aquarium, which house the largest shark family in Europe, and the Legoland Discovery Center in Turkey also situated in Forum Istanbul.

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.

Below are the online tickets that you can buy directly from the Venue.

  1. SEA LIFE Istanbul General Admission Ticket online from Viator
  2. SEA LIFE Istanbul Entry Ticket Online from GetYourGuide

Wanna learn more about Aquarium Sea Life Istanbul?


9. 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…


10. 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?


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